How to Make Bond Style Your Own

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If you’re reading this article, hopefully you’re interested enough in how Bond dresses to want to take personal inspiration from his wardrobe. Exactly copying Bond’s clothes can sometimes be rather like wearing costume, especially if your circumstances are not the same as Bond’s are. So if you’re going to dress like Bond it is best to make it your own, whether you add a bit of yourself into an otherwise Bondian outfit or give a touch of Bond to something more of your own. There are many ways to make Bond style your own, but first it helps to know something about Bond’s style.

What is James Bond style?

Understanding James Bond’s style is the best way to dress in a Bondian manner. Understanding what Bond wears and how he wears his clothes to better our own sense of style is the mission of this website. But there is no single way to describe Bond style as Bond does not have a single style. Bond style has now been interpreted and reinterpreted in countless ways by different authors, costume designers, tailors, film directors and Bond actors over the seven decades of Bond history. There are some styles that are quintessentially Bondian—styles that Bond has worn frequently, styles that are unique to Bond, styles that are most memorable or styles that best fit the essence of the character—but Bond style overall is very flexible. Bond style ultimately includes anything that Bond has worn, and its vast scope is one of the things that makes it so appealing to so many people.

There is an argument to be made that the most true Bond styles are the originals, Ian Fleming’s words for the books and Sean Connery’s outfits for the films. And whatever the most current Bond style is—which at time this article is written would be Daniel Craig’s styles from Spectre and No Time to Die—is perhaps the most relevant Bond style. But for the purposes of making Bond style our own, we can take inspiration from all the variations on Bond style from the books and films. For example, James Bond has worn many different styles of suits from many different tailors over the years. Though one can make generalizations about Bond suit style, there is no single James Bond suit style. Sean Connery, George Lazenby and Pierce Brosnan had their own consistent suit styles in their Bond films, but Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton and Daniel Craig wore suits in different styles throughout their tenures as Bond.

There are many different Bond looks to choose from for inspiration. In suits you may like the narrow lapels of Connery or the wide lapels of Moore, the tight fits of Craig or the loose fits of Dalton. We can pick and choose what we like from Bond style in the way we dress to make it our own.

There are a few consistent elements of Bond suit style. Bond’s tailored styles have been British or Italian (Tom Ford suits have an British style). The shirts he wears with his suits are light-coloured. He just about always wears black shoes with blue, grey, dark brown and black suits. He wears few patterns apart from the glen check, and the other patterns he wears, like a fine glen check, rarely draw attention. But if you’re taking inspiration from Bond to dress in your own way, you can feel free to ignore these conventions.

For Bond’s casual dress, there has been even less consistency over the decades and plenty to be inspired by. Orlebar Brown and N.Peal have recently interpreted Bond casual looks in new ways, which shows how flexible and timeless these styles can be.

How can you incorporate Bond style into your own wardrobe?

When dressing like Bond it is important to wear what you like, wear what fits your needs and wear what looks best on you. Do not wear something Bond wears just to be like Bond.

Start by looking at the different outfits that Bond wears and take note of what you like best in his clothes. It could be a certain colour combination, a silhouette or a special detail that you notice. If a whole outfit that Bond wears speaks to you and you want to copy it, go ahead. The only people who will think you’re dressing up in a James Bond costume have would need to be as familiar with Bond clothing as you are. But if you do that, I recommend finding something of your own to bring to the outfit, even if it’s something as subtle as adding, changing or removing a pocket square.

Follow the colours that Bond has worn to suit your own complexion. Sean Connery sets a great example for colours to wear if you have a cool complexion, while Roger Moore’s colour palate is best for those with a warm complexion. If you want to wear an item that doesn’t best suit your complexion, you can try to balance it with a colour that does suit you. For instance, if you have a warm complexion but like to wear grey suits, wear them with a cream shirt instead of a white shirt to give the outfit some warmth.

Though I like to focus on wearing what best suits you rather than following trends, you should still consider current trends. The best Bond styles stand the test of time, but Bond has always incorporated trends in tailoring and casual wear in his outfits. He rarely lets trends dictate his style but he always considers what is in fashion so he fits in with his world around him and doesn’t look like an old man.

It is important to know what not to copy from Bond. Many things looks great on Sean Connery or Daniel Craig because of their athletic builds, but wearing their styles may not make you look like them, and they may even look bad on you.

You can also incorporate Bond style into your wardrobe without knowing much about Bond style. This is often a way people get interested in Bond style. Maybe you saw a tie on Bond you liked and wanted to incorporate it into your wardrobe. Or perhaps seeing Bond look so good in his clothes just inspired you to pay more attention to your clothes without having the desire to copy what he wears.

Making a James Bond suit your own

The suit has always been the centrepiece of Bond’s wardrobe. To truly copy a Bond suit or dinner jacket would involve going to Bond’s own suit makers or bespoke tailors who makes suits in styles similar to Bond’s tailors. To wear a Bondian suit in your own manner you only need get a suit that fits your own style, and more importantly fits your body.

With tailoring, you can incorporate Bond style elements into any type of tailoring. Though an American-cut suit is not a Bond look, you can make a Bond-inspired American-cut suit out of a Bondian cloth and give it Bondian details. Or you could get a suit in a Bondian cut but in a colour, pattern or kind of cloth Bond doesn’t wear.

One of the most crucial elements to get right when wearing a suit is wearing a flattering shirt collar. Bond has worn all sorts of shirt collars, from narrow point collars to wide cutaway collar, though never the extreme for either. The wide Dr. No collar works well on someone with a chiselled face but not on someone with a round face.

What tools can help you dress like Bond or give you inspiration?

The Suits of James Bond is here to provide the tools to help you learn to dress like Bond and to learn how Bond dresses so you can apply the same concepts to your own wardrobe. This site can help you discover everything you want to know about how James Bond wears his suits. But how you interpret Bond style in your own wardrobe is up to you.

There are many other online channels to go for Bond style inspiration. The Bond Experience is a great place for Bond clothing reviews. Bond Lifestyle will show you where to get many of the clothes that Bond wears. Iconic Alternatives can show you where to find Bondian budget clothes. And now Instagram is a fantastic place to find Bond style inspiration on a daily basis.

If you can afford it, a good tailor and shirtmaker can dress you in a way that will best suit you and your lifestyle, just as Bond’s tailors and shirtmakers have done for the many actors who have played Bond.

How do you make Bond style your own?

34 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks for the advice. I came to this blog off a tip from BAMF Style and it has not disappointed. I already had some idea of what style I prefer, and this has helped me solidify it. I feel like I’ve learned how to dress elegantly in tailored clothing, whether it’s subtle or flashy, and how to dress so that I set myself apart from my peers without looking like I’m affecting a style that doesn’t fit.

    In terms of Bond-specific inspirations, if I could go the rest of my life without wearing a belt again, other than with jeans, I will have this blog to thank for it – although I prefer suspenders to only wearing side adjusters. I also occasionally wear what I call the “full Connery,” though I don’t tell anyone else but my wife that. Gray suit, pale blue shirt, dark blue grenadine tie. Everyone always says it’s my best look and I may or may not tell them I’m cribbing James Bond’s style.

    • I always dress in colours that match my (warm) complexion, thanks to this blog and James Bond
      I also, as good as always, dress up a bit more than other people in my surroundings, as does Bond.

  2. On a similar note, I received my Deo Veritas Connery shirt in the mail today. I haven’t been able to try it on yet, but so far the specs look correct. It has the right cuffs, collar, and placket designs, with floating interlinings on all three. I haven’t taken it apart yet, so I don’t know if it has rear darts, and I don’t know if they added in the half inch watch allowance on the right wrist.

    I can’t tell if the buttons are real MOP or artificial. They are pearlescent layered over opaque solid white, which I usually associate with plastic buttons, rather than pearlescent over a darker or scraped shell backing like natural MOP, but they do pass most of the tactile tests. They’re cool to the touch, hard enough to click when tapped, and don’t have a perfectly even surface. I will have to check them against the buttons on a T&A shirt when I get home.

    • Update: The fit is spot on. I’m a little surprised at how wide set the darts are in the rear. The watch allowance is there, which was a worry for me, since I’m left handed and I wear my watch on the right. I was worried they would cut the left wrist longer instead of the right, but they got it.

      I do have one issue, which is related to having a long torso. The widest part of the chest is set just a little higher than my actual chest. With a bespoke tailor I assume they would take that measurement into consideration. Otherwise no complaints.

      The buttons are real mother of pearl, or at least are close enough to the ones on my T&A shirt to accept them without doing an acid test.

      • The shirt is constructed in Turkey, and even with the fast-track customs for a bonded courier it got to Cleveland from Istanbul impressively fast. I believe it was sent Thursday and got to me on Monday.

        The fabric is their basic white. It’s a 100s poplin (they call it broadcloth, but the weft has distinctive ribbing so I’m calling it poplin) at about 8 or 9 oz/yd. According to the website it’s Turkish long staple cotton, milled in Turkey. It feels high-quality, similar to the fabric in a Sea Island Quality T&A shirt I have.

  3. I definitely credit this site with much of my fashion education, or at least as the jumping-off point. Since my education at the Matt Spaiser school of style, I have tried to find ways to incorporate Bond elements into my wardrobe- sometimes with just one, and others with an entire look, but always from a bargain standpoint. I think that I enjoy finding great budget or vintage finds that reflect a Bondian look and feel, especially since modern suit and jacket cuts do not suit my body type, and I can find better constructed pieces that fit me better at second hand stores. Paying more attention to my wardrobe through a 007 lens has been fun.

  4. I think Conor’s comments are spot on. It is actually quite difficult to dress well with current fashions and I find myself cringing when I see the types of suits that some middle aged gents are wearing.

    I think if one went to a good tailor the suit would reflect what worked well for the individual, with the tailor’s own style of cut. My impression is this is why the Connory suits work so well. They were meant to work with Connory, and Sinclair obviously had a particular style. It is similar to the North by North West suit. Grant had his own personal requirements but it was cut in a way that flattered him. Attempts at recreating the suit for someone else just don’t work as well.

    So it is about finding a style that works for you, whether that be by using tailored clothes or off the shelf and having items tastefully adjusted. Much more difficult now than ever before, which is why using vintage materials and styles have so much potential.

  5. Great article as usual. I think I needed this. I have acquired a few Craig era items that I hope are more versatile, like the John Smedley bobby sweater, other things I change colors, since I am medium skin tone, and I am afraid colors that look good on Mr. Craig will look aweful on me. I usually try to copy more of both Connery and Lazenby. Also, the geographical place has to be taken into account. I cannot buy clothing based on the excellent winter pieces good for the English or European thaters since I live in a place where we get only a few weeks of cold. It is a shame some times, one of the first articles I read from this vlog was the one on the Goldfinger Hacking Jacket. This is my favorite of all looks and I have a hard time only taking references and not going full cosplay on it. Thanks again for all these great articles.

  6. Well,i like Bond and as Italian i have the luck to have a bespoke tailor at reasonable prices,but sincerly i’m are now far to follow the so called “Bond style”.
    I’m rather classic,so i prefer three buttons over two buttons,and i like double breasteds very much.
    When i was very young i considered the style of Connery/ Bond (and some stuff of Lazenby and Roger Moore) very sophisticated,but now i see it as too much minimalistic also for the 60s,and in this regard prefer others 60s style icon as some Italian actors ( the best known of which internationally was Marcello Mastroianni, but also Alberto Sordy had fantastic style).
    Now for my own style i watch to “timeless” icons as the aforementioned actors,or Fred Astaire or Douglas Fairbanks Jr or Laurence Olivier,very classics and constant over time,and if i must to have a reference model is a ideal well dressed ( anglophile) Italian gentleman of 50s/60s. Said this i’m still fascinated with the James Bond look…but i confess that for the most is not my cup of tea.

    • I agree, I have noticed all the gentlemen you mention. I also feel very interested as well in italian style. In some cases, for example I like more some italians aftershaves and shaving products than English ones. I like both styles in general a lot. In my case just wearing a suit would be the most important Bond influence at all. Matt’s great sense of taste and style are so important for me. I have a long way before me to acquire my own style. I like those italian cars so much, Alfa Romeo of the 50s and 60s. I would have liked that in the movie OHMSS they had remained true to the novel and have Miss di Vincenzo use a Zagato instead of the Cougar. Nothing wrong with the American car but the Zagato was so exotic and beautiful. Ciao

      • Hector, The truth is that every proper and respectably Italian is anglophile. But the Italians are anglophiles an a idealized way.
        A old story is that of a Italian gentleman that for the first time goes to London.
        Arrived in the hotel he said to his butler “Gennaro,go in the street and report to me how are dressed the English”. After a while Gennaro come back and said: “Sir,here the only one English are you”.

  7. A personalized touch I often have on my suits is the asola lucida (commonly referred to as Milanese buttonhole). Makes for quite a difference. Despite having a lot of references drawn from Connery Bond, I wear Navy and Midnight suits more often than greys, which also makes for a difference.

  8. Matt,
    Can i suggest you a future topic?
    The comparison and mythical between the most famous two buttons of 60s:
    John F. Kennedy and Sean Connery as James Bond.

  9. If I can complete my thought i have noticed that between JFK and Connery/Bond have many similitudes: both wear two buttons suits in blue or gray,solid or with sober pattern, both wear solid ties (Connery/Bond ever,JFK often),both wear for the most black shoes.
    Lapels of the jackets are for JFK and the first Connery/Bond slender but not slim,trousers are not to much slim compared with the average fashion of the times.
    In sportswear both wear polo shirt and swim trunks.
    JFK was “mid Atlantic,Connery/Bond British but with a modern twist,both could be not noticed and perfectly at ease il London or in New York….both have a hat in hand (and Connery/Bond briefly in head) but are for the most whitout hat.
    Both are symbol of jet age of early 60s.

    • Just for some completely useless trivia, but the necktie JFK was wearing when he was assassinated was Christian Dior, and the dress shirt was Charles Dillon.

      • And both JFK and Connery/Bond had the blue midnight dinner jacket,JFK with peaked lapels as for the Bond’white dinner jacket in “Goldfinger”.

      • Was kennedy wearing brook brothers?
        I bought a golden fleece fitzegerald blazer because of him.
        Any man who spent golden momentd with marilyn monroe is one to be emulated.

      • I think Kennedy’s suits had a higher button stance and of course his suits did not have the fullness of conduit cut. It made obvious his smaller build. I imagine that the idea was to avoid looking shorter. BAMF style author noticed Kennedy used both buttons buttoned.

      • People have been discussing for years how Kennedy fastened the bottom buttons. Scholars have speculated that it was to conceal his back brace. Some have said that his suits were cut to allow the bottom button to fasten naturally (which is not typical), but most examples are cut like the ordinary suit and pull at the bottom button.

      • I don’t think Brooks Brothers made suits for JFK, given what I’ve seen of their work from the ’60s. I could be wrong, of course. The “Fitzgerald” is just capitalizing on the fact that he (or perhaps more accurately his aides) shopped there at all. Back on their website in the 2000s, when they debuted the Fitzgerald cut, they erroneously claimed that Kennedy made waves by “donning a two button Brooks Brothers suit to his inauguration”. All pictures of him at his inauguration were in a morning coat. They later quietly removed it after I asked what their source was and never got a response — pretty standard to this day for Brooks Brothers customer service.

      • Saul,the tailors of JFK were H Harris (until 1961) and Chipp.both of New York.Obviously bespoke.

  10. If you guys have any pics of your bond style i think it woild benefit everyone wanting to upgrade their style whether they are bond fans or not. I think we should be open to the harshest criticism as well
    It helped me, when my tailor told me if i dont lose weight he will refuse to tailor me anymore
    It helped tremendously.

  11. Matt,

    Another great article! While I don’t post much on this site, I do look forward to Monday mornings so I can read the latest article.

    While I do not copy Bond clothes verbatim, I do use Bond for inspiration in my own suit wardrobe. Bond seems to have a classic look that I like. Add in everything I learned from your website, and I can honestly say I dress much better now.

    One last thing and I do not want to put you on the spot about specific vendors because you might want to stay neutral. So if you can’t answer that is fine.

    But I am thinking about getting some custom shirts made and I found a tailor near me that does custom shirts. However, they just take the measurements and send them to Gambert Shirt Maker in New Jersey. In your travels have you ever heard of Gambert shirt makers. If so any thoughts? With the potential $$$ involved I want to try and not make any mistakes.

    I live outside of DC so if have any experience with tailors in the DC area also please let me know.

    Many Thanks
    CEG

    • There are two separate Gambert shirt companies in Newwark, NJ (and until a few years ago there were three). I had a shirt made by one of them (I don’t remember which one was used), and I was not impressed with the construction. I have had better shirts at the same price. Mason & Sons does great shirts, and I think someone from them visits DC. I also have some excellent shirts in that price range from Hemrajani (mytailor.com), who also visit DC.

  12. Excellent article, one more time and a great job. To summarize it, the main point in selecting a suit and a tie is : keep it simple as aptly illustrated by Matt’s photograph donning a solid blue suit and a solid burgundy tie. Quite perfect.

    • To add to that…
      Watch your shades….
      Every Bond had a different shade of skin.
      However there are some items that are non negotiable Bond staples. The midnight Blue dinner suit is one of them, along with the navy grenadine.

  13. Hey guys,
    Im having lunch at the Getty museum
    Any suggestions on what to wear?
    I was thinking of wearing a navy single breasted blazer?

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