Suede Shooting Vest and Brown Shirt

15

Suede-Shooting-Vest

Bond wears a brown suede shooting vest on his visit to the title character’s palace in Octopussy. The cartridge loops on the left chest are what identifies this as a garment for shooting. It has slash pockets on the sides and what appears to be shoulder pleats in the back. What puzzles me is why a vest would have shoulder pleats. The arms are not restricted, so pleats wouldn’t serve much purpose.

Taupe-Shirt-Brown-TrousersUnderneath the vest, Bond wears a brown and white end-on-end shirt in a very fine cotton made by Frank Foster, and it has a spread collar, placket front stitched close to the centre and single-button cuffs. Bond’s brown flat front trousers have a straight leg leg and plain hems, and he wears them with a dark brown belt. Bond’s shoes are dark brown leather slip-ons.

Two examples of the vest were sold at Christie’s; the first was sold on 14 December 1995 for £1,688 and the second on 28 November 1996 for £1,725. The auction listings note that the vest is made of drill cloth, but close-ups on the Blu-ray show a nap that is undeniably suede. The Frank Foster shirt sold at Prop Store on 23 September 2015 for £1,000.

15 COMMENTS

  1. Anon2, Sean Connery wore his trousers just as high. They didn't think to wear their trousers lower than their waist like people in the future.

  2. Perhaps that’s why they called the title song from this movie “All Time High”?? Seriously though, Matt is right.

    For many years people wore trousers styled in that way and while he might look like “an old man” from the perspective of some pimply adolescent (a period of “development” which seems to stretch up to about thirty these days!) who likes to wear his trousers hanging half way down his ass, others of more refined sensibilities might find this mode of dressing preferable to current “styles”.

    People of Roger Moore’s era were more concerned with neatness and good tailoring than the majority of people are now. High rise trousers (or even middle rise) arguably look a lot neater than those which reveal the wearer’s underwear. Can anyone imagine Cary Grant or David Niven running around in the “leisurewear” slop that predominates today?

    Regarding the vest itself, the styling is similar (minus the cartridge loops and with sleeves) to the green suede blouson from the previous movie “For Your Eyes Only” which you featured on 20/03/2011. Collarless suede jackets/vests aren’t as commonplace as the collared version but they are neater as the collar of well cut shirts, like Moore wore, can sit naturally rather than being tucked inside. I would guess they both came from the same manufacturer.

    Finally, the location photo of Udaipur brings back very happy memories of my visit there almost a year ago now.

  3. Hi Matt,
    It's hard to tell from the screen grab, but what look like pleats may actually be a game pocket. When I was a boy I used to do a lot of pheasant hunting and had a shooting vest (very handy for single or double barreled shotguns)and the game pocket was formed by another layer of, in my case, canvass fabric sewn over the back of the vest and open on the sides under the arms so one might easily stuff a bird into the back of the vest and continue walking the field. I like your blog very much, by the way.

  4. What a coincidence…I was just thinking about this vest a few days ago, and wondering when you were going to cover it. Well done.

  5. Brad, thanks for the comment. I had no idea what a game pocket is, since I'm not a hunter. But since these openings in the side of the jacket are only around the armhole and attach to the shoulder seam, they don't resemble any of the game pockets I've been able to find online.

  6. Referring to Anon comment second from top – the trousers at his waist, where they should be. But, at 56, he was too old a man for Bond!

  7. Matt – excellent work on the new website design.

    As for this outfit, I always did find it a bit puzzling. It works well enough with the vest on, and the information provided in this post about it is interesting. But with the vest off, I must agree that with the high-rise trousers, Moore does look a bit old for the part in some scenes in Octopussy, despite delivering a terrific performance in the most underrated of Bond films. In fact, in the scene captured above, Moore’s gait is actually that of an older man with a bad hip or knee. I understand that trousers were worn higher in 1983, but that doesn’t change the fact that high rise trousers on 32 year old Connery in Dr. No look better than they do on 55 year old Moore here.

    I do wonder if Moore would have been better served by lower rise trousers. He appears to have most of his height in his legs, with a short barrel chest (somewhat the opposite of Connery). Wouldn’t lower rise trousers (as are the suit styles of today, seen in “Brown Suit in Bolivia”) elongate his trunk and better proportion his body? Even Moore’s trousers height in Live and Let Die’s “Black Short Sleeve” post seem too high for his body type.

    On a side note, I met Maud Adams recently, and she was still beautiful (with the same profile as in 1974’s Man With the Golden Gun scene from the boxing arena) and gracious in discussing Roger Moore, Guy Hamilton, John Glenn, and her experiences on Bond and other films. A very classy woman.

  8. Christian,

    They trousers are indeed too high to be worn without a jacket. For a suit they would perfect. But it's far better than low rise trousers. I see plenty of 55-year-old men now wearing low-rise trousers (what has now become the standard) and most of them look bad. Like most men of his age, Roger Moore is not in good shape. Lower trousers would show off the belly that his high-rise trousers hide. Any lower, and the trousers would slip down under the belly and not look very flattering. The reason why Moore looks like an old man is because he is over 50 and he is in poor shape. But he has been wearing trousers like this his whole life.

    The trousers are slightly higher here than in Live and Let Die. They look just right in Live and Let Die. Within a decade the current trend of low-rise trousers will pass and Moore's trousers won't look so bad any more.

    • I know your comment if over six years old Matt, but if I may throw in my two cents as a man who is in his very early twenties, I personally wear my trousers at the height Moore’s are in this article. To me, it feels more comfortable than this low rise mess that make you feel like your going to have a wardrobe malfunction.

  9. There were a lot of outfit styles from Roger Moore’s later Bond films that came back in some way. This outfit is not that far removed from the grey jumper, blue shirt and gilet from FYEO. I think all the casual outfits bar a few in Moore’s later outings always suited his surroundings.

  10. Matt , the shoulder pleats are a necessity for those traditional shooting vests. I do duck hunting twice a year
    with a shotgun and l own a very similar vintage shooting vest . The idea is that these vests were designed in an era when side by side double barrel Shotguns were still the standard hunting shotguns among the English ( the kind of gun used by Hugo Drax in the Pheasant hunt in Moon Raker ). These guns were notorious for their recoil and weren’t very accurate. You couldn’t aim a side by side shotgun the way you aim a normal gun . There was a specific technique called ” snap shooting ” that applied to these guns. It required the hunter to swing the gun up instinctively , when game was flying over him and discharge the gun into the flock of quail or pheasant in the sky. The shoulder pleats were instrumental in helping the Hunter manipulate his shoulder joints to swing the gun up fast enough ( you typically have only a couple of seconds to score a successful hit on them ).
    On a related note , the shooting vests also had a rubber pad sewn inside the shoulders , to stop the guy’s monstrous recoil from hurting the shooter Nowadays , you won’t find many shooting vests with this feature , because Side by Side Shotguns are obsolete ( except in 8 or 4 bore calibers ) .
    You can still see traditional Shooting Vests like these in the Holland and Holland Gun store in Bond Street in London . Hope this helps.

    • I have an M1A and an M16A4 rifle, and I had only wore my Anthony Sinclair suits when I was firing them. Definitely no need for pleats anywhere, even for a jacket. My take, though, is some people fancy extra designs on their garments.

      • M16A4 , Cool ! But a double barrel side by side shotgun sights much more differently from a single barrelled rifle , especially when you are going after game.
        The jacket was made at a time , when THAT particular kind of gun was in high use. You can’t aim a side by side like an M16 , because it has two barrels horizonatally. So , when you shoot birds with one of those , you need to be a able to swing the gun instinctively up in a smooth singular motion. I would say that pleats on the shooting jacket are a big help here

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