It may not be exciting, but the black tie is a Bondian mark of taste. The black tie shows restraint and can pair well with almost anything. But it is not something easy to wear, since it can often look a bit too somber. As Bond kills for a living, a solid black tie is never too somber a choice for him. But he also makes it an elegant choice.
Bond wears many variations on the solid black tie, and he shows that the solid black tie need not be boring.
The literary Bond’s neckwear of choice is a black silk knitted tie, something he pairs with navy suits and a yellowing black and white dogtooth check suit. With the checked suit, the black tie is a natural choice since it picks up the black in the suit’s check.
A black tie is an unusual choice with a navy suit, since black can clash with a dark navy if there is not enough contrast in texture. But as long as the suit isn’t so dark that it looks almost black, a black tie can be a pleasantly neutral pairing with a blue suit. A black tie with a navy suit also shows a certain nonchalance compared to a more studied pairing of matching a navy tie with a navy suit.
Sean Connery’s Bond introduces the black tie in the form of the literary Bond’s black silk knitted tie to the Bond films in Goldfinger, pairing it with grey and brown suits but not blue. On screen these pairings look elegant and tasteful. A silk knitted tie has a lot of surface texture and is not an overly formal tie, and these these qualities relieve some of a black tie’s plainness and gloominess.
Bond first wears a the solid black grenadine tie with a grey flannel suit in Thunderball, wearing it to a funeral at the start of the film. Solid black ties are a classic choice for mourning, as they look somber and do not draw attention. For his funeral outfits throughout the series, Bond always wears a solid black tie, either with a grey suit or a black suit.
Like with the knitted tie, the lacey texture of a grenadine tie makes a black tie seem less sombre. The neutrality of black also helps draw attention to the tie’s beautiful and luxurious texture, which in turn can make a black tie more interesting.
Bond introduces a very plain solid black repp tie to Bond in You Only Live Twice as part of his Royal Navy Blue No. 1 dress uniform. Repp or reppe silk is woven in a plain weave with fine horizontal ribs. Because ties are cut on the bias, the ribs on the constructed tie are 45 degrees. Repp silk has a dull sheen without much texture.
A plain black tie is a requirement of Bond’s dress uniform, and it pairs well with the white shirt and almost-black navy uniform. Ian Fleming’s Bond may have gotten the inspiration for his everyday uniform of navy suit, white shirt and black tie from this naval uniform.
Bond again wears black repp ties with his naval uniforms in The Spy Who Loved Me and Tomorrow Never Dies. He also wears it with Colonel Toro’s green army uniform at the start of Octopussy. It appears again as Timothy Dalton’s first tie as Bond when he wears a grey herringbone three-piece suit in The Living Daylights.
For mourning in Diamonds Are Forever, the black tie returns in the form of a fancy ribbed tie. Like the grenadine tie, this tie’s complex rib pattern adds interest to the plain tie while being the perfect choice for Bond in and out of mourning. Few outfits can look as somber as a black suit with a black tie, which is appropriate in Diamonds Are Forever because Bond dresses in disguise to mourn his “bother’s” death.
Roger Moore’s Bond embraces the black tie in The Man with the Golden Gun, something he shares with the film’s villain Scaramanga. He wears a black silk satin tie with a shiny charcoal suit for a fancy dinner with Goodnight. Satin ties are best for evening because of their shine, but a long black satin tie is not a classic replacement for a black bow tie with a dinner jacket. For fancy evening occasions that require less than a ‘black tie’ dress code, a black satin tie is a good option to wear with a suit.
With a loud checked jacket in The Man with the Golden Gun Bond wears a black textured tie that resembles a grenadine tie. Such a discreet tie is a good match for a boldly checked jacket, helping to tone down the outfit while picking up the black in the jacket’s check. Scaramanga’s James Bond mannequin in the film returns the character to the classic Bondian black silk knitted tie.
Pierce Brosnan’s Bond’s black necktie comes in the form of a black cashmere knitted tie with his grey Cheviot tweed suit in The World Is Not Enough. As well as being a stylish tie to wear with a tweed suit in the Scottish countryside, being black makes it an appropriate tie for Robert King’s funeral set in the country. This is a sportier variation on the already sporty silk knitted tie that Fleming’s Bond preferred.
Spectre saw Daniel Craig’s Bond wearing two solid black ties. The first is a black-on-black checked tie with a black suit and black coat for a funeral. 50 years after Bond’s first funeral in Thunderball, Bond still reaches for a black tie for such an occasion.
At the end of Spectre, Bond wears an anthracite grey damier check suit with a solid black twill tie. A twill tie looks similar to a repp tie but with the ribs at an angle other than 45 degrees across the tie. This tie has horizontal ribs because the actual silk’s ribs are woven at 45 degrees.