For his character Lord Brett Sinclair to wear in The Persuaders, Roger Moore designed some very unique and innovative pieces of tailoring that went beyond the fashion of the day. One of these pieces is a high-buttoning green suit tailored by Cyril Castle with an equestrian and military heritage, featured only in the 1971 episode “Take Seven”. Rather than try to be creative with an unflattering fit or awkward proportions, like most fashion designers have done over the past half century, this suit is creative through its unconventional colour, historical cut and unusual details. Though these elements altogether make this suit look like a piece of costume, it’s a fascinating study in creative tailoring.
The unusual colour of this suit can be described as rifle green, which comes from the uniform of rifle regiments. Rifle green is a statelier and richer colour than a lighter and warmer army green, but still it has a long military heritage. The suit’s medium-heavy cloth is woven in a herringbone weave and has wide but subtle rust-coloured stripes. Though Moore wears this suit in the heart of London, being green automatically labels this a country suit. At least Moore visits Hyde Park wearing this suit, where it harmoniously blends with the greenery. Anywhere, rifle green has the benefit of being one of the most flattering colours to Moore’s warm spring complexion.
This suit is hanging onto the “New Edwardian” from the 1960s and has taken nothing from the trends that had emerged by the start of the 1970s. Rather than take on the flamboyance of the 1970s, this suit has a flamboyance all of its own. The lapels are a balanced width and wider than lapels on a 1960s suit would have been. Though it’s inspirations are clear, this suit is ultimately too peculiar to look dated to any time. The suit jacket takes its high buttoning from the Edwardian era, when lounge coats usually had three or four buttons down the front in a higher stance than in more modern times. This button three suit jacket places the bottom button just below the natural waist, and the foreparts are cut away below that button. Because the foreparts are only cutaway below the high bottom button, and because the bottom button is up near the waist, all three buttons can be fastened. One a typical button three jacket, the middle button is near the waist and the bottom button is on a cutaway portion of the jacket so it not designed to fasten. Fastening the bottom button on an ordinary button three jacket (or button two jacket, for that matter) pulls the jacket out of shape and restricts the legs. The cut of this jacket has much in common with the button two “paddock” style jackets that the Duke of Windsor was known for wearing, where either both buttons or only the bottom button would be fastened.
Moore’s suit jacket is almost like a short version of the high-buttoning Edwardian morning coat—a garment that was originally designed for riding a horse—and the cutaway in the front of this jacket would spread apart nicely on horseback. If the colour of this suit didn’t already place it in the country, the equestrian cut would. The structure follows the traditional British equestrian and military cut. The jacket has straight shoulders, a clean and full chest for a strong polished-marble look, a nipped waist and a flared skirt. This cut has a sporty look, but the structure gives it a rather formal and martial look too.
This jacket also has many sporty and equestrian details, such as swelled edges, steeply slanted hacking pockets and a flapped breast pocket, which is slanted down towards the side of the jacket instead of up towards the shoulder. The jacket’s most important equestrian detail is the long single vent, which balances the cutaway in front. This is Moore’s second jacket in The Persuaders, and in any of his appearances, with the flared link-button cuffs he would go on to wear on his jackets throughout his first two James Bond films. This detail was supposedly his idea that he pitched to tailor Cyril Castle. The jacket’s buttons are smoke mother of pearl, which give a more urbane look to this country suit. The excellent fit gives credence to this unusual suit, though the sleeves are noticeably an inch too short.
The suit trousers, cut by Cyril Castle’s and Anthony Sinclair’s apprentice Richard W. Paine, have jetted cross pocket on the front, and a dart centred on either side of the front cuts through each front pocket. The trousers have narrow straight legs, an elegant look from later 1960s fashion.
This suit’s fancy details and unusual equestrian cut are reminiscent of and in the spirit of suits that Patrick Macnee’s character John Steed in The Avengers wore. Some of his high-buttoning Pierre Cardin suits in the first colour series were very similar in style, and a navy high button two suit made by Hammond & Boyle from the same series came close as well. It’s certainly not the kind of suit James Bond would wear, and it’s not the kind of suit the the average man could wear either. The suit’s jacket would work as a fancy riding jacket, but few people need that. It’s too structured and buttoned-up to work as a casual piece today, but even in navy it would also be too unusual to work as a dressy suit, neither for business nor for social use. Though few people would have use for anything like this suit, there’s much to be learned from and admired about this distinctive piece.
With this suit, Moore wears a pale yellow shirt made by Frank Foster that has a spread collar and button-down cocktail cuffs that fasten with a single button. The jacket’s too-short sleeves show off the shirt’s special cuffs. The tie has wide dark blue and dark green stripes and is tied in a four-in-hand knot. This is the Inns of Court Officers Training Corps regimental tie, and the tie signifies that former army officer Lord Brett Sinclair was a part of this regiment. Moore’s shoes are black calf monk shoes with a square apron toe. He wears black socks to match his shoes.
In later episodes of The Persuaders “The Old, the New & the Deadly” and “Read & Destroy”, Roger Moore wears an almost identical suit in a much lighter and more olive shade of green.