Is Bond Suits More About Bond or the Suits?

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The Bond Suits website has been active for over 12 years. I have long been passionate about both James Bond and classic menswear, and I am passionate about menswear because of James Bond. It is Bond who put me on a journey to dress better, and I know I am not the only person with this story. I have always hoped this blog would appeal to people like me, as well as inspire people to discover the same passion in menswear through Bond.

The primary goal of this website is to teach people about how to dress via the lens of James Bond. More specifically, this blog teaches people how to dress through the outfits in which I myself find inspiration. It’s why this blog not only uses James Bond as inspiration but outfits from other films and television shows, like North By Northwest and The Saint. When the blog breaks away from Bond, it takes inspiration from films and television shows that have some kind of connection to Bond.

I’ve always hoped that this blog would appeal not only to Bond fans but also to people who are more interested in menswear than Bond. The blog started as a way of writing about clothes via my own research, experience and observations. This is a clothing blog in the sense I share my opinions on clothing but not about Bond. This isn’t to say that I am not a huge Bond fan. I have been a Bond fan since before I can remember, and I have been a serious Bond fan since about the age of 9 or 10. But I have been interested in menswear almost as long as I’ve been a big fan of Bond, and it is an even bigger interest of mine than Bond is.

If anything, my interest in menswear is from a practical standpoint; I wear clothes everyday of my life, whereas I am not living James Bond’s life. As much as I’d like to be like James Bond in many ways (but certainly not in every way), I am my own person living a much different life. But I am person who is passionate about the clothes he wears every day, and that’s what I’m ultimately writing about.

As far as this blog is concerned, it is first and foremost about menswear and primarily tailored clothing. If I think an outfit is bad but it works well for the context Bond wears it in, it’s still a bad outfit for the purposes of this blog. Clothes are never worn without context, and the context always says something about the clothes, but that context might be a purposefully tasteless disguise.

Nothing on this blog exists without the context of James Bond. I have found a way to connect any menswear topic I am interested in covering to Bond, even if it’s a very loose connection to Bond.

Since connecting more with other James Bond content creators over the years, particularly since 2016, I have felt a stronger connection to the Bond aspect of the blog. Bond was initially just the vehicle to the menswear destination. While classic menswear still is the angle of this blog, being constantly connected with other Bond fans and Bond content creators every day has pushed me deeper into the world of James Bond. I also have friends who are on the menswear side, but I now find myself more of a Bond guy than a menswear guy. It doesn’t change my approach to this blog, but I feel a stronger connection to other Bond fans than other classic menswear fans.

Many Bond fans have recently been complaining that James Bond has become too much about clothes. This concerns both the amount of official 007-branded clothing that has been released in the past few years as well as the amount of fans who are interested in clothes. Neither are anything new. Since the 1960s there have been 007-branded clothes along with fans who were interested in dressing like James Bond.

Bond Suits certainly contributes to the clothing-focused fan community that exists today. This blog may even be one of the outlets that has enraged a number of these outspoken fans regarding the relationship of luxury clothing with James Bond, and these people don’t believe Bond should be about luxury products. Luxury products are one of the many things that James Bond has always been about—clothes in particular—going back to Ian Fleming writing about James Bond’s silk and Sea Island cotton shirts and his soaps from Floris in the 1955 novel Moonraker. While Fleming didn’t say much about Bond’s clothes, he emphasised that Bond was fond of the finer things.

I admit that there is too much focus on luxury Bond merchandise these days and not enough more accessible merchandise. There should be more available for the average fans and for younger fans like there used to be, like toys, games and trading cards. But most of the luxury products are on brand for Bond.

To those people who don’t like that James Bond has become too focused on menswear, think of it as the other way around: People who are interested in menswear might also like James Bond. And likewise, there are those who are interested in menswear who hate it when people talk about clothing as it relates to James Bond. From the perspective of those who admire the style of earlier on-screen men such as Cary Grant and Fred Astaire, Bond’s style is either boring or breaks the rules too often. And there are many who think that Bond, even Daniel Craig’s portrayal, dresses too old-fashioned and old-mannish. But just as we all have our favourite and least favourite Bond films and Bond actors, not everything is for everyone.

Bond is the very reason why this blog started over 12 years ago. It was personal inspiration for me, and this blog is just as much my own personal journey as it is James Bond’s. Bond eventually inspired me to write a book about his tailors and costume design (it’s called From Tailors with Love: An Evolution of Menswear Through the Bond Films), though my co-author Peter Brooker was just as much an inspiration for writing the book. Whether it’s this blog, its related social media or the book, the focus for me always surrounds the clothing, not Bond. If I’m critical of the clothes your favourite Bond actor wears, the criticism is not directed at the actor or his portrayal.

I’m still interested in learning more about menswear than I am in learning more about James Bond. Yet, I’m still finding inspiration in James Bond’s style, and I look forward to new Bond films for fresh inspiration. I did not find No Time to Die particularly inspiring from a menswear perspective, but there’s always the next film. I never stop looking at the clothes from the old Bond films, and I’m always trying to discover something new in them to find new inspiration, to better my own clothing knowledge and to better serve this blog.

36 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks for what you do Matt. I know you love it, you must do for it to have lasted this long, so I know you hugely enjoy the writing. All the same, I’ve been a reader of this page for a very, very long time and it has been enormously useful to me. Both as a Bond fan and as an enthusiast of menswear. The emphasis for me has always been firstly on the clothes and I e used this page above any other as my reference for learning about suits, shirts, shoes, ties, coats and more. You’ve saved me hours upon hours of my own research, most likely putting in front of me things I’d not have found. It’s all been done through the lens of a character that I love and have been a big fan of since I was about seven or eight (I have early memories of watching Bond with my father as a boy).

    I think your focus has shifted over the last two or three years, but was that not always a natural consequence? You’ve got through twenty five movies full of clothes and there now isn’t much of a back catalogue to go through – you’re through it. Where you could write about the clothes and almost just the clothes, you’ve now done that. Now you talk about the character’s relationship to them because, well… because you do the next thing.

    I hope your enthusiasm for this stays strong for the future. I hugely enjoy reading your next article over my breakfast on a Monday morning. You have a strong readership and a big following – you can take a few risks with the style and content and still keep the faith. Writing is best when we enjoy it. Hopefully you still do and you have more to say.

    Thanks for twelve years of this… you’ve helped me enormously.

  2. I’m gonna tell you this, Matt – don’t let too much of the agitators get to you.

    My father was attached to MACV-SOG during ‘Nam. For a large part, he was also involved in intel works. He told me stories.

    I can tell you, if we were to live the kind of life James Bond lived through, we’ll be alcoholics worse than Archer. I certainly approached that limit, and I wasn’t officially in intel, either.

    Is Bond only about clothes? Certainly not. We’ve also spoke about how Bond concealed his weapon and what kinds of holster. I was a small part of that conversation, remember? But yeah, there’s a reason why Bond’s suits should be the primary conversation – it never served as a distraction (largely), and it needs to be talked about.

    You’ve done a lot of great work throughout the years, Matt. Always keep it up.

  3. Speaking of suggestions, how about Mason’s 3-piece and/or Landau’s blue suits in North by Northwest ? They certainly are well tailored. I read somewhere that Hitchcock wanted Landau to have his suits tailored by Grant’s tailor as well, Kilgour, French and Stanbury.

  4. Brilliant!
    I’m a new comer in this blog, but I learnt dressing and Bond’s thought from many articles.
    And I bought a first MTM suit with very good details after starting to read the blog. It’s nice to suit my body.
    Gratitude for your articles, your writings, and your opinions from your experience with James Bond movie.
    I hope you(and your wife) have wonderful life forever.

  5. I’ve read this blog since 2011, and I’ve learned more about menswear than from any book I’ve read. I go back to a lot of articles just to refresh my memory.
    Maybe you could post and analyse more clothes from the Bond actor’s personal life?
    Thanks for your work, and I also enjoy every Monday morning read!

  6. Hey Matt, I have been a follower and visitor of tis website from almost the beginning and too me It was always a good medium between Bond Style another Bondian topics. I came her for the clothes (which I adore) and stayed for the great content. The site also introduced me to Mason and Sons who have since become my tailors of choice for suits, blazers etc. In my humble opinion just keep doing what you have been doing so far and hopefully we will se some more stylish clothes on Bond in the future.

  7. I think you’ve got the tone of the blog spot-on Matt, concentrating on the clothing and what makes it visually appealing (or not as the case may be) using Bond as a conduit. I discovered it around 9-10 years ago and have learned a lot about the details of classic menswear and have found discovering information on who actually made Bond’s wardrobe fascinating. It’s been great that you’ve added clothing from other film and TV series too as I’m also a fan of The Saint, Danger Man and any film Roger Moore made between his Bond outings. All of whom wore classic suits.

    Like you I approach clothing mainly from a practical point of view. So in my case it’s been quite disappointing finding out how much the kind of bespoke tailored suit I lusted after as a teenager actually costs from Saville Row (about what I spend on a used car) and the fact that I’d rarely be able to wear it. Even if I’ve really needed a suit for an event I can now spot every flaw on an off-the-rack garment, especially with my Orangutan-like arms! Also that many of the tailors from the 60s and 70s are now long gone.

    It’s nice that you’re not a slave to the latest Daniel Craig Bond looks like certain Bond fans have fallen foul of, as I think it only really suits a certain body type. So it nice that you mix Bond pieces with items that suit you and your lifestyle, including vintage items.

    My only request would be, apart from keeping up the good work, is to maybe add the 1960s “Bond mania” era Eurospy movies as a comparison to what Bond wore. I know they’re not always the easiest to find and get screen grabs from, but they can be fun as they do try to compete with Saville Row, but generally fail! There are some good examples out there though.

    Anyway, I usually comment occasionally on your FB page, but have been meaning to say something on your blog for a long time now. I thought this was an appropriate article to start with.

    All the best , Andrew

  8. Thank you for your blog… not for the faint of heart to put oneself out there. I also enjoyed your book. I join others in hoping you continue this blog indefinitely!

  9. Matt, what do you think about the “Anthony Sinclair’s James Bond collection of Mason & Sons?
    The recent job on the reproduction of iconic suits from Connery movies is very interesting in my opinion.
    Your review would be interesting.

    • I love most of the Anthony Sinclair collection. I think some of the pieces could have been done more accurately, but most of them are superb. I have a suit in the works, and I’ll be reviewing it once it is complete.

      • This gets me going. Hard.

        I like that they now have straight bottom waistcoat, though. I’m having a lot of thoughts…

  10. I think it’s apt that you talk about context in this article. Context is the vehicle through which we as humans are able to enjoy anything. Nothing means anything in a vacuum; we are all complicated webs of opinions, biases, and interests. There are dozens- or hundreds- of sites I could use to learn about menswear, but I frequent this one (at least initially) because of the James Bond context. Since I’ve been here I’ve learned so much about menswear that I’m now the go-to guy for everyone I know when they need help dressing. I’ve personally organised the suits for no fewer than six weddings in the last decade, and I’m imparting tips, tricks, rules, and general pearls of wisdom that I’ve learned through this site.

    You say the mission is “to teach people about how to dress via the lens of James Bond”, well you’ve succeeded. This little blog has had rippling effects which you may never be able to understand, Mr. Spaiser! I can only congratulate you on its’ success.

    Oh, and one last thought on the debates and arguments, I say it’s the sign of a healthy fandom. Nerds (a word I use with purpose and pride) will always be passionate about what they love, and they will fight even within their own groups. But ultimately they (we) unite under the banner of being a fan. As long as we’re fighting, even infighting, it means we still care. Most properties eventually shrivel and die, and that’s usually brought on by apathy from its former fandom. Bond is still strong and although I don’t personally love the most recent iteration of the character I’m still a fan and I look forward to what comes next.

    Cheers to the Bond community, here’s to you.

  11. Q – Is Bond Suits More About Bond or the Suits?
    A – As St John Smythe said in A View to a Kill: “A little bit of both would be ideal.”

  12. Fabulous article and well written Matt! I believe that many of us share your perspective and thank you for your efforts and insight! Even more amusing and delightful is your photo with Bond and the inevitable thought that comes to mind from Bond, ‘Mr. Spaiser, looks like you’re out to get me?’
    Cheers!

  13. Hi Matt,

    Just wanted to echo what others have said better than I could. You’re blog is fantastic, I have learned so much about dressing in a classic bond inspired manner from reading these posts and as others have said, I frequently revisit posts to refresh my memory and knowledge. Keep up the great work Sir!

  14. “Come for the spies, leave with a suit.”

    This site has had a surprising effect on me. I found it years ago simply because I always loved the 60s spies, and also, as a mod rapidly approaching middle age, I remembered that these same characters were great examples of how to dress when you are “grown up.” What I didn’t expect was that over the years how educated I became about menswear overall and tailoring in particular! It was really Men’s Style 101! My friends and family now come to me for styling advice, which is wild, and has even crossed into (positive) encounters with the iGents, even though they are much younger than me. And, this is all through the lens of James Bond, a steady interest since forever.

    The thing that has been the best is, as you also say, it has helped me hone my own style through the lens of a character who has an exemplary one of his own, but by itself is a bit too conservative for my own stuff. For example, I bought the Mason & Sons version of the button-one YOLT suit, but I made enough small changes that it is basically a different suit. Probably not what a purist would do.

  15. I’ll be honest, I learned more about menswear here than the decade or so I spent in menswear forums. (Some of which frankly left a sour taste in my mouth with their unchecked sexism, homophobia, and elitism.) I may be a woman, but I still use a lot of these principles to guide what I wear; suits and ties are pretty fun regardless of gender.

    Thanks for the 12 years of informative articles!

  16. Hello…you’ve been doing an oustanding job over all these years. It’s always a reason or a tiny detail which prompts to go a bit further.
    Good job nothing can compare.

  17. Nice statement and very elegant way to explain the main mission of the blog. I’ve also been a huge fan of James Bond growing up. Also, I was a fan of menswear subconsciously at the same time. When I discovered your blog years ago, I became more in tune with colors of garments and patterns with Bond’s outfits. I also enjoy reading many secondary characters clothes and how you compare their personalities to Bond’s. I enjoy reading your blog and I hope you had a great Thanksgiving.

    Cheers my friend,
    Bill

  18. Matt:

    A heartfelt thanks for your blog and the countless hours of enjoyment it has delivered over the past twelve years. Bravo!

    Allow me to suggest a topic for your consideration. I believe the style (both suited and casual) of Roy Thinnes in the 67-68 TV series, The Invaders, owes much to the 1960s Bond style.

    Thanks and regards,
    Rick

  19. Echoing the compliments here.
    I understand that many blogs and forum / message board formats are fading in popularity in favour of Instagram and TikTok, but as an avid geek of both classic menswear and all things Bond, and a style blogger myself, I hope that interest in reading blogs – this one in particular – remains healthy.

    As an ageing Mod I remember a quote from Richard Barnes’ ‘Mods!’ book:
    “Of course, Modernists had continental heroes. There weren’t many English [sic] stars they admired, apart from perhaps Sean Connery’s James Bond, but they were fans of people like Marcello Mastroianni and Juliette Greco”.

    There’s a built-in difficulty now as almost all the clothes of Bond and other characters have been covered and it will likely be several years before the next film release and attendant flurry of activity. I still enjoy reading about Bond-contemporary sixties espionage characters so while some suggestions are being thrown in here’s mine…

    As a kid I used to love watching all those ITC shows – Randall and Hopkirk, Danger Man (I believe Patrick MacGoohan was in the frame to be Bond but considered it too violent and sexist!), Man In A Suitcase, etc but my favourite of them all was The Champions. I haven’t seen a re-run in decades but recall that Alexandra Bastedo as Sharon Macready was very easy on the eye and Stewart Damon as Craig Sterling was often seen in very cool single breasted sharkskin suits so that may be worth a look.

    Wishing you continued success and as much as I love the blog post content I also enjoy the discussions which follow!

  20. Dressing thru the lens of Bond is the best way to learn how to be simply well dressed in a discreet and masculine way. This is a learned skill and your blog has helped educate many people, me included, to dress in a manner that improves their appearance dramatically which has a myriad of benefits, both personal and professional. Thank you sir and please continue this very important work!

  21. I’ve been reading your blog since I was teenager in high school.
    Platforms and blogs come and go, and I am very glad that you still write regularly.
    You’re an institution.

  22. Well put Matt. I agree with your statement. Sometimes it is like the dog wagging the tail or the tail wagging the dog. The objective is to understand menswear and look good.

    Keep up the good work and this blog. I have been following for many years.

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