Casino Royale features one of the most iconic clothing-related scenes of the James Bond films. James Bond finds a dinner jacket that Vesper Lynd left on his bed and is puzzled as to how she procured it. He holds it up and exclaims, ‘How the …? It’s tailored!’
Vesper replies, ‘I sized you up the moment we met.’
The term ‘tailored’ can mean any number of things. Bond might be saying that this dinner jacket was made by a bespoke tailor. He might be saying that it’s a ready-to-wear dinner jacket that has been adjusted by an alterations tailor. Or he might simply mean that it’s a tailored-type of garment—lounge suits, trousers and coats—that is impossible to fit.
Bond’s shock at receiving a ‘tailored’ dinner jacket could certainly mean that it was bespoke. If the dinner jacket was bespoke, the only way that could be possible is if it came from James Bond’s own bespoke tailor—which Brioni was standing in for. Vesper could easily have been connected with Bond’s suit maker through MI6. A bespoke tailor needs a proven pattern if they’re going to make suit for someone without at least one fitting (usually two or three fittings), so it had to be Bond’s own tailor who already has a pattern for him. A bespoke tailor cannot simply fit a new client properly on measurements alone without a fitting, and even existing clients need a fitting for each garment they bespeak. A tailor also needs to work from their own measurements, not someone else’s, so even if MI6 has Bond’s measurements on file they might not work for a tailor who hasn’t measured Bond.
With pull and money from the government, Vesper may have been able to get Bond’s own tailor to rush a bespoke dinner jacket to her within a week. We don’t know how much time passed from when Le Chiffre set up the poker game at Casino Royale to the time of the poker game. Bond is briefed on the mission the morning Le Chiffre set up the game, and Vesper likely started planning for the mission at the same time. When Bond meets Vesper for dinner on a train in Montenegro, it could have been as soon as the next evening, which would not have provided enough time for a bespoke dinner jacket to have been made.
Maybe the poker game was a week later, which might have given the tailor enough time to rush the dinner jacket. Le Chiffre was eager to win back the money he lost from the Skyfleet incident as soon as possible, so a week is likely the most time that would have passed.
In any case, it would be highly unrealistic for Vesper to be able to surprise Bond with a bespoke dinner jacket. The amount of time and the lack of a fitting make this scenario almost impossible. But James Bond’s world has never been one based entirely in reality—not even the world of Daniel Craig’s Bond—so we may need to suspend our disbelief for this one, just as Bond may have.
The Brioni dinner jacket that costume designer Lindy Hemming designed for Casino Royale fits exceptionally well. It clearly was made for Daniel Craig with an in-person fitting. There’s no way it could fit him so perfectly on his measurements alone. It looks the part of a bespoke dinner jacket.
A Ready-to-Wear Dinner Jacket with Alterations
To the average person, when a garment has been ‘tailored’ it means that a ready-to-wear garment was adjusted by an alterations tailor. For an alterations tailor to properly adjust a garment, they need to do a fitting on the person who will be wearing it. Measurements alone aren’t enough to be effective, and they certainly won’t achieve the kind of fit we see with Daniel Craig’s dinner jacket on his very muscular body. A person with that kind of physique is very difficult to fit, especially in ready-to-wear.
Bond could be shocked if Vesper had purchased a dinner jacket and had it altered to fit him because it’s quite an impossible thing to do. However, the only way he would be able to tell if this was the case is if she left the order slip or receipt from the tailor with the dinner jacket. A jacket that has been altered well shouldn’t have any visible signs that it has been altered.
Based on the timeline, Vesper would have had enough time to purchase a ready-to-wear dinner jacket for Bond in London before she left or in Montenegro the morning she arrived and had alterations done the same day. Most alterations tailors want more time to do the alterations, but with the funds at her disposal she could have had the tailor rush the alterations within a few hours.
A ‘tailored’ type of garment means the traditional types of clothes that a tailor makes, such as suits, sports coats, trousers, waistcoats, overcoats, tailcoats and dinner jackets—garments with significant amount of shape and structure—as opposed to shirts, jeans, blousons, knitwear, dresses, hats, shoes, etc. Bond may be referring to ‘tailored’ in this sense.
Purchasing a ready-to-wear tailored type of garment for someone else rarely results in a good fit because sizing and cuts vary significantly from one brand to the next. Bond may be aghast that Vesper thought she could purchase a tailored type of ready-to-wear garment that would fit him properly, especially as it would need to be altered to fit him. He’s even more astonished when he puts on the dinner jacket to find that it fits him perfectly.
Sizing Up Bond
The line ‘I sized you up the moment we met,’ should be probably taken metaphorically as clever wordplay rather than literally. Vesper sized up Bond’s character when they met on the train the previous evening. For someone who knows a lot about tailored menswear, which Vesper does, she could look at Bond and see that he’s approximately a size 42R with an athletic build and a significant drop. There’s not much else she can tell about his body by looking at him, especially when she’s looking at him in a suit.
Vesper sized up Bond’s own wardrobe as well. She knew that she needed to get him a new dinner jacket. Could she plan for this before she left London? Did she think of this when she met Bond on the train and didn’t approve of his style there? Or did she examine Bond’s wardrobe in their shared hotel suite in Montenegro and determine then that the dinner jacket he brought with him was not suitable? Her line comparing his old dinner jacket to the one she purchased—’There are dinner jackets and dinner jackets; this is the latter’—suggests the last scenario. How else could she have known his dinner jacket wasn’t up to snuff and needed to be replaced? In this case, there’s no way she could have procured him a bespoke dinner jacket because there wasn’t enough time.
Ultimately there’s no realistic way that Vesper could have provided James Bond with a dinner jacket that fits as well as this dinner suit does.
This wouldn’t be the only time Bond magically finds or is given an article of tailored clothing that fits him perfectly. Dr. No provides Bond with a Nehru jacket that has been perfectly tailored to his size in Dr. No. The same thing happens again in Quantum of Solace when Bond finds another dinner jacket that is exactly to his measurements. Again in Spectre, Blofeld presents Bond with a suit that is styled the same and fits exactly like the rest of his suits in the film, albeit with an unintentionally poor fit that turned out to be realistic in this situation. Unrealistically acquiring clothes that are perfect for Bond is simply part of the character.