The velvet dinner jacket fits somewhere between a regular dinner jacket and a smoking jacket. Like the smoking jacket, the velvet dinner jacket is best worn for private events at home, particularly when one is the host. But unlike the smoking jacket it is also appropriate for intimate occasions at others’ homes or restaurants, and it can be worn out to creative black tie functions. James Bond wears a navy velvet dinner jacket for a private dinner for two on a cruise ship in Diamonds Are Forever.
The velvet dinner jacket is more of a cold-weather item and a somewhat odd choice to wear on a cruise ship, where the ivory dinner jacket is the quintessential garment. A creative warm-weather alternative like a navy dinner jacket in shantung silk rather than cotton velvet would have had the same effect but could have looked more fitting outdoors on a cruise ship. Nevertheless, the velvet dinner jacket is completely appropriate for this private dinner setting in Diamonds Are Forever.
It’s made just like Anthony Sinclair’s regular jackets, with the same soft shoulders with roped sleeve heads. The details mostly same as the other dinner jackets in the film, with one button in a low stance on the front, double vents, four buttons on the cuffs and slanted pockets with flaps. This dinner jacket revives the shawl collar from three of Sean Connery’s 1960s Bond films, and this is a self collar, meaning it is made in the navy velvet of the body of the dinner jacket. The buttons are also trimmed in matching velvet. Unlike the wide lapels that Connery wears on his suits and jackets throughout Diamonds Are Forever, the shawl collar is narrow but has some belly at the bottom.
The Anthony Sinclair trousers are standard black tie trousers, in midnight blue wool with a satin stripe down the legs. These are the same trousers that Bond wears with his ivory dinner jacket in Diamonds Are Forever. Bond also wears a standard black satin bow tie in a traditionally sized thistle shape, and the bow tie matches the satin trim on the trousers.
Instead of a classic white dress shirt that Bond normally pairs with black tie shirt, he wears a pale blue shirt from Turnbull & Asser with a spread collar, narrow front placket and cocktail cuffs, made exactly the same way as his regular shirts. It does not have a pleated front, and thankfully it does not have the popular ruffled front of the era. The shirting is most likely something a bit more luxurious than standard cotton poplin, and it perhaps may be silk. The smooth drape and slight sheen of the shirt would suggest silk. A silk shirt would be a great pairing with a velvet dinner jacket, whilst also recalling Ian Fleming’s choice of dress shirt.
The shoes that Sean Connery wears with this velvet jacket are the three-eyelet full-brogue wing-tip derby shoes in black calf that he wears with some of his suits in Diamonds Are Forever. Despite having two other pairs of proper evening shoes in the film, he wears daytime shoes with this dinner jacket.
This outfit is a great example of creative black tie that’s still very tasteful. The only thing that dates it to 1971 are Sean Connery’s sideburns.