Learning from Bond: My Own Way to Wear the Beige Live and Let Die Shirt

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I have a lot of fun wearing clothes that James Bond would wear, but I like to combine them in ways James Bond would not. I think it’s one great way I can make James Bond’s style my own. When I received a beige shirt from bespoke shirtmaker Frank Foster that replicates a very distinctive shirt that they made for Roger Moore to wear in Live and Let Die, it posed a challenge because it’s not something I usually wear.

Beige shirts are not the most conventional shirts, and they’re are not as versatile as their cousins in cream and ecru. They’re easiest to pair with other earth tones like Roger Moore did, but I don’t look my best dressed entirely in earth tones. Still, I was very excited to wear this shirt that is an exact replica of Bond’s shirt. Based on its fabric and styling, it’s probably the most unique shirt of the Bond series because nobody else can make a perfect replica.

My Frank Foster shirt is made in the same fabric that was used for Roger Moore’s bayou shirt in Live and Let Die, but it’s from a different bolt. The bolt was packed away in Frank Foster’s Pall Mall basement shop and storeroom for almost 50 years before his daughter Sam unearthed it. The shirt is beige end-on-end cotton in light brown and cream threads with an unusual self motif. The motif is like a four-petal flower with the petals alternating in light brown and cream. Though it’s a fine cloth that is the sort formal shirts are made of, the pattern and colour mean that it can be worn more casually as well. The colour and pattern effectively make it a sports shirt, but the fineness means it can be worn with a suit for the more adventurous dressers.

The shirt is detailed the same way Roger Moore’s was, with a high semi-spread collar, a covered front placket with one line of stitching down the middle, and two-button cocktail cuffs. The cuff design follows the same design from Live and Let Die, which Moore only wears again in Gold. The shape of the cuff is the same as Moore’s one-button button-down cocktail cuffs from The Persuaders!.

James Bond is not usually associated with beige shirts, but he has worn a number of them throughout the series. Sean Connery had a couple beige camp shirts, Roger Moore had beige safari and military shirts as well as a few formal shirts, Timothy Dalton had a beige sports shirt, and now Daniel Craig will be wearing a beige shirt in No Time to Die. So while this shirt certainly has 1970s vibes thanks to the pattern and colour, the beige shirt is part of the current Bond’s wardrobe as is thus not outdated. Daniel Craig’s Zara sports shirt in Skyfall had a similar pattern, so even that aspect of the shirt has made its way to the current Bond’s wardrobe.

The fabric, compared with a shot from Live and Let Die

Beige shirts looked the best on Roger Moore because of his deep, warm tan. On me, they need to be balanced with cool colours that look better on me. Anyone can wear just about any colour, but sometimes complementary colours are needed to present a more flattering overall look. This shirt prompted me to turn it into an exercise on combining warm and cool colours.

While Roger Moore wore a tan jacket with this shirt in Live and Let Die, I wore a navy blazer with this shirt to bring the coolness that I need to the outfit. My blazer is from Canali, which I purchased around 2008 or 2009. Canali became a Bond brand a few years later when Jeffrey Deaver dressed Bond in a navy Canali suit in the 2011 James Bond continuation novel Carte Blanche.

The shirt in action in Live and Let Die

My blazer is wool hopsack with two buttons, straight pockets and double vents. The blazers in The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker inspired me to get this blazer, though I couldn’t find an example with slanted pockets. One day I will order such a blazer, but this one has plenty of life in it still.

The blazer originally came with black enamel buttons, which I changed for smoke mother of pearl. I wanted buttons that had the same look as the silver-toned four-hole metal buttons on Moore’s blazers but I didn’t want metal. Mother of pearl has the same shiny look as metal but presents as more modern. I bought these buttons shortly after I bought the blazer and I have been very happy with the choice.

The trousers are dark grey plain-weave worsted wool from Mason & Sons with frogmouth pockets and side adjusters. The trousers were a difficult choice because while I often pair them with this blazer, I was concerned they wouldn’t play well with the beige shirt. It can be difficult to pair warm neutrals like beige with cool neutrals like grey, but because there’s enough contrast in the lightness of the two, I think the pairing turned out very well. I would not pair the beige shirt with light grey trousers.

Ideally, I would have worn pale khaki, cream or stone trousers, in gabardine or tropical wool, but I do not own such trousers. It’s the greatest void in my wardrobe. They would need to be a shade lighter than the shirt. I have chinos in the right colour, but I don’t feel that chinos are dressy enough to wear with a tie. I also don’t think chinos are ideally dressy enough for this blazer, but they can work. Dark brown trousers, like what Bond wore in Live and Let Die, would clash with the dark blue blazer.

The brown tie is from a defunct house brand at Bloomingdales called Metropolitan View. The tie is about the same age as the blazer, and it’s possible I bought both on the same trip to Bloomingdales, but I never intended on wearing them together. I chose the tie for this outfit because I wanted something very plain that would complement the shirt but not compete with it or distract from it. Roger Moore wore a solid-coloured tie with this shirt, but it had a bold self motif. The tie is wide enough to pair well with the blazer’s medium-width lapels and the shirt’s high collar.

The tie has a basketweave texture that I later realised too closely matches the blazer’s texture. A brown repp tie would have been a better choice to achieve the look I was going for, but I do not own such a tie. A brown grenadine or knitted silk tie would have also worked better, but I wanted to dress in more of a Roger Moore vibe than a Sean Connery one.

I think the best tie I own for this outfit would have been the Turnbull & Asser bronze and blue tie ‘diamond’ tie from the Tomorrow Never Dies Hamburg arrival scene, since it could tie together the colours of the shirt and blazer. If I put this look together again, I will certainly wear the tie. I still had Pierce Brosnan’s Bond in mind when I put this outfit together because of the frequency with which he combined brown and blue.

This look from Tomorrow Never Dies has Bond’s closest colour combination to what I’m wearing, and I should have paired this tie with my outfit.

My pocket square is the only item in my outfit that Bond wouldn’t wear himself because he doesn’t usually wear such dandy pocket squares. It’s brown with blue and black paisleys, which nicely brings together the outfit’s warm and cool tones.

I wore my trusty brown Crockett & Jones Tetbury chukka boots with this outfit. Brown shoes at the bottom bookend the warmth at the top to give it more context within the whole look.

Check out this From Tailors With Love video of Peter Brooker and I unboxing the Frank Foster shirt:

Photos of me by Janna Levin Spaiser.

23 COMMENTS

  1. I think the beige shirt works with a blue blazer and grey trousers though it’s not a color I think would look great on myself with my dark hair and fairer complexion. I think this is a color that really looks good on Moore in the film with the tan sports coat and brown tie. Even if the earth toned look very 1970’s to most people viewing the film in 2021. I could see myself wearing the shirt casually, but then again I don’t think I suit this color. A good look on yourself Matt.

  2. Great article, Matt! I hope I get to go to London to buy Frank Foster Bespoke Shirts in the near future.

  3. I think you did a fantastic job styling this piece but would you consider a burgundy tie in the future? I think it would work well.

  4. What a special shirt! It’s not my favourite shirt for Bond but it’s definitely one I’d wear personally, and if I had the money, means, and contacts that you did I’d jump on the opportunity.
    The tie and blazer are very close, but I think the shirt brings enough textural variation to the outfit so as to break it up nicely. That said, I’d love to see the T&A tie with it sometime and I hope you humour us with such an image on your Instagram.

    • According to me, not the best ensemble. It was not easy, though. The shirt is very peculiar, due to its colour and pattern. It needed some bold and sophisticated matching, for a balanced outfit. A navy blazer with grey trousers is too classical, too neutral, too “normal”. With that beige shirt, I would try white, cream, olive green, deep blue or sky blue. Better with a suit, using few colours and textures, for an eye-catching, but still elegant outfit

  5. It looks good on you. I really like the buttons on your blazer. I have never really considered anything other than metal buttons on a blazer, but those definitely will have me considering them as an option when I get a blazer, hopefully next year.

  6. Hello Matt
    your book is excellent in all the ways, as a ok about Bond and as a book about the elegant man.
    The shirt is fantastic Matt
    thank you for the pleasure you provide with your work
    philippe

  7. I think it works really well for a sporty look with a navy blazer, it’s a hard color to pull off but you wear it well Matt. I love the mother of pearl buttons on the blazer, they work very well. I think your next piece from Masons and Son should be a patch pocket serge blazer, but I think your already thinking of that piece. I have a navy hopsack patch pocket jacket with peak lapels I brought a few years ago that I have got a lot of wear out of, I usually wear it with medium-dark grey trousers and a light blue shirt. A navy solid or striped tie if I’m feeling more formal. I also have a Ralph Lauren navy blazer with brass metal buttons I wear a lot. It has similar padded shoulders to your Canali blazer and has flapped hip pockets.

  8. It looks great on you, though I would personally never wear it. Unrelated question: which navy blazer would be more versatile for year round wear, serge or hopsack?

    • Both are three-season fabrics with a different third season, but hopsack is easier to wear in winter than serge is to wear in summer. So I’d go with hopsack.

  9. I enjoyed this ensemble! This screen accurate shirt is amazing. I like the effort and attention you bring to this wardrobe. I have always been a fan or this shirt , and I always thought Moore wore it well. Beige shirts are an interesting shirt choice, and I think I could wear one. I often prefer double cuff shirts, but I do not mind turnback cuffs. I had never owned/wore a turnback cuff, but my brother swears by ten. In matter of fact, he favors this beige shirt.
    I love the blazar by the way. I have a blazer that has brass metal buttons, which features brass surgeon cuffs. I pair this blazer with my Church’s Chetwynd shoes.
    I enjoyed this content Matt, and I will enjoy seeing you wear this shirt with other combinations.

    My best,
    Bill

  10. This would be a hard pass for me.
    It’s good to experiment with clothes – sometimes the experiments are a success and at other times they inform us of what NOT to do.
    My visceral reaction when seeing the photo before scrolling down to read the text was “that shirt and tie don’t work in that ensemble, the blazer needs some variation of a light blue shirt”.
    For full disclosure I was a young lad in the early seventies when LALD was out and have a reflexive revulsion of a lot of what was worn in that decade – colours, patterns, styles, fabrics etc.
    You’ve done a Sterling job of pulling the shirt into a less dated and more classic ensemble but the fact remains that there are many better options to arrive at a more coherent outfit. It’s an interesting shirt pattern and a fun experiment to grab an item from the films and see what could work with it, but the end result is sub-optimal – all IMO of course – and this shirt would have been better left in the seventies. Most of the comments have been complimentary so far, so I hope my ‘voice of dissension’ doesn’t ruffle any feathers. Life would be boring if there were no differences of opinion!

    • Quite understandable. I don’t think my outfit is perfect, but I was trying something outside of my comfort zone. I don’t think the outfit is ideal, but I thought it would be fun to try something different.

  11. I have always been a fan of this shirt! I am proud to say that I wear a lot of different turnback cuffs and would definitely give this one a try. I have always looked for this shirt and I am pleased to see that you have found it.
    Great article Matt and Keep them coming!

  12. Hi Matt, it’s a good look for you. The brown tie really matches your eyes and the mixing of cool and warm colours makes an interesting look. Not many people can pull this off so I think you probably have a neutral skin tone.
    I agree with you that cream etc trousers would work better.
    Amanda

  13. Im not asking this under right article, but what formal evening shirt would be better to buy ? The one that Bond wears in Dr. No or more unique one from Goldfinger ? I kind of prefer the one from Goldfinger but the one from Dr. No is probably more versatille. Any answer that might help with decision is welcome.

    • The cloth is the only significant difference between the two shirts. Voile is better for warm weather while the white-on-white stripe is lightweight but is not going to breathe as well (but not worse than any ordinary shirt). If you want something that wears very cool, the Dr. No shirt is the one to get.

      • Is voile similar weight as linen ? Because from my experience linen is really comfortable to wear in summer.
        Also, is the white on white shirt from Goldfinger made from similar material to silk ? Because under some lightning is looks like silk. Maybe its suppose to represent what literary Bond would wear.

      • Voile generally is lighter than linen.

        The white-on-white shirt is cotton with a satin stripe. I don’t think it’s supposed to look like silk, it’s just supposed to look formal. It’s probably Bond’s flashiest dress shirt.

  14. Thank you for your answer Matt. Keep up the good work with this website. I think I will try to find material that is identical as close as possible to the white on white from Goldfinger and ask my tailor to sew me identical shirt.

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