Skyfall – Bond’s Glen Plaid Suit in London

Daniel Craig as James Bond in Skyfall (2012).

Daniel Craig as James Bond in Skyfall (2012).

Vitals

Daniel Craig as James Bond, recently re-instated British secret agent

London, Spring 2012

Film: Skyfall
Release Date: November 9, 2012
Director: Sam Mendes
Costume Designer: Jany Temime

Background

For the last 007th of the month, I broke down the first Glen check suit worn by Sean Connery in From Russia With Love. Almost fifty years later, Skyfall‘s costume designer Jany Temime worked with clothier Tom Ford to create an updated look for Daniel Craig’s James Bond.

What’d He Wear?

Like the aforementioned From Russia With Love outfit, Bond wears a Glen check suit with a light blue shirt, dark blue tie, black shoes, and pocketsquare. The similarities end there as the details of each garment show a more fashion-driven Bond in 2012.

The suit itself is a Glen plaid in mid-gray and black, darker than the black and white Glen Urquhart check in From Russia With Love. According to Matt Spaiser on his great blog, The Suits of James Bond:

Tom Ford calls this a Prince of Wales check, however the original Prince of Wales check was much larger design in rust-brown and white with a navy box of six ends around the four and four (large houndstooth) section.

The material is a very classic look with appropriate nods to British fashion, but the cut of the suit is much too tight on Craig, and it is surprising that the seat of the pants doesn’t rip when he sits down. Craig may be the 1 in a 100 men who can wear a form-fitting suit without looking ridiculous, but it would make more sense for such a man of action to be wearing a suit that gives him a little more room to move. He’s not quite at a Tommy Boy level, but a few more vodka martinis and steak dinners would get him there.

Bond, inspecting the work of the product placement gods.

Bond, inspecting the work of the product placement gods.

That being said, the color and material of the suit is very laudable. Gray, which is used throughout the film for Bond’s attire, is flattering for Craig and makes up a little for the near-spandex look of his suits. A little.

The suit jacket is single-breasted, fastened together desperately by the center of a 3-button stance. The slim notch lapels pull at the coat due to the fight fit, and the narrow, straight shoulders leave little room for Bond’s range of motion. Especially with Craig’s athletic build, the suit should at least have more spacious natural shoulders. It’s lucky for him that he doesn’t have any major action sequences in the suit.

SF4-jacket1

Dan shows us the difference between a slight smirk and a slight grimace.

Craig has his usual surgeon’s cuffs, with the bottom of the three buttons caddishly left open to show the world that he can, indeed, afford a bespoke suit. The flapped hip pockets are on a slight slant, and a sky blue cotton handkerchief is folded neatly in the welted breast pocket. As you will soon learn, the handkerchief matches the shirt.

The flat front suit trousers have a low rise, giving chubby men another reason to avoid this suit besides popping the jacket buttons. Since Craig’s Bond is in impeccable shape, we don’t have to worry about seeing a beer gut flopping over the top of the waistband, but a low rise and tight fit should be avoided for us men who don’t hit the gym everyday. The suit’s tight fit is reflected through the narrow leg, but the cuffed bottoms add a classic touch, breaking high over the shoes.

Like Connery’s trousers, they are fitted with side adjusters and close in the front with a hook on an extended waist tab.

Well, this is awkward... Great angle of the extended tab and trouser waistline, but...

Well, this is awkward… Great angle of the extended tab and trouser waistline, but…

For all of you holding your breath during that paragraph to hear about the shirt, you’re welcome. Bond’s Tom Ford shirt is a sky blue cotton poplin that buttons down a front placket. It has the typical Skyfall soft tab collar, buttoning under the knot and keeping Craig from loosening his tie. The double/French cuffs are fastened by a pair of very unique and very Bondian cufflinks.

Jany probably was tickled that Dan's eyes so nicely match his shirt and tie also.

Jany probably was tickled that Dan’s eyes so nicely match his shirt and tie also.

Tom Ford made thirty pairs of all-new custom “Orbis Non Sufficit” cufflinks for Skyfall. For any of you non-Bond fans, “Orbis non sufficit” translates to “the world is not enough” which, yes, was Pierce Brosnan’s third Bond movie, but it is also the Bond family motto as we learn in the book and film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. The links have silver rims and the majestic family herald in silver on the black face.

You can barely see them, but there they are.

You can barely see them, but there they are.

The handkerchief is the same sky blue as the shirt, which – like unfastened surgeon’s cuffs and overly tight suits – can be regarded as caddish. A more classic move on Bond’s part would have been a white folded handkerchief, as he wore in 1963.

Bond’s tie brings everything together. Unlike the From Russia With Love tie, which was solid dark blue grenadine, this tie is dark blue silk with an alternating black and gray square check. Not only does this keep the suit to three colors, it also satisfies Temime’s apparent love for matching every item of an outfit.

SF4-med1

This scene also marks the second appearance of Crockett & Jones footwear as Bond wears a pair of plain-fronted black calf 3-eyelet derby shoes, which C&J denotes as their “Highbury” model, with this suit. The shoes are matched with black dress socks that rise high up Bond’s shins, not leaving any skin showing under the high-breaking trouser legs.

A less awkward below-the-neck shot than the, uh, previous one.

A less awkward below-the-neck shot than the, uh, previous one.

The James Bond Lifestyle has plenty of info about these and other C&J shoes worn in Skyfall, including the fact that the Highburys sell for around £350. He had previously worn a pair of “Tetbury” boots during the opening sequence in Istanbul. Both the Highbury and the Tetbury feature Dainite rubber studded soles, which provide good running traction for a secret agent who does a shitload of running.

When Bond goes to meet the new Q at the museum, he wears a black single-breasted wool overcoat. Since this is Skyfall, the coat has a short length, to just above Bond’s knees. It has notch lapels, a 3-button front, a welted breast pocket, flapped hip pockets, and a single rear vent. The overcoat has 3-button cuffs, and – like the suit jacket – they are surgeon’s cuffs. We know this because Bond once again keeps the last button undone.

Bond, appreciating fine art.

Bond, appreciating fine art.

Watch aficionados need not worry; Bond’s Omega didn’t have links removed to make it look like his wrist was about to burst. In fact, Bond updates his Seamaster from his Planet Ocean – seen in Istanbul – to a beautiful Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra Mid Size Chronometer, reference number 231.10.39.21.03.001. As usual, it has a stainless steel bracelet and case, but the dial is a brilliant blue.

Yes, it's a lovely watch, but we need to address the elephant in the room. If for no other reason, you should keep your trousers from bulging in the front to avoid looking inappropriate in front of Dame Judi Dench.

Yes, it’s a lovely watch, but we need to address the elephant in the room. If for no other reason, you should keep your trousers from bulging in the front to avoid looking inappropriate in front of Dame Judi Dench.

Temime must have been very excited about the silver and blue in the watch matching the gray, black, and blue suit. Bond sticks with the Aqua Terra through the film’s finale. You can read more about it at the James Bond Lifestyle because that site is amazing.

Go Big or Go Home

This is pretty much Bond’s first day back at work after an absence that consisted of getting shot, kicking back on a beach, drinking to oblivion, and bedding hot Mediterranean chicks. While your vacations from work might be more along the vein of a sick leave or family trip, it’s still important to make a good impression when you return.

How to Get the Look

SF4-FULL3Bond wears a suit that is undeniably beautiful, but he should have advised his tailor that he has bulked up some and could use a size up. Learn from this; wear a timeless classic but wear it well! In this instance, you may even out-dress James Bond.

  • Gray & black Glen Plaid suit by Tom Ford, consisting of:
    • Single-breasted jacket with slim notch lapels, 3-button front, 3-button surgeon’s cuffs, welted breast pocket, flapped hip pockets, and a single rear vent
    • Flat front trousers with a low rise, extended waist tab with hook closure, side adjusters, slanted side pockets, and cuffed bottoms
  • Sky blue cotton poplin Tom Ford dress shirt with soft tab collars, front placket, and double/French cuffs
    • Silver & black Tom Ford “Orbis Non Sufficit” cufflinks
  • Dark blue silk necktie with an alternating black and gray check
  • Black calf 3-eyelet Crockett & Jones “Highbury” derby shoes with Dainite studded rubber soles
  • Black dress socks
  • Black wool single-breasted thigh-length overcoat with 3-button front, 3-button surgeon’s cuffs, welted breast pocket, flapped hip pockets, and a single rear vent
  • Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra  Mid Size Chronometer, ref. 231.10.39.21.03.001 with a stainless steel bracelet and case and a blue dial
  • Sky blue handkerchief, folded into the jacket breast pocket

Iconic Alternatives has a great rundown of affordable options to channel elements of this, such as the Crockett & Jones bluchers, and many other 007 outfits.

The Gun

People who think they know guns but really don’t got all up in arms about hearing Q issue Bond a “Walther PPK/S, nine-millimeter short”.

“Nine-millimeter?” said the hypothetical redneck in this situation, “They only make them guns in .32 and .380!”

While the hypothetical redneck is correct that the Walther PP, PPK, PPK/S, and all derivatives are chambered in both .32 ACP and .380 ACP, he would fail to recognize that .380 ACP is the American designation for the 9×17 mm cartridge, also known as “Nine-millimeter short.” John Browning developed the .380 in 1908 for a variant of the Colt Model 1903 Pocket Hammerless, which had been only chambered in .32 ACP for the first five years of its production. The .380 is a reasonable alternative for compact pistols; although it lacks the stopping power of its larger 9×19 mm cousin (or brother, or whatever relation is used for ammunition), it is small enough to rival the .32’s capacity and packs more of a punch.

"Less of a random killing machine, more of a personal statement."

“Less of a random killing machine, more of a personal statement.”

When Ian Fleming took the advice of Geoffrey Boothroyd in the 1950s and updated Bond’s .25 Beretta to a Walther, he chambered Bond’s PPK in .32 (or “7.65 mm”), which is certainly the more popular round in that weapon. This became part of the legend, and Bond’s Walther PPK was referred to as a .32-caliber model from the book Dr. No and the film Dr. No all the way through to Quantum of Solace in 2008. In fact, when we first see Bond in Skyfall, he is still carrying his .32-caliber PPK. It isn’t until Q issues him the PPK/S in .380 that Bond is finally issued a more powerful weapon. (Ignoring the 9×19 mm Walther P99 in Tomorrow Never Dies, The World is Not Enough, Die Another Day, and Casino Royale because I choose to.)

I’ve talked about the PPK ad nauseum on the blog, due to fellas like Bond and Chris Moltisanti carrying them. The PPK/S, however, is a different story. It was introduced in response to the United States passing the Gun Control Act of 1968, which banned handguns not meeting length and weight requirements. The Walther PPK, despite its German origins, enjoyed its largest market in the United States but manage to fail the “Import Points” test because it was too light, failing the whole test by one stupid point.

Walther, made up of clever and deceptive German minds (not racist for me to say because World War II), decided to get around this by combining the larger PP’s frame with the barrel and slide of the PPK. Voila! The slightly heavier PPK/S was deemed acceptable by American import standards.

Because we insist on doing everything ourselves (see: American Revolution, Declaration of Independence, etc.), domestic production was permitted for the illegal-to-import PPK and Interarms began distributing their own version, made by Ranger Manufacturing, in 1978.

A Walther PPK/S in .380 ACP.

A Walther PPK/S in .380 ACP. This is one of the American-made ones, as it says “Under License of [Walther]”.

So what is the exact difference between the PP, the PPK, and the PPK/S? A .380 PPK/S weighs 22.4 ounces, which is slightly lighter than the PP’s 23.5 ounces but still heavier than the 21-ounce PPK. Yes, that 1.4 ounce difference made the weapon legal to import. The PPK/S is also one millimeter longer than the PPK (156 mm vs. 155 mm), although it shares the same 83 mm barrel. The PPK/S also carries one extra round in the magazines, with seven rounds of .380 and eight rounds of .32, depending on the model.

Bond’s PPK/S in Skyfall, however, has a feature you won’t see on any production Walther. Q proudly issues Bond his new pistol, custom-coded to Bond’s palm print so that only Bond can fire it. Nice work, baby Q.

Do Yourself a Favor and…

Buy the film.

The Quote

Bond’s introduction to the series’ re-booted Q is just as witty as the original Connery-Llewelyn repartee with a refreshed, thematically relevant perspective…

Q: I’m your new Quartermaster.
Bond: You must be joking.
Q: Why, because I’m not wearing a lab coat?
Bond: Because you still have spots.
Q: My complexion is hardly relevant.
Bond: Your competence is.
Q: Age is no guarantee of efficiency.
Bond: And youth is no guarantee of innovation.
Q: Well, I’ll hazard I can do more damage on my laptop sitting in my pajamas before my first cup of Earl Grey than you can do in a year in the field.
Bond: Oh, so why do you need me?
Q: Every now and then a trigger has to be pulled.
Bond: Or not pulled. It’s hard to know which in your pajamas… Q.

6 comments

  1. Matt Spaiser

    As I’ve written on my blog a number of times, this is not a 3-roll-2. That’s what the Quantum of Solace suits are. The top button is covered by the lapel on that suit, but here it is not. The lapel rolls at the top button, as you can easily see when the jacket is unbuttoned. But when buttoned the jacket is *pulled* open further because it is so tight. Compare it the the similar button three style on Pierce Brosnan’s Bond suits, and his would look the same if he wore a size or two smaller. On a 3-roll-2 the top button is hidden whether the jacket is open or closed. Most of my button three jackets are in the 3-roll-2 style, but I have a few full button three jackets like this one.

    Like

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