We know Douglas Hayward as Roger Moore’s tailor in the 1980’s Bond films. But Hayward is even better known as Michael Caine’s tailor and for his work in some of Caine’s films during the 1960s and 70s, most notably Alfie. The Italian Job features some of his most rakish cutting, and being that the movie is from 1969 there are similarities with George Lazenby’s suits in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. The similarities also come from the fact that Hayward was a partner of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service tailor Dimi Major. The suit we’re going to look at from The Italian Job is the first one Michael Caine’s character Charlie Croker wears after visiting his tailor and shirtmaker when he is released from prison. It’s not as iconic as the beige suit he wears later in the film, but it’s a good place to start.
Initially when released from prison, Croker wears a mid-60’s-style button-two, grey houndstooth check suit with narrow lapels and pocket flaps, and a plain ecru shirt. He is first fitted for a new suit but before it is completed he wears his old suit to the shirtmaker. The dialogue with his young shirtmaker Adrian follows:
Adrian: I don’t want to be rude, Charles, but times have changed.
Charlie: I’ll tell you something, Adrian. When I went in, that was all the go.
Adrian: What did you do, life? You know, Charles, you could put all these in a museum. [mutters] Quite revolting.
The new suit the Croker wears in the subsequent scene is a button-three, medium grey pick-and-pick. The cloth may have a subtle windowpane. The jacket has three-button cuffs, deep double vents and flap pockets placed higher on the hips. This higher positioning is the ideal place according to shirtmaker Frank Foster, who at one time worked with Douglas Hayward. This jacket has little in common with Roger Moore’s jackets twelve years later, but they both have the same natural shoulder. The trousers have a flat front, lower rise, frogmouth pockets and narrow legs. Despite the trouser legs being just as narrow as Daniel Craig’s in Skyfall, they hang straight.
Croker’s shirt has a pale blue ground with wide medium blue stripes and strips of narrow medium blue stripes in between. It has a very tall, moderate spread collar, plain front and double cuffs with the link holes very close to the fold. He wears a medium blue satin silk tie that matches the medium blue in the shirt. His shoes and belt are black.