(00)7 of James Bond’s Casual Staples

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Though James Bond is best known for dressing up in suits and black tie, he’s also typically well-dressed in his casual clothing. Considering today’s casual society as well as the ease of action in non-tailored clothes, Bond’s casual clothes have seen more consideration and been more prominent in the Daniel Craig era. Craig’s casual clothes take many cues from what Sean Connery wears in his Bond films, showing that casual clothes from 50 years ago can still be fashionable today. In between Connery and Craig there have been experiments with other casual styles, but the best items remain staples of Bond’s wardrobe.

1. Polo Shirt

Polo shirts, also known as golf shirts or tennis shirts, are timeless and a staple of Bond’s weekend wear, in short sleeves for warm weather and long sleeves for cold weather. The first polo of the Bond series appears in the first Bond film Dr. No, and it’s a light blue pique knit cotton short-sleeve shirt with two buttons on the placket. In Goldfinger, Bond brings back the polo in light grey and black and wears them under jumpers. In Thunderball the short-sleeve polo returns again, this time in classic navy blue with a Fred Perry logo. Navy became the standard colour for Bond’s short-sleeve polos, which Daniel Craig would again wear in Casino Royale from Sunspel, Quantum of Solace from Tom Ford and Spectre from Tom Ford. In Quantum of Solace he also wears a short-sleeve polo in black, again from Tom Ford. Craig’s polos in Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace have a small breast pocket.

Thunderball Black

The long-sleeve polo is one of Bond’s casual staples for cool weather. Bond first wears one in black cotton on two occasions in Thunderball for sneaking around at night: at Shrublands in the English country and at Largo’s villa in the Bahamas. This polo has three buttons at the top as opposed to the two buttons on the short-sleeve polo. Timothy Dalton brought back the long sleeve polo in blue in The Living Daylights, and Craig brought it back again in Casino Royale. And for cold weather in Casino Royale, Bond wears a black long-sleeve polo jumper, likely in cashmere.


Live-and-Let-Die-Polo-Neck

2. Polo Neck

The polo neck, also known as the turtleneck or roll neck, is another of Bond’s staple tops, either in the full polo neck or mock polo neck. Every Bond other than Timothy Dalton has worn a polo neck, and it is present in every decade except for the 1990s. The first polo neck that Bond wears is a grey mock polo neck in You Only Live Twice for infiltrating Blofeld’s volcano lair. Bond’s most iconic example is Roger Moore’s black polo neck with a holster worn over it in Live and Let Die. Craig recently returned the polo neck to Bond with full force in Spectre, wearing two mock polo necks and one full polo neck. Like the polo shirt, the polo neck has a rich history with Bond that goes back to the 1960s. Read more about James Bond’s polo necks >


Blue-Gingham-Camp-Shirt

3. Camp Shirt

The camp shirt is a staple of Connery Bond’s casual warm-weather wardrobe. The camp shirt is a straight-cut shirt with a single-piece camp collar, short sleeves, a plain front (no placket) and a straight hem to be worn untucked. Connery wears a number of camp shirts in Thunderball, including shirts in blue gingham, pink gingham, rose linen, royal blue, and butcher stripe. Connery wears more camp shirts in You Only Live Twice and Diamonds Are Forever. Roger Moore also wears camp shirts in his Bond films, including a cream voile shirt and a sage green safari-jacket-detailed shirt in The Man with the Golden Gun.

Almost three decades later, Pierce Brosnan brought the camp shirt back to Bond in Die Another Day. In Cuba he wears a blue floral-printed camp shirt and a more elegant white linen camp shirt that has long sleeves. Daniel Craig has not worn any camp shirts as Bond, but he wears similar shirts that have two-piece collars instead of a single-piece collar. His printed shirt in Madagascar in Casino Royale has all the details of a camp shirt except for the camp collar. Another printed shirt that Bond wears when ‘enjoying death’ in Skyfall is a casual shirt that is meant to be worn untucked, but it again has a two-piece collar, long sleeves rolled up and curved tails. This kind of shirt that has a formal shirt’s collar, long sleeves and tails but in a casual cloth is what is most popular today. Some or all of these details can be applied to Connery’s camp shirts to update them.


Spectre-Matchless-Jacket-Polo

4. Suede Blouson

Since George Lazenby’s brown polyester golfing blouson in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Bond has worn many blousons in a variety of materials. The suede blouson in particular has been a favourite of Bond’s, including a sage green suede blouson and a shearling blouson in For Your Eyes Only and a grey perforated suede blouson in A View to a Kill. Some of them have the traditional banded-knit bottom and others have a more subtle self band at the bottom. Most recently, Spectre brought back the suede blouson with a tan jacket from Matchless London and blue jacket from John Varvatos. Of the two in Spectre, only Matchless calls their jacket a ‘blouson’, and neither are technically blousons because they don’t blouse over the band at the bottom. The traditional banded bottom is a little outdated now, but the suede blouson lives on in spirit and remains a staple of Bond’s casual wear.


Quantum-of-Solace-Cardigan-2

5. Trousers in Light Earth Tones

From taupe to tan, from sand to stone, from buff to beige and from khaki to cream, trousers in light earth tones are essential to Bond’s casual ensembles. Bond’s casual trousers are made from a variety of materials. In warm weather Bond wears chino cotton or linen. In cool weather he wears cavalry twill wool or cotton moleskin.

Though the ubiquitous blue jeans aren’t typically Bond’s style, in Quantum of Solace he wears two pairs of jeans in earth tones. Bond wears the Levi’s 306 STA-PREST jeans in cream with a black polo and in khaki with a black shawl-collar cardigan. These jeans have a more dressed-down and rugged look than chinos, but they are dressier than blue jeans and have the elegance of earth-toned trousers.


Thunderball-Jantzen-Swimming-Trunks

6. Light Blue Swimming Trunks

Light blue is Bond’s colour of choice for swimming trunks since their first appearance in the Bond series in From Russia with Love. The colour of Bond’s light blue trunks was likely chosen to match the colour of the ocean or sea (or bottom of a swimming pool). Bond’s swimming trunks are always trim and short, for less resistance in the water and to show off his fit body. They’re never baggy, as that would slow him down in the water. After From Russia with Love, Bond also wears light blue swimming trunks in Goldfinger, Thunderball (picture above), Casino Royale and Skyfall.


Quantum-of-Solace-Chukka-Boots

7. Brown Suede Chukka Boots

Though suede chukka boots have only been a staple of Bond’s casual wardrobe in Die Another Day and in the Daniel Craig films, they’re a timeless item that goes well with casual clothes in all seasons. Though there are protective sprays, the only limits they have are that they should be avoided in rain and snow. Bond’s chukkas in Casino Royale, from John Lobb, and in Quantum of Solace, from Church’s, are of the dressier variety with Goodyear-welt construction and Dainite® studded rubber soles. In Skyfall and Spectre, Bond wears the more casual type with crepe soles. These are sometimes known as desert boots, particularly when they are unlined. Read more about Bond’s chukka boots >

25 COMMENTS

  1. Matt, isn’t the piece bond wears under the Black/Brown tweed jacket on the pre title of diamonds are forever a long sleeve polo shirts? Can i use this style in a warm weather version using a light weight polo long sleeve in fine cotton or viscose, and a light weight tailored jackets like linen or poplin? Do you think bond could use such an outfit?

  2. Howcome bond never wears everyday wear, like jeans/sweats and a t-shirt? I think that they would be really good alternatives to the numerous amounts of polos he wears. I think that he should have worn a t-shirt with the off-white jeans in Haiti in Quantum of Solace. I would never wear any shirt with a collar in the Caribbean(unless it is a dress shirt for an especially formal occasion, although it’s highly unlikely to happen). Even the turtleneck worn by Roger Moore in Mozambique in Live and Let die was too much in my opinion. I think that Bond could wear t-shirts instead of polos with khakis, jeans, and maybe even sweats when he is not in any company of MI6, and if he is in a place where t-shirts fit the place more than polos. Do you believe so?

    • Hi Rohil
      Without wanting to come across as rude, if you don’t see the joys of Bond’s style and you yourself tend to wear t-shirts and jeans because you put comfort above style, you may be missing the entire point of Matt’s blog.
      I urge you to delve into Matt’s suggestions for warm weather wear, there is a wealth here to digest, and you may find comfort comes where you least expect it.
      I write this having happily spent last week in 35°C heat in Bordeaux in linen jackets and trousers… you don’t need to sacrifice style for comfort if you plan your wardrobe well. In fact I have always found denim jeans very cloying in most temperatures and I only wear them for manual tasks if ever.
      My advice to you is be brave, you have Spaiser’s help and OO7’s example to guide you.

      Good luck!

      Palko

      PS: Having typed all this I expect Matt has done an article on Bond in t-shirts and jeans as surely Dalton went there!

    • Contrary to what you do, I haven’t worn jeans or a shirt without a collar in close to a decade, even in hot and tropical conditions. Some people just don’t like to dress that casually.

      James Bond as a character has a few core aspects that makes Bond Bond. He’s the best agent in the service, he’s a womaniser, an alcoholic, a gambler, and he’s well dress. If you were to take away these things, especially the last one, you’ll be taking away the things that makes Bond who he is. Everyone in the world dresses down, but we can be sure that Bond will dress up.

    • T-shirts started out as UNDERWEAR and then became part of the slobbification of the world. Bond is supposed to represent traditional British elegance, at least as the character was conceived for the screen. I hope I don’t live to see the next incarnation of Bond wear a t-shirt ANYWHERE!

    • Timothy,
      I agree with everything you said, with the caveat that Bond is FUNCTIONING alcoholic – you don’t save the world as many times as he has without being able to function, setting aside his Olympian virility!

    • Bond’s white t-shirts with dark jumpers and cardigans in Casino Royale looked quite nice for a casual outfit, but the v neck he wore in For Your Eyes Only made him look like my dad after scuba diving.

      The one time he wore dark jeans, it was in a combat situation and keeping in line the novels.

    • Dent,

      What exactly is wrong with looking like a dad, especially one who scuba dives?

    • Nothing at all – my dad’s a good man and a great role model, and one who’s always dressed for comfort over style.

      My point was that I wouldn’t want Bond to start wearing t-shirts on a regular basis if that’s the first thing that comes to mind.

    • Pretty sure Daniel Craig wears jeans and a t shirt when he runs off with Vesper. First when they are together in a boat in Venice, and then again after she drowned when he is in a boat on his laptop. Might not be jeans, but definitely a blue t shirt.

  3. I only said sweats because I think that the actor could wear sweats that look like jeans or khakis because they are a lot easier to do stunts and intense action scenes in rather than khakis or jeans. What does Bond have against t-shirts? Is it also a “british convention” to almost never wear t-shirts just like it is to wear black shoes with almost every suit? And I think Bond would actually love to trade in a polo for a t-shirt.

  4. As it probably will never happen again I must say that I totally agree with Dan Ippolito. Bond wearing a t-shirt is a NO-GO and would be a SHAME!

  5. T shirts, sloppy clothing and the like are anathema for Bond although Dalton and then Craig have veered too much in this direction. It’s a matter of “horses for courses” as fine tailoring would not be compatible with, for example, an action hero played by Bruce Willis. Those wanting to watch such a character have plenty to choose from and the character most of the followers of this blog admire shouldn’t be altered in such a way. It’s simply inappropriate.

  6. Nice summary, Matt. And all good examples of great casual wear.

    And, if I didn’t know better, I would think that Rohil is trolling this blog.

  7. T-shirts and sweat pants on James Bond….NEVER!!!

    Ian Fleming created a character based off himself and Fleming although a little quirky in his dressing sense (i.e. Moccasins with suits) he was always dressed well and that is a cornerstone for the James Bond character. That cornerstone has remained mainly intact throughout the 50 years of James Bond on film with a few anomalies throughout the decades (Timothy Dalton era).

    I agree with most of the gentlemen in the comments that Bond would look out of place wearing a t-shirt or sweat pants.

    Rohil, nobody on this blog is ridiculing your dressing sense; and honestly each person has their own unique way of dressing. However, James Bond would never wear a t-shirt and sweats. It’s not meant for this particular character.

    I recommend leaving the t-shirts and sweat pants for University students cramming for exams. I am 24 and because of watching the James Bond series and Cary Grant pictures from a young age of 4, I learned that art of dressing well; therefore, t-shirt and sweats are a big no no in my book. So, when it is hot outside, I take inspiration for Mr. Fleming and wear half sleeves shirts with my suits or just half sleeve shirts with a nice trouser and a silk knit tie.

  8. Skyfall shows us the only occasion that I could possibly imagine James Bond in sweats, which is also their intended purpose– he wears them while working out. Apart from that sweats have no place in Bond films.
    I must admit that I am a fan of Craig’s casualwear. Even when he wears bluejeans, which for Bond is somewhat controversial, it’s in a combat scenario and they’re dressed up with a polo and suede chukkas. In fact I’ll go out on a limb and say that generally speaking Craig’s casual clothes have been more consistently successful than his tailoring has.

  9. To everyone, I have only said t-shirts and sweats because I live in California, and T-shirts are what I wear 98% of the time, and pretty much everyone else does as well. Anything more than the California Tuxedo is a big rarity here, unless you work in Los Angeles or San Francisco. Also, Matt, you might want to review Daniel Craig’s casual clothing in a Top Gear special “50 years of Bond Cars”. I have the link down below, and fast forward to 2:34 in the video which is where you will see Daniel Craig. And Maybe you can review Daniel Craig’s suits in a Jimmy Kimmel live special and also a stephen colbert special, both of which I think are Skyfall O’Connors.

    Top Gear:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2YMg91ptDEQ

    Jimmy Kimmel
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mW1WLVnmCjE

    Stephen Colbert:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sV7d-hO0s60

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