How James Bond Looks Masculine and Sophisticated in His Suits



Nobody else combines masculinity and sophistication in the way that James Bond does. The masculinity comes from looking as much like the ideal man from the western perspective. This ideal man’s body is lean, strong and overall athletic. it is tall with broad shoulders, a muscular chest and small waist. The ideal man’s torso has a V-shape, which is masculine because it’s not a common shape for women to have. The sophistication comes from a well-tailored suit. A well-tailored suit can give man a more masculine shape, can show off a masculine figure or can downplay a masculine figure. All three of these aspects of tailoring can be desirable, depending on the body type one has. This article focuses on the suits that Bond wears that best deal with a masculine but elegant silhouette.

Sean Connery’s Anthony Sinclair suits emphasise his masculine physique whilst downplaying some aspects of it. Connery doesn’t need much help in the shoulders, and his jackets have soft shoulders that follow his shoulder line but have a little structure to smooth out the shoulders to give them more elegant lines. The chest has a full, swelled shape to build on the strength in the chest. There are two buttons on the front of the jacket in a low stance to create a deep “V” on the front of the jacket to highlight Connery’s masculine shape.


Because Sean Connery had a very athletic physique, Anthony Sinclair decided to soften it by not making the waist as suppressed as he normally would. A tightly suppressed wasp waist in the normal Savile Row fashion with Sean Connery’s fabled 13-inch drop would look neither elegant nor manly. The waist on Connery’s jackets is still very shaped, but it’s not tight. Too much waist suppression can make one look feminine, and stressing an overly athletic physique detracts from the elegance of a suit by making someone look too much like a body builder.

I find that Sean Connery’s narrow lapels in the 1960s also help drawn attention to his large chest. Narrow lapels make the chest look wider by showing more expanse of chest. Connery’s considerably wider lapels in Diamonds Are Forever cover two-thirds of his chest, giving him a visually narrower chest.


For the slighter Bonds Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosnan, large shoulders on their jackets give them a stronger look. If they wore suits with natural shoulders they wouldn’t have the necessary imposing look that an action hero needs. The shoulders on many of Dalton’s suit jackets, however, were too strong and draw too much attention to themselves. Brosnan’s Brioni suits, however, gave him a more natural look that was still built-up. Additionally, the two buttons in a low stance on Dalton’s suits, like on Connery’s, give him a more athletic look by drawing attention to the chest.


Daniel Craig takes a different approach to looking masculine and strong in his suits. Whilst Connery’s suits work with his body, Daniel Craig’s suits in Skyfall fight against his body. They have the goal to make him look like he worked out so much that his muscles are bursting out of his suit. He wears suits meant for someone with a 38-inch chest and more likely has a chest around 40 inches. Narrow shoulders on the jackets allow Craig’s deltoids to push the sleeves out a little. A too-small chest splays open to give the impression Craig’s chest muscles are bigger. Ripples at the waist further the impression that Craig is turning into the Hulk. Unlike Connery’s method of looking stronger, Craig’s method is devoid of elegance and sophistication. Clean lines, not ripples, are a mark of refinement.


Craig’s method also does not achieve its goal to make him look more muscular. Suits—particularly Tom Ford’s—are very structured and can’t stretch like a t-shirt or jumper to show off the form of his muscles. Knitted, not woven, garments are best used to show off one’s body. A suit that is too small ripples and pulls the same way whether one is too muscular or too fat for it. And putting Craig in a suit that is too small for him has the effect of making him look smaller, not bigger. This method would work better with someone who is genuinely more imposing with a chest much larger than Craig’s 40 inches. Narrow shoulders downplay his breadth and the V-shape of his torso. The short jacket length makes his torso look smaller overall. The positive effect of a short jacket length, however, is that it makes Craig look taller in wide shots by extending the perceived length of his legs. That’s the one way his suits in Skyfall make him look more masculine. However, the lower rise on his trousers partially negates the height benefits of the shorter jackets by shortening his lower half. The suits in Spectre mostly have the same problems but to a lesser extent than in Skyfall. The shoulders in Spectre are wider in comparison to Craig’s body and allow the sleeves to hang more elegantly.

Like on Connery’s 1960s suits, most of Daniel Craig’s suits in Skyfall and Spectre have narrow notched lapels that make Craig’s chest look larger. But one of Craig’s suits in Spectre has wide peaked lapels: the black herringbone Tom Ford “Windsor” suit. These wide peaked lapels have a different effect from wide notched lapels. Peaked lapels point up and out, extending the width of the chest and shoulders. The belly of the lapels added perceived depth to the chest. Wide notched lapels with a higher and more horizontal gorge, as well as some belly, can counter the narrowing effect of wide lapels.


Though the right tailoring can make a man look more masculine or more sophisticated, clothes can not add the attitude, charisma and personality needed to truly be like James Bond.


    • I thought Lazenby’s suits emphasized both his height and the breadth of his shoulders – he looked even more imposing than Connery in most of his suits, even though he didn’t quite project the same masculine charisma (but then again, who does?)

    • Dan, I agree with you about Lazenby’s look, but I wonder how much of that was down to his build (he was a model, after all) as opposed to the tailoring?

      • Lazenby’s suits, like Connery’s, didn’t build up his shoulders. They didn’t have as much fullness in the chest as Connery’s but had more waist suppression. The suits followed Lazenby’s body, and since his body did most of the work I didn’t feel like I had much to say about his suits in the context of this article.

    • More imposing than Connery? You must be joking. Lazenby looked great but Connery was by far more built and a far far far far far far better athlete and mover. Those choppy fast cuts and crazy camera zooms during the action and fighting in OHMSS was because how uncoordinated Lazenby was.

    • Actually Lazenby had some real martial arts background and appeared lighter on his feet than Connery. They were the same height (Lazenby actually claims to have picked up a Sinclair suit intended for Connery, only needing to have the sleeves lengthened). The choppy fight scenes were due to Peter Hunt’s editing. Lazenby actually got the Bond role in part because he manhandled former Russian wrestler Yuri Boryenko in a fight scene while trying out for the role (he also broke his nose). The only awkward technique he throws in the movie is a very stiff-armed uppercut in the fight scene outside Draco’s office.

  1. Thank you Matt – as usual a very fine article!

    I can agree with most of your observations but I think what you are saying of Craig’s suits is only partly true because the QoS ones on the whole do not lack the sophistication you are referring to. The “Sky- (Down-) fall” and SPECTRE suits are indeed lacking refinement, no doubt.

  2. I was reflecting on lapel width recently, and came to the conclusion that in different eras both narrow and wide lapels alluded to a strong chest, and people’s perception of what meant a strong chest changed as each went in and out of fashion. Current trends are medium-narrow because the emphasis is on looking as slim as possible, and any wider or narrower would visually widen the chest.

  3. Matt,so you don’t agree with the opinion of Simon Crompton of “Permanent style” that “a lapel looks more classic, subtle and harmonious when it is proportionate to the rest of the suit – it is balanced somewhere around halfway across the width of the chest”.
    If i have well understand,inn your opinion in a well tailored suit a narrow lapel on a athletic physique can help to show a more wider and masculine chest.
    Is correct?
    More i think that a narrow lapel (narrow,not “skinny”,this is important) is more clean and sharp.

    • I agree with Simon Crompton. I prefer lapels to be halfway across the chest. I think anything from 3/8 to 5/8 across the chest is ideal. This article isn’t about what’s harmonious, it’s about achieving a stronger look with a suit.

  4. Lazenby was a younger man than Connery in 1969. He had been in the special forces in Australia and was in good physical shape, he had good muscle tone and not a lot of body fat. He probably still did his exercises from his army days at that time. Connery by 1969 had let himself go a little from fine living and not as much exercising. He had started to widen a bit. Lazenby had a differant physique and Dimi Major could tailor him differently and more youthfully than Connery would have.

    • Very true – I always thought clothes hung better on Lazenby, who also moved more gracefully, probably thanks to his modeling background.

    • I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that Lazenby was in better shape when he played Bond than Connery ever was during his tenure, with the possible exception of Dr. No.

  5. I know that the Brioni suits in the series have a very strong Roman cut. However, you say that current Brioni suits are not like the ones seen in the movie. Do current Brioni suits have any resemblance to how they are in the Bond series? I really like the strong cut of the Brioni, and I would like to know what their three-button suits are like now compared to what they were like in Bond movies.

    • Do they still have a strong Roman cut? Do the 3 button suits have the same kind of lapel roll? What is different about the current Brioni suits than what are shown in the Bond Films?

      • No, they do not have a strong cut. They now have softer, more natural shoulders. Though they don’t do many button three suits any more, the suits with three buttons have the same roll at the top button.

    • so that means that the shoulders are pretty much not padded at all, or just less than before? And do they still have roped sleeveheads, or no?

    • Does the absence of the roped sleeveheads mean that the shoulders fold over onto your arm like a casual sports jacket, or are the sleeves still like held together by some sort of rope? Would the current Brioni 3 button suits or the current Tom Ford 3 button suits have a stronger cut? I always prefer a strong, masculine cut.

      • Tom Ford jackets have a stronger cut. There is still structure in the Brioni shoulders that keeps them clean that prevents the sleeves from drooping. I think some current Brionis have a little roping, and others have a natural look.

  6. Dalton always stuck me as the thinnest and tallest of the Bonds, though I’m not sure of the exact heights of the actors. If his suits had been given natural shoulders like Brosnan I think he’d look too gangling. The boxy look to his suits helps bulk him up quite a bit.

    • Dalton had a very good physique, far better suited to the Bond character than that of Brosnan and Moore. Look at his scene in Licence to kill where he is shirtless. The problem, in my opinion, with the oversized shoulders on his suits is that, unlike with Brosnan who lacked natural shoulder width, Dalton’s already broad shoulders become much too disproportionate. He didn’t need that. Whenever Dalton wears more natural shoulders he looks much better. For Brosnan, however, it was necessary to have very built up shoulders. The natural shoulders he wore on his suits in the earlier Remmington Steele seasons does him no favors.

  7. Allen wrote: “Those choppy fast cuts and crazy camera zooms during the action and fighting in OHMSS was because how uncoordinated Lazenby was. ”

    I think you’ll find that the editing was because the film’s director Peter Hunt was an editor before he was a director . I suspect he was trying to do the ultimate editing job on a Bond fight scene, hence the quick cutting.

    • I’ll start by saying it’s terrible editing. And the reason why someone would edit that way is to increase the suspense, like a really intense film score, but it’s usually to hide the blunders/trick the audience in getting in the moment, something a good scene will do on its own, example FRWL train fight. That beginning beach fight is terrible film making in almost everyway, style over substance. Not that any of the Bond’s before or after didn’t have some low moments, but the lighting and continuity are all jacked up. I will concede that the hotel fight isn’t bad, but Lazenby almost trips in several shots in all fight scenes, so no there are many awkward techniques throughout the entire film. Just because he had some martial arts background certainly doesn’t mean anything but just that, some background (and who in the 60’s didn’t). I truly think the script is actually one of the best Bonds (minus fourth wall breaks), but as a viewer the film editing is without a doubt atrocious despite it being in vogue, but with shaky cam being standard procedure in action film I guess it is better than most today.

      Different strokes different folks. BUT to get back to the suit point, if I met Connery wearing GF or TB suits, and then Lazenby from OHMSS I would without a doubt be more intimated but Connery. and i think all of us would.

    • Allen,

      As you said, different strokes for different folks. I’m not sure I can agree with you with regard to the editing of OHMSS. Whilst there are moments in the film which I personally would have done slightly differently, as an editor myself, I look at most of the cutting in this film, especially during the fight scenes, as some sort of editing masterclass.
      It’s like looking at a Turner painting and saying “Is that meant to be a landscape?” when you should just be revelling in the beauty of the thing.

      Yes, the continuity is often all over the place, but that’s not down to the editing, that’s usually down to a first time director! I feel what John Glen did with the editing in this film is to emphasise the breakneck energy of the action rather than concentrating on the little details like continuity . Fast fight scenes can be overdone (the hotel fight in Quantum of Solace), but after watching the beach fight in OHMSS, yes, you do feel like you have just been through a wind tunnel but at least you can see what was going on.
      If there is any messiness with regards to OHMSS, I’m certain it was almost certainly down to Peter Hunt’s fledgeling direction rather than John Glen’s editing but as an editor himself, Hunt would have been aware of how the film was going to be put together as he was filming it so I’d say it’s all intentional.

      It doesn’t excuse the 15 second long “5 second” countdown at the end or the frankly bizarre editing around the line “Now now now now now Mr Bond” but when it works, Glen’s editing smashes the ball out of the park. In my opinion

    • I assume you meant to say “intimidated”?
      I agree that the FRWL fight is the standard against which all Bond fights are measured, but I still submit Lazenby’s fights weren’t bad. At the risk of “pulling rank”, I have more than just “some martial arts background”. I have a 5th-degree black belt in Okinawan Goju-ryu karate and lower belts in judo, taekwondo, and Washin-ryu karate. I was 2003 AAU Midwest Senior Karate Champion. I know a little something about fighting. Lazenby’s fights were exaggerated for effect, but they were dynamic and some of those punches looked like they would have hurt. See's_broken_nose.jpg Also, “In his role as a stuntman, Yuri Borienko was one of the people who assisted in the auditioning of George Lazenby for the part of James Bond. In 1968, during a screen test at Pinewood Studios, the Australian accidentally broke Borienko’s nose during a choreographed fight scene.

      The event would assist Lazenby in obtaining the part of Bond and earn Borienko a more prominent position in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service as henchman Grunther.”

    • ok, first Turner as a painter is so far out of the league of James Bond films it doesn’t even compare.

      Dan I: I did mean intimidated, i’m typing from a phone. That broken nose anecdote really illustrates my point. They were stage fighting, not real fighting, it was an amateur mistake.

      However Dan G: I concede that my problem really lies on Peter Hunt. BUT I will forever say there is nothing spectacular about that film besides the avalanche scene. While you may be a working editor I did go to film school for my undergrad degree however I got a MFA in painting, and by no means am I an expert on film. But I can’t help notice where OHMSS sits in film history. It seems to try and use new techniques found in edgier genres of film like french new wave, the budding new hollywood, all the counterculture genres, and the spaghetti western. Yet done poorly because the subject is not there, style no substance. The natural lighting and jumpy cuts, fast zoom ins, all scream styles lifted from the other truly groundbreaking genres, but the difference is that the style is used to accentuate the subject/themes in the art films. I know that the EON productions documentary likes to say otherwise, that somehow it was the groundbreaking film technique, that they also think that the more violent Bond in LTK was ahead of its time, instead of the the more accurate: it was trying to fit in with other action films of the 80’s. I am more blown away with the editing in FRWL, certainly not groundbreaking but creative and works.

      And in regards to Lazenby lighter on his feet, yeah absolutely not. GO PLEASE COMPARE Lazenby walking down the stairs at the casino to Connery walking at anytime. Just because lazenby sprints more does not mean he is even close to the athlete Connery was. Watch the gun barrel sequence between Connery and Lazenby, Lazenby slams down on his knee and off balance. Connery turned down the chance to be a professional footballer. Connery was a good golfer almost immediately. Thats crazy. Again different opinions, and again I could rip on all Connery Bond films, except FRWL, yet I love them all. And To be clear I still like OHMSS, watch it once a year at least, I just don’t think it’s a definitive Bond, and I don’t understand what seems like a somewhat recent trend to praise it above the others. I think its greatest strengths are done better in Casino Royale, except Lazenby Suits are much much better though.

      Im still using my phone so please excuse any grammar mistakes and the stream of consciousness

    • Allen:
      Actually, that was never Connery in the gun barrel sequence, it was Bob Simmons. Lazenby was the first Bond actor to do his own gun barrel sequence. In my opinion Lazenby WAS lighter on his feet and more generally agile than Connery. But their fights where very different, both in terms of staging and how they where filmed. Funnily enough OHMSS is my favorite Bond film while FRWL is the second. In relation to the editing and cinematography I would like to add that I once read a quote from someone regarding FRWL that said “Every image is so beautifully shot that it could be framed and hung on the wall”. That, in my opinion, is also true for OHMSS.

      • Connery was in the gun barrel sequence filmed for Thunderball, which was also used in his last two Bond films. But Connery has also been criticised for being off-balance in his gun barrel.

  8. Dalton was tall and lean, but generally his physique had balance. He look like he had more muscle tone in License To Kill than in The Living Daylights. Brosnan was at his leanest in Goldeneye but I think he look more muscular and in better shape in The World Is Not Enough. Moore struggled to keep his weight down during his tenure, he lost weight for LALD but looked heavier in Octopussy than he ever did. He struggled with a thick waist, all of his suits were tailored to make him look like his waist was smaller. He had quite a large chest like Connery did.

    • Indeed, Dalton seems to have more weight overall in LTK as opposed to in TLD. But he certainly had a great physique in both films, and performed many of his own stunts. Brosnan buffed up considerably for TND as that film really upped the action from GE. And I think Moore looked good for his age. He certainly never looked atlethic but then his films didn’t really demand him to be in a very good physique. And he actually looks really slim in TMWTGG, close to Brosnan in GE.

  9. Why did you say Dalton looks built up in the tux in License to Kill? I think that that is by far the worst outfit that Bond has ever worn for so many reasons. Although you said it has strong shoulders, the jacket looks like it is too big on Dalton and the huge ass low gorge lapels only adds to that. Brosnan probably had the most muscular physique, so he wore the most muscular Brioni suits? Do you think the Tom Ford Regencys worn in Quantum of Solace have a strong, muscular cut? You say that the Pagoda shoulders are not so structured because that they don’t have too much padding.

    • Th purpose of the big shoulders in Licence to Kill is the build up Dalton. The jacket is too big, but it builds him up nevertheless.

      Brosnan did not have the most muscular physique, especially not in GoldenEye. He wears Brioni to give him a stronger look.

      The Regency suits build up Craig a little, but not much. However, the shape of the shoulders give Craig a more imposing look.

  10. The photos contradict the words. Connery’s button stance in Dr. No onwards was not particularly low. In fact they’re at solar plexus level rather than natural waist, as were many jackets in the 60s (and the 30s and the 2000s for that matter).

    Daniel Craig’s coats are indeed overly-suppressed (reflecting fashion), but his shoulders are not bursting through at all. His shoulders, the right shoulder in particular – in the first photo you chose – are decently fitted. There are no divots, as there would be if the shoulders were too narrow or tight. The second photo shows only a sleeve-pitch issue, or perhaps his hands are behind his back?
    I also have screenshots where Connery’s collar in FRWL is rising off his neck, his shoulder is sagging and the back of the sleeves are a mess.What’s your opinion about those?

    • Connery’s button stance is far below the solar plexus level, and in the Thunderball photo it’s a little below the natural waist. I’ve changed the first photo of Connery to better illustrate my points.

      I said that Craig’s shoulders are narrow, not too narrow. Craig’s shoulders are not wide enough to allow the sleeves to hang straight, mainly because the sleeves are a little too snug. They aren’t so narrow as to cause divots, but they are narrow enough to allow the sleeves to curve over and emphasise Craig’s deltoids.

      Connery’s suits don’t always look perfect. And that’s the case for anyone’s suits. It’s what happens when someone wears clothing.

  11. About achieving a stronger look with a suit, for a Goldeneye’s Brosnan-like physique, I presume a low button stance and a gorge slightly lower than it is common today will give more presence and depth to the chest. But how about the number of buttons on the front ? Is a 2-button jacket more appropriate than a 3-button, or is it the contrary ?

  12. Did dalton and Brosnan use strongly padded shoulders because they themselves were not super muscular? Or were they muscular enough that they wanted the strongly padded shoulders to add to that look? Is Brosnan or Craig more muscular? I personally like sufficiently padded shoulders a lot more than natural shoulders. I have a muscular physique, but not bodybuilder muscular. I want to go with a sufficiently padded shoulder with my suits. Do you think this would work for me, or should I consider natural/soft shoulders?

    • Their suits had strong shoulders because that was popular at the time. Craig is much more muscular in his Bond films than Brosnan ever was. Softer shoulders are best for someone with a muscular build.

  13. It is obvious that the Tom Ford Regencys in Quantum of Solace are the best suits that Craig has worn as Bond. They fit amazing on him and match his physique really well. However, in his other 3 movies, Craig does not wear suits that look super flattering on him. Which do you like better, the Brionis on Craig in Casino Royale or the Tom Ford O’Connors on Craig in Skyfall and Spectre? I like the Brionis in Casino Royale because they at least fit him well and they did acheive the goal of making Craig look muscular and sophisticated, but maybe just a little too much. The tight O’Connors in Skyfall and Spectre only make him look like he’s a man with a wide buildup trying to fit in a slim cut suit, like trying to follow the crowd. I think that this costume designer just wanted Craig to follow the fashion trends, but never considered his body and the fit of the suit, which does not make Craig look muscular at all. He looks much more muscular in Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace than in Skyfall and Spectre.

  14. Just a quick question – when you mention ‘drop’ what exactly are you referring to? Just curious so I can understand the reasoning behind keeping the lines of Connery’s waist soft.

  15. Matt I am just blown away by this blog and even though I know little about tailoring, I feel I have learned a bit by reading the articles here.

    This particular article is interesting as I would like to know more about the various tailors tricks that can help a man look better. In my case, I have a 42″ chest, am 5/11 tall but am rather too fond of chocolate biscuits, so I need my suits to help me look a little slimmer. I thought narrower lapels would help, but now I am wondering if a wider lapel would be better?

    Also, does the position of the pockets on a jacket make a difference? Would slightly higher or slanted pockets make someone appear slimmer?

    Sorry for the questions…in return, European readers keen on turnback cuffs, which are not so easy to find these days, might be interested in the tailor Raj Mirpuri, who offers a turnback cuff on his bespoke shirts.

    • A balanced lapel width will always look best. Slanted pockets tend to be the most slimming.

      Raj Mirpuri’s cocktail cuffs are very unattractive and are nothing like any of Bond’s cuffs. I don’t know why so many shirtmakers make them in that angular style. The cuff design needs to flow. Their rounded button cuffs, however, look very nice.

    • Thanks Matt, that is interesting and helpful. I also subsequently found your post of 3 November 2014 on classic proportions, which is very informative.

      Agree that the Mirpuri turnback isn’t the same as Bond’s, but I prefer them to French cuffs as I find cufflinks bang on my desk all day!

  16. Unfotunateky, he wears a black suit. Some at AAAC worried he had done so in QoS, but you pointed out it was gray. Now he seems to have done so. Not classical. My impression is that Fleming wrote disapproving of the gangster at the beginning of DAF for wearing a black suit.

  17. Fantastic article, concerning a subject which fascinates me. Which makes me all the more frustrated that you did not talk about the good clothing Daniel Craig has worn-that is to say, in casino royale and quantum of solace. I watched Casino Royale for the first time as a teenager and since then I have been obsessed with how masculine that dinner jacket makes him appear. Yet it has very clean lines, as good tailoring should. I’m honestly surprised you did not use a picture of that jacket side by side with the one from skyfall to illustrate how the more relaxed fit of the former makes Craig look much more imposing than in Skyfall, and more elegant at the same time.
    I know you don’t care much for the clothes in Casino Royale, but I do think that in they have this going for them: they are perfect examples of giving a muscular man a very masculine silhouette while also providing the confort of a full cut, instead of hugging every muscle tightly to just “show” that the man works out.
    What is your take on this ? Am I wrong ? This is a subject of particular importance to me, as I am of a very similar build to Daniel Craig and finding a correctly-fitting suit outside of bespoke (which I can’t afford on a student’s budget) is a nightmare.

    • As I explained above, I wrote this article to focus on special tailoring methods that make someone look more masculine and not to look specifically at why every single Bond looks masculine. The suits in Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace are neither trying to emphasise or add to Craig’s masculinity nor are they trying to downplay it. They’re just working with his body in a more ordinarily well-tailored manner, and he simply looks more masculine because that’s what he is. A suit tailored in the same way for Pierce Brosnan would not make Brosnan look more masculine like Craig looks. By comparison to Skyfall, Craig looks much more masculine in Casino Royale, but the methods used to fit him aren’t particularly special. For someone with a masculine physique, an ordinarily well-tailored suit without any special treatment is enough to make someone with a masculine physique look masculine. In this case it’s more about the man than it is about the tailoring, which is why I didn’t mention it in this article.


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