Tailoring for the Times: Sean Connery and George Lazenby

12

Every Bond has made some fashion concessions to the times they lived in, and some have more than others. In this series of articles we’re going to take a look at each Bond, comparing the subtle nods to the times in his tailoring as well as the more obvious ones. But this assessment won’t be considering the classic elements that come in and out of fashion, like pleated versus flat front trousers. Casual clothes, which are far more influenced by the times, won’t be discussed here.

SEAN CONNERY (1962-1967)

1. Narrow lapels: They were slightly on the narrow side in Dr. No, but starting in From Russia with Love the lapels became the narrow ones commonly associated with the 1960s. And with narrow lapels comes narrow pocket flaps. Menswear designer and writer Alan Flusser wrote, “The lapel of a well-styled suit should extend to just a fraction less than the halfway mark between the collar and shoulder line.” All other lapel widths are measured in comparison.

2. Tapered trouser legs: Anthony Sinclair tapered his trousers in a military fashion, though they were tapered quite dramatically. A full thigh (Connery had large thighs) tapers into narrow bottoms.

2-button suits had becomes something of a fashionable element in the 1960s in comparison to the more traditional 3-button suit, but 2-button suits had already been around for years so it’s difficult to count it as something of the times. By the late 1960s they had become the standard and have been in that position ever since, so it’s not something we think about being fashionable now. But it was still no fashion extreme since 1-button suits and 4-button suits were far trendier at different points in the decade.

The cut of the jacket takes elements from a number of English styles, with its full, draped chest, soft shoulders and suppressed waist. None of that can be attributed to any decade. As for other wardrobe elements, Connery popularized cocktail-cuff shirts. That style saw its greatest popularity in the 1960s though it was not something popular enough to become dated since. And since tie width goes along with lapel width, that will not be mentioned going forward.

GEORGE LAZENBY (1969)

1. Shorter jacket length: Lazenby’s suit jackets were slightly shorter than the standard English jacket, a trend that saw some popularity in the 1960s. But unlike the modern fashion, the jacket isn’t short enough to draw attention to its shorter length.

2. Narrow-leg trousers: Narrow-leg trousers were also popular in the 1960s, and, compared to Connery’s trouser leg, Lazenby’s trouser leg fit closer through the thigh. Still, others at the time were wearing even narrower trouser legs.

3. Additional flair: Some of Lazenby’s suits had steeply slanted hacking pockets, a part of the 1960s’ “Peacock Revolution” to which Lazenby’s deeper vents and more rounded quarters can also be attributed.

But for the most part, Lazenby wore classic, close-cut English suits with softer shoulders than the typical Savile Row suit has. His trousers had a lower rise than Connery’s but not at all low by today’s standards. His most dated piece are the two ruffled-front dress shirts.

SEAN CONNERY (1971)

1. Wide lapels: Connery’s lapels are now on the wide side, and thus his pocket flaps are wider too. The 1970’s doesn’t have monopoly on wide lapels; they were popular for a good portion of the 1930s as well.

Everything else is pretty much timeless. Trouser legs are still tapered, though not as much as before. Connery’s pleats from before are also gone, and flat-front trousers had become much more fashionable by the late 1960s. Both pleated and flat-front trousers are equally classic.

Sean Connery’s narrow lapels and George Lazenby’s closer cut have been very popular since the mid 2000s, though designers like Tom Ford and Ralph Lauren are trying to bring back a look similar to what Connery wore in Diamonds Are Forever: a classic cut width wider lapels. In the next article we’ll take a look at the increasingly wide lapels, as well as the return to classic style, in an assesement of Roger Moore’s fashion choices.

12 COMMENTS

  1. For my sins I much prefer the wider-lapelled Diamonds suit than the more iconic 60s ones. And Lazenby’s Bond really was well dressed, wasn’t he? Perfectly briding the gap between the uber-sober Connery and the immacualte dandy Moore.

    • I can’t agree with you more. To me, lazenby was the best dressed Bond! I also like the first connery’s suits, but they are too sober in my opinion : in every bond until Yolt, connery wears a navy suit and a mid grey suit, with similar cut. Lazenby and Moore “garde robe” were much more diversified.

      Anyway thanks for that article, and I hope that my english isn’t too bad !

      • I’m with Adrien; with the possible exception of the ruffled front dress shirts, Lazenby was indeed the best dressed Bond. And to think that part of the reason he left the role was (in his own words) that all the cool guys he knew (I am paraphrasing out of delicacy here) were wearing bell bottoms while as Bond he had to wear “stove-pipe pants”. Youth really is wasted on the young!

  2. I’m inclined to agree with the gentlemen above. Connery’s YOLT suits were, for me, the least attractive and well tailored of his official 007 ones. The style of his “Diamonds Are Forever” suits were attractive and, as you note, emulated. But again, contrary to Lazenby and Moore’s palatte too reliant on shades of grey

  3. I like both of Connery’s looks. And as he is thinner in the ’60s version of himself the narrower lapels suit him better. As he put on a few pounds for Diamonds the wider lapels are a better balance.

  4. Sean Connery’s 60s style are my favorite, even if he shouldn’t have changed the width of his lapels and ties ; the Dr No suits are the best in terms of lapel width. Too bad he wore that enormous Windsor knot with it…
    By the way, Matt, what exactly is the difference between narrow-leg trousers and a tapered trousers leg ? If Lazenby had the same suit trousers with a longer rise and with pleats, wouldn’t they be the same as Connery’s ?

    • Connery’s trousers were full-cut around the hips and thighs whilst Lazenby’s trousers were narrow down the entire leg. Part of that has to do with Connery having much larger thighs and a larger seat, but they were still cut fuller in that area regardless. Pleated trousers don’t necessarily need to be that full. Lazenby wore a pair of pleated trousers with narrower legs, and Connery’s flat front trousers in Diamonds Are Forever were a bit fuller down the leg.

  5. I respectfully disagree witht those who think Lazenby is the best dressed. To me he looks like some guy who bought a skinny H&M suit, complete with an uncomfortably low rise and too-narrow pants.

  6. Matt – great post and approach. And I trust your trip to London went (or is going) well.

    I completely agree with Carmelo. However, Lazenby really was well-tailored, wasn’t he? And the cut of the cream suit pictured above looks like it could more or less pass muster today. Very flattering on Lazenby’s build.

    The criticism of Connery’s blue and gray color palette is interesting and flares up occasionally on this site. Even avoiding the arguments about what is appropriate for the character, I think those colors look the best and stand the test of time well. I do recall David astutely observing one time that when we get beyond the basics of a navy or charcoal suit is when strong opinions start to clash. For me, I prefer the gray or navy colors for suits (the Marine Blue Suit from Golden Gun an exception).

    And, to be consistent with my prior comments over Diamonds’ wardrobe, I do not like think Connery’s suits in this movie. It is partly because he looks awful – for a $1.2 million paycheck, I would think that his professionalism would compel him to get in shape and lose at least 20 pounds. But I also do not like the boxy, wide-lapeled look in Diamonds. The suits for the rest of the 70s seem much better tailored, perhaps because Roger Moore was not so overweight. I look forward to Matt’s future posts on the next decades.

    • Well stated Christian, I agree that Moore’s Castle suits look a lot better than Connery’s in Diamonds.

  7. The criticism of Connery’s blue and gray color palette is wrong.
    The Connery’s palette included many shades of gray (from light to dark),blue and the very elegant and pleasent blue-gray shade.
    We had dark brown too.
    The Connery’s suits in 60s are clean,neat,sharp.
    I hate the “baroque”style in men fashion ,the pattern on pattern on pattern on pattern stuff..and the belly wide lapels with flared trousers.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.