The Saint: A Classic Safari Jacket

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Saint-Safari-Jacket

Roger Moore wore the safari jacket before he was James Bond and before the late 1960s when Yves Saint Laurent and Ted Lapidus made it a fashion item. In the 1965 episode of The Saint titled “The Sign of the Claw”, Moore wears a mostly traditional British safari jacket, in the classic khaki colour. The episode takes place in the Malayan jungle, where the tropical climate and British colonial history makes the safari jacket an entirely appropriate piece of clothing.

Saint-Safari-Jacket-2
Moore wears a leather utility belt over the safari jacket’s belt.

The safari jacket has four buttons down the front plus a button at the collar. The shirt-style, two-piece point collar is stitched close to the edge. The front of the jacket has four button-down-flapped patch pockets. The upper two pockets each have a box pleat in the middle, and the lower two pockets each have bellows for extra usability. Though the jacket is slightly shaped with a dart on either side in the front, a belt made of the same cloth as the jacket cinches the waist. The belt has a shiny metal two-prong buckle. The jacket’s long sleeves have square-cornered button cuffs. The back has a long, deep inverted box pleat from the bottom of the yoke to the belt, and a long single vent from the belt to the hem. Of course, the jacket wouldn’t be a proper safari jacket without the obligatory shoulder straps.

Saint-Safari-Jacket-Back

Though this safari jacket closely follows the traditional model, it breaks from tradition in one area. Instead of being made from military cotton drill, this jacket is made from linen, which is the best material for staying cool in hot, humid weather. It looks softer and lighter than cotton drill, it has a few slubs and it shows some wrinkles. Though the cloth may not be typical for a safari jacket, the jacket is still more classic compared to the slightly more modern safari clothes that Roger Moore wears in The Man with the Golden Gun, The Spy Who Loved Me, Moonraker and Octopussy.

The trousers match the jacket in khaki linen. Under the jacket’s collar, Moore wears a silk day cravat, which is probably cream. It is not a practical item, but Moore plays a gentleman who almost always keeps his neck covered. Moore’s shoes are taupe suede two-eyelet desert boots. At one point in the episode, Moore wears a dark leather utility belt over the jacket’s belt.

For some James Bond-related trivia, this episode features Burt Kwouk, who was in Goldfinger and You Only Live Twice.

6 COMMENTS

  1. I think I prefer this to some of the more fashionable safari suit/jacket/shirt combinations that Roger Moore wore later. This looks like a pretty practical outfit for the conditions, others look more obviously like fashion statements.

    It is interesting to note that shirt-jackets (‘shackets’) and jackets with pockets like a classic safari jacket are making a bit of a comeback in the last couple of years. The safari jacket might finally be getting over its 70s leisure suit associations.

  2. Hi Matt
    Great post as usual.
    Off the subject here, so please excuse me but just wanted to let you know I go for my first fitting of my bespoke suit (2-piece) this Saturday and am very excited. I gone for an 11oz super 100s grey herringbone from the Yorkshire millers Dubdale Bros. The shop is in Durham, Northern England. I’ve had it detailed with some British and Bond-ish features; natural shoulders, double forward pleat trouser with 16″ opening, low button stance, high waist trousers. Sorry to come across as bragging but with my 30th birthday coming up my wife has decided to treat me to something special and I always said I’d wait until my 35th birthday, so this a lot sooner than expected 🙂
    Cheers
    Ryan

  3. Your suit sounds very tasteful, Ryan and I hope you derive enjoyment from wearing it. In relation to this post, the item is as classic as they come and I suppose the closest Bond version would be the “Octopussy” version although this came sans belt. I had a safari shirt jacket made many years ago in linen with a belt very similar to this and while linen doesn’t hold its shape as well as cotton it’s very cool wearing and in that sense appropriate. It just tended to sag a bit above the belt. I expect a linen cotton mix with a higher cotton content would work very well. Moore just liked safari clothing before, during and after its fashion period as he did, for example, other British stalwarts such as blazers and trench coats but I don#t ever hear them subject to the same level as vitriol as his safari clothing…

  4. Very similar to the British Army issue safari jacket of WWII. Or rather, an officer’s privately purchased jacket. The pleats and pocket bellows were deleted on many issue jackets to simplify mass production. The cravat adds a touch of class to the whole thing, and the belt reminds me of another Brit military classic – the Sam Browne belt. A right pukka suit for a jungle trek.

  5. The Saint’s safari jacket appears to be identical to the one worn by bad guy Max Valmon, so maybe it was a standard issue.

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