The Shawl Collar Dinner Suit—Introducing Bond in Dr. No

Dr. No Dinner Suit

Sean Connery’s James Bond is introduced to us in 1962 in Dr. No wearing a traditional midnight blue shawl-collar dinner suit (tuxedo for the Americans) made by tailor Anthony Sinclair. The shawl collar and all other silk trimmings are in midnight blue satin silk. A nice feature is the silk gauntlet cuffs, the turn-back at the end of the cuffs. It’s an Edwardian decoration, and perhaps the only purpose of them is when they wear out they can be replaced. Otherwise, the cuff fastens normally with four silk-covered buttons. Like any proper single-breasted dinner jacket, this one fastens at the front with only one button. Only in Licence to Kill does Bond mess up with two buttons on the front of his dinner jacket.

Dr. No Dinner Suit

Traditionally a dinner jacket should not have vents, but it is acceptable for a man of action such as James Bond to have two vents at the back. If you insist of wearing a dinner jacket with vents, make sure there are two, never one, as two vents are more formal than one. The trousers have a traditional rise with double forward pleats, as is typical of English tailoring, and of course the silk stripe down the side of each leg.

Dr. No Dinner Suit Trousers

The shirt is the standard one worn in England with black tie: a white shirt with a pleated front, spread collar and double cuffs to take cuff links. Connery’s shirt is made of a luxurious sheer voile, a high-twist plain-weave fabric usually made of cotton. The buttons on the front of the shirt are the usual mother-of-pearl buttons that are found on any well-made shirt. Some may insist on studs for black tie while others only wear them with white tie. James Bond does not wear studs very often. According to director Terence Young, as told in Hollywood U.K. in 1993, this shirt is from Lanvin. However, stylistically it resembles Turnbull & Asser shirts.

Dr. No Dinner Suit

Now take a close look at the bow-tie. You will notice the diamond pointed ends. This is not an easy thing to find these days, particularly in such a narrower shape. His breast pocket is adorned with a simply folded white linen handkerchief. On his feet he wears black socks and black patent leather (or just well-shined) cap-toe oxfords. When Bond is travelling from his club to the office, he puts on a navy chesterfield coat and carries a black homburg, the most appropriate outerwear for black tie.

However, there is one thing missing here: Bond does not wear a waistcoat or cummerbund. Occasionally Bond has worn either but more often than not he goes without a waist covering.

Dr. No Dinner Suit

Bond’s black tie outfit worn in Quantum of Solace pays homage to the original but with a few changes: this time he wears a cummerbund and his trousers do not have pleats. And apart from the width of the lapels, every other detail is the same. Both are within the realm of classic style and neither will ever look dated. This concludes the first post on The Suits of James Bond and for the rest of the week we will continue to talk about the clothing Bond wears in Dr. No.

Now Pay Attention

TailorAnthony Sinclair
FabricMidnight blue wool and mohair
Front buttons1, medium stance
LapelsShawl collar, midnight blue silk satin
ShoulderSoft with roped sleeve heads
Breast pocketWelt
Hip pocketsStraight, jetted
Cuff buttons4 with silk satin gauntlet cuff
FrontDouble forward pleats
Support‘DAKS Tops’ 3-button side-adjusters
Front/side pocketsOn-seam
ShirtmakerLanvin or Turnbull & Asser
FabricWhite cotton voile
FrontPlacket with 7 pleats
FabricBlack silk satin
ShapeDiamond-point batwing
ShoemakerPossibly John Lobb Ltd.
StyleBlack cap-toe oxford
ACCESSORIESFolded white linen pocket square
Black homburg
TailorAnthony Sinclair
FabricNavy melton
LengthBelow the knee
Front buttonsFly front
CollarNavy velvet collar, notch lapels
Breast pocketNone
Hip pocketsStraight, flap


  1. This Looks to be a Midnight Blue judging by the lighting hitting Bond’s shoulders, its reflecting like its blue instead of if it was black, it would appear brown since it has the affect some how..i could be wrong

  2. Funnily enough, Frank Sinatra wore a Dinner Suit similar to this in the film Blow Your Horn. I don’t think it’s the same one though, as the lapels look narrower.

  3. Matt, I can’t find your article about the dress watch worn with the dinner suit in Dr. No. I hope it isn’t lost ?

      • The notion that it was a Gruen was put forth by one of the bond watch aficionados (Dell Deaton). I’ve seen a lot of debate as to whether it is actually a Gruen, with some arguing that it would have been less likely being an American-based brand. I’ve also seen a lot of discussion as to whether it was meant to be seen on screen or of it was just a case of Connery wearing his own personal watch.

      • I think the watch pops up too much for it to be ignored, even if it isn’t supposed to have the significance that the Rolex has. If they didn’t want him wearing it, it wouldn’t have been in so many scenes.

  4. I can proudly say I am an owner of the midnight blue dinner suit tailored for me by Mason & Sons, it’s the most treasured piece in my wardrobe by far very happy.

    • Mr. Fairfax
      congratulations on your purchase on that fine piece of history. I would like to ask some questions if I may?
      1. I’m thinking of going bespoke with my tailor here in California on recreating the suit. Do you think I should just stick to the special order full canvas version of the suit from mason and sons?

      2. What cloth or suiting is the suit made out of? I heard it’s carlo barbera which in many circles of the golden scissors it’s nothing special. What’s your take on it?

      3. Did you buy direct off the peg or a special order?

      4. If you could change anything about it what would it be?

      Thank you again,

      • The standard ready-to-wear and special order Anthony Sinclair suits are made of cloth from Vitale Barberis Canonico (VBC), which is a very good cloth but nothing extraordinary. Carlo Barbera is better, though I always recommend fine English cloths over Italian. You can get better cloths in the Anthony Sinclair Special Order suits if you like.

    • The midnight-blue faille-weave that they use for the ready-to-wear dinner jacket is a great choice. The choice should be a faille or barrathea wool, or a plain-weave or basketweave wool and mohair blend. I do not know what choices they have, since only a small amount of the cloths you can choose from are on their website.

      • Is it appropriate to don midnight blue patent leather oxfords rather than black with a midnight blue tuxedo? Just to keep the midnight blue thing going

      • Josh, I’m known to wear dark blue on almost everything, especially advocating it for shoes, because the shade ages and patina more gracefully than black. But not for black tie, and matter of fact, make it never. You want black shoes to enhance the “blacker than black” effect of your outfit. Midnight blue patent shoes will enhance the brightness and completely void the effect, not to mention anything other than black for patent creases and wrinkles horribly.

      • Not to mention that’s just overthinking things a bit. I can understand wanting midnight blue facings, even though it makes finding a matching bow tie and cummerbund harder.

  5. What are your thoughts on the conduit cut Mason and Sons Anthony Sinclair dinner suit as a homage/replica for this or other Connery looks?

    • I really like what they do. The ready-to-wear is great except for the high button stance. Through Special Order they can lower it, which I have done and recommend.

    • Who said grosgrain? This article identifies them as silk satin. Grosgrain had gone out of fashion at this time, and it doesn’t go well with the shinier mohair cloths that Connery wore.

  6. Would a Midnight Blue or Black Dinner Suit look better on someone with a winter complexion, such as pale skin and dark brown hair?

  7. Hi Matt,
    are you sure that the silk lapels are midnightblue? In some other articles they are described as black.



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