There are many ways that we judge and critique James Bond’s clothes. Here are seven ways we examine Bond’s clothes and judge their suitability for the character. We may emphasise some of these criteria more than others, and we may come to different conclusions based on these criteria. But thinking about these seven points can help us to better understand why Bond wears certain clothes. They can even help us make choices in our own clothes.
James Bond is a character with rich history, and he carries with him both a personal history and a history of British culture. His clothes reflect both. with his daily outfit being the lounge suit that was invented in Britain. Should he dress in a way that reflects being a representative of Britain, whether its in a well-tailored suit or in something like a Barbour jacket?
Bond has an established personal style that continues to evolve, a mark of someone with a good sense of style. Should he wear clothes that reflect his stylistic history, or is it okay for him to wear completely new styles?
Another aspect of history is that Bond often wears traditional clothing styles and brands that have a rich history, such as the dinner jacket, the naval uniform or the Barbour jacket. Does history make a garment better?
002. Contemporary Fashions
All of the Bonds have been influenced by the fashions of their times, whether we like those fashions or not. Should Bond look of his time, or should he try to avoid looking trendy so the films won’t look dated in the future? When Bond dresses of his time, it gives him a more relevant look at the time of the film’s release though he may look dated years later. If he ignores the fashions of his time, he risks looking old-fashioned.
Was it okay for Bond to wears flared trousers in the 1970s or baggy suits in the late 1980s to look current, or was Brosnan’s approach to avoid to most fashionable suit styles of the 1990s better?
003. Flattering Fits and Colours
Bond is supposed to look tall, slim, strong and healthy. How the clothes work to achieve this is one way we judge them. Clothes should fit well enough that they don’t make Bond look fat or scrawny.
The colours should suit the actor wearing them. Daniel Craig looks great in blue because of his eyes, while Roger Moore looks great in earth tones that make his complexion glow.
004. How the Actor Wears the Clothes
Some Bond actors look more comfortable in a suit than others do, and we judge them for that. Pierce Brosnan wears a suit like he was born in one. George Lazenby and Roger Moore are former models, and it shows in how they wears their clothes. Sean Connery’s screen presence usually makes him look great in a suit. Timothy Dalton, on the other hand, wasn’t comfortable in suits, and at times it shows. The actor can make a difference in how good the clothes look.
005. Suits the Setting
We expect Bond to be dressed for the setting, not wearing safari suits to the London office, tweeds in the tropics or dinner jackets during the day. We expect him to dress in practical clothes for action. A well-dressed man considers where he is and what he dresses for. Sometimes Bond may be poorly, but immaculately, dressed when he wears a dinner jacket in an inappropriate setting. Though the dinner jacket is Bond’s most iconic look, does that make it more appropriate for him to wear for unusual occasions?
006. Suits the Character
Bond is a traditional British man with some old-fashioned values. He is from a well-off family, he is well educated, he’s a Commander in the Royal Navy and he has fine tastes. What he wears should reflect such a man. He is not the average person.
He often seems to be able to maintain his standards of quality, even in the worst situations. If Bond is down on his luck, should that reflect lower standards in his clothes? How much realism should we expect from Bond’s wardrobe, and what even is realistic for this character?
007. Personal Taste
We can’t ignore our own tastes when judging Bond’s clothes. We don’t always have good reasons for liking or hating Bond’s clothes, and that’s okay. We all have our own personal tastes that we can’t rationalise. If Bond dresses in a way we don’t like, he might not necessarily be poorly attired.
Most of the Bond actors have their own personal tastes involved in their on-screen wardrobes. Roger Moore used his personal clothiers to make his Bond wardrobe. Timothy Dalton wanted Bond to dress in a more relaxed manner. Daniel Craig brought in some of his favourite brands to dress Bond.
The first six criteria are helpful in judging Bond’s clothes more objectively without our personal opinions getting in the way, but there’s always an element of subjective personal taste involved with clothes.
Feel free to leave your thoughts on any of these subjects below.