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DRESSED TO KILL

Posted on October 05 2017

Sean Connery’s wardrobe for the first 007 movie, Dr No, defined Bond style, and is as relevant today as it was 55 years ago. The man responsible for creating the look was the film’s director, Terence Young, who was tasked with polishing the edges of the rough-diamond Scottish actor, to prepare him for the lead role.

Terence Young on the set of Dr No with Ursula Andress and Sean Connery

The film, which had its premiere at the London Pavilion on October 5th, 1962, was produced on a low budget, and given that it predated the concepts of brand sponsorship and product placement, expenditure on the star’s costume was limited. To complete Connery’s transformation, Young took him to his personal tailor, Anthony Sinclair, who created a small collection of clothes that could take a gentleman anywhere.

Anthony Sinclair transforms Sean Connery into James Bond

Bond’s original capsule wardrobe comprised of three Sinclair “Conduit Cut” suits, together with a serge blazer and flannels, a selection of “Cocktail Cuff” shirts (designed by Michael Fish), and a small number of essential accessories. However, the outfit that set the blueprint for Bond’s timeless look was, somewhat appropriately, the midnight-blue shawl-collar evening suit by Anthony Sinclair that Connery wears in his opening scene.

Sean Connery defining 007's effortless sense of style

Sinclair’s masterpiece looks bold and impenetrable, yet relaxed and comfortable – very much like the character who is wearing it. The suit is matched with a pearl-buttoned soft-pleated dinner shirt, diamond-tip bow tie, engine-turned gold cufflinks, and neatly folded, white, linen pocket square. The look is detailed but simple, confident without being brash, considered rather than contrived - it defines the epitome of sartorial elegance.

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Following Bond’s suitably attired screen introduction, he is summoned to M’s office to be briefed on his next mission. He wears a classic Anthony Sinclair single-breasted velvet-collared Chesterfield coat over his dinner suit. It became a staple item for 007’s wardrobe, being the perfect piece of outerwear to pair with formal suits and eveningwear.

The Chesterfield coat is perfect for both day and night-time adventure

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The need for an overcoat suggests that the weather may have been chilly in London at the time, thus explaining why Bond rushes to the airport for his flight to Jamaica wearing a charcoal flannel suit. The soft, warm hand of flannel cloth limits its use to the colder months, although it is a joy to wear and something that every gentleman should have in his wardrobe. Worn with a sky-blue cocktail-cuff shirt and navy grenadine tie, Connery still manages to look cool on arriving in a hot climate.

The Conduit Cut suit occasionally attracts unwanted attention

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Anthony Sinclair

For his first meeting in Jamaica, Bond changes into a lighter-weight suit. It is tailored from a mid-grey Glen Urquhart (or Prince of Wales) check cloth, which was to become a favoured design for Connery’s clothing during his time as 007. The Four Season fabric is cleverly, and economically, coordinated with the same blue shirt, tie and pocket square that had been worn with the flannel suit.

Prince of Wales check: a signature style for Connery's Bond 

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Anthony Sinclair

To complete the set of 007 suits for all seasons, the third Sinclair two-piece is cut in a mid-grey lightweight wool/mohair blended cloth. Mohair fabrics are generally more crease-resistant than their equivalent weights in pure wool, making them popular for delivering a sharp look to dinner suits and summer tailoring. The luxurious, silky fibre adds a distinctive sheen and iridescence to jackets and trousers. Bond correctly keeps the look simple with a white cocktail-cuff shirt, and black grenadine tie.

Mohair performs brilliantly in sticky situations

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Anthony Sinclair

Finally, for more relaxed encounters, another of the secret agent’s sartorial staples is revealed… his blazer. Other than the midnight-blue dinner suit from Bond’s opening scene, this example of bespoke finery is probably the most memorable article of clothing from the original 007 film. Made from dark-navy serge, with patch pockets and swelled edges, the final flourish is the addition of gun-metal buttons – with only two on the cuff… a small reminder (having illustrated such a comprehensive wardrobe from a small number of pieces) that less, is more.

James Bond proves that you can do more with less

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