It’s corduroy season in the northern hemisphere. Corduroy is not a fabric traditionally associated with Bond, but thanks to No Time to Die it has become a Bond staple. It’s certainly a divisive material. Some appreciate its soft comfort while others dislike it for its old-fashioned, geography teacher-associated look or its bulk.
Corduroy is a cotton fabric similar to velvet but with tufted ribs. Corduroy’s ribs, properly known as ‘wales’, comes in different widths, with wider wales having a more traditional look and finer wales looking more modern. Finer-wale corduroy is often called pinwale corduroy or needlecord and is a lighter weight. Regular corduroy has 14 or fewer wales per inch, while needlecord has 14 or more wales per inch.
No Time to Die is the corduroy Bond film, with three different outfits in corduroy. Massimo Alba provided the corduroy clothes for the film, including the sand-coloured ‘Sloop’ suit, the ‘Winch’ trousers in ‘Alluminio’ (a warm grey), the ‘Mauko’ trousers in ‘nero lavato’ (washed black), and the ‘Rain2’ duster coat in ‘agades’ olive green.
Massimo Alba’s corduroy is all needlecord, which is of the finest ‘baby corduroy’ variety. Compared to typical corduroy, it is very lightweight and more breathable, making it appropriate for warm—but not hot—weather. It is nothing like what your geography teacher wore, and it’s not going to keep you warm during autumn’s cooler days.
The ‘Sloop’ suit is one of Bond’s most casual suits of the series, due to both the corduroy and its minimal structure. Corduroy is a great fabric for both suits and sports coats when one wants to look well-tailored but still dress down. Bond’s button-down denim shirt is the perfect complement to a corduroy suit.
Bond wears the ‘Winch’ trousers with a henley and linen jacket in a very casual setting, which they are perfect for.
The ‘Rain2’ duster coat is a very unusual coat for Bond. It’s a long coat, and thus it would work well over tailoring, ideally with something more relaxed like a tweed suit or jacket. But Bond wears this coat more casually over a henley and the Massimo Alba ‘Mauko’ trousers in black. It’s usually difficult to successfully pair two items of corduroy that aren’t a matching suit, but this corduroy is so fine that it reads like a plain material on screen. Instead of black corduroy trousers, black or khaki jeans would have paired much better.
No Time to Die is not the first time Bond wears corduroy. In For Your Eyes Only he wears trousers in a traditional heavy black corduroy for his assault on the monastery where villain Kristatos is hiding out. Bond chose corduroy for this mission because it is warm, flexible and hard-wearing. These trousers are made of a medium-wale corduroy, which along with wide-wade corduroy was popular in the 1970s and 1980s.
Sean Connery wore trousers of a very wide wale on the April 1966 cover of GQ magazine. There he appears decidedly un-Bondian, in trousers that look rather old-fashioned but might reflect what he may have worn growing up in Scotland. There he would have been comfortable in these cords for much of the year.
Roger Moore wore a fawn-coloured corduroy trenchcoat in the television special Happy Anniversary 007 in 1987 to celebrate 25 years of the Bond films. Moore loved trenchcoats and wore them in a number of different fabrics in various roles. It’s didn’t seem particularly Bondian at the time based on what Bond wore in the films, but with Bond wearing a corduroy coat now in No Time to Die it wouldn’t feel out of place for Bond. Moore wears it over a blue blazer, but it would also be a great choice over tweed or other sporty materials.
Carrying on from where Bond left his corduroy in For Your Eyes Only, Bond wears brown corduroy trousers for another assault in Skyfall, this time to defend his own base. Brown is one of the most traditional colours for corduroy, being that corduroy is a classic material for the British countryside. These are of the needlecord variety, but the cord is not as fine as the Massimo Alba cord, so it retains most of corduroy’s traditional character. These are the ‘Iggy Corduane’ Jeans from All Saints. In a jeans style rather than Massimo Alba’s chino style, these are more casual.