James Bond’s first suit in From Russia With Love is the standard conservative navy suit: a sharp English cut by Anthony Sinclair paired with conservative details. The suit is made from a navy cloth in what’s probably a medium-weight worsted flannel. Worsted flannel has the nap of the more traditional woollen flannel but is made from worsted yarns. It’s harder-wearing than woollen flannel, and the weave can be seen under the nap. Worsted flannel doesn’t make for a particularly fun suit, but it’s the perfect suit to wear to the office when the weather is cool. This suit has a some extra interest from a bit of mottling with darker and lighter blues.
Sinclair tailored this suit with a soft shoulders that take on the large size of Sean Connery’s build, punctuated by roped sleeve heads. The chest is full with a hint of drape and the waist is gently nipped. The button two jacket has a low stance below Connery’s waist to accentuate his large drop, and the jacket is detailed with no vent, jetted pockets and four buttons on each cuff. Only the narrow lapels prevent this suit from looking old-fashioned.
Connery’s suit trousers have double forward pleats and three-button “Daks tops” side-adjusters. They sit at the waist and taper from a full thigh to the narrow turned-up hems.
The shirt is Sean Connery’s usual pale blue poplin from Turnbull & Asser with a spread collar, front placket and two-button turnback cuffs. The tie is a light navy grenadine. Bond’s shoes are black lace-ups, though it is difficult to tell if they are oxford or derby-style, but three-eyelet derby shoes were his usual choice at the time. Bond wears his then-usual white linen folded handkerchief in his breast pocket.
Nice, proto-typical Connery Bond. I really like Sinclair’s suits: very-well tailored but with a cut that also avoids the excesses of the 1960s. And a perfect look for a traveling businessman from Universal Exports. The Turnbull collar on the shirt looks very comfortable. Even with the strong shoulders, this would look good today and avoid the similar slim suit excesses of 2011.
I think the Anthony Sinclair style with his strong shoulders does not fit very well with a big broaded a big brested man like Connery, it makes him looks like a Discotheque doorman instead a suave and smooth gentleman.
They should have used a more slim and stylizing cut.
Connery’s build was indeed a little intimidating by 1960’s standards – Fleming himself is reported to have referred to him as an “overgrown stuntman” – but I think part of the reason for his success as 007 was the combination of bare-knuckled bruiser and discriminating man of the world that he brought to the character. Back then “manly men” weren’t supposed to know about vintage champagne and the correct temperature at which to serve sake, but then again, Connery was manlier than just about anybody else!
Good point Dan. I think the original quote was ‘I am looking for commander Bond and not for an overgrown stuntman !’
Interesting that Connery’s Bond qualifies captain Nash’s Robert Shaw as very fit in the movie.
He looks strong and imposing indeed, but Connery was probably both more athletic and more heavy than Shaw -perhaps just due to the fact that Connery was taller.
I think a great thing about Connery’s Bond physique is that he is clearly huge and imposing- we see it when he is shirtless, but when he is wearing clothes (and not only a Sinclair suit, also a jumper), it’s not obvious he is so athletic. It doesn’t really show.
Contrary to Craig which clearly shows his muscles in every outfit he is in, be it a polo shirt or a dinner jacket. He looks clearly muscular. Yet Connery was probably a 44 size jacket wearer. Craig probably a 40.
Clearly bodybuilding wasn’t also the same thing in the 1950s /1960s than nowadays too- Connery didn’t have to ‘bulk up’ some muscle before shooting a movie. And he didn’t loose his shape between filming two Bond movies -see Marnie or Woman of Straw, he is clearly in the same shape. This ‘bulking up’ thing is so artificial !
“Back then “manly men” weren’t supposed to know about vintage champagne and the correct temperature at which to serve sake,…”
-But Connery’s Bond did know about that and therefore he wasn’t exclusivly a bare-knuckled bruiser. That’s only one facet of his character – there’s another one (the snob and bon vivant).
That’s exactly my point! That’s why I used the word “combination” in my previous post.
“Bulking up” has become virtually obligatory for action movies. Actors who play superheroes, in particular, seem to be able to put on 20-25 pounds of muscle in a few months. I always wonder how that’s possible….
“I always wonder how that’s possible….”
-and if it’s healthy!
one of my favorite suits…
Wonderful – I really love this blog.
Beautiful. Just beautiful.
This may sound too detail oriented, but how wide are those lapels? I gave in to the narrow lapel trend, but am thinking about increasing from a 2 1/2 or 2 3/4" lapel to a 3". That seems about right to maintain a collection of slim ties, but not too wide to lose the Connery-ness.
Erik, this blog is all about the details. I'd estimate that these lapels are about 3 inches or slightly under. Connery has a broad chest, which makes the lapels look narrower. A 3" lapel is still a bit narrow, but it won't look out of date. And it can work well with both narrower and regular-width ties.
3" lapels are quite classic and won't date very much. (We tend to forget that the '60s didn't invent the narrow lapel, they were in fashion decades before. Fashion is always in cycle…) I find it interesting that even in "Live and Let Die" (1973) you can still see some men, most notably the henchman at the funeral procession, wearing '60s style suits and ties.
The narrowest my coat lapels go to is 2.5", but I prefer ones that are 2.75 – 3".
And, for what it's worth, the shoulders do seem a tad wider than Connery's other suits. Maybe I'm imagining things though. It goes against the trend in the '60s which was toward narrower shoulders.
As good as it gets!
Not at all, Jovan, early sixties suits where much wider as developing from late fifties fashion. After 1965, suits became more slim and narrower and with three or four buttoned.
Beautiful suit, and Connery doesn’t wear navy suits as much as grey ones… Are you shure it is a vented one ? It seems to me it is ventless, the cut seems exactly the same as the one he wears in the train with Grant, Kerim Bey, etc. What do you think ?
Yes, it has a single vent. All of the suits in the film have the same cut, just some have single vents, some have double vents and the one on the train has no vent.
What is the definition of a lounge suit, if there is any?
A lounge suit is what most people just call a ‘suit’. You can have other kinds of suits like a morning suit or leisure suit. I can provide a more formal definition if you need one.
Thank you Matt for your characteristically swift and helpful response. A more formal definition would also be helpful thank you – I ask because I was interested to see the term used as the dress code for a formal dinner.
So is the suit navy or navy blue?
“Navy” is just a short way of saying “navy blue”.
Understood. But navy and navy blue are two different colors correct?
No, navy and navy blue are the same colour (or rather range of colours).
You describe the suit as probably being a worsted flannel. I have an Oliver Wicks suit that is described as a serge twill. It has some texture, I’m not sure if you would call it a slight napping, the effect is similar to a slightly brushed cotton shirt. You can see the diagonal twill weave clearly. Its not smooth like my solid navy worsted suit. My question is what would differentiate my serge twill from worsted flannel? Is there more napping? Are they completely different? Thanks.
Serge and worsted flannel are similar but not the same. Serge is sometimes woven with a mix of worsted and woollen yarns, so it will have a a defined twill wale with some fuzziness from the woollen yarns. Most serge is made of all worsted yarns and won’t have a nap. Worsted flannel is made of all worsted yarns but is milled for a flannel finish. You can read more about worsted cloths here: https://www.bondsuits.com/what-is-worsted-wool/