Bond’s Dark Gray Flannel 3-Piece Suit in Thunderball
Sean Connery as James Bond, British government agent
France, Winter 1965
Release Date: December 29, 1965
Director: Terence Young
Wardrobe Designer: Anthony Mendleson
Tailor: Anthony Sinclair
After an unseasonably warm Christmas, I’m one of the few Pittsburghers happy to report that the weather is finally chilling down to a winter-friendly 30°F and it’s time to roll out the flannel suits and overcoats.
At the outset of Thunderball, Sean Connery’s fourth outing as James Bond, we find the agent lurking in the background of a funeral in the French countryside. His warm suit and outerwear hints that we’re finding him in one of the chillier months, so it seemed like a more than appropriate scene to break down for this 00-7th of January.
What’d He Wear?
Bond attends the supposed funeral of Colonel Jacques Bouvar, a SPECTRE operative, wearing a warmer variation of the usual Connery Bond “uniform”, consisting of a gray suit, light blue shirt with turnback cuffs, and dark woven grenadine tie.
This Anthony Sinclair tailored suit is constructed from dark gray flannel, as proven by the texture seen in close up shots.
Bond’s jacket follows the usual pattern of Connery’s suitcoats with its single-breasted, two-button front and slim notch lapels. It has a welted breast pocket, jetted hip pockets, and a ventless back. The sleeves have roped heads and four-button cuffs.
One of the most distinctive aspects of the suit is the vest (or waistcoat, since he’s British) with its straight-cut bottom. Typically, suit waistcoats have a notched bottom and are meant to be worn with the lowest button unfastened. All six buttons of this single-breasted vest are worn closed. The vest also has four welted pockets – two upper and two lower.
Bond’s trousers are also typical for Connery’s Sinclair-tailored suits with the double forward pleats and 3-button “Daks top” side adjusters. The only pockets are the on-seam pockets on the sides and the leg tapers to the cuffed bottoms.
007 is decked out in his usual Turnbull & Asser garb of light blue shirt and dark woven tie. In this case, it’s a vibrant sky blue poplin shirt with a spread collar, front placket, and the distinctive turnback cuffs – also known as “cocktail” cuffs – that Bond wore on screen for the franchise’s first decade. (A tan shirt appears to have been subbed in during the jetpack ride, but I’ll discuss that later.)
Although he typically wears a dark navy tie with his outfits, Bond wears a black woven grenadine silk tie which would be slightly more appropriate for the scene’s funereal context. It also reflects the black knit ties that Ian Fleming often chose when outfitting his literary Bond.
In another reflection of the literary Bond, Connery sports a pair of black leather slip-on shoes. Dressier than loafers, these simple plain-toe shoes could best be described as “low ankle boots”. He wears them with a pair of black dress socks.
Bond is seen carrying his outerwear out of the funeral, rather than wearing it, and it appears later when he is leaving Shrublands. His tweed knee-length topcoat appears to be gray, but the close-up shots inside his DB5 reveal a brown and tan herringbone pattern. It is single-breasted with gray plastic buttons under a concealed fly front. It has notch lapels, straight flapped hip pockets, and a rear vent.
Although he does eventually wear the coat on screen, the purpose of his olive brown felt trilby – manufactured by Lock & Co. Hatters – is just to be tossed on Moneypenny’s hat stand.
Matt Spaiser provides an excellent breakdown of this suit on his blog, The Suits of James Bond.
Go Big or Go Home
James Bond employs his Sherlockian powers of observation after Jacques Bouvar’s “funeral”, noticing that the colonel’s widow opens her own door to get into the car after the service. While this would likely go unnoticed in 2016, it was nearly unheard of fifty years ago for a woman to open her own car door, let alone a grieving widow. One should be impressed by both Bond’s manners and his observational abilities.
After confronting Bouvar’s “widow” and beating the living daylights (or just the life) out of the hairy-legged SPECTRE operative, Bond is chased out of the room by Bouvar’s armed guards. Luckily, he was prepared for just the situation with a Bell Rocket Belt, known popularly as a “jet pack”.
The jet pack carries Bond a short distance away (as the Bell Rocket Belt could fly for no longer than 21 seconds) and safely deposits him on the street below, where he hops into his trusty silver birch Aston Martin DB5 and employs both the bulletproof rear shield and a powerful water hose to keep his potential killers at bay.
How to Get the Look
James Bond dresses warmly and comfortably, never knowing if his funeral will turn into a fistfight with a man in a dress requiring a hasty airborne getaway. Most of his situations should be approached with this in mind.
- Dark gray flannel tailored suit:
- Single-breasted 2-button jacket with slim notch lapels, welted breast pocket, straight jetted hip pockets, 4-button cuffs, and ventless back
- Single-breasted 6-button waistcoat with four welted pockets and straight-cut bottom
- Double forward-pleated trousers with 3-button “Daks top” side adjusters, on-seam side pockets, no back pockets, and turn-ups/cuffed bottoms
- Sky blue poplin dress shirt with spread collar, front placket, and turnback cuffs
- Black grenadine silk tie
- Black leather slip-on low boots
- Black dress socks
- Brown-and-tan herringbone tweed knee-length topcoat with single-breasted concealed-fly front, notch lapels, flapped hip pockets, plain cuffs, and single rear vent
- Olive brown felt Lock & Co. Hatters short-brimmed trilby
Do Yourself a Favor and…
Check out the movie.
“Bond dresses warmly and comfortably, never knowing if his funeral will turn into a fistfight with a man in a dress requiring a hasty airborne getaway. Most situations should be approached with this in mind.” – very witty! 🙂
“Bond ends a date early by taking this particular conquest to the funeral of a sworn enemy.”
Does this work in real life as well?
I would make an educated guess that there’s a 50/50 success rate.