The Tomorrow Never Dies Charcoal Suit

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Hamburg-Charcoal-Suit

Bond wears a small number of suits in Tomorrow Never Dies, only a blue, a grey, and a naval commander’s uniform. 30 years prior to this movie in 1967, Sean Connery wore the same in You Only Live Twice. For now we will be looking at the charcoal grey worsted flannel Brioni suit worn in the Hamburg scenes. The suit jacket has a button three front, and the button stance has been lowered an inch from the usual for a more relaxed look. Also contributing to the relaxed look is a less suppressed waist. But on the other hand, the shoulders are strongly padded with roping at the sleeve head. All of these features were very contemporary to the late 1990s.

Hamburg-Charcoal-Suit-2

Costume designer Lindy Hemming commented on the film’s wardrobe: “The new Brioni clothing that Mr. Brosnan wears in Tomorrow Never Dies establishes the James Bond character as a totally modern man of international taste, dressed in classic but contemporary proportions.”

Hamburg-Charcoal-Suit-3

The jacket is Anglicised with flapped slanted pockets with a ticket pocket (without a flap) and double vents, and there are four-buttons on the sleeves. The trousers have double reverse pleats (today’s standard outward-facing pleats) and are tapered down the leg, finished with turn-ups. The light blue royal oxford, spread-collar, double-cuff shirt and square-pattern jacquard tie in navy, brown and light blue (pictured below) are from Turnbull & Asser. The shoes are black oxfords from Church’s.

Turnbull-Asser-Copper-Hamburg-Tie

42 COMMENTS

  1. That's odd. I always believed this suit to be a very dark muted brown. Even in the pics it still looks a little brownish to me. Perhaps Im colourblind 🙁

  2. I've been pretty sure it was charcoal. It can look a little brown from the way it reflects the bright sunlight and I'm sure you would notice the same from your charcoal or black clothing. The brown in the tie brings out the brown hues in the grey suit. But when you see the grey suit next to the silver BMW there is no hint of brown. Also, I don't think the suit is brown because the shoes are black. Brown and black should not be worn together, and I don't think Lindy Hemming would make that mistake.

    • Could this particular hamburg tie and light/pale blue shirt be worn in a black suit? Judging by the tie is has very little black in between the bronze diamond stripes. Indy magnoli at magnoli clothiers.com makes a spitting image replica of this gorgeous tie

      • Actually the dark colour is navy, not black. So this tie would be equally at home with blue, grey and brown suits. Black is the hardest colours to wear as a suit, which is one of the many reasons why black suits should be avoided.

    • Thanks for your reply to me from six years ago. 😉

      My tastes have matured and that tie isn’t horrible, but I’m not the biggest fan of it either.

  3. I agree, it looks more BMW salesman than Bond. Too much flair. The cufflinks and belt kill it for me. Looks good on him, just not Bond. I read someone's comment once that Timothy Dalton was unhappy with the original wardrobe suggested by the (Miami Vice) costumers for Licence to Kill, who wanted him to wear pastels. Apparently he protested that a Royal Naval Commander should wear more serious colours – navy, blue, black etc. I cannot verify the veracity of these statements, but I do agree that the character should always wear a sober, minimal palate.

  4. Jodie Tillen wanted to put Dalton in pastels for Licence to Kill, but Dalton refused. Still, LTK had the worst suits of the series. But Dalton had said that Bond's colour is navy blue (never black).

  5. Navy blue was Bond's default colour in the novels, IIRC. However, Fleming interspersed his style with his own personal quirks, including wearing short sleeved shirts with suits (yeck) and having everything cotton made in Sea Island fabric.

    I will give credit to them on the tie length. It's perfect. Right at the waistband. I can't comment on the cuff links because the pictures aren't clear enough. The belt is pretty '90s in a bad way. I dislike that buckle shape a lot. Plus, it's gold toned which doesn't look that great with black leather IMO.

  6. Matt, I read a while back that the fabric of this suit is a Loro Piana lightweight flannel. Likewise, the suit worn at the MOD and Hamburg Airport (with the overcoat) is apparently a Holland & Sherry birds-eye worsted in dark french blue. Hope this helps…

    • I too have read the same thing. Matt, what do you think?
      The first suit is definitely a bird’s eye (navy or navy blue), but the second is flannel? Are there subtle brown checks?

  7. Do the trousers’ rise and the middle working button of the jacket both sit at Brosnan’s natural waist ? Or is it a lower rise ? Anyway, it is very well proportionned. It is the lenght of the tie that makes me wonder if it’s really at Brosnan’s natural waist. Thanks for your help !

  8. Matt, if you are interested, the cufflinks are from Dunhill (see the article on jamesbondlifestyle), and I think they could be worn in TWINE too. We clearly see that the cufflinks have a rather similar shape -in double “d” too- on the first picture of your article about the TWINE semi-solid navy suit. I hope that helps.
    That said, I am a fan of the cut of this TND suit. Do you think it’s better for slim and tall people -like Brosnan as a matter of fact- to have jackets with padded shoulders and a cut rather loose through the body, or do you think it’s better to have them cut closer to the body, to avoid the impression of wearing a too large jacket ?

    • Brosnan’s suits look good because they are still the right size, they just lack waist suppression. Brosnan could benefit from more waist suppression, but closely-fitted overall like Daniel Craig and Roger Moore wear wouldn’t look so good on Brosnan. He benefits a lot from shoulder padding and a slightly larger chest since he lacks upper body mass.

  9. Matt,
    what do you think, about the fabric?
    The first suit is definitely a bird’s eye wool (navy or navy blue), but the second is flannel or worsted wool? Are there subtle brown checks?

    • This suit does not look flannel, it appears to be more of a worsted wool. I own flannel suits and they do appear thicker; Maybe I should look at the film on blu-ray??

      Turnbull Asser also still sells the dress shirt worn with this suit and alas it was not part of their “annual sale.”

      • This would be a lightweight worsted flannel, which is much different from the traditional heavy woolen flannel.

        This shirt is bespoke, so it’s not something they ever sold. It has a unique collar.

  10. do you know the brioni model he wears in his films?
    I read somewhere that it may be the brioni model “milenio”

  11. I think that this outfit’s gold and steel cufflinks and gold belt look out of place with his Seamaster, which is only made of steel. This may be a minor issue, but seeing as Bond wore a matching overcoat and tie, you’d think he’d notice.

  12. Mr.spaiser,
    I have several questions regarding a charcoal gray suit. I currently own a three button charcoal Gray suit by luciano barbera and my question how different is aforementioned suit from the gray suit worn in bilbao in the film TWINE? I ask because My cutter made a light blue sea island cotton dress shirt and I bought the necktie used in tnd, so I’m hoping I can kill two birds with one stone and be able just to change the shirt and necktie when I want my outfit to be closer to the TWINE.

    Also is their a certain etiquette when wearing a waistcoat? When should it be worn and when should it not? You also mentioned that when money is being discussed pinstripes should be worn which I gladly did. What outfit should one wear when visiting a steakhouse? I’m also wondering if you comment on bond brands, I ask because jay z awhile back starred in a reebok commercial with simon Hobbs of turnbull and asser and Jay z wore this immaculate double breasted suit, however I do understand if it’s outside the scope of this blog.

    • The two charcoal suits are very similar. The suits in The World Is Not Enough has a less ’90s cut (not as full-cut or as low a button stance) and does not have trouser pleats. The shirts and ties are easily interchangeable.

      You can wear a waistcoat whenever you can wear a suit. If you’re having dinner at a steakhouse, just about any dark suit can work. Darker suits are better at night. Solids, semi-solids, chalks stripes and checks are all fine.

      There’s nothing I can really say about Jay Z without seeing what you’re referencing.

  13. Matt, how were you able to tell this shirt was a royal oxford? Did it ever up go up for auction?

    I had always assumed it was probably poplin based on how the collar wrinkled in that shot when Bros is hiding behind the shelf from Gupta’s men as they talk about the satellite.

      • I rewatched the Hamburg scenes in blu-ray and it does appear more likely poplin to my eye, particularly the few instances we get a close-up of his cuff (e.g, when he’s reaching into the glove compartment, controlling his car with the phone). Although royal oxford would match the type of shirt Hemming had chosen for him in the airport scene.

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