The California Tuxedo: A Blazer and Khaki Trousers in Moonraker

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Moonraker-Navy-Blazer

I’m not talking about a “Tuxedo” as in what Americans call a dinner suit. I’m talking about the outfit consisting of blue blazer and khakis, which is sometimes referred to as the “California Tuxedo”. It’s probably called such because its more formal than what most people wear in the casual State of California. Bond appropriately wears this outfit on his arrival in California in Moonraker. The button two blazer is made in a deep navy blue wool hopsack. Hopsack is a basket weave, seen in the illustration below:

Hopsack
A simple hopsack weave

The blazer, made by Angelo Roma, is cut with a clean chest and straight, narrow shoulders with a roped sleeve head. The wide lapels and the pocket flaps have swelled edges. The blazer has slanted pockets, long double vents and four cuff buttons. The buttons are silver with four holes and sewn with a contrasting navy blue thread.

Moonraker-Navy-Blazer-2

Typically the trousers worn as part of the “California Tuxedo” are khaki chinos, though Bond’s trousers are khaki wool cavalry twill. Bond’s flat front trousers are worn with a black belt and the legs are cut with a slight flair. The light blue cotton voile—a high-twist airy and semi-sheer fabric—shirt made by Frank Foster has a tall and long point collar, placket front and tab cuffs, similar to all the other shirts Bond wears in Moonraker. The striped tie in navy, red, white and beige adds more to the American look with it’s stripes in the American direction. The subtlety of the stripes comes to life in the close-up shots. Bond’s shoes are black bit loafers. Though brown would have been a better choice with the beige trousers, the black keeps things a little more British.

The close-up shows the more intricate stripes on the tie as well as the blazer's hopsack texture.
The close-up shows the more intricate stripes on the tie as well as the blazer’s hopsack texture.

Read about the outfit that Bond wears with the same blazer in Venice.

9 COMMENTS

  1. Interesting description, the "California Tuxedo". Blazer and slacks in England. How can you be sure the trousers are a cavalry twill (a very specific material with a linear weave and more often paired with tweed sports coats rather than Blazers)without observing the material of them closer? They may just be a beige/stone wool trouser.The trousers with the blazer in For Your Eyes Only appear an identical colour but are probably a light weight wool for the Mediterranean.

    I also noticed that Bond wore the same blazer for the Venetian scenes (why would the wardrobe people skimp on such a big budget movie??) but I seem to recall only the tie and (possibly) the shirt colour seem to change.

    I always liked Moore's style in blazer combinations. A follow on from Niven and classy despite what Moore's detractors like to say.

  2. I can tell the trousers are cavalry twill from a close up. I would have guessed gaberdine until I found a close-up showing very heavy, steep twill wales. They do seem a little out of place and too heavy for southern California. I have a number of pairs of cavalry twill trousers myself. The trousers worn with the blazer in the final Venice scene are darker than the trousers here. Only the blazer and shoes are the same. I like seeing Bond reuse wardrobe items because it makes the movie seem more realistic (if that word could ever be used to describe Moonraker).

  3. I have worn cavalry twill myself also but I agree that they look a little out of place for the climate these scenes are supposed to depict. Connery wears classic Cavalry Twills for scenes in Goldfinger and Thunderball which you already referenced in previous blogs. These were a darker shade of beige cut in a tapered style and worn with a hacking jacket which made them obvious as Cavalry Twills. Moore's here are cut in late 1970's style and the shade (a light beige or stone) is different. The same coloured trousers paired with the blazer in For Your Eyes Only appear to be a cool lightweight wool and more appropriate for a mild climate.

    Incidentally, these scenes in Drax's Chateaux were filmed (as I'm sure you know) in French Film Studios, near Paris after these were deemed more cost effective than the usual Pinewood at this time. However, as Paris would be an equally warm climate in Summer (when its obvious these scenes were filmed) it doesn't really shed any light on why such heavy trousers?

    Incidentally, the black zip collar shirt Bond wears while breaking into Drax's study gets another outing for some late scenes in Venice so it's not just the blazer that was reused.

    I would be interested in your observations on this item in a future blog as I wonder was it a Frank Foster shirt. Moore generally wore Foster as you mentioned previously but it doesn't appear to be the same style as his usual work but hard to know.

  4. Both the exterior and interior scenes of Drax's chateau were filmed at two different chateaux in France, not in studios. But Bond's arrival, as well as Drax's facilities, was actually filmed in California. Bond also wears a tweed suit in a "California" scene. Whilst it would make sense if this was actually supposed to be France, but it wouldn't be so comfortable if this was actually southern California.

  5. I don't like the combination dark blazer – light trousers, but that's a gorgeous outfit, over all for blazer + tie + shirt.

  6. You're right. The tweed suit which you covered in an earlier blog is a little odd in the context.

    Interestingly, the hunt scene was obviously filmed in France in summer (full green foliage) but one needs to take it as taking place on a private estate in California. In either location, for the season, the outfit would be too heavy a material and would be out of place but not so were it Spring or Autumn. Drax's outfit (was it a loden coat or something) is equally unseasonal. To add further confusion Bond says something like " I only stopped by on the way to the airport to thank you for your hospitality" yet he's in full hunting apparel. Was he telerathic and knew Drax would invite him to join the shoot and wears the tweed suit on the offchance or was he going to wear this outfit to the airport as implied by his remarks. One assumes he changes clothes for his journey and just wears this outfit, fleetingly, as he may be asked to join the shooting party. All very outlandish, but then, as you mentioned, it was Moonraker

    Then again, I assume one is supposed to just go along with the fact that Bond is dressed for a shoot and not look too deeply into the rest.

  7. This is definetly very formal wear in california. Suits are very uncommon here, especially in the Bay Area. Also, my father will wear this most every day to work:
    1. Navy blazer
    2. Gingham shirt, although sometimes solid(mostly red and blue)
    3. jeans or gray dress pants, once even borrowed my sweats
    4. dark brown shoes
    5. black belt

    I have tried to convince him to wear matching shoes and belt but he never listens to me. Also, he and Mark Cuban use the same principle of “I won’t wear a tie unless I absolutely have to.” Although Cuban wears suits sometimes. If you don’t want to wear a tie most of the time, would you reccommend wearing casual suits more, or is wearing this California tux fine to do it all the time. I believe that everyone living in california should wear this and casual suits like tan and cream more often. Or if you are going to wear formal suits, dress them down with casual shirts that aren’t meant to be worn with ties.

  8. I’ve never understood why Moore wore Cavalry twill trousers with the hopsack blazer. They seem a bit on the heavy side for that type of blazer. Also Matt why do you think Moore wore a Voile cotton shirt and not a poplin?

    • The cavalry twill trousers match the weight of the blazer. The blazer is on the heavier side for hopsack. He wears a voile shirt because he wants to wear something more luxurious than poplin.

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