James Bond’s (00)7 Dandiest Outfits

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Bond is known for being well-dressed but not especially foppish. It’s the main reason why his style seems accessible, despite its luxury. Bond rarely approaches dressing like a fop, but on a few occasions his clothes are a bit fussier than usual. Bond has always been somewhat of a dandy in his dress, in that he puts great care into his clothes but is tasteful with them. A few of his suits have dandier look that others. Here are seven of his dandiest looks.

001. The Houndstooth Flannel Suit with an Odd Waistcoat in Goldfinger

Goldfinger gave Bond a different kind of wardrobe because much of it was repurposed from Sean Connery’s film Woman of Straw. The wardrobe was a bit flashier than what Connery wore in his first two Bond films, but it was not a complete departure from his earlier styles. The first suit in Goldfinger is a brown houndstooth check flannel with country detailing, such as hacking pockets, a ticket pocket and a long single vent at the rear. It’s a classic country suit, but when worn to the office in London it gives Bond an edgier look as he’s dressing down but still dressing fastidiously.

The beige doeskin waistcoat makes a statement, but in an elegant dandy way. Yet, an odd waistcoat is flashy for James Bond. His shirt is the first he’d wear with a suit that has double cuffs and cufflinks, a style that would continue throughout the film. Bond wouldn’t again wear cufflinks with a suit until GoldenEye 31 years later. Though cufflinks aren’t necessarily a dandy detail, they are for Bond when compared to the various styles of button cuffs he’d wear over the first three decades of the series.

A white linen pocket square in a pointed fold adds an extra level of dandiness that Connery’s usual straight-folded pocket square lacks. A faintly striped shirt, which Connery wears with all of his suits in Goldfinger, adds another dandy touch.

002. The Blue Herringbone Flannel Suit in Goldfinger

Though it doesn’t appear so at first glance, the blue suit in Goldfinger is one of Bond’s most unusual suits, and it’s the dandy details that subtly separate it from the average navy suit. The colour is a shade lighter than the average navy, and the cloth is a herringbone flannel, which means it has a nap and the subtlest stripe effect. It has covered buttons in the same cloth as the suit, an extra effort compared to standard horn or polyester buttons. Covered buttons are most often found on formal wear, but in the 1960s it was trendy to put them on regular suits. The jacket has the sporty detail of swelled edges.

These details all come together to create Bond’s dandiest suit. It’s as dandy as The Avengers‘ John Steed’s suits, just with a fuller fit. The suit would have looked more dandy had Bond worn the matching waistcoat that Connery wears with it in Woman of Straw.

003. The Glen Check Suit in Goldfinger

The most famous suit of the Bond series brings out the dandy in Bond. It’s a sporty, lightweight checked three-piece suit in black, white and grey. The waistcoat is completely superfluous, but it’s what makes this suit special. It says that Bond is wearing this suit because he cares about his clothes and does not have disdain for his suits. Despite being a three-piece suit, it not a business suit or a suit for dressing up; it’s a suit for fun and Bond wears it proudly and comfortably. Unusual details like the notched lapels on the waistcoat and the ticket pocket add extra dandy touches.

004. The Hacking Jacket and Stock in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

The closest Bond ever dressed to the original dandy Beau Brummell is in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, when Bond wears a matching ecru silk shirt and stock tie. While his houndstooth check hacking jacket is conservative, his high-collared shirt and stock are revived thanks to the Peacock Revolution of the late 1960s. The beige trousers tucked into tall boots are for equestrian pursuits, but they also recall Brummell’s iconic Regency style.

1805 caricature of Beau Brummell by Richard Dighton

005. The Olive Double-Breasted Suit in The Man with the Golden Gun

Bond’s olive double-breasted suit in The Man with the Golden Gun is one of his dandiest suits of the series. The suit being double-breasted and having fancy stripes in tan and red makes this one of Bond’s dandier suits. The shirt has fine bengal stripes in gold and cream, which are well-coordinated with the suit’s stripes in a different scale so they don’t compete. Wearing multiple well-defined patterns together is a dandy trait that Bond rarely does, usually preferring to focus his outfits on one patterned item.

This suit jacket also has a fancy cuff that fastens in a kissing manner with one button showing on either side of the sleeve. It’s amongst Bond’s dandiest of cuffs, and it appears on all of his jackets in Live and Let Die and The Man with the Golden Gun, except for the equally fussy gauntlet cuffs on the silk dinner jacket in the latter film. These fussy cuffs envelop cocktail cuffs on Bond’s shirts. This turned-back button shirt cuff features in ten Bond films, and it’s both Bond’s signature shirt cuff and one of the dandiest of all shirt cuffs for how overelaborate it is merely for the look. The cocktail cuff alone qualifies Bond as a dandy.

006. The Prince of Wales Check Suit in GoldenEye

Pierce Brosnan is the dandiest of all Bonds, often taking inspiration from the best-dressed dandies of the 1930s and 1940s. His first suit as James Bond in M’s office channels Connery’s M’s office suit in Goldfinger by continuing the country suit look in the city. Brosnan’s suit is a Prince of Wales check in sand and blue with hacking pockets, a ticket pocket and a single vent. It would have looked more dandy had Brosnan worn the waistcoat it was made with.

The way Brosnan’s Bond meticulously coordinates his shirt and accessories with the suit is what makes it dandy. The ivory shirt matches the suit’s warm tone. The tie is navy, royal blue and bronze, which picks up the blue and sand in the suit’s check. A puffed royal blue silk pocket square coordinates with the royal blue in the tie and adds a bit of flamboyance missing from Connery’s folded white linen pocket squares.

007. The Three-Piece Dinner Suit in Tomorrow Never Dies

James Bond is famous for his black tie sophistication, but he often takes a less-than-dandy approach to it by foregoing traditional accessories such as cummerbunds and shirt studs. However, he occasionally adds a red carnation to his lapel, which is a classic dandy move. His dandiest black tie ensembles is from Tomorrow Never Dies, when he finds inspiration from the 1930s. The midnight blue barathea dinner suit isn’t all that unusual for Bond at first glance, but the wide peaked lapels are faced in silk grosgrain for an extra-traditional approach. The waistcoat, Bond’s second out of only two in the series, has a highly unusual double-breasted cut with five buttons low and close together in a ‘V’ formation. The waistcoat is what makes this Bond’s dandiest dinner suit.

The shirt also adds a dandier look, with Bond’s only second occasion wearing shirt studs. With the exception of the two previous films, Bond always preferred ordinary mother-of-pearl buttons down the front of his dress shirts for a less fussy approach. Here the studs and cufflinks in mother of pearl add a subtly fastidious touch to the outfit. The marcella bib, collar and cuffs also add a classically sophisticated and fancy look to the shirt.

More Dandy Looks

These aren’t Bond’s only dandier looks of the series. Other looks include paring ruffled dress shirts with his dinner jackets in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, wearing crocodile shoes to a crocodile farm in Live and Let Die, wearing day cravats in A View to a Kill and GoldenEye, matching his fawn-coloured overcoat to his tie in Tomorrow Never Dies, wearing a collar pin for a flashier funeral disguise in Spectre, and casually wearing a three-piece damier check suit in Spectre.

13 COMMENTS

  1. I would have included Connery’s the mid grey Glen Check suit that we wore to Kerim Bey’s bombed out office. It was the flashiest pattern he wore up to that time. But i guess the Goldfinger suit would cover that.

    I love the dark grey dupioni silk suit he wore on his arrival in Istanbul. Do you know who still makes that fabric.

    Another great article Matt, Thank you!

    • The Goldfinger suit is similar enough to the glen check suits in From Russia with Love, but with the added lapelled waistcoat it’s certainly has the dandy edge. The striped shirt with cufflinks is another way the Goldfinger suit is dandier.

      I believe the silk is available from Scabal, but I haven’t looked into their silks in a few years.

  2. I’m glad someone else found the Goldfinger blue flannel suit a bit Steed-esque. Perhaps it helped Honor Blackman feel at home on set. The olive Golden Gun suit was probably as close as Moore could get to bringing a bit of Brett Sinclair to Bond.

  3. Excellent article as always Matt! I know the focus here was highlighting the dandiest examples, but I’m also curious which instances you think are good examples to take inspiration from. I know the odd waistcoat is something you’ve done in the past (quite striking too!)

  4. If anything I’d say that Brosnan’s Bond encroached upon dandy-esque territory too frequently; too much colour coordination, too much pattern. I guess that as the suit was falling out of fashion then, ergo it must have been too tempting to emphasize Bond’s suits by highlighting their ‘playfulness’, but it all strayed a shade too far from Bond’s usual sartorial sobriety in my opinion.

  5. Bond is a complete dandy in:
    1) Goldfinger
    2) Moore in his four movies from the 70s
    3) Brosnan through and through (the dandy Bond, hors concours)
    4) Craig in Spectre (in my opinion, the whole film is a nod to the Moore era)

    Bonus: OHMSS has a late 60s, swinging London mod style, in the way the movie is shot and in some of Bond’s outfits. I call it “the mod Bond movie”, a film that is so stylishly set apart from the rest of the franchise that it looks almost like a spin-off (what probably is, considering they kept only Tracy and their marriage as canon later on).

    Also: how would you rank shirt cuffs Matt? Considering double cuffs, cocktail, barrel cuffs and lapidus cuffs from flashy/fussy/dandy to “sober”.

    • I agree with how you describe Bond as a dandy. I wouldn’t say that Bond is mod at all in OHMSS. He touches on peacock fashions of the era, and mod was already out at the time.

      The Lapidus cuff is the flashiest cuff. The cocktail cuff is flashier than the double cuff because it’s more unusual, but the double cuff is flashier for the cufflinks. Context can matter too. The regular button cuff is by far the most sober, no matter the shape and number of buttons it has. But a cuff with 3 buttons is dandier than a cuff with one or two buttons.

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