15 Quotes from the James Bond Films About Tailors, Suits and Menswear

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Here are 15 quotes from the James Bond series that Bond says about his clothing, Bond says about other men’s clothing and other characters say about Bond’s clothing.

Dr. No

Dr-No-Savile-Row

1

Felix Leiter: Interesting … where were you measured for this, bud?
James Bond: My tailor. Savile Row.
Leiter: That’s so? Mine’s a guy in Washington.

Sean Connery’s suit was actually from Anthony Sinclair on Conduit Street, which intersects Savile Row. Savile Row is known worldwide for its tailoring whilst Conduit Street—which was historically home to a number of tailors—is not. Sinclair himself said “I make only a Savile Row style”, so Connery’s comment is not entirely false. “Savile Row” is often used as a term to describe traditional English tailoring, though only tailoring firms on the Row should be allowed to call themselves “Savile Row” tailors.

Dr-No-Quite-Suitable

2

James Bond: Am I properly dressed for the occasion?
Sister Lily: Quite suitable.
Bond: Suitable for what?

From Russia with Love

From-Russia-with-Love-Benz

3

James Bond on Benz’s suit: Not mad about his tailor, are you?

Goldfinger

Goldfinger-Meet-me-here

4

M to James Bond: Meet me here at seven. Black tie.

Thunderball

Thunderball-Think-I-had-a-hat

5

James Bond: I think I had a hat when I came in.

Bond did indeed have a hat, but he was wearing it with a completely different outfit when he arrived at the office. The navy blazer Bond was wearing when he arrived in a hurry from the country was too informal for the office, so when he had a chance he changed his clothes to a more appropriate three-piece suit. Who knows what happened to his hat? Perhaps it was misplaced during production and this line was added to account for the error.

Diamonds Are Forever

Diamonds-Are-Forever-Tailor-Hong-Kong

6

James Bond: I know a good tailor in Hong Kong.

Bond mentions this tailor again when he visits Hong Kong in Die Another Day.

Live and Let Die

Live-and-Let-Die-Double-Vents

7

James Bond: That’s fine. You can fit the rest this afternoon.
Tailor: Right, sir.
Bond: Don’t forget the double vents. (The suit jacket was mistakenly made with a single vent.)
[Looking at ties]
Bond: [Picking out the brown tie he dons] This will do nicely. It’s [another tie is] a little frantic, I’ll keep the other three.

Live-and-Let-Die-Ties

The Man with the Golden Gun

The-Man-with-the-Golden-Gun-Humiliated-tailors

8

James Bond: I mean sir, who would pay a million dollars to have me killed?
M: Jealous husbands! Outraged chefs! Humiliated tailors! The list is endless!

Moonraker

Moonraker-Tailors-heart

9

Dr. Holly Goodhead: Have you broken something?
James Bond: Only my tailor’s heart.

Octopussy

Octopussy-Stuck-a-knife

10

James Bond: You wouldn’t have a small piece of thread in that [a coil of rope], would you Q? Somebody seems to have stuck a knife in my wallet.
Q: They missed you? What a pity.

A View to a Kill

A-View-to-a-Kill-Tibbett

11

James Bond, as James St. John Smyth: Well Tibbett, you heard what Miss Jenny Flex said. There is a reception at six.
Sir Godfrey Tibbett, as Bond’s valet: Yes, sir.
Bond: So, I shall be needing a white jacket and a black tie.
Tibbett: Yes, sir.
Bond: And if possible, a clean shirt.
Tibbett: Yes, sir.
Bond: Oh my lord, Tibbett, look at the state of my clothes! How on earth do you pack my bags?
Tibbett: Sorry, sir.
[On tape]
Bond: Oh my lord, what the devil’s wrong with these shoes? It looks as though they were wiped over with an oily rag!
Tibbett: I’m terribly sorry, sir.

The Living Daylights

Living-Daylights-Fancy-Dress-Ball

12

Saunders to James Bond: You’re bloody late. This is a mission, not a fancy-dress ball!

Die Another Day

Die-Another-Day-Send-up-my-tailor

13

James Bond to Mr. Chang: Perhaps you could send up my tailor … and some food.

Casino Royale

Casino-Royale-Suit-disdain

14

Vesper Lynd to James Bond: All right … by the cut of your suit, you went to Oxford or wherever. Naturally you think human beings dress like that. But you wear it with such disdain, my guess is you didn’t come from money, and your school friends never let you forget it.

By the context of Vesper’s line, Bond’s Brioni suit is standing in for a Savile Row suit. But wearing a suit with disdain or contempt is certainly not the way of Fleming’s Bond, who considered the way people dress to be a very important part of their character. By the end of the Casino Royale film, Bond grows to appreciate the suits he wears.

Casino-Royale-I-have-a-dinner-jacket

15

James Bond: I have a dinner jacket.
Vesper Lynd: There are dinner jackets and dinner jackets; this is the latter. And I need you looking like a man who belongs at that table.
Bond: How? … It’s tailored.
Lynd: I sized you up the moment we met.

The latter is a proper dinner jacket, such as the one Bond wears with a single button, peaked lapels, jetted pockets and no vent. The dinner jacket that Bond already has (but not shown on screen) is likely questionable in style, with two or three buttons on the front, notched lapels, flapped pockets and a single vent. In reality, however, it would be very unlikely for Vesper to purchase such a well-fitting dinner jacket for Bond. Bond is correct to question how Vesper got him a tailored jacket, especially on such short notice, and expected it to fit well.

Lines about women’s clothing have been left out, but the great “That’s quite a nice little nothing you’re almost wearing”, from Diamonds Are Forever, and “You get your clothes on … and I’ll buy you an ice cream”, from For Your Eyes Only, deserve honourable mention. If there are any lines left out that you think should have been included, feel free to mention them below.

27 COMMENTS

  1. I’m really enjoying your articles, Matt, since I happened across your site earlier this year, just in time to help me choose my own first dinner suit. I found a black shawl collar, single-button, no vents, although with three buttons on the cuff and not four. Thanks!

  2. Dear Matt,

    As to No. 5: I think the scene in which Bond is wearing the brown suit plays one / some day(s) later. Towards the end of the 00-agents conference M is saying that he will discuss the individual missions separately with each agent. M also changed his clothes in the meantime – at the conference he is wearing a brown suit, in his office with 007 (the marine captain) it’ s a grey suit.

    All the best,
    Renard

    • Moneypenny is dressed the same, though you are right that seven days at the 00 meeting became four days at Bond’s meeting. However, given the urgency of the situation, I hardly believe M would let Bond sit around for three days while nuclear missiles are in hands of SPECTRE.

    • Thunderball is always one of my top Bond films but unfortunately it’s loaded with continuity errors, (changing colour of Bond’s diving masks in the big underwater finale) mostly due to editing if I remember correctly, and I think the clothing blooper mentioned here is just one among them. I’ve always chuckled at the way a criminal mastermind is holding the world to ransom and needs to be urgently despatched, but M and 007 have time to go home and change before discussing individual assignments. It reminds me of Frank Drebbin in ‘The Naked Gun’: “We won’t rest for a minute until we find out who did this to Nordberg … now how about some lunch?”

  3. When it comes to Bond films, one should not belabour details to such extent. There are a lot of mistakes to find throughout the series.
    Perhaps this could be subject of a separate article (?) Perhaps even one article might not be enough to covr all the faults…

    • That’s not nurse Patricia that’s the wonderful villainess Fiona Volpe. (Volpe means ‘fox’ in Italian!)

  4. I always figured that, as a representative of the Accounting dept, Vesper had gotten Bond’s measurements from an old expense report. One assumes that he makes MI6 reimburse him for all the suits that get ruined on the job.

    • Yeah that line in Casino Royale was a rare mis-fire for me in one of the best films in the canon. There’s obviously no way she could have had a dinner suit tailored at short notice purely on the strength of her ‘sizing him up’, and no way for anyone to accurately get Bond’s measurements to a tailor without him knowing about it.
      He’s presented as a bit of a schlub at the beginning of the film, so I think the only plausible scenario is that all his measurements were taken when he was recruited to MI-6, the suit was tailored for him for the mission and sent to him via Vesper while they were en route to Montenegro, along with his car and weapon.

    • Vesper having Bond’s measurements won’t result in the kind of fit Bond’s dinner jacket has. If the dinner jacket is supposed to be made by a bespoke tailor (“It’s tailored” could mean a number of things), it would be impossible unless it came from Bond’s own tailor. But even bespoke suits made from the best pattern need to be fitted. Things like the slope of the shoulder, the sleeve pitch and the overall balance would be difficult to achieve with just measurements.

    • Discussing the fit of a tailored dinner suit based on measurement by short notice might be as useful as discussing how realistic all the special effects and stunts in all the James Bond movies are. After all these are movies, not documentaries for National Geographic.
      Following M’s hard lessons to Bond about what is expected from an MI6 agent these first scenes between Vesper and Bond shall show the audience that Bond is unexperienced on many fields and has to learn a lot. He is not the know-everything-guy as he is presented to us in all the previous films. Getting reamed out by M and receiving his stunning dinner jacket from Vesper including her somehow arrogant remarks show us that Bond has to deal with people who are in some things more skilled than him. He knows how to kill, she knows how to dress to kill…

  5. Dave beat me to the Thunderball line, so I’ll have to offer M’s line from AVTAK.
    To set the scene, Bond has reported to M without anyone bothering to tell him to wear a morning suit as they plan to attend Royal Ascot and figure out what Zorin is up to. M growls: “You have exactly 35 minutes to get properly dressed, 007.”
    Moore’s double take is priceless.

  6. This thread, about sartorial self-consciousness in the 007 franchise, reminds me to ask you to look at the clothes in Kingsman: The Secret Service. The film is an enjoyable riff on the Bond phenomenon, and might almost be called ‘Suits of James Bond: The Movie’, given that the link between good English tailoring and spycraft is one of its central themes: the spies’ secret base is even located in Savile Row! The film is perhaps most interesting in its attempt to revive the double-breasted look. Anyway, please have a look at it. I think you’ll find rich pickings. And thank you for keeping up this superb blog.

    • My theory is that, since the suits are “bulletproof, of course”, the double breasted arrangement provides more coverage. Still, I hope it does create a revival in DB suits. I’ve seen some fall previews of menswear lines that include more classic fitting DBs, so there is hope.

  7. Interesting, quirky post, Matt! How about the apology which Blofeld makes to Bond during the ludicrous DAF finale about “ruining the line of your suit”.

  8. “Interesting … where were you measured for this, bud?”

    I always thought that Leiter said “butt” instead of “bud”. That makes more sense to me side he just disarmed Bond and is holding his gun.

  9. “Oh, Baines, I rather liked Baines. We shared the same bootmaker! Uh, coffee? Sir?”
    –Live And Let Die

    One wonders which bootmaker Bond shared with the late, lamented Baines. Lobb, Church’s, C&J?? I seem to recall Bond wearing Gucci shoes in Live And Let Die.

  10. From the Literary Bond… “Boothroyd tossed the holster down beside the gun with a motion that sneered. He looked across at M. ‘I think we can do better than this, sir.’ It was the sort of voice that Bond’s first expensive tailor had used.” Ian Fleming, Dr. No (1958)

  11. “If there are any lines left out that you think should have been included, feel free to mention them below.”

    Not so much a line, but in ‘Thunderball’, Bond goes into the bathroom in his suite to find Fiona (Luciana Paluzzi) in the bath. She says to him “would you mind giving me something to put on?”, and as Bond sits down and looks at her with the faintest smirk, he hands her a pair of kitten heels.

    Superb…

  12. Tiffany Case: I don’t dress for the hired help. Let’s see your passport Franks. Occupation: Transport Consultant. It’s a little cute isn’t it? I’ll finish dressing.
    Bond: Oh, please don’t. Not on my account.

    James Bond: Miss Anders, I didn’t recognize you with your clothes on.

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