Sean Connery as James Bond, British government agent and legendary lothario
London, Spring 1963
Film: From Russia With Love
Release Date: October 10, 1963
Director: Terence Young
Costume Designer: Jocelyn Rickards
Tailor: Anthony Sinclair
Bond: Suppose when she meets me in the flesh, I don’t come up to expectations?
M: Just see that you do.
Most office meetings don’t involve a boss slyly encouraging an employee to have sex at all costs (at least, nowhere that I’ve worked), but that’s the world of James Bond for you. Bond attends this somewhat salacious briefing while wearing an intersection of Ian Fleming’s vision for James Bond and the classic image established by Terence Young, Anthony Sinclair, and Sean Connery for the early films in the series.
What’d He Wear?
In honor of Ian Fleming’s birthday this coming Saturday, BAMF Style is breaking down the first blue suit worn by Sean Connery’s 007 as Fleming himself typically dressed James Bond in a navy worsted wool suit. The dark navy suit in From Russia With Love also appears to be worsted, possibly in a softer and warmer flannel than the tropical-weight wool often specified for the literary Bond.
Anthony Sinclair tailored this “Conduit cut” suit in the same manner of Connery’s other suits for From Russia With Love, which all featured the same tailoring and style points save for differing back vents on the jackets. This film’s elegant and timeless suits are some of my favorites both from the Bond franchise and from movies in general… it’s no wonder that M has little doubt that Bond will be able to complete his, er, mission with Tatiana Romanova.
The single-breasted jacket has a low two-button stance that Sinclair incorporated into his From Russia With Love suits. The lower stance still emphasizes Connery’s tall, lean figure while his athleticism is reflected in the slightly suppressed waist and by Connery’s own naturally broad shoulders as Sinclair depised padding his suit shoulders. Each sleeve ends with 4-button cuffs.
The front of the jacket is styled with fashionably slim lapels, flapped hip pockets, and a welted breast pocket accented by his usual folded white linen pocket square. The wild card of Sinclair’s From Russia With Love suits is the vent situation; this navy suit has a single vent in the back.
Connery’s trousers have the usual double forward pleats and three-button tab “Daks top” side adjusters found on all of his early Sinclair-tailored pants. The waistband closes with an extended square tab in the front and the legs taper down to the cuffed bottoms. When Bond enters the office, he has his left hand tucked into the trousers’ side pocket.
The jacket and trousers of this suit also make a brief appearance in the preceding scene, slumped over the seats in Bond’s Bentley when he’s forced to cut short his morning of punting with Sylvia Trench.
While Fleming would have dressed his Bond in a white shirt and black knit tie, Connery wears the “uniform” of early Bond – a pale blue Turnbull & Asser poplin shirt and navy grenadine tie. The shirt has a spread collar, front placket, and two-button turnback “cocktail” cuffs. This was clearly a decision influenced more by director Terence Young than Ian Fleming, who preferred the less fashionable short-sleeve shirts with his suits.
The woven grenadine silk tie is tied into a small and tight four-in-hand knot. The navy tie is just a shade lighter than the suit; this would be reversed in You Only Live Twice when Connery’s Bond wears a navy suit and slightly darker navy tie to Osato’s office.
Bond’s shoes are the same black leather plain-toe derby shoes that Connery wears throughout From Russia With Love with three lace eyelets at the top of a cutaway, V-shaped front. The dark dress socks are likely a dark navy to continue the leg line from the trousers.
He doesn’t appear to be wearing a watch in this scene. Instead, his sole accessory is the dark olive Lock & Co. short-brimmed felt trilby that he tosses onto Moneypenny’s hat stand.
Matt Spaiser also wrote a post about this suit on his excellent blog The Suits of James Bond.
Go Big or Go Home
This scene finds James Bond receiving his first actual Q branch-issued gadget, and it’s one of the more accessible and practical ones of the series. As was the case for early Bond, the filmmakers took their cue right from Fleming’s text, which called for a “smart-looking bag” from “the careful handiwork for Swaine and Adeney”. As James Bond Lifestyle investigated, From Russia With Love indeed uses a Swaine Adeney attaché case on screen in the form of a black leather briefcase with red skiver lining, measuring 18″ x 13″ x 4.5″.
As Q describes:
An ordinary black leather case with rounds of ammunition, here and here. If you take the top off, you’ll find the ammunition inside. In the side here, flat throwing knife. Press that button there, and out she comes. Inside the case, you’ll find an AR folding sniper’s rifle, .25 caliber, with an infrared telescopic sight. If you pull out these straps, inside are fifty gold sovereigns in either side. Now, watch very carefully. An ordinary tin of talcum powder. Inside, a tear-gas cartridge. That goes in the case against the side here, like that. It’s magnetized, so it won’t fall. Shut the case. Normally, to open a case like that, you move the catches to the side. If you do, the cartridge will explode… in your face. To stop the cartridge exploding, turn the catches horizontally… then open normally.
If you’ve got £1995 (or about $3500) handy, you can go big or go home with James Bond’s briefcase in your hand; Swaine Adeney Brigg still offers the ARE18DP case on their site. Bond himself is quite impressed:
That’s a nasty little Christmas present.
How to Get the Look
Bond’s all blue outfit in the office blends the visions of both Ian Fleming and Terence Young to give our super spy a sharp and refreshing look.
- Dark navy blue worsted wool “Conduit Cut” suit tailored by Anthony Sinclair, consisting of:
- Single-breasted suit jacket with a low 2-button stance, slim notch lapels, welted breast pocket, flapped hip pockets, 4-button cuffs, and a long single rear vent
- 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
- Dark navy dress socks
- Olive brown felt Lock & Co. Hatters short-brimmed trilby with a narrow dark brown grosgrain band
- White linen folded pocket square
Do Yourself a Favor and…
Check out the movie.
Once more unto the breach, dear friends.
I just realized that this is the third post in a row where I’ve featured a navy blue suit… time to shake things up!