After seeing the trailers a few more times I did start to like the look of it. My initial biases began to diminish.
– Article by Daniel Gaster.
Stage is set
James Bond is seen wearing this Massimo Alba suit in No Time to Die in Matera Italy, during what looks like a holiday with Madeleine Swann. He wears this with a blue buttoned collar shirt, believed to be by Brunello Cucinelli, an Alexander Olch burgundy Avery tie, Albert Thurston dove grey braces and Drake’s Crosby moc-toe chukka boots in a dark brown suede.
Initial thoughts on the Massimo Alba Suit
When I first saw this suit on Bond, I wasn’t certain about it. It was a cord suit, and in my head that wasn’t very fashionable for the current time it made me think of the 70’s. After seeing the trailers a few more times I did start to like the look of it. What also helped was to watch David Zaritsky’s review of the suit (which is now directly linked from the Massimo Alba page for the Sloop Suit) to really determine if this was something for me.
Read our interview with Massimo Alba and his involvement with James Bond in the book From Tailors With Love: An Evolution of Menswear Through the Bond Films, available on Amazon.
How it comes
The suit is a Desert colour needlecord (baby corduroy) material. The jacket is unstructured without lining, has a 3 roll 2 button front, a ‘barchetta’ shaped chest pocket, 2 straight flapped pockets on the front and a flapped ticket pocket on the right side, double vents, and a working 4-button cuff.
The trousers are flat front, straight slim legged with 2 side pockets, 2 buttoned rear pockets and 6 belt loops. They arrive unfinished so that you can choose how to have them hemmed and without brace buttons.
It arrived simply wrapped in brown paper inside a brown cardboard box with the Massimo Alba logo and a globe image. Inside the box the suit is folded and wrapped in some more brown paper. My suit didn’t come with either a hanger or a suit cover.
For me I’ve had the trousers tailored with a straight leg, without the turn ups and I’ve had brace buttons put in as well. I’ve also had the jacket arms shortened; my local tailor couldn’t do this from the crown (where the arm meets the shoulder) so have shortened from the cuff.
Ideally, I would have taken a 48 jacket and 50 trousers, I’m a 40-inch chest and a 33-inch waist (trousers size). For that reason, I was hoping to get the suit in a 48 and hope the trousers would fit. As I was uncertain, I decided to order a pair of Massimo Alba Trousers from Mr Porter to see if I could get away with the 48.
I ordered a pair of Navy Winch 2 trousers in corduroy (not the subtle needlecord) to check my sizing, they were also in the sale. The 48 were very slightly too tight, but the 50 fitted me well and are comfortable around my waist. But I did have to have the legs taken up a little.
The waiting game
However, when I went to purchase the suit, it was no longer available. I had waited too long, and now it was gone. I emailed their customer services asking if the size would be available again? It was, and I was put onto a list for when it would be made available once more. Sometime later I was informed that the suit was available and was sent a PayPal link to make payment.
Although I think the size 48 jacket would have been a better fit for me, I’ve not had the 50-jacket taken in. It is supposed to be a relaxed fit suit. My tailor also suggested that I didn’t, at least not yet, as the suit would start to form around me with wear. Just like wearing in a pair of shoes. So at least I still have the option of doing it later.
A different feeling
In some ways I don’t think of this as a suit, it feels so informal and relaxed. It doesn’t give me the feeling you get that makes you stand up straight when you’re in a suit. That’s because it is an unstructured jacket, it just feels like another layer that you add over a shirt or t-shirt. The closest I’ve had prior to this is a linen suit. However, with that I still had some structure to it.
It does however make me feel smart still, I can dress up with a shirt or even a tie if I so choose, but I can dress it down with a polo. I have worn both pieces separately as well, wearing the jacket with jeans and the trousers with just a shirt. Something I don’t normally do with a suit.
Although this is a different feeling, it doesn’t mean I don’t like the way this feels. It feels very different to any other suit I have; it doesn’t make me stand up straight and tighten up my posture. This allows me to relax, for me it would be something to take on holiday and relax in. Would I wear this for work in an office? Maybe in the summer on a dress down day.
The suit is made of the same needlecord as the Rain 2 duster coat and is incredibly soft to the touch. It is very comfortable to wear and does work well in the summer heat, having sat in a pub garden for 4 hours with a friend for a long overdue catchup. I didn’t feel too hot in the suit, no more than if I was wearing a linen suit.
To complete the look
I did have the tailor put in the brace buttons that came with the Albert Thurston dove grey braces. This was so I could complete the look with the Alexander Olch burgundy Avery tie that I also have.
The shirt, well that sold out a long time back, and to be honest I’m not much of a fan of the button-down collar. So maybe not the complete look, as I don’t have the boots either. I do have the Church’s Ryder 3 in a dark brown suede which are a similar colour, and I wear these with the suit almost exclusively.
Mostly I will wear a belt with these trousers and not the braces. This is because I feel with belt loops on show, they need to be filled with a belt. The only time I don’t wear a belt with trousers with belt loops is if I’m wearing a waistcoat with them, as it breaks the lines with the buckle.
When I was looking to buy this suit, I had several thoughts in mind. Would it suit me? Would I wear it out?
The other was that this is a £850-900 suit, compared to the TOM FORD suits that are £3000-4000, this was an actual James Bond suit that I’d be able to save up for and purchase! I think I was only partially right in the last thought. Yes, it is a James Bond suit, which is more affordable than a TOM FORD suits that he wears. But this isn’t a suit that you would wear like other suits.
For me this is like a linen suit, you wear it on holidays or in warm conditions. It’s smart casual and not smart, even dressed up with a tie it is still smart casual. At least it is in my mind. I do really like this suit. I will be wearing it a lot more over the rest of the summer.
Daniel Craig says,
In an interview with James King for the official James Bond 007 Podcast, Craig mentioned,
In the costume department we have tailors and people who are just stitching and creating clothes. A lot of the clothes are made and plus the fact that I have a suit that’s involved in an action sequence. I need 20 or 25 of them because each one has to be broken down.
You know I start the scene in a nice pristine suit, then I get shot and then I get blown up and then I get blown away and so we have to have each stage of the suit so then they all have to work [..] I’ll have other ones that are slightly larger so I can fit pads underneath them. It’s amazing when you go to the costume department on a Bond movie, it’s a hive of activity. You know, people working incredibly hard. The costumes go on forever.
UPDATE MARCH 2023 (Q&A)
I was just rereading your review of the Sloop suit on FTWL and I have a question. How does the sizing compare to Tom Ford? Should I take the same size? In TF I take a IT56r, but I have an opportunity to get the Sloop in a size IT54r? IS it going to be too small?
Thanks for reading my reviews.
I’ve taken the 50 in both TF and MA.
The suit jacket is not as fitted, but it is a relaxed unstructured jacket.
If I’d have gone down a size the trousers would not have fitted me.
My suggestion is to get the same size as your TF, but you may want to consider getting the jacket tailored. The trousers come unfinished so you’ll need to get them hemmed.