Sean Connery as James Bond, British government agent and legendary super spy
Turkey, Spring 1963
Film: From Russia With Love
Release Date: October 10, 1963
Director: Terence Young
Costume Designer: Jocelyn Rickards
Tailor: Anthony Sinclair
For the 007th of the 7th month of the year, BAMF Style is focusing on James Bond’s 7th suit worn in From Russia With Love, a black and gray Glen plaid check suit. Bond had worn a different Glen Urquhart suit earlier in the film when visiting Kerim Bey in his office, but this suit can be differentiated by details in the tailoring.
At this point in the story, Bond has finally “met” Tatiana Romanova, the enigmatic bait in SPECTRE’s plan to ruin him and smear the British Secret Service. Bond is quite certain that he has Tania right where he wants her, but his charismatic MI6 contact Kerim Bey seems sure of the opposite…
Kerim: The old game. Give a wolf a taste, then keep him hungry. My friend, she’s got you dangling.
Bond: That doesn’t matter. All I want is that Lektor.
Kerim: All? Are you sure that’s all you want?
Bond: (with a smirk) Well…
After their first night together in Bond’s hotel room, 007 plans to meet Tania in Istanbul’s legendary Hagia Sophia mosque.
What’d He Wear?
Of the five suits that Bond wears in Istanbul, his lightweight Glen plaid check suit for the visit to the Hagia Sophia and subsequent boat ride on the Bosphorus is one of the more appropriate for the warm surroundings. Matt Spaiser also wrote a good, in-depth analysis of this suit on The Suits of James Bond.
This suit has a black and gray check pattern on a lightweight twill material, although this check is finer and the suiting is an even lighter weight than the previous suit. While his choice of a charcoal flannel suit in this climate could be worthy of some criticism, at least he was wise enough to wear it for a chillier night and save this lightweight suit for a sunny day visiting old and un-air-conditioned mosques.
The suit jacket is single-breasted with slim notch lapels, natural shoulders, and roped sleeveheads, like all of Connery’s Bond jackets. Anthony Sinclair’s now legendary “Conduit Cut” is on full display with this subtly elegant suit with a draped chest, front darts, suppressed waist, and slightly flared bottom.
The jacket has flapped hip pockets, although the flaps are occasionally tucked into the pockets. The welted breast pocket is embellished with a folded white linen pocket square.
In addition to the finer check of this suit, differentiation can be found when examining the vents and buttons. The two-button front stance of this suit jacket is slightly higher than the two-button front of his Glen Urquhart suit coat; the buttons here are also a lighter shade of gray. This suit also has a single back vent while the earlier suit has double vents.
The trousers do not get much screen time since Connery keeps his jacket buttoned throughout the sequence, but the glimpses we do get reveal the usual high rise, double forward pleats, slanted side pockets, and cuffed bottoms. Plus, I’d bet dollars to donuts (although donuts are worth like $3 now) that the trousers have button-tab “Daks top” side adjusters.
Bond’s shoes are his usual pair of black leather plain toe 3-eyelet derbies with dark gray socks that continue the leg line from trouser into shoes.
Bond’s choice of a pale blue Turnbull & Asser dress shirt with a front placket, spread collar, and 2-button turnback cuffs should come as a surprise to no one, especially since it is paired with a dark navy blue grenadine tie.
While some people might find Bond’s pattern of gray suit, pale blue shirt, and dark blue grenadine tie boring, I personally think it is a testament to the simple elegance of Anthony Sinclair’s distinctively English tailoring that Connery manages to make such a limited color palette look good over the course of five or six films and nearly ten years. Although there are always some variations in the details, Connery’s Bond established a look early on and managed to maintain it without looking dated.
Roger Moore is unfairly remembered by some as the “leisure suit” Bond likely because his 007 never had a defined appearance. Even in a single film, Moore could be wearing earth tones in one scene, a double-breasted gray pinstripe suit in the next, followed by a navy blazer and flared trousers. While one could blame the changing era (1973 to 1985), a shift in time doesn’t necessitate deviation from a certain theme as Matt Spaiser so excellently noted when comparing Connery’s suits from 1962 to 1971 in Dr. No and Diamonds are Forever.
This is the one of the most accessorized looks we get from early Connery. Although not wearing his signature Rolex wristwatch, Bond is sporting hat, holster, and sunglasses, marking one of the few – if not the only – pre-Brosnan appearances of sunglasses with a suit.
Bond’s hat is his usual dark olive brown felt trilby from Lock & Co. Hatters of London, which got more screen appearances on Moneypenny’s hat hook than actually on Bond’s head. The trilby has a narrow grosgrain band – also dark brown – and has a slightly tapered pinched crown.
A Lock & Co. Hatters “Sandown” trilby like Bond’s is still available from the St. James Street store in London. More information about the hat is available from James Bond Lifestyle, which also tells us that St. James Street also houses the Swaine Adeney Brigg store that provided Bond’s handy attaché case in the flick.
The first time we see James Bond wearing sunglasses is when he struts into Hagia Sophia and whips off a pair of dark tortoiseshell plastic-framed wayfarer-style sunglasses.
Simon Courtney advised me in a comment on my Thunderball article that Bond’s black plastic wayfarers in that film were a pair of Oliver Goldsmith “Consul” sunglasses. I think its reasonable, especially considering that both films were directed by Terence Young and Simon suggested that Young chose the sunglasses, that Bond would also be wearing Oliver Goldsmith shades here. If anyone has any additional ideas, your input is more than welcome!
Go Big or Go Home
The Bond tour of Istanbul begins at Hagia Sophia, an imperial mosque that went through periods of service with the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic religions as a cathedral before conversion to a museum in 1935. The cathedral was built from 532 to 537 AD and was the focal point of the Eastern Orthodox Church for nearly a thousand years, witnessing the start of the Great Schism in 1054 with the excommunication of Michael I Cerularius by Pope Leo IX.
Bond’s next meeting with Tania is on a ferry crossing the Bosphorus. Although it wasn’t around at the time of filming in mid-1963, the Bosphorus Bridge was built in the early 1970s to connect the European and Asian sections of Istanbul on either side of the Bosphorus. At 5,118 feet long, the bridge was the fourth longest suspension bridge span in the world upon its completion and the longest overall outside the U.S.
How to Get the Look
- Lightweight black-and-gray Glen plaid check 2-piece “Conduit Cut” suit tailored by Anthony Sinclair, consisting of:
- Single-breasted 2-button jacket with slim notch lapels, welted breast pocket, flapped hip pockets, 4-button cuffs, and double rear vents
- Double forward-pleated trousers with 3-button tab “Daks top” side adjusters, straight on-seam side pockets, button-through jetted right back pocket, and turn-ups/cuffed bottoms
- Pale blue poplin long-sleeve Turnbull & Asser dress shirt with spread collar, front placket, and 2-button turnback/”cocktail” cuffs
- Navy blue grenadine woven silk necktie, worn with a four-in-hand knot
- Black leather 3-eyelet plain-toe derby shoes/bluchers
- Dark gray dress socks
- Olive brown felt Lock & Co. Hatters short-brimmed trilby with a narrow dark brown grosgrain band
- Tortoiseshell plastic-framed wayfarer sunglasses
- Light brown chamois leather shoulder holster (RHD) with a blue strap, for the Walther PPK
- White linen folded pocket square
Iconic Alternatives has a great rundown of affordable options to channel elements of this, such as his sunglasses, and many other 007 outfits.
Do Yourself a Favor and…
Buy the movie.
Tania: The mechanism is… Oh James, James… Will you make love to me all the time in England?
Bond: Day and night. Go on about the mechanism.
Matt Spaiser also wrote a post about this suit on his excellent blog The Suits of James Bond.