The Grey Flannel Three-Piece Suit in Thunderball


The flannel suit is something not often found off the rack in stores today. Most people are looking for lightweight suits and flannel is usually a heavier fabric (it’s not very robust in lighter weights). Flannel is also much too warm to wear in today’s over-heated offices, not only because of it’s heavy weight but because it has a thick nap that keeps in body heat. James Bond wears this dark grey flannel three-piece suit made by Anthony Sinclair to a funeral in Thunderball. The scene takes place in France, and we can assume it’s fairly cold weather from the fact that Bond is carrying with him a hat and topcoat.

The jacket is Sean Connery’s usual button two with narrow lapels, this time with no vents and jetted pockets. The cuffs, as usual, close with four buttons. The trousers have the typical double forward-pleated front with Daks tops. The bottoms are finished with turn-ups like in the first two Bond films. The waistcoat here is something different. It has six buttons, all of which close, and the bottom is cut straight across. It almost resembles a cardigan.

The Turnbull & Asser shirt is mid blue with a spread collar, a narrow front placket and two-button cocktail cuffs. The tie is a narrow black grenadine, the perfect funeral tie and most appropriate for this scene. He ties it in a four-in-hand knot.

Bond’s footwear is black slip-on demi-boot with elastic on the instep, which was a popular style in the 1960s.

You may notice a continuity error when Bond puts on the jet pack: his cocktail cuffs become double cuffs, and when he lands he is wearing cocktail cuffs again.


  1. Will there be any discussion re Bond's choice of hairpieces? They seem to get worse as the films progress, by the time Diamonds Are Forever rolls around its painfully obvious.

    Just joking. I love the blog. Very informative.

  2. The IMDB trivia page for Dr. No has a tidbit that claims that Connery wore a hairpiece from the get-go. I don't know. There's a scene where he comes up out of the water with his hair splayed on his head that looks pretty real to me: his hair looks thinning. If they were trying to cover his baldness, why let it look like he's balding? Overall, any coverage over his thin spots looks to be creative hairstyling.

    By the time From Russia With Love came along, I can imagine he lost more and they may have added stuff for coverage. Then with Goldfinger, the hairline "help" seems a lot more obvious.

    If I recall correctly, I read/heard somewhere that the hairpiece change in Thunderball was to reflect the fact that Connery was going to have to do a lot of water work, so they had to go with something minimal. And I think that with something minimal, the up-do that he had in the previous films would be off the table. So there was more of a flat, combover thing going on, similar to what you see in that photo where Sinclair is fitting him for a suit, and probably more like what Connery's hair was like in real life. And that approach probably continued into You Only Live Twice.

    By the time Diamonds Are Forever came along, he was back to the up-do, which, obviously, was a full blown toupee.

    And that's probably the most I've ever discussed James Bond's hair in my life. No wait — that's *definitely* the most I've ever discussed James Bond's hair in my life.

  3. The photo of Sinclair and Connery is from 1963 because that suit is the silk suit worn in From Russia With Love. That's of course Connery's real hair which proves he wore a piece in FRWL. And since it was only a year after DN, did he lose that much hair? Perhaps it was his real hair in DN but just styled better. It's clearly a hairpiece by Goldfinger, and some FRWL promo shots had a similar toupee.

  4. AFAIK, that waistcoat style was popular on and off for a while, with its last appearance in the 1960s. Steve McQueen wore a similar one in "The Thomas Crown Affair." I'd love one like it, but am afraid it might look a little too quaint or dated.

  5. I have read that it was a toupee from the very first film, and apparently Sean Connery even said so himself in that infamous Barbara Walters interview, the one where he mentioned giving hysterical women a slap to calm them down. I can't find the full interview, as people are only uploading that bit! As for the info, thanks for sharing that guys. I was wondering why he had a really flat-looking toupee in Thunderball. I prefer the up-do. I am not sure why it should be to do with the water scenes – in Thunderball Sean does not wear a toupee underwater – that's his real hair, which seems to be sadly thinning. I believe that his real hair is shown in the scene where he pretends his boat is broken down to get a ride with Domino – it looks shorter than the toupee and similar to the Sinclair photo, which I think was harshly lit. It also seems to be his real hair in the cave diving scene in You Only Live Twice. As baldness is really not usually so aggressive it seems logical to assume that he could not have lost that much hair in the year between Dr No and From Russia With Love (as seen in the Sinclair photo) My guess is that hair from his natural hairline (which was still there) was swept back and blended into a toupee for the up do style, and that as it advanced, they opted for less natural-looking lace front wigs from Goldfinger onwards. Strangely, his best toupee seems to be at the start (pre-title sequence) of Goldfinder, which is then replaced with a flatter, less natural-looking one.
    The best that I have seen Seanie looking is in Alfred Hitchcock's Marnie (1964 – the same year as Goldfinger) It is refreshing to see him in his physical prime doing a different role outside of Bond. His toupee in Marnie is superb – a very strong-looking up-do and very neat and natural. He even gets it wet in one scene and it looks perfect. So it is possible to have an up-do type toupee, wet. (Marnie scene: I wonder if the Marnie toupee was used at the start of Goldfinger before being replaced. While sometimes the pre-title sequence is filmed after the rest of the film is shot, from what I have read this scene was the opening shoot.

  6. Hey Matt,
    Apart from the waistcoat, how is this suit different in color, fabric or style to the grey flannel suit worn in the airplane scene at the end of "Goldfinger"…

  7. The suit in Goldfinger does not have trouser turn-ups like this suit. The colour of that suit also has a hint of blue, whereas the suit in Thundball is straight grey.

  8. I am having a suit made ton match this 3 piece grey flannel suit but I need to know how many weleded pocket does the waistcoat on this suit have. It looks like either 3 (2 lower and 1 on the left breast) or 4 (2 lower and 2 upper) but I could be wrong since I do not have a Blu-ray player. What do you make of this Matt? 0, 2, 3 or 4 pockets?

  9. Hi Matt,
    don’t worry, this is my last post of the day… lol.
    First, congratulations for your blog. There’s variety, precision, interesting pictures and close-ups… it is becoming quite a drug for me :)
    Now, the question… thinking about flannel suits, I remenbered that there’s one suit in From Russia with love that really looks like a flannel one : it is the one we see when Bond is in the Gipsy camp and also when he let Kerim Bey kill Krilenku. It looks like a dark grey flannel, but when we see Bond entering into the camp and leaving it, both in a car, he seems to be wearing that dupioni silk suit you wrote me about. Is this the same suit ?

    Thanks a lot for your time.

  10. I know that this thread is several years old, but I had to add a comment on the Sean Connery toupee subject, for what it’s worth.

    During the mid-late 1970’s, I used to get my hair cut at a barbershop called London Crimpers, near the University of Cincinnati (Ohio) campus. The owner of the shop, an English gentleman, told me he had been an apprentice to the female hairdresser on the set of “Goldfinger.” He described what he called a “plug” as the partial toupee they used on Sean Connery, basically a small piece that was cemented to Connery’s forehead at the hairline, which his real hair was then combed over.

    I remember asking the man what he thought of Connery, and he responded in the positive, saying “Oh, he was a real mate,” and that Connery was very friendly with the crew of the film.

  11. Hello Matt,

    I was wondering what you thought of Fox Brothers’ 290g flannels. Do you think they would be robust enough for suits that will get only occasional wear?

    My best,

    • For occasional wear, it should be okay. You would definitely want to get a second pair of trousers for a suit made of such a lightweight flannel. I’d recommend a heavier flannel, such as the 370g weight.

  12. Would the Fox Brothers 530g charcoal flannel be a close match to this one? I imagine the trousers would hold up very well?

    I’m finding 370g to not be particularly robust in terms of the trousers (jacket holds up fine however).

    • I suspect it would be a close match. But be aware that such a weight will feel like a light topcoat unless you are used to vintage suits. I don’t think that Connery’s flannel would have been this heavy.

    • Three years too late, but better late than never.

      Your alternative would be to look at Harrison’s flannel book. At 14 ounces, it would be most appropriate. From what I have heard, Harrison’s flannel will wear just as nicely. Do browse through accordingly, though, because they have several shades of grey.

  13. Ah I see, that’s an excellent point. Will likely get a suit in both the 370g & the heavier 530g eventually but the 370g charcoal will be first and likely a close match too.

  14. I have a bee in my bonnet about how over-heated offices are nowadays. It makes even a lightweight two-piece suit difficult to wear. At a stretch, it may be due to the age’s laid-back dress style. I disapprove; it is terrible for the environment, and while the too-cold can wear more layers, the too-warm can do nothing!

  15. This is the best discussion of Connery’s hairpieces I have ever seen. A more burning question for me, however: did he get his eyebrows plucked? If you look at photos of Connery from the early 1960s, his eyebrows are huge but they seem thinner and neater throughout most of his Bond films. A quick comparison of Marnie and Diamonds Are Forever shows that they were seriously thick again by the early 1970s, but perhaps they left them alone then because he was older. Also, Connery was crustier by 1971 and it took a bit of persuasion to get him back into the role – perhaps they didn’t want to antagonise him by putting him through that again. Surely someone can explain all of this …

  16. Matt there is a lot of bumps where the waistcoat sits, Do you think it may be too tight? Also If the waistcoat is designed to fasten all of the buttons should you fasten all of them?

    • It may be cinched a bit too tight, but you can’t judge the fit of clothing on a man in motion. When a waistcoat has a straight bottom, you should fasten all the buttons. You should fasten all the buttons on any double-breasted waistcoat. Often when a waistcoat has a cutaway bottom and the bottom button is cut to fasten, you still should leave it open because it may be too low to fasten comfortably.

      • I think, if I have a straight hemmed waistcoat (which, I hope, soon), I’d leave the bottom one open just for the charm. But I agree with you. Besides, the waistcoat was supposed to be the most practical piece of a three piece suit.

    • Much like the “collar sits like velcro’d on”, waistcoats that are properly tailored and fitted will have wrinkles and bumps when you’re on movements. That’s actually the charm of it, though. If there’s a piece of the three piece suit that can be fitted closely to the body, it ought to be the waistcoat, and it ought to be fitted that way. With something like a fall/winter suit, that’s how it will keep you warm. As well, again, that’s the charm of it.

  17. I wonder if the mid blue Turnbull & Asser shirt is the same blue as in Dr No? Or is it different? Loks different but that could be the different film stock and lighting. Love your work Matt! Thanks from Sweden!

    • The shirt looks like it’s a darker shade than the shirts in Dr. No and From Russia with Love. It’s certainly possible it’s the same blue and was blown out in the earlier films, which certainly can happen, but I think it’s more likely that this shirt is a darker blue. I have a new shirt from Turnbull & Asser made of Thomas Mason poplin that’s a dead ringer for this colour.

  18. Is this a dark grey flannel or a charcoal please? What’s the closest available flannel cloth to this suit from say either Fox Brothers or Holland & Sherry please?

  19. Hey Matt I have a question for you regarding flannel suits. I plan on getting a flannel suit tailored for me for the upcoming winter. Do you personally recommend for me to get dak adjusters or buckle adjusters and which style have a longer lifespan? My second question for the suit. Would you think the suit would look better with double vents or a ventless back?


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