Tailoring for the Times: Roger Moore

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ROGER MOORE (1973-1974, Cyril Castle)

1. Flared trousers: Flared trousers became popular with a certain crowd in the 1960s and made it to mainstream fashion by the 1970s. This is the most fashionable trend we’ve seen in Bond’s suits and the most highly criticised one. However, Roger Moore’s flared trousers only hint at the fashion trend in the early 1970s.

2. Wide lapels: Moore’s lapels narrowed in Live and Let Die to a more classic width from what Connery wore in Diamonds Are Forever, though in The Man with the Golden Gun Moore brings back the wider lapels. Still, the lapels are acceptably wide. If Tom Ford has his way these lapels are going to become trendy again.

Castle’s jackets for Moore’s have flared cuffs that fasten with two linked buttons sewn back-to-back. It’s common for English tailors to flare out the sleeves at the ends (in any decade), but the link button is a unique touch. It emphasizes the sleeve flair to harmonize with the flared trouser, but it wasn’t mimicking any fashion trends.

Some may think the colour brown should be on here since brown was a trendy colour in the 1970s that Moore occasionally wore. But Sean Connery also wore a few brown suits, and Daniel Craig even wore a brown suit in Quantum of Solace, so it’s not limited to the 1970s. Moore wore brown suits in the Saint during the 1960s, and Moore was still wearing brown suits into the 1980s, when they became more popular in America due to President Reagan’s influence. Connery wore much duller browns than Moore since they better suited his cool complexion. Moore’s warmer complexion, on the other hand, looked great in warm brown tones. Moore’s brown suits were typically worn in the mediterranean, with some in America and Hong Kong. He didn’t wear nearly as much brown as he wore grey and blue, and he never wore brown in London, following the old (declared dead in 1939) rule “no brown in town.”

ROGER MOORE (1977-1979, Angelo)

1. Flared trousers: The trousers widen with a more pronounced flare later in the 1970s to fully embrace the fashion trend.

2. Wide lapels: The same happens with the lapels—they widen. However, the pocket flaps stay narrow.

These are as trendy as Roger Moore’s suits get, and these are the suits that Moore is most remembered for. Though the details are influenced by the era, the cut of the jacket is not. Other dated aspects of Bond’s wardrobe include very long collar points to match the wide lapels, and tall heels on his slip-ons.

ROGER MOORE (1981-1985, Douglas Hayward)

1. Low button stance: The only thing that dates Moore’s suits in the 1980s is a low button stance. Hayward preferred a lower button stance, though it seems that he made it even lower in the 1980s. A lower button stance lengthens the torso, which helps rather barrel-chested Moore. It also emphasizes the V-shape of the male torso, however it comes at a cost: the leg line is shortened. That is not much of a concern for Moore since he already has fairly long legs. Apart from the low button stance, Moore’s tailoring in the 1980s doesn’t succumb to any other now-dated fashion trends, such as over-padded shoulders. In most examples of 1980s tailoring with a low button stance, the gorge—where the collar meets the lapel—is lower as well.

17 COMMENTS

  1. Very much prefer the clothing made by Castle and Hayward. They date far better than the very fashion-conscious clothing made by Angelo. (Don’t even get me started on that awful blazer worn at the beginning of “Moonraker”…) There are concessions to the time on all of them, and I think a slightly higher button stance in line with Connery’s suits would have looked more balanced, but all the jackets were well tailored.

  2. I do like the Sean Connery suit’s, but I think there were much more creativiy during the Roger Moore times than ever before in the Bond movies. As we say in french “il y en a pour tous les gouts” ! All of those suits are very well cut anyway. The fashion details like the wi(l?)de lapels during the late 70’s give them character.

  3. Re: the flared trousers you mention that “This is the most fashionable trend we’ve seen in Bond’s suits and the most highly criticised one”. I would suggest that Dalton’s awful wardrobe in “Licence to Kill” and, from what I can see from the stills you already posted, Craig’s rubbish in this latest movie, are more pronounced trends to be fashionable and more open to criticism than any other actor’s wardrobe. However, as you perceptively point out, both Moore’s lapels and trouser style are at the conservative end of the trends of that time. One only has to look at most of his contemporary cinematic and tv competitors at the time to see how classic his wardrobe, even the Angelo tailoring, really was.

    • While David and I long ago agreed to disagree on Craig, I must second his observation that Moore’s clothing is quite restrained compared to others in teh 1970s. Again, look at Lee Majors in The Six Million Dollar Man (1973-1978).

  4. This is a great post. Roger Moore suits added to the authority and status of the James Bond character. On the other hand, maybe because of the more dynamic acting by Sean Connery, there was no such need for conservative clothing.
    Roger Moore was dressed more like a high-profile businessman or a member of the international jet set in the 1960s and 1970s. In my opinion, if the same suits were worn by Sean Connery he would look really ordinary!

  5. It is interesting to see from those 3 pictures how Moore’s Bond grew old gracefully… the more casual tan jacket, then 5 years later the immacualte but still modern (then) suit and finally the timeless British cut in FYEO towards the end of his tenure. Moore’s Bond is often described as boyish in the 70s film… from FYEO he was over 50 and dressed in a more sober and classic style.

  6. Personally I’m not too fond of Roger Moore as Bond, though he is a very talented artist and a great man. I do think he made Bond a little too over the top in terms of style and clothing. Let’s face it, even his pyjama pants seems to be tailored, he looks way too overdressed no matter what he wears. Take his more simple outfits, for example the white short sleeved shirt and white trousers in TMWTGG or the black short sleeved shirt and tan trousers in LALD – even theese simple outfits look extremely flashy and expenisive. Bond shouldn’t be so flashy. Still, Moore’s wardrobe is much better in the Bonds than it was in the Persuaders, those comic-book style outfits where very tacky and over the top. In The Saint his wardrobe was much more classic, but then again, that was the sixties.

    In the Bond series, not only is Moore ridiculously overdressed for all occasions (his green blouson in FYEO is one of the very few exeptions) but he doesn’t look conservative and british enough. The plastic looking solid suits from the seventies and flashy ties just isn’t Bond, no matter how well they fit. Connery wore a suit like that in DAF, the light grey one in the desert scene. They are way too american and fashionable. And how does Moore fit all of those outfits into his luggage? Connery only had a few suits in each film, several of wich where used more than once. In my opinion, the minimalistic suits and classic materials (why doesn’t Craig wear flannel for example??) of the Connery era is what the real Bond should wear.

    • Moore’s suit wardrobe was only very large in The Man with the Golden Gun. Connery had quite a number of suits in From Russia With Love, Goldfinger and especially Diamonds Are Forever. More than Moore typically had. And Moore’s ties aren’t flashy like Brosnan’s are.

  7. I’m sorry, Jerzy, but although I do appreciate your point overall, some comments don’t stand up to scrutiny,.

    “over the top”, “flashy” “ridiculously overdressed for all occasions”. The latter is relative. Connery, supposedly a paragon of restraint, was “ridiculously overdressed” (although I don’t concur overall with these subjective ideas anyway) by this same yardstick in an ivory dinner jacket in a Las Vegas casino in “Diamonds are Forever” or in a pinstripe three piece on an oil rig in the same movie.

    Then, Moore “doesn’t look conservative or British enough”. This really doesn’t stand up given Hayward’s suits on display in “FYEO” or “Octopussy”. Moore’s suits, whether Castle, Angelo or Hayward don’t look at all “American”, on the contrary, they are distinctly British or, in the case of the Angelo ones, British/Italian and, with the exception of his tie worn with the blazer in Venice in “Moonraker”, none Moore wore could fairly be described as “flashy”. Finally, the question “how does Moore fit all these suits into his luggage” I assume is tongue in cheek. This is 007 for God’s sake. OTT and fantastic and all the better IMO when he was so. Why does everything now have to be judged in terms of realism and plausibility? Isn’t everything in 2012 only too real and plausible? I long for the days when Bond was unsurpassed elegant escapism.

    Finally, I don’t get this business about the sixties, eighties etc all being more “classic” in terms of men’s clothing than the dreaded 1970’s. Where did this come from?

    • David, I too, “long for the days when Bond was unsurpassed elegant escapism. ” I don’t know why all present-day moviemakers worship at the altar of “darkandgritty” (it’s become such a cliche’ that it sounds as if it were one word.) The Moore films provided some relief from the dreariness of the post-Vietnam, post-Watergate 1970’s – we could certainly use comparable relief now!

  8. Matt, would you be so kind as to expand upon – if you could – the methods a tailor must use to create the flared skirt of a jacket?

    I prefer the flared skirt – as on the Angelo suits – for my own jackets, but I’ve yet to get the point across to the fellow who measures me up for my Hong Kong-tailored specials. At best, the skirt falls like Castle’s, at worst, straight down as on Hayward’s utterly vanilla “nipped-at-the-waist-and-not-much-else” look (which, in my eyes, looks as if someone took a ’60s American sack suit, pulled the back in a bit, and dropped the button stance).

    -Kurt

    • I can’t say much since I’m not a tailor. I think Castle’s suits have a very nice flare to the skirt. Part of the look is a longer skirt–much longer than what is fashionable today. The vents are not straight but curve out, and they are deep. But whilst the vents accentuate the skirt flare in the back, they don’t affect the way the jacket looks in the front. To get the silhouette you want you first need to find a tailor who already cuts that way. A cutter makes the suit the way he knows how and most cannot or will not cut in a way they aren’t familiar with.

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