Why Men Want to Dress Like James Bond

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This blog exists because people want to dress like James Bond. Why do men want to dress like James Bond? James Bond is the man that many people want to be like for a number of reasons: he is the best at his job (until Craig’s films), he is usually in excellent physical shape, he is successful with beautiful women because of how suave he is, he travels to the world’s most beautiful spots, and it would seem that everything he wants is just handed to him. There are many qualities about James Bond that we should not admire (he kills people, he’s sexist, he drinks too much, amongst other things), but because he’s a power figure who generally gets whatever he wants we still want to be like him in some way. Since we admire so much about him, we naturally also appreciate the way he dresses.

It’s not just because of the James Bond character that we want to dress like him, but it’s also the clothes themselves. With a few exceptions, Bond generally looks fantastic in his clothes, and we want to look as good in our clothes as he does. And why does Bond look good in his clothes? It’s part the quality of the clothes, part the fit of his clothes and part the body underneath the clothes. These three things give us reason to want to dress like James Bond.

Bond has the highest of standards for his clothes and gets his clothes only from exclusive brands, prestigious tailors and other luxury makers. His clothes are far from ordinary, and we’re naturally attracted to what is special. From Bond’s history of dressing in the most elite clothes, people will automatically be interested in anything that Bond wears in the future. Brands know this and want to be associated with James Bond to be part of this exclusive club of exclusive clothing.

Though the clothes Bond wears are exclusive, there’s also something about his clothes that seems accessible, which gives them a different kind of appeal. He’s always dressed in the current mode so the clothes are relatable, but the clothes rarely go too far into the world of fashion that people see Bond as an inaccessible runway model.

Bond’s clothes are generally simple, which also gives them a wide appeal. We see basic grey and blue suits, plain shirts, simple ties, navy polo shirts and simple jumpers, and we know that we can get on board with Bond’s style. Bond’s outfits are always well-coordinated, but because he never combines many colours and patterns, there’s an appeal in how simple it is to put together an outfit like Bond does. The average man can look at the way Bond dresses and relate to it.

Though Bond is not the everyman and does not dress like the everyman, the overall simplicity that we see in Bond’s clothes at first glance makes his style accessible. He never looks like he’s trying to hard with his clothes, and it helps us believe that we can dress like Bond without trying too hard. Taking that first step to dressing more like Bond really is very simple. This blog shows that there’s more to dressing like James Bond than meets the eye, but at the heart of it we see something modern and stylish that’s neither flashy nor dandy. That’s the appeal of Bond’s clothes themselves.

Why do you want to dress like James Bond?

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33 COMMENTS

  1. I want to dress like James Bond because he wears simple, elegant and stylish clothes well. His style is masculine and classic with only the touch of modern fashion trends. His suits are always of the highest quality and he always wear what’s appropriate to his surroundings. His classic blue and grey suits, navy blazers, navy polo shirts and also simple casual trousers like earth coloured wool, linen or chino cotton trousers fit whatever the climate. I also like his casual blouson style jackets whether in cotton or suede.

  2. Brilliantly vocalises the reasons why one would want to dress like Bond.

    When I was a boy I saw that Bond’s suits were better than others in TV and film, nobody else looked nearly as good as him. I won’t comment as to why, because I honestly have no idea what I thought consciously or otherwise, but the point is that even as a child I wanted to be Bond. There really is a universal appeal to the character.

    Other movie heroes acted cool, dressed nicely, beat up bad guys, but never as well as James Bond. Indeed, they were often compared to him, as though he is the standard to which the starring character is held.

    But I digress, why do I want to dress like Bond? You said it yourself a few months ago, Matt:

    -to paraphrase-

    I don’t wear a suit to be like Bond, though maybe once upon that was my target. I dress like Bond to capture his confidence, his charm, and his ability to catch the eye for the right reasons.

  3. I think Bond epitomizes this quote the best: “A man should look as if he had bought his clothes with intelligence, put them on with care and then forgotten all about them” – Hardy Amies

    Bond should be someone who is impeccably dressed without looking like he’s spent more time in the mirror that morning than the Bond girls.

    • With all due respect to Tredstone (and to Hardy Amies), I always thought that was a silly and unrealistic quote. Throughout the course of a day one’s tie may become loose or crooked, one’s pocket square may flop out of a breast pocket, etc. A few adjustments here and there are necessary, unless one is going for sprezzatura, which, of course, is actually the ultimate in self-consciousness – i.e., trying very hard to look like one is not trying hard.

  4. I like to dress like bond because when I had my own ideas about what looked good I either looked like a magician or a jag off.

  5. I would add three more reasons to admire James Bond and want to be (and dress) like him:
    1. He is brave and uncompromising in the face of evil
    2. He is immensely knowledgeable
    3. He is willing to absorb an enormous amount of punishment to achieve his mission

  6. “A few adjustments here and there are necessary, …”

    -You did not understand: Amies didn’t mean that you shouldn’t adjust parts of your outfit if necessary – it’s about the wearer’s attitude towards his clothes. That everything is in place is – of course – a pre-condition. The point is: If dressed well you should not walk around like a peacock (“Look at me!!!”) but retain a natural, unaffected stance on your clothes. Of course it’s easier to get there with a pared-down look than with a flashy one.

    • it is also about not getting too much protective with your closes, taking care of them and then seem preoccupied instead of elegant. one should focus on a firm and de decided attitude, and not look silly trying to not stain or crease ones own clothes. but of course we have to be careful with our clothes too. we just have to find the balance.

  7. As an American, I dare say that the subject of dressing up to be like Bond – or in a certain cases, being Bond – is, well, subjective. Some put on a suit to be him, some put on a suit to look like him, and some to feel like him. But there is always more.

    From since I first saw Dr. No, to FRWL, Goldfinger, towards the years of Craig most recently, perhaps the most admirable, yet unconscious influence Bond tends to imprint, is how nonchalant he is in his suit. It goes completely against the normal stereotype of a suit. The way he was able to perform stunts, engaging in actions, using weapons, and then to dust it all off, then walk away looking pristine and, more importantly, comfortable, is highly appealing and desirable. Unlike typical Savior Row or Neapolitan tailoring, Bond – especially Connery Bond – looks expensive, feels expensive, and, well, is actually expensive, without being stuffy, stiff, or too playboy-ish soft – all in all, expensive, yet not that expensive.

    I endorse Anthony Sinclair, as Bond’s – or Connery’s, rather – original tailoring firm. They have what I need – a suit that I can do the toughest of works in, yet is beautifully handmade (not bespoke, however – not yet anyway). I worked for the Visual Arts Department of a community college, and even when I work, I wear my suit, and wore it proudly. When I speak to my higher ups, the suit exudes my charms, yet allows, and even amplify my own will to speak for myself. Whereas other people – coworkers and students – frighten before the higher-ups, I have no fear or fright, and even use my sense of humor around them. I command those below me, and converse freely with the higher ups, and befriend my Chief – what else can you ask from such a simple, elegant suit and dressing manner?

    In addition to all of that, Bond’s dressing manner is especially easy. Shirt, trousers, tie, optional waistcoat, jacket, and you’re on the move. No rush, no hassle, and above it all, the simplicity makes it especially quick in the morning. Unlike Connery, I do not wear gray, but have a similarly extensive collection of Navy, midnight, and dark blue. Even if I have a grey or two, it will still remain simple – just pick and put and go.

    That, fellow readers, are why I chose to dress like Bond. Simple, effective, empowering, and successful.

  8. I would like dress like James Bond..but wait a moment..
    …which Bond?
    Connery,Lazemby or Roger Moore?
    Dalton or “Mr Brioni” Brosnam?
    Or Craigh?

    The Bond that i like is the clean Bond.
    The first Sean Connery and the classic side of Lazenby’s wardrobe.

    I like slender and clean suits (blue,gray,dark brown, or gray-blue) solid color or in sober palette,and i love dark,lean, ties solid or with very tiny patterns.
    I like white shirts,solid or with very tiny and fade strips.
    I like classic but not bulky black or dark brown shoes.

    I hate big patterns,broad lapels,huge ties,or the contemporary skimpy and short silhouette.

    So for clothes,my reference period is the classic,European, early 60s style.

  9. His clothes are also practical. They are an extension of his being. His involvement in dangerous situations demands that he take all *necessary measures* to ensure survival. The clothes enhance his ability to do his job i.e. usually saving the world.

  10. James Bond is a my personal style icon because he is an effective reminder that men shuld look their best regardless of the situationA major reason behind the appeal of dressing like James Bond is the massive marketing strategy that has been present since the Brosnan era. The James Bond franchise has been adopted by some of the finest menswear companies as their spokesperson. Brioni, Turnbull & Asser, Tom Ford, Churches, Crockett & Jones, Brunello Cucinelli, Thom Sweeney, John Smedley, N. Peal, Barbour. The list goes on and on.

    No other fictitious character has such a sartorial juggernaut of support behind it. No other movie protagonist has such amazing companies vying to dress him. The Kingsman film franchise is another example, but the appeal is nowhere on the level as James Bond. We see Bond kitted out in amazing gear from these companies, and the desire to emulate him becomes obvious.

  11. Matt,
    I would say that any man would like to dress like Bond because he wants to be, and feel like Bond, and rise above what he previously was.
    Part of this is achieved by dressing like Bond.

    Wearing a good suit makes you feel empowered, as a lot of men do not wear suits or else wear them incorrectly. Wearing a bespoke suit truly makes you feel confident as the suit will fit well and what fits well looks good. The wearer of a bespoke suit knows that and is highly comfortable in it and wears it like a second skin. Thereby, he feels confident enough to face anything thrown up against him with style and panache.

    Bond dresses conservatively, in what one would call ‘old school’. This again is a rarity as the modern suits and styles do not incorporate all those features that truly make a suit timelessly elegant. By extension, the man wearing such a suit would be perceived as one who appreciates and cherishes old school values. Such men are a class apart and such sophistication extends into other things in life too, such as manner of talking, or the way a man may behave before a lady or in choices of food, drink and recreation. Now you really would’nt find any such man hogging pizzas and burgers in some joint, or guzzling down gallons of beer or falling apart into pieces before a lady, right?

    Moreover, Bond does not wear too flamboyant clothing. Any man who strikes a balance between neutral and colorful, w.r.t. choice of shirts and ties will not only look great but also look like someone who knows how to balance other things in life, whilst not seeking to draw attention towards himself.

    James Bond is stands for being masculine, traditional, conservative, old school and believing in the right norms, values and codes of conduct regardless of their age and notwithstanding whether or not others follow them. All of this reflects in his clothing.

    In my opinion, Bond is not just an icon. He is a way of life. An idea in himself.
    Hence any man would want to dress like Bond, just to improve upon his own self.

    To borrow a quote by Ernest Hemingway,
    “There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow men. True nobility lies in being superior to your former self.”

    • @Anuj, I agree with you completely and others about the power aspect. A properly-fitted suit conveys a sense of power and authority that cannot be matched by casual clothing. Case in point: I’m a civilian working in a largely military environment, where the uniform conveys authority. When I started working there I dressed well but casually, and when I greeted my military colleagues I would barely receive an acknowledgment. After a couple of weeks I switched over to suit and tie, basing my look on Bond and Roger Moore’s Saint. The change was astonishing: everyone began greeting me with great courtesy, including the senior officers calling me “sir.”
      For anyone interested, I highly recommend Paul Fussell’s fascinating book on dress and status Uniforms: Why We Are What We Wear:
      https://www.amazon.com/Uniforms-Why-Are-What-Wear/dp/0618381880/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1499437742&sr=1-1&keywords=paul+fussell+uniforms

  12. The real Bond (in the books) drinks too much and smokes 50-60 cigarettes (unfiltered) a day. By his 50s he would be a physical wreck and look like shit. He would probably have emphysema,possibly lung cancer,and probably cirrhosis. He has no friends,no family, no one who cares for him (maybe Moneypenny) and will die a lonely forgotten sick old man, probably like Fleming,in his mid 50s.
    Why would anyone like to be like Bond?

  13. Subconsciously, I’ve always considered fashionable dress wear as an armor and a disguise. Just as an actor dons wardrobe and makeup to get into a character, I’ve considered a fine suit and tie as a way to present the best version of myself to the world.

    This idea starts with Bond, specifically Pierce Brosnan’s version where I first noticed the wardrobe choices, and then from there my attention went to Connery. With every actor, the suit deeply informs the character. I don’t desire to be Bond but I like that the fashion informs his confidence.

  14. I have a normal, boring job just like 99% of everyone else here, which requires business dress. To kind of make a difference and to look good, dressing like Bond is one of the best options. But I don’t just limit myself to just Bond, I would always look around to see who dresses in the style that I like.

    I also don’t like all of Bond’s styles. I prefer the Connery style above anyone else. And then especially the first 5 movies, with the narrow lapels. Also George’s outfits looked amazing. Not too flashy, yes very classy and distinguished.

    In my wardrobe, I hardly have ties with prints. Mostly grenadine or knitted ties without ‘loud’ prints. I like to think that is still the nicest style and it makes me feel confident and comfortable without thinking I am an international spy, with a license to kill 🙂

  15. Matt, I would like to hear why you yourself wants to dress like James Bond? As I know that a lot of your outfits from casual wear, business and formal are inspired by many of the Bonds.

  16. Another interesting idea for a post, Matt and, let’s face it, it gets to the core of why any of us are on this blog in the first place. I particularly agree with Anuj’s summing up. Also, what you say about the screen character’s clothing being well “put together” and this is why why the literary character has, essentially, little to bring to the table in respect of the terms of reference of this blog. This is why I was drawn so much to my favourite 007, Sir Rog. His clothing was always perfectly and tastefully put together even in the case of colours you mightn’t immediately associate; for example, the tan trousers and black sports shirt in LALD, the beige twill trousers worn with the blazer in Moonraker but matched with black rather than brown shoes, the charcoal tie to match the suit rather than the shirt at the start of FYEO (the easy choice would’ve been navy) and there’s more which escape me now. That’s flair and imagination merged with innate taste and that’s what I aspired in my own way to emulate. I know many admire Connery’s paired down look and fair enough but, for me, pairing a navy grenadine tie with 80% of your tailored clothing is, I won’t go so far as to say boring but rather unimaginative. Then again, Sean wore what was expected of him and wouldn’t have had a great deal of personal input which isn’t a criticism of him. We all are what we are. Finally, I don’t see why Bond shouldn’t stand out in a room, not necessarily dramatically but just quietly noticed as the best dressed man. This is the aspirational thing, why we want to be him. He’s (or should be) the best!

    • “…this is why why the literary character has, essentially, little to bring to the table…”

      -Sorry, but I disagree. The literary Bond conveys an (albeit rough) image of Bond style which cannot be ignored. Isn’t it rather that you do not want him to be some kind of prototype because your favourite Bond actor’s style does not come very close to it?

      “That’s flair and imagination merged with innate taste…”

      -Sorry again, but to me it’s neither. Matching beige trousers with black shoes has nothing to do with flair and imagination, it’s simply a bad choice (black shoes with grey trousers would be OK). The black shirt with beige trousers is even worse, especially for a man like Moore being a typical spring / summer type. Breaking the rules only makes sense if it works. Connery’s outfits do have that subtle dialogue between their different parts whereas Moore’s outfits are quite often out of balance due to the reasons mentioned above.

      “Sean […] wouldn’t have had a great deal of personal input which isn’t a criticism of him.”

      -But of course it is – only done in a rather tricky and clandestine way. Nice try however! 🙂

      “…not necessarily dramatically but just quietly noticed as the best dressed man.”

      -I would agree to that, but again it’s Connery who gets closest to that ideal (“quietly noticed”). Moore stands for what you mentioned first (“dramatically”).

      All the best,
      Renard

    • Well, interestingly, it was Matt himself who I recall express the same view as I regarding Roger Moore’s Bond wardrobe and being so well put together but I expect he and I just don’t know what we’re talking about and wearing the same tie with virtually everything and often not correctly buttoning your suit is a better style template

    • I have no problem with Connery’s approach of wearing a dark navy tie with almost anything. It may not be the most creative way of dressing, but I think it is an effective and interesting way to dress in the context of how versatile one tie can be.

    • The classic striped ties and discreetly patterned ties of Moore’s films added a lot of variety to Bond’s look. They were also on the whole very British, apart from some Italian ties here or there.

  17. Like I said in one of my own blog articles, it’s not about wanting to actually be Bond. It’s more about having the ease and confidence he does. Walking around in a suit like it’s no big deal. I think that’s a big part of what makes somebody well-dressed aside from good fit and colour choices.

  18. In Italy (and in France, too) the solid navy tie is one of the most important staples of classic menswear (just look at official photos of presidents, ministers etc.) I don’t think that someone in those countries would consider it being “unimaginative”. Quite often it is to be found as part of the monochromatic “All blue” suit outfit which is also quite predominant there.
    Generally Italians don’t have the reputation of being unstylisch (quite the contrary).

    Furthermore Bernhard Roetzel praised the solid navy tie for his versatility, see https://www.stilmagazin.de/das-blaue-wunder/ (Unfortunately only available in German)

    @Ryan Hall
    I would agree to that – but those ties only appeared in LALD and TMWTGG (among them many solid ones!). The ties of his 70s Bond movies IMO can’t be described as classic and discreetly patterned.

    By the way: See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=36GHaGx8qL0
    Interesting BBC feature on the history of men’s suits (“The Perfect Suit”) with a remarkable comment on 70s fashion, safari suits and Roger Moore’s Bond style at 14:11 🙂

    Best, Renard

  19. Yes, that’s my fault – with regard to “70s movies” I only thought of TSWLM and MR but of course the other two were also turned in the 70s.

  20. Matt, to clarify; I only mentioned you in relation to the observation the Moore’s Bond’s wardrobe being well put together. The navy tie with everything would be only my personal opinion. I agree with Ryan that, for a more varied wardrobe, a multiplicity of ties is desirable. Now we have the usual suspects poking around to find “expert” opinion which chimes with their prejudices and dragging safari suits in to the “argument” YET AGAIN. If so;
    https://www.masonandsons.com/blogs/intelligence/sinclair-safari-jacket-perfect-for-the-urban-jungle

    • Certainly I did not “poke around” for “expert opinions” – I have my own point of view and that does not need to rest on other people’s support…

      It was purely by chance that already some time ago I saw that BBC feature on Youtube. And as to “dragging safari suits in to the ‘argument'”: Obviously it was the guy on the feature who thought that those suits were a typical 70s’ wardrobe staple and therefore mentioned them. Perhaps he’s a follower of this blog – who knows? 🙂

      But you are right – it would mean to exaggerate things and even be laughable if one would really look for expert assistance because the “argument” isn’t worth it…

      Cheers!

  21. I think the Navy tie works extremely well and my favourite looks are the ones shown by the Connery Bond. But I also think that Brosnan’s used the dark brown tie very effectively, combining it with a blue shirt and grey/charcoal suits. The brown herringbone tie in ‘the world is not enough’ is particularly good and could have been used more.

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