Uncategorized — March 23, 2011 at 11:26 pm

Dressing for Success: The Suit [Wardrobe Wednesday]

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Until recently I have only owned one suit. A noticeably dated suit to anyone that follows men’s fashion closely. A Perry Ellis suit with a 4-button jacket.

In order to make a great change in a particular area of your life, it is often helpful to model your goal following someone that you feel embodies it very well.  In my case, I feel that a lot can be learned from observing the suits worn by sean connery playing James Bond, particularly in the first five films in the series. If you took him out of those films and dropped him into a boardroom or brokerage firm today, you would look at him and say two things: “Hey, that guy looks like a young Sean Connery!” and “That is a really sharp dresser.”  You would probably never notice that his clothes was designed 50 years ago.

This is because he chooses classic style that remains stylish throughout the ages. This is a concept talked about in Dressing the Man by Alan Flusser.

What distinguishes his look in these early movies:

  1. The suits are bespoke. They are custom made for him by Saville Row Tailors. This sounds like a very expensive choice (note there is a difference between “Made to Measure” and “Bespoke”, in short a “Bespoke” suit is designed for you, your height your build, the template is unlike that of any other suit. In a “made to measure or MTM suit, it is an existing design that is just adjusted for your measurements.) The take away note here is to be sure to get a suit that is flattering for your particular build, and have it adjusted to you by a tailor. Every of the wrack suit will need to be adjusted. I also plan to try a MTM suit from indochino later this year, and will report back on my results.
  2. Although there is alot of variety in the details of his suits, the typical details are: double vented, flap pockets, two button, notch lapels with four button cuffs and roped sleeve heads. Pants are usually reverse pleated (what would now be considered “normal” pleats), slight break, with dak tops. In Dr. No He does not wear cuffed pant legs, but he does in the subsequent films (I am sure I will be corrected on this by someone).  But cuffed pant legs should be mostly determined by your height and preference.
  3. Color is very conservative by design. Suits are usually navy, medium gray (sometimes with a very subtle pattern), or charcoal. Shirts are white, light blue or cream. Neckties are navy or black grenadine ties. Shoes are usually black.
  4. The one notable wardrobe choice that stands out (which I completely intend to copy) is his tendency to wear shirts with turnback cuffs.

I have purchased a new suit for a great price from Saks Off 5th (their Outlet store) during a special 40% off event, and am quite happy with my purchase. It is being adjusted for me at the tailor right now. I hope to report on a future Wardrobe Wednesday the results of those alterations, along with my experiences ordering from a few MTM outfits online (in both suits and shirts)

I would like to thank Matt Spaiser for the incredible detail and thought he puts into all his posts on his blog: The Suits of James Bond. Without your incredibly sharp eye for clothes, I could never have discerned this much about Mr. Connery’s wardrobe.

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