Score one for Timothy Dalton! This tan wool gabardine suit from Benjamin Simon that Dalton wears in Tangier in The Living Daylights is his most successful suit of the series for a number of reasons. Most importantly the suit fits well, but it is also a classic style. The jacket’s shoulders are straight and padded, but not built up or out too much as most of his other suits are guilty of. The only problem with the suit is large armholes that impede arm movement. That’s what causes the shoulders to raise when the arms are raised, and most off the peg suits are plagued with this problem.
The jacket is a classic button two with double vents, straight flapped pockets and three-button cuffs. The trousers have classic double forward pleats that recall Sean Connery’s suit trousers in all of his 1960s James Bond films. The trousers have full, tapered legs.
It is well known that Timothy Dalton is not comfortable dressed up, and here he forgoes the tie. Without a tie he looks more comfortable, and it is acceptable to wear a casual suit—like one made of tan gabardine wool—without a tie. The darker business suits that Dalton wears in Licence to Kill don’t work nearly as well sans tie. His lightweight cream cotton shirt has an undersized spread collar, a placket front and rounded one-button cuffs. Dalton wears brown slip-on shoes and a brown braided leather belt.
Though Dalton does not wear a tie with this suit in the film, there is a passport photo of him with this suit with a solid black tie, tied in a four-in-hand knot. Though the black tie looks harsh against the warm tone of the suit and shirt, it is nevertheless a classic Bond look.
This suit, along with a three-piece cocktail ensemble worn by Maryam d’Abo in The Living Daylights, sold in a lot at Christie’s in South Kensington for £15,000.
Matt, I agree with your assertion that this is about the best suit that Dalton wore during his Bond period because, as you point out, it is the most classic.
While it may indeed be perfectly acceptable to wear a light suit like this without a tie, I think it’s here that again Dalton spoils it. He falls in between two stools.
Brosnan who succeeded him carried off the “sans tie” look with much more aplomb and, apart from Brosnan having an innate sartorial sensibility Dalton lacks, the shirts Brosnan wore oozed style looked a lot better than this which looks like something from a high street chain store (but then we know that Dalton had little interest in Bond being a polished dresser, rather maintaining what he perceived to be an integrity to Fleming’s source material) .
Moore, who preceded him, wore a similar looking Douglas Hayward suit, with superior cut, in “Octopussy” (and 2 similar in darker shade – light brown – in FYEO and AVTAK), all the time with a tie. Had he done one more film, I’ve no doubt he’d have also have worn a similar hued suit for these scenes but, as in “Octopussy” with a Frank Foster shirt and silk tie and this would have made a huge difference (but then no regular contributor to this blog will be in the least surprised at this last observation!!)
I know less about Dalton’s input into the Bond wardrobe, but surely he wasn’t in charge of the wardrobe department for his two outings? Even the books as source material have Bond wearing quality shirts, so if he was trying to stick to the source he would and should have done better.
Is it not just the case that Dalton’s two films coincided with a moment of general fashion and style laziness?
This suit is pretty good as things go, he pulls off the look well.
I think Dalton looks completely natural and convincing here. What a delight to see Bond played by a talented actor who is concerned about the integrity of the film and the character, is capable of meeting the physical demands of the role and doesn’t seem to be reading his lines off a card.
If Moore had done one more film they’d have had to get a stuntman to eat his lunch for him.
I agree with the general consensus, it looks pretty good considering it’s Dalton, but I’m sure Brosnan or Moore would have been much more polished. I like this film a lot (it does have my favorite Bond car in it and I think they strike a good balance between seriousness and fun) and there are some instances where he does get the look right– the shawl-collar dinner jacket and the plaid sports jacket come to mind. Again, not bad for Dalton. It’s the next film in which all hope is lost. Fine actor, poor dresser.
I have a mixed reaction to this one. I agree it looks much, much better than the usual Dalton look and my opinion should be higher. I am not sure what brings it down a notch – maybe it is the shirt. I like that it isn’t flashy and that Dalton loses the tie, but there is something just really plain about this. Sort of well-done, but not particularly inspired, reflecting my opinion of the movie as a whole as well.
The trouser pleat style probably dates the suit the most. Apart from that, not bad at all.
Those tiny shirt collars that were popular in the ’60s, ’80s, and unfortunately now have never looked particularly good on anyone.
I love this suit, even though it doesn’t have working cuffs (as the last image suggests).
Matt, do you still think that this suit is Dalton’s best ? I was thinking of the grey flannel one as a challenger ! What disturbs me in this suit are the sleeves, they seem both too long (first two pictures) and too wide (last picture).
The grey flannel suit is nice, but I don’t like the reverse-pleat trousers, which tend to look baggy.