When Dr. No introduces the world to 007, he is enjoying an evening in a casino while wearing a midnight blue shawl-collar dinner suit (or tuxedo). That outfit immediately set the tone for Bond style, establishing the well-dressed spy and his iconic wardrobe in a single scene. It’s my favorite look in the entire movie and this post highlights ways you can recreate the iconic look.
I want to start with a huge thanks to Matt Spaiser for his excellent post on Bond Suits about the Dr. No dinner suit here. I referred to his article a lot during this project. Because Matt has already covered it in amazing detail, I’m not going to go into too much detail about the dinner suit here. I’ll just cover the outfit’s main features:
The Dinner Suit
The jacket is a one-button, shawl-collar design made from a wool and mohair blend in midnight blue. It features straight, jetted hip pockets, a welt breast pocket, double vents, and four cuff buttons with a silk satin gauntlet cuff. The trousers feature double forward pleats, “DAKS Top” 3-button side-adjusters, tapered legs and plain cuffs.
The Shirt and Bow Tie
The shirt is a white cotton voile with a spread collar, pleated front and double (or French) cuffs, while the bow tie is a black silk satin diamond-point batwing bowtie.
The shoes are either patent leather or high-gloss cap toe oxfords.
Bond wears a simple folded white linen pocket square in his dinner jacket’s breast pocket. He closes his cuffs with gold square cufflinks with rounded edges.
Unfortunately, it’s difficult to find a good budget-friendly dinner suit that’ll give you the same look. A lot of contemporary off-the-rack shawl-collar tuxedoes come with flap pockets instead of jetted pockets and two-button closures instead of the traditional one button. So understanding that “budget-friendly” and “dinner suits” don’t really go together, I’ve found two made-to-order options that will help you capture the look of the Dr. No dinner suit—you’ll just have to wait a few weeks to get them.
The Dinner Suit
This Indochino tuxedo is the least expensive option I could find that’s anywhere near the look of the Dr. No dinner suit. It’s made from a midnight blue wool-cashmere blend although it’s fabric weight is 320 GSM, making it a heavyweight option best suited to cooler climates and seasons. You’re also going to have to customize your jacket and trousers before you buy in order to get it closer to the Dr. No dinner suit. Just hit the “Customize Now” button and select: roped shoulder, shawl collar, one-button closure, no pocket flaps, two vents and side tabs. The original trousers had a double forward pleat but that isn’t an option here, so just go ahead and pick whatever style trousers you prefer. You can’t get the jacket made with gauntlet cuffs but otherwise this combination is a good option for the Dr. No dinner suit.
In a lot of ways, this dinner suit from Mason & Sons is the closest you can get to getting Connery’s shawl-collar dinner suit from Dr. No. The jacket is a midnight blue shawl-collar single breast design with a one-button closure and features natural shoulders with roped sleeve heads, straight jetted hip pockets, a welt breast pocket, double vents and four functional cuff buttons – the only thing missing are the gauntlet cuffs. The trousers have flat fronts, side adjusters and plain fronts, instead of the double forward pleats of Connery’s original.
What makes this dinner suit truly special is that Mason & Sons have designed it based on the original Dr. No dinner suit by Anthony Sinclair. This is as close as you’ll get to the original dinner suit.
I’ve chosen this shirt from Mason & Sons for its resemblance to the original shirt worn by Connery. The original shirt had a spread collar, French cuffs, and seven pleats on each side of the placket. Pleated dress shirts are not terribly common on off-the-rack shirts but this option has pleats along with the right style collar and cuffs.
The Bow Tie
This is the least expensive diamond-point self-tie bow tie I was able to find. It’s made of English silk satin and has a solid 4.5 of 5 stars – a couple of reviews mention the stitching as less than perfect, but the consensus is that it’s a good bow tie for the price.
If you’re getting the dinner suit and shirt from Mason & Sons, go for the hat trick and get the bow tie from them, too. It’s handmade in England from 100% silk – it’s the kind of bow tie that will elevate any ensemble.
Made from high-shine black Italian leather, these shoes from Charles Tyrwhitt are the perfect footwear for a dinner suit. They’re missing the cap toe design seen in Dr. No, but they’re still a great high-quality option.
As a vegan, I always try to find a good vegan alternative to leather shoes because they’re the products I personally shop for. I have two pairs of vegan leather shoes from Will’s Vegan Store and have been very pleased with the quality of both. These high-shine black shoes are made from Italian vegan leather created using cereal crops. They’re missing the cap toe design but they’re a great option if you want something budget friendly and/or vegan.
There’s no reason to spend a lot of money on something when you can avoid it, and this is one of those times when you can avoid it. Save your money and go for this inexpensive pocket square option from Tie Bar – I’ve had one for years without any complaints.
If you want to get some genuine gold cufflinks for your dinner suit, head to a jeweler where you can verify authenticity. If you want something that looks close enough and won’t set you back a few hundred dollars, these cufflinks will do the trick.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this look at contemporary options for the Dr. No dinner suit – my favorite look from the movie. As always, let me know what you think of my selections in the comments below or over on Instagram (@bondonabudget).