Bond Wardrobe Review 20: Die Another Day (2002)

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Now There’s An Outfit to Die For

James Bond: Pierce Brosnan
Director: Lee Tamahori
Costume designer: Lindy Hemming
Tailoring: Brioni
Shirts: Brioni and Turnbull & Asser
Ties: Turnbull & Asser
Footwear: Church’s

Overview

Die Another Day was made during one of the best times for menswear and one of the worst times for menswear. In the early 2000s there were no new trends in suits, but that’s not a bad thing. Suits were hardly any different than they were in the 1930s: well-balanced, structured and traditional. Both two buttons and three buttons were popular on suit jackets. Trousers could have either pleats or a flat front. There were no extremes in the styles, and the only mark of suits from this era was a higher button stance. The suit trends and costume designer Lindy Hemming’s classic approach to dressing Bond coincided perfectly.

However, suits were becoming less common for work and less common overall. And without any trends in suits, there was nothing to excite people about suits either. Nondescript casualwear was the average man’s uniform, though classic casual styles were readily available. Die Another Day took advantage of the classic styles in both tailoring and casualwear that were common at the time, building upon the traditional wardrobe of Brosnan’s first three films while refreshing Brosnan’s look by removing the 1990s elements.

This wardrobe is the one I’ve previously thought about the least of all the Bond wardrobes because Die Another Day is one of my least-watched Bond films. It has involved a more considered examination and reassessment than any of the other wardrobes. Though Die Another Day is generally considered one of the weakest films of the series, it has a fairly strong wardrobe.

Formal Wear

Die Another Day Dinner Suit

The dinner suit in Die Another Day is Brosnan’s fourth with peaked lapels, his third in midnight blue and his second in wool barrathea. It’s a beautiful example that’s overall similar to his others dinner suits, but he wears it in a way that’s a cross between GoldenEye and The World Is Not Enough.

Like in GoldenEye his shirt has a fly front with pleats. The body of the shirt is in cotton voile with narrow pleats on the front while the collar, cuffs and fly placket are made of cotton marcella. It’s an unusual shirt but works perfectly for Bond. My only criticism is that a voile shirt must have been too cold for an ice palace. A cotton poplin shirt would have been more appropriate, offering moderately more insulation. Overall, I find Lindy Hemming’s creativity with this shirt fascinating in how it combines the marcella and pleated shirt styles. Turnbull & Asser made this shirt.

Like in The World Is Not Enough, Bond lacks a waist covering such as a waistcoat or cummerbund, continuing the style from the first three decades of Bond films. Overall, the outfit is perfect for James Bond and still looks fantastic today.

Lounge Suits and Jackets

The suits are evenly split between button-two jackets and Brosnan’s usual button-three jackets. Both were fashionable in 2002, and men would usually choose between the two what they thought suited them best. Brioni’s Roman silhouette remains with straight, roped shoulders, but the silhouette has been slimmed down. Unfortunately Brosnan’s weight fluctuates throughout the film, and the new trimmer fit doesn’t provide much allowance for this. All of the suit trousers have a darted front with a medium-width tapered leg and take a belt, so they don’t look all that outdated today.

The first suit is a charcoal worsted suit with three buttons, made by Bond’s Hong Kong tailor in universe. Brioni, of course, made all of Brosnan’s suits for the film, and they also made most of his shirts. The white shirt isn’t a bad choice, but I think a light blue shirt would have looked better to make the outfit look a bit less formal and stark. The tie’s fine design in red, orange, blue and light brown is the focus of this outfit, but I think it looks too strong against the white shirt. It’s one of Bond’s brightest ties of the series thanks to the red and orange in the tie, and something more subdued would have been a more classically Bondian choice.

The tan linen suit in Cuba is Brosnan’s third relaxed tropical suit in the series. It reintroduces the button-two style to Bond after having been missing since Brosnan’s previously sole example in GoldenEye. Here is contributes to a more relaxed look than three buttons would have. Brosnan wears it open to look more relaxed and to stay cooler, but it would have looked better buttoned. The suit has swelled edges to emphasise its sportiness. He wears this suit with a casual shirt in dark blue with stripes that may be orange and yellow. The shirt has a one-piece collar, so it’s designed to be worn without a tie and look natural when worn open. The tan perforated suede hand-sewn Venetian slip-ons add to the relaxed look. This is one of Bond’s most successful casual tailored looks of the series thanks to how all the pieces of the outfit are just the right level of casual.

This suit and shirt are laid out on the bed in Bond’s Hong Kong hotel room. It’s nice to see these clothes travelling with Bond throughout the film.

When Bond flies first class to London, he’s again wearing a button-three navy birdseye suit. This suit makes an appearance in all of Brosnan’s Bond films, establishing it as Brosnan’s signature suit. He wears this suit on two occasions in Die Another Day, reinforcing it as Brosnan’s signature look. The first time on the plane is with a tie in gold and navy squares, and the second is at a military bunker in South Korea with a mid-blue honeycomb tie. Both ties beautifully coordinate with the suit and look elegant against the white shirt.

It’s a shame that we don’t see more of this suit, but more of this outfit was intended to be seen on screen. Production stills at Thunderballs.org show an extended plane sequence with Bond hanging on the landing gear as the plane lands to escape passport control. However, I suspect that scene was cut for good reason.

In London, Bond is wearing a different suit: a dark grey button-two suit with subtle pinstripes. This time he buttons his suit and the new silhouette is more visible. The button stance is slightly high, which is one of the few identifying features of suits of the ’00s. The low button stance of the 1990s was more flattering on Brosnan, but had the suit been let out to accommodate Brosnan’s weight gain it would have looked much better. Subtle pinstripes were also popular at this time, and they also mark this suit as more Italian than English. I think Bond should have been wearing a slightly bolder stripe like a chalk stripe. The suit has English details such as hacking pockets with a ticket pocket.

Charcoal Pinstripe Suit

The colours of this outfit are the most classically Bondian of all the suits in the film. He wears the suit with a light blue shirt and a dark grey tie with a blue circle pattern. The tie beautifully connects the suit and shirt and keeps the outfit subtle. Later in Moneypenny’s virtual reality sequence Brosnan is wearing the same outfit but with a simple and elegant navy tie that has burgundy rectangles.

Long, luxurious cashmere overcoats are an essential part of Brosnan’s Bond look, and Die Another Day treats us with two of his best coats. Over his grey pinstripe suit in London he wears a long dark navy guards coat, a double-breasted style that reaches below the knee with two fastening buttons, three show buttons and a half belt in the back.

His second coat is a navy single-breasted chesterfield with a velvet collar and slanted pockets with a ticket pocket. He wears a scarf draped around his neck. It has a unique colour fade design, which is grey in the middle fading to orange at the ends. I think the scarf looks too fashion-forward for Bond, and I think it is ugly. A solid grey scarf would have been far better. This is only the second time Bond wears a scarf in the series, the first being part of Bond’s disguise as Sir Hilary Bray in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.

Both coats are classic British styles with added Brioni luxury. It’s odd for Bond to be wearing two navy coats in the same film, but it is possible that one is a different colour despite them both looking navy on screen.

Unlike Brosnan’s evening shirt that is from Turnbull & Asser, all of his day shirts are from Brioni. They have a wide spread collar, which was becoming popular at this time. The shirts all have double cuffs, except the casual shirt in Cuba. Most or all of the ties are from Turnbull & Asser.

Casual and Mission Attire

Brosnan starts the film in a camouflage drysuit for the surfing scene. The outfit works for the scene, but an all-black suit would have looked better than the camouflage suit. He unzips the suit to reveal his Van Bierk disguise, which is hardly as exciting as the ivory dinner jacket he revealed under his drysuit in Goldfinger.

Bond’s look as Mr Van Bierk is unrealistically identical to the real Van Bierk’s outfit. While intelligence may be able to find out where he purchased his clothes, MI6 would have had to purchase copies of Van Bierk’s entire wardrobe and find out what outfit he was wearing on this day so that Bond could be dressed the same way. Despite the absurdity of Bond dressing exactly the same way, the outfit is not a good one. There are too many items layered, including a suede jacket over another jacket.

The suede jacket is a very attractive one, particularly with its lounge-coat styling and its pleats in the back, and his khaki trousers are nice too. But the grey button-down shirt isn’t particularly stylish. Bond’s outfit can be excused as poor because it’s a disguise, but there’s no reason for it to have been such a specific disguise. The Oliver Peoples sunglasses that Bond steals off Van Bierk’s face were Brosnan’s own, but they look too small for his face. Nonetheless, it’s a fun moment in the film when Bond completes his disguise. Bond should have worn a similar outfit but modified to his own taste, as Fleming’s Bond often did.

Under the button-down shirt, Bond is wearing a grey t-shirt, which he is still wearing as a prisoner of North Korea. This is a logical choice and it does not need to be stylish. However, his khaki trousers have become black trousers. His trousers were been changed before he was dragged to torture, but if his t-shirt was good enough for his imprisonment, it’s odd that his trousers we not.

When Bond is held by the British in a locked infirmary room, he is wearing a light blue pyjama set. It looks like the cheapest possible pyjamas they could have provided for him, but it’s a step up from a hospital gown. It wouldn’t have been a stretch for Bond to have been provided with luxury pyjamas from a Jermyn Street brand considering the unnecessary luxury we see from British intelligence throughout the Bond series, but this costume choice is a realistic one.

When in Cuba, Bond wears a blue floral short-sleeve shirt from Brioni with a one-piece Lido collar and a straight hem. The shirt is beautifully cut and made, but the pattern is loud for Bond. Bond should have been wearing a plain shirt or one with a fine pattern. Wearing it over a white vest was trendy at the time, but it would have looked better for Bond to not be wearing anything under the shirt and to button it up higher. The navy linen trousers and brown suede chukka boots, however, are classic Bond and a superb choice for this scene. His Persol 2672 sunglasses have a rectangular wrap-around shape, which was trendy in the 2000s and looks a bit outdated today.

His white linen long-sleeve shirt with a Lido collar is a tremendous improvement and is one of Bond’s best casual tropical shirts of the series. This is the most elegant way to dress casually in the tropics and stay cool.

The white fencing outfit is a necessity of the story. It’s silly when he removes the jacket after upping the stakes, but it’s again part of the story. The uniform looks like a high quality piece suitable for the Blades club. However, the fit looks poor in some shots with his stomach sticking out below the jacket and above the trousers. I do not know much about fencing, but I do believe the shirt is not supposed to show between the bottom of the jacket and the top of the trousers.

When Bond arrives in Iceland, he’s wearing a dark grey parka with a black warming insert over a navy ribbed zip cardigan and a dark grey roll neck. He’s in a cold place and needs to the dress for warmth, and that means layers. While these clothes may not have Bond’s usual elegance, the quality is visible in these layers of clothes. These kinds of clothes were trendy at the time for cold-weather purposes, and Bond is dressing appropriately for the times and for the weather.

The charcoal cashmere cableknit rollneck jumper from Ballantyne that Bond wears for infiltrating Gustav Graves’ lair in Iceland is the highlight of film’s casual wardrobe, and it stands out more than any other garment in the film. It’s perfect for Bond in how it’s equally tactical, practical and fashionable. Few of Bond’s knitwear items have the beauty of this jumper. The full outfit includes a parka and black neoprene diving jacket over the jumper, and a black jumper with a stand-up collar and waterproof insulted trouser under the rollneck jumper. The whole outfit perfectly combines style and Bond’s needs in a perfect way.

For the finale, Bond has been outfitted in military fatigues. While they suit the action, they are too soldier-like for Bond. It continues with the theme during Brosnan’s tenure of turning Bond into a soldier for the final act of the film.

Other Characters

Gustav Graves is an interestingly dressed character who tries to dress like the British aristocrat he’s pretending to be but lacks the taste one should have. His double-breasted dinner suit is a beautiful piece, but he wears it poorly with a wing collar as if he’s going to a 1920s dinner party. The wing collar is perfect for the character since it makes sense he would have questionable taste. His brown shadow-stripe suit for London also draws his taste and character into question, though his light blue shirt from Turnbull & Asser is spot on.

Well Done, James

The styles of the suits, coats, shirts and ties hold up extremely well. They hardly look dated today, and there’s little to suggest what era they are from. Apart from the jackets’ slightly high button stance (which may have looked better if Brosnan hadn’t put on weight), the suits are timeless. The two overcoats are amongst the best in the series.

The charcoal roll neck is one of the best pieces of knitwear in the Bond films and set a new standard for Bond’s cold-weather sportswear. It does its job of keeping Bond warm in Iceland while also looking elegant, luxurious and classic.

Not Perfected Yet

Like with Sean Connery in Diamonds Are Forever, Brosnan’s weight fluctuated during the production, and some of the fits suffer as a result. Some of the suits should have been let out, which would have made Brosnan look much better.

Some of casualwear looks a bit awkward. Unlike the previous film that mainly relied on tailoring, this film has a number of casual looks that don’t hold up well today. A few of the outfits are layered to the extreme, which ends up looking sloppy and overly bulky. The sunglasses don’t hold up well either.

Verdict

The wardrobe has many classic and beautiful pieces. The design of the suits, coats and ties are amongst Brosnan’s best and still look fantastic today. Or they would had they been altered to suit Brosnan’s changing weight. The casual styles apart from the wonderful roll neck are also forgettable or awkward. However, much of Bond’s casual style does not match his tailored sophistication, nor does it look as good on Brosnan. Still, there is much to love about the wardrobe in Die Another Day, perhaps more than the film itself.

Rating: 7/10

Do you agree or disagree with my assessment? Leave your comments below.

35 COMMENTS

  1. I’d give it an 8, though I don’t necessarily disagree with any comments made in the article except that still don’t see much particularly wrong with the Hawaiian shirt, I actually kind of like it. I dislike the vest underneath more than the patterned shirt itself.
    And yeah, I’m not a big fan of that scarf either. Thankfully the rest of the outfit makes up for it!

    • One hopes that Bond refrained from wearing a Cuban wife-beater underneath his very nice voile dress shirt in Iceland.

    • I don’t see much wrong with the shirt either, I guess it simply could be argued it’s not very Bond-like in a minimalist sense, but then again neither is most of Brosnan-Bond’s wardrobe.

  2. The fencing kit was made by Leon Paul, a prestigious manufacturer of fencing equipment based in the UK. You are right that Pierce’s jacket is illegal under the rules of fencing. The fencer’s jacket should be secured with a strap between the legs to ensure it does not ride up and leave the stomach exposed, as Pierce’s is. If you’re hit in fencing on your bare skin or on an areas only covered by a t shirt it can be very dangerous. By the way, Madonna wears a kind of bustier that is also completely illegal under the rules of fencing, but I guess they were going for a Look. The other fencing outfits all looked normal to me and as a fencer myself it was good to see a Bond movie featuring the sport.

    • And I will add yes, there was no excuse for Brosnan’s stomach to be showing underneath the jacket like that considering a legal fencing outfit would have rectified this. I’ve fenced a number of men who are heavier (and better at the sport, my ego is reluctant to admit) than me. Their jackets always adequately covered the midsection as they are supposed to.

      • I’m no expert on fencing tackle but my guess here is some artistic license is on show on the part of the producers. It appears that fencing kit has the groin strap to keep the jacket in place and thus protect the lower abdomen. If Brozz was wearing a standard jacket it may have helped to keep his gut in check but they have him wearing a non standard jacket so that when the gauntlet is thrown he can quickly strip off and join the fray with out having to stop to fiddle with undoing the groin strap. Just a thought!

      • @Rod – a very plausible explanation.
        On a side note: Tony Curtis as Danny Wilde got his fencing kit right in the Ozerov Inheritance episode of the Persuaders

  3. You’ve mentioned it in other articles, but I think the fur coat Graves wears during the Icarus demonstration is brillantly over-the-top. Not something I could pull off but perfect for the character.

  4. Great article but why so much hate on the wing-collar? Yes, Graves wears it less fashionable over his bow tie, but the wing-collar itself in the right shape is in my opinion a beautiful look.

    • Because it’s not something most English gentlemen would actually wear with black tie. A turndown collar has more or less been standard since the mid-20th century and helps to further differentiate it from white tie.

  5. Perhaps it’s a case where the sum is greater than the parts, or the casual wear dragging the score down, but I feel like 7/10 for three of Brosnan’s movies doesn’t seem to capture the general positive consensus people have towards his clothes and the fact they are holding up very well over time.

  6. The CGI kite-surf is in the middle of the film. The surfing at the start in the drysuit is real surfing by Laird Hamilton in Hawaii.

  7. I’m in general agreement with the post and with the subsequent comments above by Timothy (general comments), M (fencing input) and Tredstone (lower scores for Brosnan’s tenure despite a generally high standard).
    I’d probably give this an 8 and would have the same score for all the films with The Brozz!
    It’s too bad that he had gained so much weight. for this entry. Matt has commented frequently on Brozz’s “slight” frame on Remington Steele so it’s too bad he allowed the middle aged spread to spread under his fencing chest protector a few years later!
    I also appreciate Matt’s continuing the theme from the previous entry of exposing silly lapses in logic such as being able to have identical clothes to the diamond smuggler and a (once) austere and utilitarian civil servant having TWO navy luxurious formal winter coats. Let’s be honest it was all getting a bit silly by this time. The appointment of Brozz was for me the perfect actor for the time and Goldeneye did a great job of rebooting the series for the nineties but with each of his subsequent films I walked out of the cinema happy with the experience but on future repeated viewings my enthusiasm waned. The first half of DAD was an interesting set up but as soon as they got to Iceland with the invisible car (why would you transport a car there and not just fly?) it all went off the rails. Pierce himself said he had tried to have input in making things a bit more believable and down to earth but his suggestions were vetoed so he kept quiet and banked the check. After this it was definitely time for a re-think.

    • I completely agree. I unfortunately have the same feeling towards Craig’s movies. Craig’s and Brosnan’s first Bond movies were excellent on so many points and just the fresh start the franchise needed at the time. After that, the other scripts were definitely not of the same quality for both actors -I am aware of the writers strike (and bad editing) having impacted QOS though. Both Goldeneye and Casino Royale are also amongst the rare Bond movies to have both a strong, smart female character and a believable, charismatic but not over the top villain, and I think that needs to be pointed out as well.

    • I do really feel for Pierce, we’ve all heard the stories about how he had to miss the role early on due to conflicts out of his control, then later he was (reportedly) dismissed from the role via phone call. Given the trendy-at-the-time gritty reboot that was Casino Royale we can surmise it happened because DAD was deemed too silly, but Pierce had himself been pushing for some more serious films. It seemed like no matter what he did he got the short straw.
      Still, the man has done pretty well for himself and he doesn’t come across as bitter, even if he might have reason to be. He’ll always be my favourite.

      • Pierce is a class act there is no doubt. Shortly after DAD he made a film called the Matador about a hitman having a nervous breakdown. Well worth watching.

      • Yes, I too feel sorry for Pierce but perhaps he pushed his luck just a bit too far, gaining some weight (as mentioned here) and demanding an Aston Martin luxury sports car, which he eventually got from Barbara and Michael. I understand he was dismissed in a video conference call.

      • Totally agree Timothy. I think Pierce was short changed a bit in the end and really should have been treated better. He was by far the best thing about his post Goldeneye movies and while I enjoyed TND and TWINE, the material could and should have been stronger. With DAD, a movie of two halves for me, the second half descends into very silly territory but Pierce Brosnan is still really good in it throughout in spite of this and some dodgy lines which were written for him. I really wish they had listened to him and gave him a bit more serious material. Maybe an unpopular opinion but I would much have preferred to see him carry on in that capacity rather than the mid noughties trend fest that I like to call ‘The Bondman Begins Identity’ which followed with Casino Royale squeezed into it. Not for me and Craig’s movies which followed the first were all a mixed bag in my opinion with a couple of real duffers in there too.

        Matt,

        I would give this a 7 too for pretty much the same reasons.

    • Cheers Rod!

      I definitely see what you mean about the tone his movies took, despite his consistent push for more groundedness. That said, apart from the final half of DAD, I wonder if he was mostly spared by being so reigned in. NTTD felt like the endgame for serious and gritty – by the end multiple key characters have died, he has a kid, etc. An actor’s wish come true – for many Bond fans a nightmare. Maybe there could’ve been a middleground somewhere, but it seems the inclination of the producers is always to keep swinging in the same direction of the pendulum until everyone agrees it was way too much, before correcting.

  8. I agree with Timothy, Tredstone and the others here. I have the impression you could not go past some rather small details -the scarf with orange ends, Brosnan’s shape of sunglasses,…- and focused on them more than necessary, Matt. Maybe it’s because the movie is so clearly one you dislike that you couldn’t go past them ?
    I agree with your opinion regarding the timeless tailored clothing, and the military/purely utilitarian outfits aren’t anything special. But the rest is pretty fine. That Hawaiian shirt has a flattering color on Brosnan, a nice collar and a subtle pattern -to me, anyway. Bond doesn’t need have to have only different shades of solid blue items in his wardrobe. I don’t see the problem with wearing a tan summer suit unbuttoned, since the sequence is full of action and it’s supposed to be near the tropics, like in Goldeneye, or a parka and a cardigan in Iceland. It’s a more modern take on Moore’s winter look in FYEO, which looked elegant but a bit playboy. The suede jacket in Korea has a slight rugged, military look that works well for the scene.
    As you said, there’s much to love about the wardrobe perhaps more than the movie itself. Perhaps. The movie’s script is very poor although the first hour is pretty entertaining. But the tailored wardrobe makes up for it. Being born in the early 90s, I feel this movie is the Moonraker of my generation, glamorously over the top, which suffered similar if not worse problems. Yet I enjoy watching both movies. I won’t do so very often, but they’re fun.

    • I feel that I rated this wardrobe in a similar way to others that I rated a 7, like Live and Let Die and Octopussy. I love those two films much more, and I think they have some great tailored clothes too. But there’s enough for me to take it down a few notches.

  9. DAD like OHMSS, and to a lesser extent QOS, was made in one of those periodic “sweet spots” for suits and men’s fashion in general, when one trend starts to transition to another. For some reason, it’s a really good time for Bond films’ wardrobe. Perhaps it is because the best ideas of the old styles go last, while the top ideas for the new are implemented first. Doesn’t always correlate to the quality of the rest of the movie unfortunately.

  10. Do you suppose Graves’ misc. ensembles deliberately lack taste as a conscious decision on the part of Lindy Hemming or was it all basically a ‘happy accident’?

  11. The one piece collar shirt style he wears in this movie (the white linen one and the one with his tan suit) is awesome and for me looks like the perfect warm weather casual shirt. If only I could find someone to make it in that style.

  12. Is a Lido collar the same as a camp collar or is it something different?

    Also how do you feel about lilac shirts instead of light blue ones?

  13. Pink shirts are more difficult to wear than Lilac? That’s surprising.

    I would think they would be the same in terms of ease (or difficulty) to wear. I know light blue is easy to wear, even more so than white.

    Michael Anton says white shirts are not as easy to wear as most people think. He also says off whites are the easiest to wear as they look good with everything other than ties lighter than off whites.

  14. “In the early 2000s there were no new trends in suits, but that’s not a bad thing. Suits were hardly any different than they were in the 1930s: well-balanced, structured, and traditional.”

    Surely tailoring of the late-80s and early-90s has more in common with the 1930s. Fuller cuts, wide shoulders, wide low gorge lapels, low button stances, pleated trousers, double-breasted jackets, chalkstripes, and boldly patterned ties are all characteristics shared by both eras.

    I’m certainly not suggesting the tailoring (or lack of it) in LTK is superior to DAD, but surely Dalton’s suits feature more of those classic 1930s characteristics, even if the execution is poor. I think Brosnan’s first two films also have more of a 1930s tailored look to them, particular his eveningwear.

    • I think the 1980s/1990s look has more in common with the fuller cuts, wider shoulders, lower gorge of the 1940s and early 1950s. The 1930s styles were generally more balanced, just as the early 2000s moderated the 1980s and 1990s looks but still had many of the same characteristics. The Licence to Kill look is more 1940s or early 1950s than 1930s.

      • Ah I see that now. The 30s and 40s had somewhat blended together in my head. But now looking at pictures, I can see the difference.

        Thinking about it, tailoring was quite slim in the 1920s, not unlike the 60s or today, so it makes sense that there would be that sweet spot of balanced, middle of the road proportions in the 30s. Then, presumably, the 40s took that dramatic, masculine silhouette and exaggerated it.

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