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.
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.
James Bond: Am I properly dressed for the occasion?
Sister Lily: Quite suitable.
Bond: Suitable for what?
From Russia with Love
James Bond on Benz’s suit: Not mad about his tailor, are you?
M to James Bond: Meet me here at seven. Black tie.
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
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
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.
The Man with the Golden Gun
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!
Dr. Holly Goodhead: Have you broken something?
James Bond: Only my tailor’s heart.
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
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.
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
Saunders to James Bond: You’re bloody late. This is a mission, not a fancy-dress ball!
Die Another Day
James Bond to Mr. Chang: Perhaps you could send up my tailor … and some food.
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.
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.