How to Carry in a Suit (Without Ruining the Lines)

How to Carry in a Suit (Without Ruining the Lines)

“He opened a drawer and took out a light chamois leather holster and slipped it over his left shoulder so that it hung about three inches below his armpit. He then took from under his shirts in another drawer a very flat .25 Beretta automatic with a skeleton grip, extracted the clip and the single round in the barrel and whipped the action to and fro several times, finally pulling the trigger on the empty chamber. He charged the weapon again, loaded it, put up the safety catch, and dropped it into the shallow pocket of the shoulder holster.” -Casino Royale, 1953

Emulating Bond is an exercise in creating functional equipment and attire from things in cinema. Thankfully, James Bond does not have to wear a cape, cowl, and utility belt like Batman to be as well prepared as the Caped Crusader. Whether its his trusted PPK, a blade or a laser built into his watch—007 is well equipped, but doesn’t sacrifice his wardrobe in the process.

This is honestly what makes Bond so appealing as a character. He’s incredibly capable, while being well dressed. There’s no costuming—he just fits elegantly into his environment while being prepared for whatever comes his way. But how can we do this? Based on tailoring preferences, and jacket styles, you will have to adapt your carry in order to effectively keep your kit standard, keep it concealed, and most importantly—not ruin the lines of the suit.

Connery’s “Conduit Cut”

How to Carry in a Suit (Without Ruining the Lines)
My homage to Fleming’s Bond, with the Goldfinger touch of a tie slide, this one being the “James” from Benson & Clegg, as seen in No Time to Die.

I do my best with many of my suits to emulate Connery’s conduit cut in the body of my jackets. Anthony Sinclair’s signature cut allows for a complementary profile and easy of movement simultaneously. Here is a more detailed breakdown of the Conduit Cut, from Mason & Sons, now owners of the Anthony Sinclair label (something they are doing a magnificent job with I should add):

“The coat was cut for ease of movement, with a degree of chest drape and generous sleeves topped with signature roping. The waist was nipped, ensuring that the buttoned-up coat remained close and neat, and the flared skirt over the hips balanced the shape (styling cues undoubtedly taken from the hacking jacket – a garment more than familiar to Sinclair’s sporting gentlemen).

The hourglass shape created by Anthony Sinclair suited the athletic physiques of the military men. It was a style distinctly at odds with the boxy, double-breasted suits popular at the time, and became fondly referred to as the “Conduit Cut”, after Sinclair’s Mayfair premises at 29 Conduit Street.”

If you are a fan of the conduit cut like me, and keep your jackets cut to reflect the spirit of this style, a shoulder holster is a perfect companion. The light amount of chest drape gives the holster the material required to melt under the jacket while still keeping the jacket fitted properly to the body. To me, this is the most important point. I’m 5’ 10”, 140lbs, and a 36R jacket. A coat that is cut too straight looks very off the rack and ill fitting. So from a fashion standpoint, being able to have a well cut jacket helps me feel like I am wearing my clothes rather than the other way around.

How to Carry in a Suit (Without Ruining the Lines)The other reason why this matters is that a widely cut jacket to me can be a clue that someone might be attempting to conceal something. For example, cheap private security at events, stadiums, or even the mall, you can easily ID who they are, and what they are likely concealing. That’s a huge problem. The entire point of concealed carry is the first word—concealed. Bond stays safe even while undercover because he is able to keep his Walther PPK concealed and accessible. The conduit cut gives you the freedom of motion needed to carry, draw, and fire a handgun without losing out on a good fitting suit.

But what if you love the look and feel of the Craig era, particularly Spectre? The very fitted jackets in that film are not suited for a shoulder holster. With their near second-skin cut, you’d see the perfect outline of the handgun underneath it—which is hardly something I would call “concealed.”

Carrying Like Craig

How to Carry in a Suit (Without Ruining the Lines)
My homage to my favorite look from Spectre. This is a summer staple in my wardrobe.

I’m a huge fan of the style in Spectre. Craig looks the business from start to finish. While I would like to see the coats cut even slightly more roomy for Bond’s action filled life, I still find the looks to fit Craig very well. My favorite look from the film has to be when Bond and Madeline arrive at SPECTRE’s headquarters. Bond’s Brunello Cucinelli brown jacket and trousers, combined with suede boots and a lovely knit tie is just a gorgeous combination. I personally love neutrals, especially when they are paired together like this.

In this sequence, we see how Craig’s Bond carries the PPK with his tailoring choices—at the 4 o’clock position, inside the waistband, and with the Vega IB333 suede holster. The 4 o’clock position, while less ideal is a great choice if you prefer a more fitted cut—but I do have a caveat to this.

It is my personal recommendation to invest exclusively in single vented jackets if you wish to make the 4 o’clock position your carry placement while suiting up. I make this recommendation because a double vent leaves itself vulnerable to exposing the firearm while you go through your daily tasks.

For example, say Bond was carrying this way in Casino Royale as he scopes out the One & Only Ocean club. Recall that he pretends to lace his shoes as he inspects the camera placement. If he was still wearing his coat here (it was double vented incidentally, making it a perfect candidate for this example!) the fabric would’ve casually draped around the handgun as he knelt, keeping it mostly concealed. However, upon rising, the vent would likely catch on the beavertail or grip of the PPK which would prevent it from falling back to its original position, leaving the handgun entirely exposed. I’ve seen this happen to folks in real life—and after watching Spectre and seeing Bond pair a single vented jacket with the four o’clock carry position, it all clicked. The single vent’s central placement prevents this entire scenario from coming into being. Bond is able to keep his firearm concealed, while enjoying a very modern cut of jacket. His style preferences and personal protection remain intact and coexist because of this adjustment away from a shoulder holster.

Parting Thoughts

How to Carry in a Suit (Without Ruining the Lines)
Another summer favorite, this one from No Time to Die.

Regardless of how you choose to wear your suits, you can still carry your handgun with you. Taking the time to think through how you will conceal it, and how effective it will be is critical to your success however. Additionally, be sure to take the time to practice that new carry placement. Dry fire is always your best friend! Pull a Casino Royale (the novel) and also inspect how well the handgun is concealing before you leave. In the introduction I mentioned that the most important thing about carrying in a suit is not ruining the lines.

While that might feel like a point made in jest, it is something I believe to be tantamount. You need to feel comfortable with what you wear. Tailoring helps empower you find the fit that best captures your personal style, and you shouldn’t ever need to sacrifice that level of comfort for the sake of carrying. Because if something doesn’t fit well, and you’re not comfortable, people will notice. They might not know that you are concealing a firearm, but you will stand out in a glaring way all the same. This blog could’ve been all about just dressing like Timothy Dalton in License to Kill, because with that tailoring, a Micro-Uzi could easily be concealed. But that doesn’t work, because the key to blending in, and carrying in public without being noticed is being confident. So don’t adjust your preferred fit of clothing around your gun, but take the time to figure out what method of carry works best with it. Take the time to do draw drills. Inspect the print. Enjoy blending in and do all of the above to return Back in One Piece 007.

2 Comments

  1. Michael E Poplawski
    August 3, 2021

    Very well done overview of carrying in a jacket. You hit on the point of the fit, like a Conduit cut, and how it helps to conceal. The point of single vs double vent is significant. I don’t think I have ever seen this mentioned by anyone else before. Good job. – The Culture of Bond

    Reply
    1. commbond007@gmail.com
      August 8, 2021

      Thank you Michael! I only ever discovered this due to seeing it happen in front of me on multiple occasions. It’s a little thing, but incredibly significant in the long run. Like anything else, it’s all in the details!

      Reply

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