An Ode To The Style of James Bond
There are few fictional male characters who possess all the traditional alpha male qualities of James Bond. No matter which actor has played him in the past fifty or so years, the trope is the same. He’s smart, and always outsmarts his adversaries. He’s socially adept and simultaneously mysterious. He’s in top physical condition, is exceptionally handsome and well-dressed, and is deadly when he needs to be. Women love him and men want to be him. With the release of No Time To Die, Daniel Craig’s final film as Agent 007, we penned an ode to the style of James Bond.
007 – Classic British Tailoring
As James Bond is a British character, it should come as no surprise that his look is rooted in the Savile Row tradition. It’s a fun exercise to note the subtle differences in the character’s style, particularly as as product of the tera in which he lived. Though Bond’s look was always rooted in classic style with accents of timeliness here and there, he was never a slave to fashion. Such behavior wouldn’t befit a man with Bond’s confidence, no?
Sean Connery (1962-1967, 1971)
We wrote about Sean Connery shortly after he passed away. The first James Bond in film, he was strikingly handsome, tall, and wore his clothes extremely well. The cut of his suits was perfectly of the moment in the early-to-mid 1960’s. His lapels and ties were skinny, and he single-handedly put the cocktail cuff shirt on the map. Also called a “turnback” cuff, this is a fun substitute for a French cuff and we’ve made a few for customers over the years.
Sean Connery’s 007 is also famous for the romper scene in Goldfinger. You may remember back in 2017 that the men’s romper had it’s fifteen minutes of fashion fame. While the garment was largely maligned (and a lot of the marketing around it invited this treatment, to be fair), it was an example of there being nothing new under the sun. Connery wore a terry cloth romper in the film – would we do the same? Probably not. Did Connery look bad – or worse, ridiculous – in his? We don’t think so.
George Lazenby (1969)
1969’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service was Mr. Lazenby’s only film as Bond. Though not as dashing as Sean Connery, he was still a well-dressed 007. Looking at him in this three-piece country suit, we have visual evidence of the times, straddling the 1960’s and the 1970’s. The tie, you’ll note, looks pretty slim – not mod skinny, but slim. The lapels on his jacket, on the other hand, are looking forward to the 1970’s in their width. They’re starting to get wider than they were in the 60’s, and you can see that on Lazenby’s jacket.
Though it’s era-agnostic, it’s also worth noting his aptitude for pattern and color coordination. The suit and vest are a brown base, which is perfect for his dark brown hair and eyes. They have a large, textured windowpane, which syncs wonderfully with the small check in the shirt. It’s a variation on a theme that uses scale as its aesthetic grounding – same thing, different sizes. This is a key pattern-mixing technique.
The pinkie ring is arguably flashy, but a handsome touch nonetheless.
Roger Moore (1973-1985)
Roger Moore’s Bond straddled decades and, therefore, various aesthetic preferences in the menswear zeitgeist. With that said, we commend his personal style for being relatively timeless. Though he nodded to the era with some of the details of his kit, he never veered so far into fashion (that is, away from style) that he looked extremely dated.
His earliest Bond film was Live and Let Die in 1973. We can see in the accompanying photo that while his lapels weren’t comically wide as they often were in the seventies, he sported a bolder, more pronounced shirt collar with longer points and a thicker band. The stitching on his sport jacket – a single-needle stitch inset at what looks to be an aggressive 1/2″ – was typical of 1970’s sportswear.
Looking at his last film as Bond, 1985’s A View To Kill, we can see that the shirt collar has calmed down and, in our opinion, balances his face a bit better. The fit of his jacket is reminiscent of a brief time in the mid-80’s when men’s suiting was in a sweet spot between the 1970’s tightness and exaggeration, and the late 80’s-early 90’s’ bagginess and big shoulder pads. His was a well-dressed Bond for sure.
Timothy Dalton (1987-1989)
Portaying Bond in The Living Daylights and Licence to Kill, Dalton’s style was 1980’s done well. The shoulders of his suits were strong, and his overall style was more or less understated. At not point did he approach a baggy look like we saw in the late eighties and early nineties (which has made its way back, by the way).
Pierce Brosnan (1995-2002)
Millennials will remember Pierce Brosnan as the Bond from their childhood. As many of us played Goldeneye on Nintendo 64 as saw the movie itself. Though well-tailored for its time, we can see Mr. Brosnan’s jackets have the wide shoulders we remember from the 1990’s – a dubious distinction under normal circumstances, but again, Brosnan’s Bond had a good tailor and it’s not so egregious that it doesn’t work.
Daniel Craig (2006-2021)
The 21st-century 007, Daniel Craig’s take on the secret agent’s look was much more aggressive in terms of fit. This is unsurprising given the time – 2006 was about the time that fashion began to value everything slim, skinny, and snug, and we are only now beginning to swing away from that.
Craig’s suits and tuxes are very typical of the 2010’s – snug jackets with lots of waist suppression, tapered sleeves, and and an overall shorter length. He shows a lot of shirt cuff, and his pants look nearly painted on. Craig is in great shape and clearly uses an excellent tailor (and wisely selects Scabal cloth, of course), so he can pull this look off easily. Don’t try this at home without hitting the gym first.
Achieving James Bond’s Look
It’s not difficult to look good when you have access to a competent tailor. Curious to make yourself look a little more like Bond? We can point you in the right direction. Give us a call at 215-310-0219 or email email@example.com to get started.