James Bond style on film started with Sean Connery, and naturally all Bond style that has come since is often compared to and frequently inspired by Connery’s. The two actors who replaced Connery—George Lazenby and Roger Moore—not only had to replace the irreplaceable Bond actor but had to dress the part of Bond. The costume designers faced a challenge when dressing new Bonds to decide what to keep from Connery’s look and what new fashions to give the character.
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service was to be the first Bond film without Sean Connery. Recasting James Bond was a challenge after Connery left the role following You Only Live Twice, and copying Connery was to be the route to success. Apart from a reference to that fact that George Lazenby was not Connery (“This never happened to the other fella”), Lazenby’s Bond tried to follow Connery’s Bond in his manner, his preferred drink, and mostly in his style. George Lazenby dressed like Connery in an Anthony Sinclair suit when he met the Bond series producers to show that he could look like Connery. For his Bond style, Lazenby started with the Connery Bond template but expanded it and modernised it.
Lazenby’s suits did not have the traditional Savile Row look of Connery’s suits, but they still looked unquestionably English. Compared to Connery’s Anthony Sinclair suits, Lazenby’s suits from Dimi Major were cut in a more fashion forward manner, with more suppressed waists in the jackets and trimmer straight-leg trousers without pleats. But at first glance the suits aren’t a whole lot different from Connery’s. Lazenby’s suits are two or three-piece with familiar cloths like navy herringbone, navy chalkstripe and black-and-white glen check. He wears these suits with a navy knitted tie, something Connery wears in his Bond films on occasion. Lazenby wears some flashier summer suits in cream and light blue, while Connery preferred light grey.
Lazenby’s Bond takes many Connery staples but turns them into fashion statements. Lazenby wears a blazer, but his is double-breasted in a naval style instead of a discreet single-breasted model. He wears a hacking jacket, but it has a bolder check than Connery’s and he wears it in a more flashier manner with a stock instead of a knitted tie. Lazenby wears a classic dinner suit, but it has peaked lapels instead of a shawl collar, and he pairs it with a ruffled shirt instead of classic pleated shirt. While Lazenby’s Bond wardrobe is more fashion forward than Connery’s, the clothes were still too old-fashioned for the 29-year-old George Lazenby who aspired to be a hippie to appeal to the younger women at the time. Even in a modern suit he didn’t look young enough.
When people talk about Lazenby’s style they focus on the items that stand out in a bad way: the ruffled shirt, the brown golf leisure suit and the highland dress. These are the elements that most separate his clothes from Connery’s, though they don’t entirely define his Bond’s wardrobe. He wore some clothes that made his wardrobe unique amongst the Bonds, but he also wore many of the classic Bond items that defined the Bond look before him.
When Connery returned to the Bond role in Diamonds Are Forever after Lazenby’s brief turn, his old style returned with only a slight update: his suit jackets had wider lapels, wider pocket flaps and hacking pockets, and his suit trousers no longer had pleats. The ties are wider. Otherwise his well-established look from the 1960s returned. The cream suit that Lazenby introduced to Bond returns here.
When attempting to make Lazenby into Connery failed, the filmmakers took a different approach the next time Sean Connery was replaced. Roger Moore’s first Bond film Live and Let Die attempted to make his Bond much different than Connery’s. He doesn’t drink the quintessential “vodka martini, shaken, not stirred”. He receives his mission briefing at his home instead of at the office, and M delivers his gadget instead of Q. George Martin’s funky score replaces John Barry’s combination of jazz and romanticism. Bond doesn’t even appear in the pre-title sequence. As for the clothes, Moore dresses quite differently from Connery in his first film.
Roger Moore brought in his personal tailor Cyril Castle to tailor him as Bond. Castle had dressed Moore for many productions prior to Bond and was an experienced costumer as well as a celebrity tailor. Castle was located on the same street as Sean Connery’s tailor, Mayfair’s Conduit Street, but cut a more fashion-forward suit.
Roger Moore’s Bond does not wear the quintessential Bond outfit, the dinner suit, in his first Bond film. He wears one in promotional photography, but it does not appear in the film. He wears an ivory dinner jacket, with a much different take on it than Connery’s, in his second Bond film, and he doesn’t wear a dark dinner suit until his third Bond film. And then it is double-breasted, which was still something new for Bond. Moore wears striped and printed ties instead of the grenadine and knitted solids that defined Bond’s ties before, and when he wears solid ties they have new textures for Bond. Moore introduces the double-breasted suit and the tan suit to Bond. Instead of a blue blazer or a tweed jacket, his sports coat is in a summery tan and it is paired with dark, contrasting trousers.
The cuts of Moore’s suits are fully updated to the 1970s in Live and Let Die, with wide lapels and flared trousers. However, the lapels in Live and Let Die are not as wide as Connery’s are in Diamonds Are Forever, the pocket flaps are not overly wide, and the trouser hem width is not exaggerated. The lapels and trousers would get wider in following Bond films.
Moore’s casualwear introduces the 1970s leisure suit to Bond in two forms in Live and Let Die. Moore’s famous safari suits, safari jackets and safari shirts, which are unique to his Bond, would appear in his later Bond films.
Moore still wore a few classic Bond pieces in his first Bond film, such as navy and grey suits and cocktail cuff shirts in light blue and cream. Bond likely inspired Moore to wear cocktail cuffs in The Saint half a decade earlier in 1968 and they were a signature style for him for a decade. Many more classic Bond tropes and Bond styles would reappear in Moore’s later Bond films, but for his first film he was established as a very different character with a very different wardrobe, albeit one that was still made up primarily of tailored clothes.
All later Bonds had their own styles, but Lazenby and Moore showed two ways of introducing new Bond actors.
Another super topic. I enjoyed the details about the changes in their dress. Now that I look back and can see their impact on my own style.
Did Connery’s trousers have pleats in YOLT? I rewatched the film recently and I can’t remember seeing them. The trousers looked flat-fronted.
The suit trousers have pleats.
Moore gets far too criticised for some of the things he wore in the 1970s. He mostly avoided the Tommy Nutter style giant fishmouth lapels and square-cut quarters that were considered the height of fashion (except in his sports coat in TSWLM) and kept clear of the polyester and bright, gaudy colours that were popular at the time. Most of his suits from LaLD and tMwtGG were totally classic apart from the flared trousers.
He wore more absurd looking garments in some of his other roles, but people like to forget that he often played flamboyant characters.
Lazenby was a great missed opportunity.
He was perfect as James Bond, he was a Sean Connery type,and his proof in a very difficult movie as “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” is very good.
Hadn’t been foolish and had not aspired to be a damned hippy,he could keep the role until mid 80s!
I think that the Dimi Major’suits are fantastic,even better of those of Sinclair, but i think that the production had to dress Lazenby in hold continuity with Connery.
So had to be Anthony Sinclair’s suits,pleated dress shirts (and no ruffles),neat two buttons,grenadine and knit navy ties,white,light cream and pale blue shirts with cocktal’s cuffs,light grey and not cream suits,and so.
Obviously lapels and ties could be a bit more large,but in the classic range.
Moore…well i love Sir Roger,I’m serious.
But he IS NOT James Bond.
He is the Saint that for some reason have took the place of the real 007 and now calls himself “James Bond” instead Simon Templar.
Well done post. Lazenby and Moore both, as Matt details, did a great job establishing their own look, rather than copying someone else’s.
I think that the actors who came after Connery are too often not given credit for the sartorial style of their Bonds (not helped by the last two films. They all – including Connery – reflected their times and they all (’89 Dalton excepted) did it pretty well. I often think the comments on various actors’ styles on this blog are really comments on what each one of us prefers today (I am guilty of this all too often) rather than a reflection of the context of the actors’ times, as portrayed over 50+ years.
Very interesting post.
They really tried to make Roger’s Bond different than Sean’s, and clothes was surely one of the aspects of it. Even though Connery is my favourite Bond, I think that was a good decision, and Moore made his own interpretation of the character.
I basically agree with everything Carmelo wrote. To me, as a fan of sixties clothes in general, Lazenby was the perfect mix of the traditional, somewhat stodgy, look of spy-disguised-as-businessman Connery while acknowledging that since Dr. No, British men’s style had undergone the “peacock revolution” spearheaded by young men and Carnaby Street. As Lazenby was only 29, it made sense that they would incorporate this to the look. But I also think it was a very specific thing to 1968/69. If Lazenby had stayed in the part, his clothes would probably have moved in a Live And Let Die or Diamonds Are Forever direction as 1970s styles established themselves.
As for Moore, I also agree with Carmelo to a large extent that he was bringing a lot (although not everything) of Simon Templar with him when he took over Bond. In fact, I would argue that he got even more Templar-like as the 1970s and 80s progressed. Even as a kid watching reruns of The Saint while Moore was still playing Bond in the cinema, I saw a lot of it as interchangeable. But I think that was fine with EON. Remember, Moore was already internationally famous when he was cast as Bond whereas Connery and Lazenby were unknowns so they certainly gave him some leeway with how he played the part, and probably gave him even more once he was a proven success. The Moore Brand worked when applied to Bond so why mess with it?
Although it’s outside the scope of this article, I think Brosnan’s style might have worked best for the character. He dressed fancier than any other Bond and this gave him an intense, slightly unhinged edge in the 1990s, as it was at that exact time that men’s style was rapidly getting more casual.
There is a notion that every Bond should be a new actor, different director, shot in a different genre and era. That would make for an interesting wardrobe and keep the creativity high.
It is very difficult for Bond to not dress of his time, hence the modern era with Craig. For me Lazenby and Moore got it exactly right. As Connery’s wardrobe was updated for 1971 it speaks volumes. In effect Connery broke away from the 1960s Bond.
The more mature Bond must err on the side of classical styles, with a cut that is flattering to their own physique. The norm seems to be ultra slim trousers on suits and no tie. Looks awful. I wonder if Craig will turn out dressed as such, looks all the more ridiculous on a man over fifty.
Craig might dress fashionably as Bond, but nowhere near as fashionably as he does in his daily life.
Whether a choice by Craig, the costumers, the directors, the producers, or someone else entirely, it seems there are rules about how Bond has to dress now.
Suit with no tie seems like a definite no-no, and has only been done once (to much derision here).
While I think it will happen one day as the world gets evermore casual, I still can’t see it happening anytime soon.
I think the suit with no tie has been done by all Bond’s bar George and Sean. If I’m not mistaken the first example was the cream suit in “Moonraker”. It’s fine with a casual suit and Roger and Pierce carried the look off quite well.
I agree with David, that the no tie look works the best with a casual suit. The dark suit or any smooth worsted suit mid grey or light grey for example doesn’t look great or natural with no tie. The only time Daniel Craig has done it was removing his tie under stress in QOS wearing his midnight blue mohair worst suit. Even then it didn’t look great, if appropriate for the scenes.
I have a feeling the casualness of clothes is beginning to go the other way. My generation seems to be rediscovering the style of our grandparents and making it new. As people like Hugo Jacomet have been pointing out, a tie with a suit is now edgier than suit without a tie. The recent explosion in made-to-measure and related accessories like shoes suggests there is a growing rather than falling demand for dressing well.
I hope you’re right, though I can’t say I’ve seen much of it myself. I hardly ever see anyone other than myself wearing a tie, though when I do it is usually someone my age (early twenties). I think young people like to buck social trends, whatever they are, and right now the social trend is casual clothes and open neck shirts. The boomers bucked their social trend of suits and ties, so perhaps my generation will be the one to cast off the boomer trend and bring back suits and ties.
There is an amusing quote floating around the internet along the lines of ‘the world has become so casual now that wearing a suit and tie is an overt act of rebellion’. I can’t predict in which direction menswear is headed, we often read of the death of the suit and that’s upheld by recent news of big finance houses dropping their business formal dress code while high street suit sales (eg J Crew) are in deep decline … but then there are brands like Tyrwhitt and Suitsupply that appear to be thriving and expanding. Maybe the death of the suit has been announced prematurely.
Rod, one can certainly take only a few pieces of information and make a declarative statement based on that information alone. Which is why you have my generation frequently blamed for the “death” of some companies, products, or industries in the news. Taken into context though, these are often the result of declining sales over a long period of time and/or the realization by “Millennials” that certain things are a ripoff, frivilous, or just otherwise not frugal whatsoever. (See diamond engagement rings, fabric softener, or the decline of full-service hotels.) It’s not up to us to keep companies afloat if they offer no value to us, it’s up to them to make themselves relevant. That’s how capitalism has always worked, so I find it interesting that we are implied to be these bad guys who want to just stick it to the man when, really, we’re just being money-conscious as the lowest paid generation yet. So while it may have something to do with workplaces or events becoming increasingly casual, it probably also has to do with value. After all, why go to J. Crew when something equivalent in quality can be had from Suit Supply in more styles, fits, and interesting fabrics at a lower price?
Matt, would you say the belt instead of daks-tops look was another approach Moore made to break away from Connery’s style? Or is it more about the trend that generalized belt loops over adjusters?
In this article I was talking about how they broke away from Connery’s style in their first outings, and though Moore wears a belt with his odd trousers he does not yet wear one with a suit. It was certainly a way he broke away from the Connery style in The Man with the Golden Gun, and in The Spy Who Loved Me he would wear even more differing items.
Great article as usual, Matt.
If I were to choose which outfits to wear out of those mentioned I think Lazenby’s would do. Not very Bond-ish, but those kilts and that fox-hunting suit of sorts really looked fun. A very good film, even superior than the next one with Sean, too bad George didnt stay in the role.