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.
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.
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 >
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 >