The Persuaders!: Roger Moore’s Double-Breasted Sports Coat

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Roger Moore’s wardrobe as Lord Brett Sinclair in The Persuaders! pushed the limits of classic menswear, creatively blending the flashy fashions of the late 1960s Peacock Revolution, and occasionally the earth tones of 1970s, with historical styles. The result was always bold but still tasteful and uniquely Roger Moore. Moore’s unusual double-breasted sports coat in The Persuaders!‘s fourth episode ‘Greensleeves’ is the perfect example.

Other than navy blazers, double-breasted sports coats are an anomaly, but they’re not necessarily wrong. Double-breasted non-blazer sports coats are not the most traditional item because the sports coat comes from a country sports tradition, where they are not the most practical item. Because they stray further from tradition, double-breasted sports coats could be seen as a fashion piece more than a piece of classic menswear. However, the style has been around for a long time, appearing at least as early as the 1930s. The Duke of Windsor wore double-breasted sports suits, which are hardly different than a sports coat with matching trousers.

Double-breasted jackets are often thought of as more formal than single-breasted jackets because they are more complicated and look more buttoned-up. However, historically they were treated as equals in formality for suits, dinner jackets, black lounge and overcoats. If one is wearing a sports coat simply as an informal garment and not for sports, it also does not matter if it is single breasted or double breasted. In this case, a double-breasted sports coat might be considered more formal than a single-breasted one because it’s more for show than it is for sports.

Some may consider Roger Moore’s double-breasted jacket an odd jacket rather than a sports coat because it’s not a practical sports coat. However, the cloth it is made from is a sporting tweed, and it has sporty details like steep hacking pockets and leather buttons. It’s trying to recall a classic sports coat but with a twist.

The heavy tweed cloth is a large Prince of Wales check in mid brown and beige with a thick beige overcheck. The houndstooth portion of the check has a purple or blue border. This tweed is so bold that Moore wears the rest of the outfit entirely in solid shades of brown to complement the jacket rather than add to or compete with it. There’s little room to tastefully make another statement when wearing such a bold check, particularly in a double-breasted sports coat.

While the brown palette was on trend for 1971 (and is timeless for geography teachers), it also perfectly suits the British countryside location. Sean Connery’s checked sports coat in Diamonds Are Forever, also from 1971, follows a similar palette, but not in as appropriate a location as the British countryside. Nonetheless, this outfit’s surfeit of brown in such rich shades makes it look dated.

This sports coat is most likely made by Moore’s regular tailor Cyril Castle, but it is a different style than what Castle normally made so it could be from another tailor. The shoulders, however, look like Castle’s shoulders, with a straight line with soft padding and gentle roping. The sports coat is in a button two, show two configuration, doing away with the usual extra non-functional row of buttons at the top. Mid brown leather buttons nicely complement the jacket. There are two buttons on each cuff.

The wide lapels are a cross between peaked lapels and fishmouth lapels, for a look reminiscent of Smalto. The peaks have a slight downward angle with a small notch between the lapels and the collar. These lapels appropriately end up looking sportier than standard peaked lapels, somewhat similar to an Ulster collar. The jacket is detailed with steep hacking pockets, a welt breast pocket and long double vents.

The rust-brown trousers are made in a smooth medium-weight cloth, possibly wool gabardine. They look a little too lightweight for the jacket and setting. They have a bootcut leg with two-inch vents at the hem to help the trousers drape well over the boots. The side seams are lapped for extra strength and a sportier look.

Moore’s beige shirt is from his usual shirtmaker Frank Foster in his usual style for The Persuaders! with a semi-spread collar and button-down cocktail cuffs that fasten around the wrist with one button. The collar has a medium point length, but it looks a bit short in comparison to the wide tie and wide lapels.

The rust brown ribbed tie is most likely from Turnbull & Asser, since they made ties using this silk, but it’s possible other brands used the same silk. The tie’s ribs vary in size, gradually getting thicker and thinner. Sean Connery wears the same tie in black in Diamonds Are Forever.

Moore wears dark brown high zip-boots, the most fashion-forward part of this outfit. They have thin leather soles, so they’re not the most practical for the countryside. I would have preferred to see Moore wear a pair of brogues with this outfit, but practical shoes were never to Moore’s taste.

At the start of the episode, Moore wears a trench coat and gloves with this outfit, indicating it was a cold time of year. The trench coat is made of light brown leather, which recalls coats worn by various forces during World War II. The US Navy M-69F Air Transport Coat is similar, particularly with the large collar and lapels.

The knee-length coat mainly follows a classic trench coat style, being double-breasted with an ulster collar and a full belt. This coat does not fasten up to the top of the lapels; it has a button three, show three fastening like an overcoat. Moore fastens all three buttons, as it should be fastened to take full advantage of protection from the elements.

The coat is detailed with side-access flap pockets that have a hidden fastening, most likely press studs. The belt has an ornate double-prong buckle. The deep gauntlet cuffs are the coat’s standout feature, which recall military greatcoats. These cuffs are open at the back, and there are three buttons on each side of the cuff along the opening.

Moore also wears chestnut brown leather gloves, which clash with the shade of the coat. Wearing leather-on-leather is difficult, particularly if the two colours are shades of brown. However, the gloves are not far from the colour of the tie and trousers. Apart from the clash of the coat and gloves, the rest of the many browns come together nicely in this outfit.

24 COMMENTS

  1. I genuinely love those trousers, and the coat would look great with smaller lapels. The jacket is just a bit too much. Pull back on one of the accents, be it the buttons, the boldness of the cloth, the lapels, or the double-breasted fastening, and I’d like it better. But all put together it’s a little overwhelming, but I guess that’s Brett Sinclair!

    • I agree – if this cloth / jacket had been cut with a customary single-breasted pattern then it could have been a one for the ages, possibly even enough to compete with Bond’s large-checked grey-&-red blazer when he confronts Scaramanga on the latter’s island in TMWTGG! To me it almost looks like Moore is wearing some kind of paradoxical tweed U-boat captain’s jacket here . . .

  2. Thank’s Matt, for an interesting review. Greensleeves is one of my favorite episodes of one of my favorite TV-shows. I rather like the DB sports coat. Roger reused many of his garments in various episodes of the Persuaders (especially the DB Striped Blazer, and the DB Cardigan Blazer) but I don’t recall him wearing this particular sports coat in another episode. The Frank Foster shirt in combination with the (most likely) Turnbull & Asser ribbed silk tie look really nice! Did Frank Foster only do shirts or did he also offer accessories, like ties, etc.?

    • I’ve noticed that phenomenon with The Persuaders; a number of outfits which featured in many episodes (the DB candy stripe blazer and the DB cardigan blazer come to mind) and a number of others (this sports coat, a SB brown blazer and a DB navy blazer) which feature in a single episode and briefly. The DB navy blazer may have featured fleetingly in 2 episodes. I suppose its conjecture as to why this occurred. I find this outfit here very interesting but I can see why many people wouldn’t like it as it’s VERY bold.

      As for Frank Foster, I don’t know exactly just how far his expertise extended (to paraphrase M in DAF) but on their old website they listed many clients and ex-clients over the years of their business and one, a tennis player from the late 1940s, was memorably called “Gorgeous” Gussy Moran and referred to her frilly knickers. So who knows the depth of his expertise!

  3. Unusually for me, I can’t say I love this outfit. Usually I am a great admirer of Roger in his Seventies incarnation. However, there’s just too much brown going on and it fails to look chic. The jacket is unusual and well cut, but it looks dated. Reminiscent of the sports coat he wears to Scaramanga’s island, which again I don’t love. I prefer the trenchcoat. Perhaps if Roger had a pair of trousers made out of the same cloth as the jacket, the look would be more successful.

  4. Amazingly Roger Moore is credited as the clothing designer for Lord Brett Sinclair in the end credits of the series!

    I wonder how much he actually designed though?

    • I’m sure he had plenty of say in his wardrobe. I believe the credit is also related to him being the director of Pearson + Foster, who provided the cloths for both Moore’s and Curtis’ clothes.

  5. This garment can’t decide whether to be a sports coat or an overcoat. It’s somehow exactly half-way between the two.

    On reflection, I actually kind of like it.

    • Back in those days, sports coats were typically heavier than today’s topcoats/overcoats (18 oz vs 14 to 18 oz). One of their purposes was to keep people warm outdoors in the British countryside.

      • Good point. I’d think that with this factor in play, Sir Roger must have been just about cooking internally in the pictures above where he wears both the tweed coat and the leather overcoat.

      • Matt and JNN, I have seen photos some years back which show Roger wearing what I’m sure is this sports coat while filming on location in Jamaica! Late 1972 and I think the scenes featuring the double decker bus.

  6. It’s difficult to explain but I don’t like it when a tailor uses the highlight of a pattern to accentuate the edge of that garment’s lapels or indeed, as seen here, the hem of the garment. I prefer the edges of garments to be hidden with the ‘negative space’ of the pattern. Actually, the last few seasons of ‘Better Call Saul’ were quite ‘good’ at making suits with their patterns highlighting their boundaries (unfortunately).

  7. Probably a wise decision to refrain from wearing a pocket square with this somewhat flamboyant checked sport coat. I don’t mind the colour of the gloves, as they nicely match the tie and trousers. However, the leather trench coat look would have worked better with say fawn cavalry or whipcord trousers. As it is, there is just a little too much brown going on… I also really enjoy the duffel coat look in this episode.

    • The leather trench coat appeared in quite a few episodes filmed in winter time 1970/71 in England. Always worn over either a sports coat like this or a sporty country suit. Roger rarely wore pocket squares anyway and I agree about the gloves as it’s very difficult to get a match in such a situation; possibly a brown a shade darker than the coat, similar to the shoes color might have been better but…… The duffel coat was interesting and was Brett trying to dress as it was imagined a struggling actor might. It worked well. The sports coat worn underneath was the blue flecked light tweed one which featured in several color Saint episodes.

      • @ David Marlborough: many thanks for sharing excellent and enligthening comments and for being a noble sportsman!

  8. Great post as usual – Just a comment about the ribbed tie, Roger Moore wears the same one, in a different color (a kind of pink…) in other episodes of the Persuaders, namely « The long goodbye » , at the end of the episode and « Someone like me » at the beginning of the episode

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