Dr. No, the first James Bond film, established the classic look for the character for the many films that followed. 1962 was the year when James Bond was introduced to film audiences, becoming one of the characters who have most influenced people’s way of dressing. Terrence Young, the director, wanted to suit Bond up based on Ian Fleming’s guidelines, and asked his own tailor, Anthony Sinclair, to create the now well known “Conduit Cut”. Named after the Conduit Street in London, the address of the famous Savile Row bespoke tailors, including Sinclair himself, Sinclair describes the cut as simple, elegant, understated and timeless, reflecting Bond’s taste in clothes intended by its author. A distinctly British look, but one that wouldn’t stand out. It is the simplicity and classic cut of the clothes in Dr. No, which, as it always happens, make them still look fresh and up-to-date today and still worthy of imitation, so much more than, for example, Roger Moore’s Bond suits, which were often too ingrained in the styles of the times.
In his first sequence, Sean Connery is wearing a classic tuxedo, is playing the casino and is flirting with an attractive woman. The shaken, not stirred martini is missing, but the scene still does a pretty good job at establishing the James Bond look that has since spanned generations. But back to his black tuxedo, the jacket has a shawl-collar, three outer pockets (a jetted breast pocket and two flapped hip pockets), two short vents (traditionally a dinner jacket should not have vents at the back, but I don’t think anyone objects if the most elegant man of action, James Bond, breaks some sartorial rules), sleeve silk-covered buttons and an inch-long silk gauntlet cuff – this last decorative detail was what got my attention, as it makes the jacket stand out.
The trousers have double forward pleats and button side-tab adjusters, as the rest of the suit trousers Connery wears in Dr. No, which is why there is no need for suspenders. They have the traditional black silk stripe down the sides of each leg and no cuffs. He wears a white dress shirt with spread collar, pleated front, mother-of-pearl buttons, double French cuffs with plain gold cuff links in square shape with rounded edges. Bond finishes his look off with a diamond-pointed batwing bow tie, a simply folded white linen handkerchief in his breast pocket and black patent leather plain-toe Oxfords. When he leaves the casino, he wears a Chesterfield overcoat, the traditional overcoat for formal wear, and a black homburg hat. I have some reservations regarding the hat, but I will get back to that later.
The only suits Sean Connery is wearing for the remaining of the movie are grey, one of which is in fact a black and white Glen check suit. The first one, the one he has on when he flies from London to Jamaica, is a dark grey heavy-cloth suit, English-weather appropriate, to which Connery also wears a felt trilby (some say it’s brown, others that it’s grey, and in my Blu-ray stills it looks green, which I’m sure it wasn’t anyway). About the hat, although I know it’s a staple item for Connery’s James Bond, and regardless of the fashions of the times or whatever reasons for the character to wear a hat, I think this is another rule I wouldn’t have minded if the character broke loose of. Just as in the case of Cary Grant, who refused to wear a hat in movies from one point on, because he knew that was an accessory that simply did not suit him, I find that Sean Connery, especially in the role of James Bond, looks better without one as well.
The watch is a Gruen Precision 510 dress watch with a dark leather strap. It seems that this is Connery’s Bond’s watch of choice when he’s not wearing a Rolex.
The second grey suit 007 is wearing, in light grey and light fabric, is my favourite one, the one that, in my opinion, is competing with Cary Grant’s one in North by Northwest as one of the best looking suits ever to have been worn on screen.
Whether he stands or sits, the cuffs of the shirt always show underneath the suit jacket sleeves. James Bond is another character that pays most attention to details.
James Bond’s shirts are either white or pale blue cotton poplin, with spread collar and cocktail cuffs (also called two button turn-back cuffs) and are worn with a grenadine tie, a staple of Sean Connery’s Bond wardrobe. In Dr. No he only wears navy grenadine ties from Turnbull & Asser. The grenadine tie is similar-looking to the knit tie, but it’s a completely different thing, although the silk knit tie is the one worn by the literary Bond. Grenadine silk is woven, not knit, and the tie is constructed like any normal tie: it has folds, an interlining and a triangular tip. It’s a luxurious silk, very delicate and much more formal than a knit tie.
As mentioned earlier, Connery’s trousers have double forward pleats (see below), typical of English bespoke suits, which makes the trousers more comfortable. However, the pleats don’t show when the jacket is buttoned (see above), a detail that creates a linear and slim look. Eschewing a belt is also an element that helps not breaking down the outfit and keeping a lean line. The trousers are instead self-adjusting by button-tabs on each side, which keep them fit.
The grey Glen check suit.
The cocktail cuff is distinguished by its combination of a button closure and graceful cutaway fold-back, retaining the French cuff’s panache while eliminating the need for dressy cuff links.
Apart from the suits, Bond also wears a navy single-breasted serge blazer (below), with metal buttons, in the same cut as the suit jackets with dark grey flannel trousers, identical in style to the suit trousers. A good example of how not-matching jacket and trousers can create an elegant and tailored look.
Bond wears a neatly-folded white linen handkerchief square in every breast pocket to finish his ensembles.
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photos: screen stills captured by me | Eon Productions