The Saint: Dressing Down the Navy Blazer


Compared to most sports coats, which are at home in the country, the navy blazer is better suited at seaside and resort towns. However, the single-breasted navy blazer is one of the most versatile sports coats, and due to its solid navy colour it can just as effectively be dressed up in the city as it can be dressed down at a resort. Roger Moore playing Simon Templar shows a great example of the latter when he wears his blazer in the 1965 episode of The Saint titled “The Spanish Cow”.


In the first through fourth series of The Saint from 1962 to 1965, Moore often wears a button three, wool navy blazer with straight flapped pockets, a ticket pocket, three buttons on the cuffs and a single vent. Tailor Cyril Castle made no less than two examples of such a blazer made since it saw more wear than any other item of clothing in the show. The blazer in “The Spanish Cow” isn’t much different than the blazer that Moore wears in the first episode of The Saint three years earlier in 1962, except the cloth is lighter, the shoulders are softer and the lapels are just a little narrower. The fashionably narrow lapels, however, look disproportionately narrow and are somewhat unflattering on Moore.


So how does Moore dress down his navy blazer? Underneath the blazer he wears a light-coloured sports shirt with a straight, untucked hem. The shirt has a one-piece lido-collar that stands up nicely inside the blazer’s collar, which is the key to successfully wearing any shirt other than a formal shirt under a jacket (unless you like to wear t-shirts under your jackets). And because the shirt has a lido collar and not a more formal collar, Moore doesn’t have to worry about people thinking he forgot his tie. In the 1960s, wearing a formal shirt without a tie wasn’t done. It wasn’t something that James Bond ever did in the 60s, unless you count Sean Connery’s pink shirt in You Only Live Twice. Simon Templar rarely did it. Moore’s trousers are stone-coloured cotton and have either a flat front or darted front and a plain hem. He wears canvas slip-on shoes with white rubber soles, and he matches his white socks to the soles of his shoes. Essentially, Moore put his tailored blazer on top of a very casual outfit, and it works successfully. The blazer’s soft, natural shoulders help it to work better when worn casually.

Simon Templar mentions the name of his shirtmaker in a conversation with the “South of France” police chief Colonel Latignant—a recurring character played by Arnold Diamond—when Latignant comments on the shirts in Templar’s suitcase:

Templar: And how is the most efficient chief of police in the South of France?

Latignant: That depends.

Templar: Oh—on what?

Latignant: On your behaviour in the South of France.

Templar: My behaviour everywhere is impeccable.

Latignant: So is your taste in shirts. These are magnificent.

Templar: Sulka makes them for me in London.

Colonel Latignant (Arnold Diamond) holding one of Moore's Sulka shirts
Colonel Latignant (Arnold Diamond) holding one of Simon Templar’s Sulka shirts


  1. Yup. I like and wear generally narrower lapels than most people would choose, but even with that in mind, I caught a few early episodes of The Saint recently (I wish they would be shown at a regular time not just thrown in as filler shows here and there!) and noticed that RM’s lapels seem slim to the extreme, especially considering his broad shoulders.

  2. So far, I haven’t been impressed by much of “The Saint’s” wardrobe. Roger Moore’s broad frame just doesn’t mesh with the extreme slim fitting 60’s styling. He looks much better in symmetrical and proportionate tailoring.

    • I tend to agree; the tailoring itself is quite good in terms of fit, but the narrow lapels and stovepipe pants don’t do Moore any favors. All this reinforces my conviction that true, attractive style is not a matter of opinion or fashion, but rather a matter of objective balance and proportions. Call me a Platonist dinosaur!

  3. The combination of soft shoulders and narrow lapels makes the blazer seem a bit like a bathrobe – which goes with the casual vibe. I’m guessing the blazer looks better dressed down than up.

  4. Well,the problem with Sir Roger is that it was too much,overly, “up to date” (a malicious could say that was a fashion victim).
    In some periods the fashion trends are not well on him; for exemple very narrow lapels and stovepipe trousers are terribles on him (and with these exreme proportions terribles on almost every man ).
    70s fashion serves it better,also if occasionally he indulges on frivolous details.
    For me his best wardrobe is in “Live and let die”,and especially in “The man with the golden gun”.

  5. Like some other outfits I’ve seen from The Saint this looks pretty unbalanced. Moore was very barrel-chested, but not muscular, at the time which I think contributed to the look of a matchbook on top with two matchsticks sticking out as legs at the bottom. The last photo here shows that well:

    I wonder if the lapels were tailored to a specific width instead of relative to the other dimensions of the blazer?

  6. I hadn’t noticed that two of these, almost identical, blazers had been produced (well spotted, Matt) and had assumed that the one had just got a
    lot of wear over the 3 years of the black and white series. For me, the “Saint” suits improved as the series went in to color or at least these later suits had more of Castle’s flair brought to bear. This developed in The Persuaders and on in to the first two Bond’s he produced for. The “Saint” suits from the early series were, as noted above, certainly of their time and, I agree, some of their features weren’t the most flattering to Moore’s physique but, like them or not, Moore’s wardrobe whether as Templar, Sinclair or Bond, always fitted him impeccably.

  7. Correct me if I’m wrong Matt, but from the stills in this blog and from my recent viewing of the episode in Youtube, is Roger Moore’s shirt that he pairs with the blazer in this episode short sleeved? I noticed in many scenes that he wears a dark (probably leather) watch on his bare arms with no trace of a shirt sleeve and considering the relaxed manner he is wearing the blazer in a resort with a very casual shirt, it might make sense it has short sleeves. It’s especially unusual as I always thought that men back in the 60s would more likely pair long sleeved casual shirts with blazers and sport coats (such as what Connery did in the pre-titles of Diamonds are Forever) than short sleeved shirts (though I guess some men, including Ian Fleming, did wear short sleeves with jackets)

    Also what are your thoughts on wearing casual shirts with short sleeves (such as a polo, camp shirt or button down shirt) with certain Blazers and Sport Coats to dress them down? (I personally prefer long sleeves whenever possible, especially with lined jackets (to give visual balance whit the shirt collar), though sometimes I am tempted to wear a short sleeved shirt with an unlined and unstructured jacket for the warmer/hotter weather and for more casual occassions to dress down, but still look polished yet comfortable).

    • Yes, this shirt probably is short sleeved. I’m not a fan of short-sleeve shirts with jackets because of the wear and soiling that would happen to the jacket cuff. It’s much easier to launder a shirt.

  8. I have to agree there with you Matt, especially when the jackets are lined (and from my experience, in warm weather feel rather uncomfortable) and some short sleeved button downs can sometimes look unfinished and lacking as it lacks long sleeves to unify the look. You do make a good point on how shirt sleeves help prevent a jacket’s cuffs from prematurely fraying and getting dirty amd that shirts are much easier to clean than jackets.

    Though I’m personally not a fan of short sleeves with jackets either for most situations, I think it can sometimes work provided that it be unstructured and unlined (such as a linen or cotton jacket) paired with a casual shirt like a polo (which look slightly better than most short sleeved shirts) and if the weather is unbearably hot or humid. I suppose a better compromise in most situations though might be a more breathable long sleeved shirt in Voile, Zendaline, Linen or Broadcloth similar to how Bond often does it.

    • Voile, zendaline, zephyr and linen are all good for wearing in hot weather, and with long sleeves they should feel almost as cool as short sleeves. Broadcloth/poplin are lightweight but not as breathable. Ultimately, there’s no excuse for wearing short sleeves.


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