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.
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.
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.
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.