Favorite Menswear Quotes

Let’s hear what figures in history have to say about menswear.  Here are some of our favorite quotes.

“I’ve never wanted to be in fashion. Because if you’re in fashion, you’re going to be out of fashion.”
– Ralph Lauren

“The man who, as is often said, can get away with wearing a trench coat over his dinner jacket, or an old school tie for a belt, is the one who in fact understands best the rules of proper dress and can bend them to suit his own personality and requirements.”
– G. Bruce Boyer

“A well-tied tie is the first serious step in life.”
– Oscar Wilde

“Being perfectly well-dressed gives one a tranquility that no religion can bestow.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

“To attain style in dress, you must look perfectly happy and relaxed in your clothes which must appear part of you rather than a wardrobe you have just donned.”
– Hardy Amies

“Every generation laughs at the old fashions, but follows religiously the new.”
– Henry David Thoreau

“I can go all over the world with just three outfits: a blue blazer and gray flannel pants, a gray flannel suit, and black tie.”
– Pierre Cardin

“Putting on a beautifully designed suit elevates my spirit, extols my sense of self, and helps define me as a man to whom details matter.”
– Gay Talese

“Style is when they’re running you out of town and you make it look like you’re leading the parade.”
– William Battie

“Looking good isn’t self-importance; it’s self-respect.”
– Charles Hix

“Clothes and manners do not make the man; but when he is made, they greatly improve his appearance.”
– Arthur Ashe

“Do the clothes suit you? Do the clothes suit the occasion? Do the clothes suit each other?”
– Richard Plourde

“The boor covers himself, the rich man or the fool adorns himself, and the elegant man gets dressed.”
– Honoré de Balzac

“To adapt a phrase from Le Corbusier, the suit is a machine for living in, close-fitting but comfortable armour, constantly revised and reinvented to be, literally, well suited for modern daily life.”
– Cally Blackman

“A man should look as if he had bought his clothes with intelligence, put them on with care, and then forgotten all about them.”
– Hardy Amies

“Menswear is about subtlety. It’s about good style and good taste.”
– Alexander McQueen

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Women’s Menswear

Ties, and menswear in general, have recently been showing a up a lot on the fashion show circuit on female models, much to the delight of fashion bloggers everywhere.  To be sure, this isn’t a new thing.  Women wearing modern men’s suits and clothes was seen as early as the late Victorian era, frequently as a playful, fetching, even libidinous and flirtatious way of advertising a product or service of some sort.

Or, you know, taking part in one of the largest conflicts in human history.

Or, you know, advertising taking part in one of the largest conflicts in human history.

As the 20th century wore on, though, wearing men’s clothes became more a matter of practicality, or a statement of intent: women as equal to men.

YOU tell Ms. Earhart she has to spend 20 hours crammed into a tiny plane while wearing a frilly dress.  We're sure that will go over well.

YOU tell Ms. Earhart she has to spend 20 hours crammed into a tiny plane while wearing a frilly dress. We’re sure that will go over well.

The androgynous styles of the 1920s, in particular, had done a great deal to get women out of overly elaborate, excessively, artificially “feminine” dresses.  And then World War II featured more women in military roles than ever before, further cementing the notion that women in traditionally “masculine” clothing was not odd, nor was it necessarily “masculine.”

Meet Cpl. Barbara Lauwers, an OSS agent for two years during World War II, who even managed to impress General William "Wild Bill" Donovan with her marksmanship, to say nothing of her hand-crafted psyops campaigns.

Meet Cpl. Barbara Lauwers, an OSS agent for two years during World War II, who even managed to impress General William “Wild Bill” Donovan himself with her marksmanship, to say nothing of her hand-crafted psyops campaigns.

After the war, though, notions of “traditional” femininity came roaring back with a vengeance, mostly banishing women in menswear to the fringes once again.  What changed since then?  Well, the ’60s happened, for one, and then there was a certain character who epitomized quirky cuteness and unique fashion sense while appearing in one of the most well-regarded films of the ’70s…

This one.

This one.

Yep, Diane Keaton’s turn as the eponymous Annie Hall did more to cement what was traditionally “menswear” as viable women’s fashion than arguably anything else in recent history.  Echoes of her unusual sense of style were still showing up as late as the 2000s on characters like Sarah Jessica Parker’s “so-feminine-she-bleeds-pink” Carrie Bradshaw from “Sex and the City.”

Annie Hall wouldn't have been caught dead in those shoes, though...

Annie Hall wouldn’t have been caught dead in those shoes, though…

For whatever reason, though the trend has been looming for decades, and has been showing up sporadically in films and music throughout that time, women in menswear didn’t really become a “thing” until about two years ago.  Since then, it’s exploded all over the fashion world, and is slowly appearing more and more on the streets of major cities, a sure sign that this is an actual trend in the making, and not just another “thing fashion designers like for a while.”

Don’t believe us?  Check out the following gallery and judge for yourself.  We are big fans of the look, and we really hope it’s here to stay!

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Presidential Fashion

We couldn’t help but notice, being the sartorial-minded people we are, when, a few months ago, the White House released the new official portraits of President Obama and Vice President Biden.  You see, whenever a new term starts, new photos are taken for the government.  Why did we notice?  Because of the suits, of course!  Obama went from this in 2009…

:|

😐

To this in 2013…

:D

😀

Besides the obvious, 2009 Obama being grimmer and darker-haired than his cheery, greying 2013 counterpart, the subtle differences stand out.  The tie stayed mostly blue, but the pattern completely changed.  The color of the suit shifted from black to navy.  The lapels ever so slightly widened.  Why?  Presidents doubtless make concessions for the fashions of the day, but some personal quirks assuredly come into the equation, as well.  We can only wonder about Obama’s sartorial choices, and we have to remember that a U.S. President, “Leader of the Free World,” and everything that comes with it, has to look dignified and reserved above all else.  We’re probably not going to see a pink tie or a purple undershirt here…

Biden changed a bit more between terms, going from the red and reserved 2009 version…

VP Biden: Portrait shoot by Andrew "Andy" Cutraro. 459 EEOB Studio

Black, red and white…

To pinstripes galore in 2013…

vpjoe2

Why were they both floating in limbo in the 2009 pics, anyway?

Clearly, Biden is the more sartorially adventurous of the two, but fundamentally, POTUSes and VPs have to stay period-appropriate and as reserved as a priest on Sunday.  Which makes some of the previous Presidents’ outfits so hilariously inappropriate and garish today.  Especially Gerald Ford.  Extra, extra ’70s, that one.

So, let’s take a quick look back at how some of the Presidents fared in the fashion department, and how their looks hold up today.

Revenge of the English Shooting Jacket

Here’s something that you may be surprised to see us talking about.  Although, anyone familiar with this blog over the past two years wouldn’t be at all surprised to see us talking about this after we spent multiple pages discussing the history of golf clothes!  Today, we want to talk about that stalwart of the Anglosphere, the English shooting jacket, or coat, if you prefer.

"I'll call it what I want."

“I’ll call it what I want.”

We’ve gone over the history of suits and some of their variations in the past. What’s relevant here is that by the 1800s, the modern “suit” had reached a point where you can easily trace all of the modern variations from it.  Its basic lines were very similar to the lines of today.  But, hilariously, the most common variations of suit jackets, the sport coats, have their origins in English military and hunting culture.  The blazer goes back to the H.M.S. Blazer, and its crew’s attempt in 1837 to impress Queen Victoria, who would be making a surprise visit, on the fly, resulting in a modified uniform that eventually became the blazer.  Meanwhile, the hacking jacket and shooting jackets, slightly more formal in lines than the blazer, birthed the basic sport coat that we think of now.  But, in England especially, the hacking jacket, made of wool or tweed with a single vent for horseback riding, and the shooting jacket, typified by a leather patch on the front shoulder to prevent wear from the butt of a weapon, and also made of wool or tweed, never completely gave way to the modern sport coat, and are still worn to hunt and ride.

241px-1901_Sartorial_Arts_Journal_Fashion_Plate_Men's_Norfolk_Jacket

Norfolk stylin’.

The shooting jacket started life as the Norfolk jacket, a belted, single-breasted jacket with box pleats and a belt.  It was designed specifically so that it would not bind when the elbow was raised by the wearer to fire their weapon, and became popular during the 1860s in the Prince of Wales’ personal circle of hunting pals, eventually spreading to the general populace, as these things often do.  Its basic lines can still be found in military and police uniforms around the world, but it’s rarely seen as a shooting jacket in its own right anymore.

shooteruplandih0Over time, the shooting jacket evolved into what we see today: a jacket similar in lines to other sport coats, but made with a shoulder patch to absorb weapon recoil, and made of stronger materials to withstand rain, burrs and shotgun scorching.  The materials chosen, wool and tweed, are for just that, to withstand the elements.  The lines are what we would, in the present, consider “formal,” because that was the fashion of the Victorian Era that birthed it: formality in all occasions, even the informal.  It is, in many ways, simply a more utilitarian suit jacket.  Larger buttons on the pockets are there to keep them closed, even while running at a clip, so that items won’t fall out, the elbows are fitted for the wearer to allow for easy raising of the arms to aim and shoot, without disrupting the wear of the jacket, et cetera.

While style didn’t truly enter into the equation when they first came into being, now, shooting jackets are a style statement in their own right.  Modern hunters frequently wear clothes designed purely for function, that are sometimes beyond unattractive…

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So, some people, including in the US, where the shooting jacket never truly caught on, are going back to the wool and tweed jackets of yore, to hunt in style.

To that end, we’ve jumped into the fray, making our own English shooting jacket for the express purpose of having it auctioned off at a Naples, FL wine festival.  Made of a thick wool tweed with intricate detailing throughout, with upper shoulder and chest patches for resting the gun, and to receive the recoil of a long arm.  The elbow patches are a stylish touch, and also for durability when shooting.  There’s extra tension in the elbow region when positioning oneself to shoot, an inverted pleat down the back, patch pocketing, and a half-belt along the back waist, all adding to the unique look and style of the jacket.  We’re really proud of this one, so take a look at it below!  Hopefully, our minor contribution can help these lovely jackets get a new foothold in the hearts of hunters and shooters in the US.

Bond, James Bond, Part 4: Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig (1995-Present)

It’s time to wrap up our four-part Bond retrospective in honor of the 50th anniversary of the James Bond films with a look at the two most recent actors to take on the role: Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig.

After the disappointing performance of “License to Kill,” the Bond franchise went into a bit of a hibernation period. There were briefly plans to do a third film with Timothy Dalton, tentatively called “The Property of a Lady.” However, serious legal issues going all the way back to 1961 and the rights to “Thunderball” finally came to a head, effectively killing the project. By the time the ball started rolling again, Dalton was no longer interested in the role. Pierce Brosnan, who had come within an inch of being Bond in 1987, was called up once again, and eagerly jumped at the chance in 1994, and began to film the first of his outings, 1995’s “GoldenEye,” named for Ian Fleming’s old Jamaican home.

Not pictured: giant doomsday laser cannon to hold the United Nations hostage.

Not pictured: giant doomsday laser cannon to hold the United Nations hostage.

By this point, the Bond series had fallen into a sort of dated, formulaic pattern, punctuated by strangely campy moments that seemed both out of touch with modern audiences’ tastes, as well as Fleming’s original stories.

You think?

You think?

Also, in the interim, the Cold War had ended, ending the main dynamic the Bond films had centered on: the espionage-heavy era of an undeclared war fought in secret over decades.  Suddenly, the world was a lot more peaceful, as well as a lot more complicated.  And so it was decided that for this new Bond film, all of the old mistakes and stagnation would be jettisoned, including the wardrobe, starting completely from scratch.  Enter Lindy Hemming.

Hemming, at that point best known for her work on “Four Weddings and a Funeral,” was a huge fan of Bond in her own right, having actually written her college thesis on Bond’s film wardrobe!  The film’s producers wanted her for the job of Costume Designer almost immediately, and decided early on that unlike in earlier films, which featured a cornucopia of people making decisions on Bond’s clothing, only Hemming would be making decisions, making Bond’s entire wardrobe the product of one person’s taste.

That hair really is impressive...

That hair really is impressive…

The increased production quality for the series created a new hurdle.  In earlier films, there was frequently only one copy of each suit for the film.  Now, up to FIFTY suits would be necessary for the action scenes, for the sake of continuity.  There was absolutely no way any of the small firms on Saville Row would be able to keep up.  So Hemming turned to Italian firm Brioni, who had offered to give 50 suits to the production for free.  The quality is certainly different.  Brioni’s suits are tailor-made, but they are not bespoke.  The day of the bespoke Bond was officially over, thanks to the needs of the modern action film.  But c’est la vie, Bond must go on!

Now that that's taken care of, where's did I park my invisible spy car?

Now that that’s taken care of, where’s did I park my invisible spy car?

For all four Brosnan Bond films, Hemming settled on a system for dressing Brosnan, based around carefully planned and coordinated outfits.  She is fond of unusual color combinations, like blue and brown with charcoal accents.  She also is fond of three-piece suits, and of using the classic Brioni straight shoulder to good effect.

Charcoal-Windowpane-4Charcoal-Windowpane-3Blue-Brown_Navy-Birdseye-SuitsIn 1997’s “Tomorrow Never Dies,” (originally titled “Tomorrow Never Lies,” which makes far more sense, but that’s another blog…) Hemming kept the same style, but added in an unusual 1930s touch to Bond’s dinner suit from early in the Hamburg portion of the film.  Five buttons in a V-formation on the vest, strong shoulders and wide lapels are unusual indeed for a 1997 dinner suit.

TNDDInnerSuit

Also in the film, a very interestingly atypical bronze tie/blue suit combo, with an overcoat matching the tie rather than the suit!

TNDOvercoat2

Continuing into 1999’s “The World is Not Enough,” Brosnan’s look remained fairly consistent, which the major exception being one of the black-on-black suits Brosnan wears in his outings, a Cheviot tweed suit in charcoal, appropriate considering the character had just attended a funeral…

CheviotTweed…And a herringbone linen suit worn near the end of the film in Istanbul, which is absolutely bonkers for the dark tone of the scenes it appears in.  A three-button fronted, four-button cuffed, with tan chorizo buttons, the suit otherwise has the typical Brioni lines.

TWINE Linen 1Finally for Brosnan, in 2002’s “Die Another Day,” his wardrobe stays the course, including the same one-button midnight blue peak lapel jacket that both the Brosnan and Craig Bonds pretty much always wear to formal engagements.

Die-Another-Day-Dinner-SuitWell…  There was one out-of-nowhere outfit in “Die Another Day”…

BlueFloral…But the less said about that, the better.

At this point, Brosnan retired from the series under slightly mysterious and acrimonious circumstances.  Once again, life in the meantime had a way of influencing the direction the films would go next.  The Jason Bourne series had effectively one-upped the bloated Bond franchise, showing a much more gritty and realistic look at espionage.  And 2005’s “Batman Begins” showed that taking even the most iconic of characters deadly seriously could work wonders.  The Bond producers chose Daniel Craig for the role of James Bond, deciding a very different-looking (blond!) actor was necessary for what would essentially be a reboot of the series.

Behind the camera, however, the cast of characters remained mostly the same, including Lindy Hemming.  But while she may have carried her basic sensibility with her, both Craig’s look and the gritty and deadly-realistic portrayal of the character he brought to the role invariably took Bond in a more rumpled, informal direction.

CRBlackShirt2

How YOU doin’?

However, 2006’s “Casino Royale” and 2008’s “Quantum of Solace” did provide plenty of opportunities for Bond to look his best in-between all the dressed-down action.  Case in point, this great worsted wool suit in a subtle plaid of charcoal grey and navy blue.

CharBlue SuitOr the now-iconic perfectly tailored dinner suit from “Casino Royale’s” poker scenes.
CR Dinner Jacket 2

Or, for that matter, an amazingly perfect, but updated, copy of Sean Connery’s dinner suit from “Dr. No.”

QoSDinnerSuit

And this slick charcoal suit from “Quantum of Solace.”

QOSCharcoal

The Hollywood Writers’ Strike of 2008 threw a lot of the industry out of whack, and it took a few years for the Bond film series to get back on track, just in time for the 50th anniversary of “Dr. No” (and this blog!), with 2012’s “Skyfall.”

With “Skyfall,” a new costume designer was on board, Jany Temime, and Craig had gotten, somehow, even craggier and more gritty-looking in the meantime!  Temime decided to go with Tom Ford on suits, and to bring back the more basic color scheme of the earlier Bond films, likely as part of the “everything old is new again” direction of the film in general.  This includes this number, a glen plaid in mid grey and black.

Skyfall-Glen-Urquhart-Suit She also added a true British icon to the film’s climax, the waxed cotton Barbour jacket…

Barbour

And, of course, the dinner suit for the film, a dark navy Tom Ford O’Connor outfit, very tightly fitted and a tad too short, deliberately, apparently, Temime said she was going for an “iconic for 2012” look.

Skyfall-Dinner-Suit

In short, the lines and lapels of the suits in the film were very ’60s, but the cuts and the fits were very modern.

And with that, we’ve caught up to the present.  What does the future hold for everyone’s favorite bespoke superspy?  Well, another film, for starters, already in pre-production, supposedly with Craig still on board.  But whoever is holding the “shaken, not stirred” martinis, there are two things we can always count on: he will be dressed in gorgeous, tailored suits, and he will save the world in them.

With an equally bespoke Lord Voldemort always at his side.

With an equally bespoke Lord Voldemort always at his side.

A Brief History of the Super Bowl

As huge football fans, we here at Joseph’s Custom Clothiers excitedly watched yesterday’s Super Bowl XLVII.  It turned out to be another great game, even with the half hour-long power outage!  Congratulations are, of course, due to the Baltimore Ravens on their stunning win!

And their epic confetti angels.

And their epic confetti angels.

This 47th iteration of the Super Bowl marks a special point for the NFL.  There has officially been a Super Bowl at the end of the majority of NFL seasons now.  For 46 years, there was an NFL with no Super Bowl, something that’s almost impossible to think of now!  After 47 years of the “Big Game,” it’s easy to take the over-the-top spectacle of the event for granted.  It feels like there’s always been a Super Bowl, and that they’ve always been these huge meta events.  Of course, that’s far from the truth.  Last year, we posted a blog entry about the history of Super Bowl halftime shows, and how they went from Up With People and college marching bands to Madonna and Black Eyed Peas and massive pyrotechnic displays.  But that’s just scratching the surface of the changes…

Going all the way back, the Super Bowl was created for a very specific reason: competition.  From the NFL’s founding in 1920 up until the 1960s, there simply wasn’t another football league that could compete with the NFL’s total dominance of the sport in North America.  Any league that tried was either shuttered, or absorbed into the NFL.  But then along came the American Football League, or AFL, in 1960, who, instead of just trying to be another football league, tried new and unique rule changes and quirks to make themselves a legitimate companion league to the NFL.  The NFL and the AFL clashed mightily for six years, before finally deciding that the endless battling for players and fans was just hurting both of their bottom lines, and that they would both be better served by merging.  Combining the 16-team NFL with the 10-team AFL would take some time, though, and so a special championship game was created, to be played between the champions of both leagues, in order to get the public familiar with the idea of the two sets of teams competing directly until the actual merger in 1970.

The first Super Bowl was played at the end of the 1966 Season, between the NFL champion Green Bay Packers, and the AFL champion Kansas City Chiefs.  It wasn’t known as the Super Bowl at first.  It was officially the “First AFL-NFL World Championship Game.”  That…  Doesn’t really roll off the tongue.

500px-Super_Bowl_I_Logo

Or lend itself to stunningly attractive logo design…

But in a letter to NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle, the Chiefs’ owner Lamar Hunt wrote, “I have kiddingly called it the ‘Super Bowl,’ which obviously can be improved upon.”  The media, for obvious reasons, liked this name a lot better, and by the third game at the end of the 1968 Season, it had become official.  Hilariously, Rozelle’s first choice for an official name was “The Big One.”

Over the years, the growth of the Super Bowl from a relatively minor, even ignored sports event to the multimedia juggernaut of today is truly staggering.

Super Bowls have gone from this…

blogSpanTo this!

020313_sbusa1Super Bowl halftime shows have gone from this…

Pictured: $4,000 worth of entertainment.

To this!

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Super Bowl cheerleaders have gone from this…

1971-cheerleaderTo this!

super-bowl-xxvi-cowboys-cheerleaderSuper Bowl rings have gone from this…

Super-Bowl-ITo this!

Super-Bowl-XLVSuper Bowl fans have gone from this…

jets-fans2To this!

130203194447-fans-op6p-26163-mid-single-image-cutAnd Super Bowl winners have gone from this…

09000d5d8184d551_gallery_600To this!

gty_ravens_won_kb_130203_wblogBigger!  Bolder!  Louder!  Everything about the game, from top to bottom, has grown in leaps and bounds over the years.  The first Super Bowl couldn’t even sell out the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, with $12 tickets.  Current tickets are usually well into the four-digit range for the nosebleeds, and are sold out far in advance.

In many ways, the Super Bowl’s gradual explosion in popularity can be attributed to two people.  One was Bill Walsh, who popularized the West Coast Offense with the 49ers in the ’80s, and turned what was before a slower, more defensive-minded game into a much more fast-paced and exciting sport, which appealed far more to the masses.  The other person was Joe Namath.

130124135002-03-super-bowl-namath-single-image-cut

This guy.

His famous “guarantee” that the Jets would defeat the overwhelmingly favored Colts in Super Bowl III brought enormous attention to the game on its own.  The fact that he and the Jets actually pulled it off was so shocking, it completely changed the way people thought about the AFL teams, which became the core of the new AFC, and the way people thought of the Super Bowl.  People started watching because of “Broadway” Joe.

Some quirks about the game that have coalesced over the years…

  • Super Bowl Sunday, practically a national holiday in its own right, is the second biggest grilling day of the year after Independence Day.
  • 1.23 billion chicken wings are consumed on Super Bowl Sunday.
  • 49.2 million cases of beer are drunk on Super Bowl Sunday.
  • Last year’s Super Bowl XLVI was not only the most watched Super Bowl of the 47, it was the most watched broadcast in US history, with approximately 111.3 million viewers.  What’s more, of the top 10 rated broadcasts in US history, nine of them are Super Bowls (the tenth was the last episode of “M*A*S*H”).
  • 30-second Super Bowl ads cost $3.8 million a piece this year.
  • The Pittsburgh Steelers have the most Super Bowl wins, with 6, and are tied with the Dallas Cowboys for most appearances in a Super Bowl, with 8 each.
  • The Pittsburgh Steelers versus the Dallas Cowboys is the most common Super Bowl matchup, having been the focus of three Super Bowls (X, XIII, XXX)
  • The Buffalo Bills have the ignominious honor of having both the most consecutive appearances in a Super Bowl, with 4 (XXV, XXVI, XXVII, XXVIII), as well as being tied for the most Super Bowl losses, namely those 4 games.  The Minnesota Vikings and New England Patriots have also lost 4 Super Bowls, but not in a row!  The Bills also hold the record for committing the most turnovers in a Super Bowl, with 9 in Super Bowl XXVII.
  • Joe Montana was named Super Bowl MVP more than anyone else, 3 out of his 4 Super Bowl appearances (XVI, XIX, XXIV).
  • The Mercedes-Benz Superdome has hosted the Super Bowl more times than any other stadium, 7 times.
  • The oldest person to play in a Super Bowl was Colts kicker Matt Stover in Super Bowl XLIV, who was 42 years, 11 days old at the time.
  • The biggest blowout in super Bowl history was the 49ers’ 55-10 victory over the Broncos in Super Bowl XXIV.
  • The closest game in Super Bowl history was the Giants’ 20-19 victory over the Bills in Super Bowl XXV.
  • While teams have won back-to-back Super Bowls 8 times, no one has ever won 3-in-a-row.
  • Only 4 of the NFL’s 32 teams have never been in a Super Bowl, the Cleveland Browns, the Detroit Lions, the Houston Texans and the Jacksonville Jaguars.
  • No team has ever come back from being down by more than 10 points in a Super Bowl and won the game.
  • The most points scored by in one Super Bowl was in Super Bowl XXIX, when the 49ers and Chargers scored 75 points combined.
  • The most attended Super Bowl was the 103,985 attendance of Super Bowl XIV, thanks to the massive capacity of the Rose Bowl.
  • There has never been a shutout in the Super Bowl.
  • There has never been a Super Bowl that went into overtime.
  • 14 of the league’s 32 teams have yet to win a Super Bowl.
  • The home team alternates year-to-year between the two Conferences, with the AFC team being the home team in odd-numbered Super Bowls, and vice versa for the NFC team.
  • No team has ever played the Super Bowl in its home stadium.
  • The NFC team won every single Super Bowl from Super Bowl XIX to Super Bowl XXXI.

Bond, James Bond, Part 3: Roger Moore and Timothy Dalton (1973-1989)

It’s been several weeks, but it’s time to come back to James Bond style!

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Sigh… Are we SURE the world didn’t end last month?

When we last left off, Sean Connery had just come back to the world of James Bond for one more go with the poorly-received “Diamonds are Forever.”  He had absolutely no intention of ever coming back to the role, at least at that point, and the producers took him at his word.  Lazenby was back in Australia modelling, and the series desperately needed a shot of newness to get it back on track after such a disappointing entry.  They went with someone who had come very close to getting the role back in 1962, Roger Moore.

Moore was, unlike Connery and Lazenby, already an established actor in his own right before coming to the Bond franchise.  What’s more, he had a pre-existing history as a jet-setting fictional spy, in th guise of Simon Templar of “The Saint,” a long-running BBC series based on a novel series of the same name.  In essence, he was bringing an entire espionage-appropriate wardrobe with him to the role!

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With optional halo accessory.

Moore was cut from a cloth more similar to Lazenby rather than Connery.  Simply put, Moore was pretty.  He didn’t have the rough-hewn edges that Connery had, or even the boyish ruggedness that Lazenby possessed.  Instead, Moore was prim, proper, and elegant.  The Conduit Cut that had worked so well for a decade simply didn’t suit him.  Instead, Moore went with his existing tailors at Cyril Castle in Mayfair.  They had made the suits he had worn to great effect throughout his work on “The Saint,” and made similar suits for Moore’s first Bond outing, “Live and Let Die,” albeit with some slightly more 1970s lines and colors.

070102-moore-cyrilcastleIn a nod to his predecessors, Moore kept the distinctive turnback cuff shirts that Connery and Lazenby had worn, at least at first.  Unfortunately, those only survived through Moore’s first two films, 1973’s “Live and Let Die,” and 1974’s “The Man with the Golden Gun.”  In addition, there was a much more relaxed sense to Moore’s Bond, with more sports jackets and slacks than suits.

This is a great look still, even with the '70s lapels...

This is a great look still, even with the ’70s lapels…

...The '70s plaid, not so much.

…The ’70s plaid, not so much.

The first two Moore outings were unabashedly ’70s: minimalistic, car-focused and roughly filmed.  Bond had come a long way away from the glamor of the ’60s films.  They both performed poorly at the box office, and an extended absence was initiated, while the series returned to form.  In 1977, Moore starred in “The Spy Who Loved Me,” a gargantuan, world-spanning production that also featured a much more formal set of clothes for Bond.  The full trappings of the late ’70s showed up here…

A midnight blue double-breasted dinner jacket with big, wide lapels...

A midnight blue double-breasted dinner jacket with big, wide lapels…

A tan cotton sports jacket with a canvassed front, complete with shoulder epaulette straps, taking us right into jungle adventurer territory...

A tan cotton sports jacket with a canvassed front, complete with shoulder epaulette straps, taking us right into jungle adventurer territory…

“The Spy Who Loved Me” remains the most popular of Moore’s Bond films, and 1979’s “Moonraker,” the highest grossing of his films, which had the same styles, along with some terrifying space-themed clothing…

Big lapels, flared bottoms, big big big '70s...

Big lapels, flared bottoms, big big big ’70s…

...And Bond by way of Ronald McDonald?

…And Bond by way of Ronald McDonald?

…So the styles that showed up here stayed associated with Moore’s Bond well after the fact.  But here is where there was a serious change.  Moore had, shall we say, some tax issues back in the United Kingdom, starting in 1978.  He moved the the South of France in the interim, and could no longer make regular visits to Mayfair.

The timing of the forced change in style was fortuitous, as after the over-the-top entries of the ’70s, the series was about to take a sharp turn back into seriousness with 1981’s “For Your Eyes Only.”  Moore sought out a tailor who was willing to come to his home in France: Douglas Hayward.  Hayward already had a reputation as a tailor to the stars, as evidenced by his beautiful suits for Michael Caine, Laurence Olivier and Peter Sellers.  His more subtle, subdued approach engineered a look for Bond that was so timeless, it lasted all the way into the ’90s, and doesn’t look particularly dated even today.

Typical of the style, with soft, natural shoulders and roped sleeveheads.  The lapels are back to normal now...

Typical of the style, with soft, natural shoulders and roped sleeveheads. The lapels are back to normal now…

A notched-lapel dinner suit that still looks good today...

A notched-lapel dinner suit that still looks good today…

This continued through Moore’s last two films, 1983’s “Octopussy” and 1985’s “A View to a Kill.”

Pinstripes show up a lot during this period, as well.

Pinstripes show up a lot during this period, as well.

After “A View to a Kill,” Moore was simply too old to keep doing the films, so the search for a new Bond was on.  This switch in actors was easily the most tumultuous of the entire series, and ended with Pierce Brosnan, then of “Remington Steele,” getting the role…  He was forced to turn it down, much to his horror, because of his commitment to “Remington Steele” (the same reason we have Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones instead of Tom Selleck, due to “Magnum, P.I.”).  The producers were left scrambling, and settled on sort of dark horse choice in the form of Timothy Dalton, who had been approached back in 1969 for the role, but felt himself too young at the time.  Dalton was a big fan of the Fleming novels, and wanted to take the character back to brutal basics.  His two installments, 1987’s “The Living Daylights,” and 1989’s controversially violent “License to Kill,” remain some of the darkest, grimmest entries in the series.  His wardrobe took a similar tack.

Hayward left the series with Moore, with whom he remained close friends until his death in 2008.  Exactly who made the suits for the Dalton films is a bit of a melange, and was the result of the work of several different tailors.  In the first half of “The Living Daylights,” Dalton dons several different Benjamin Simon suits.

This simple number is arguably the most perfectly fitting suit in the entire SERIES...

This simple number is arguably the most perfectly fitting suit in the entire SERIES…

A beige gaberdine suit from the film's Tunisia sequences....

A beige gaberdine suit from the film’s Tunisia sequences….

A classic three-piece pinstriped suit for Bond's time at MI6 in the film.

A classic three-piece pinstriped suit for Bond’s time at MI6 in the film.

After around five of these, things go downhill from a sartorial perspective, and don’t come back up until 1995!  Bond goes downright casual from here on, a reflection of the film’s chaotic, gritty tone, but also, apparently, Dalton’s discomfort with formal wear.  It works in “The Living Daylights.”  Terrifyingly, Dalton had to reign in the producers on “License to Kill.”  The film centers on drug trafficking in Florida, the Caribbean and Central America.  “Miami Vice” was popular at the time.  You can probably guess where we’re going with this…

Ahh!  Kill it!  Kill it with fire!

Ahh! Kill it! Kill it with fire!

Of Jodie Tillen, costume designer on “License to Kill,” Dalton had words…

“She wanted to put me in pastels.  Can you imagine?  I thought, ‘No, we can’t have that.’  The clothes say so much about Bond.  He’s got a naval background, so he needs a strong, simple color, like dark blue.” – Timothy Dalton, 1989

While that disaster was averted, the film’s plot, featuring a renegade Bond out for revenge in the tropics, kept Dalton out of suits for nearly the entire film, excepting the horrendous “best man” suit he dons in the pre-title sequence (probably deliberately hideous), and a very, very average tux he wears to a casino midway through the film.  It looks like a rental, which, again, makes sense in the context of the story (Bond has no resources, and is operating on his own and without a plan), but it’s still quite unfortunate to not get to see the finery we associate with the character in one of his films.

Oh, James, what have they done to you?

Oh, James, what have they done to you?

Like we said, this sad state of affairs would not be corrected until 1995.  Why so long?  Well, that’s a story for next time, when we go into our fourth and final entry into our exploration of Bond’s wardrobe.  Until next time!