Sean Connery is, regrettably to report, the second of the actors to portray James Bond in the EON film series to have passed away. Though he has been out of the public eye for many years, he has continued to be a cultural icon, which he has been since 1962 when he was the first actor to play James Bond on the big screen. Connery played James Bond in six films in the EON series, Dr. No, From Russia with Love, Goldfinger, Thunderball, You Only Live Twice and Diamonds Are Forever from 1962 to 1971, and in one non-EON Bond film, Never Say Never Again in 1983. Sean Connery has always been the most popular James Bond, and not just because he was the first. Connery had the perfect blend of class, toughness and charm to be what James Bond was meant to be.
Sean Connery also set the template for how James Bond should dress on screen. As James Bond, Connery was always well-tailored in the English manner, but his clothes never drew too much attention to themselves. The clothes were special because of the details. The cut of the Anthony Sinclair suits had just the right amount of shape: not too dramatic but never boxy. A low button stance on the jacket and self-supporting forward-pleated trousers gave the suits a streamlined look. The suitings were elegant but never too bold: sharkskins, flannels, glen checks, herringbones and chalk stripes made up his wardrobe. The shirts had elegant spread collars and unique cocktail cuffs. The ties were always solid, but in grenadine and knitted variations they had texture to make them special.
This manner of dress gave Sean Connery’s Bond a very distinctive look that looked simple at first but revealed many small details with a closer look. At a quick glance, the clothes were basic enough for the everyman, but they offered so much more for those who cared about dressing well. And like his clothes, Sean Connery’s performance as James Bond offered something for everyone to appreciate.
Sean Connery’s clothes as James Bond have had a significant impact on the way people dress. Many people have commissioned replicas of the iconic glen check three-piece suit that Connery wears in Goldfinger. Others have been inspired to wear tweed because of Connery’s hacking jacket in Goldfinger. For me, the elegant design of his Turnbull & Asser cocktail cuffs adorns many of the shirts in my wardrobe. My tie collection is mostly grenadine and knitted ties. His self-stripe dress shirt in Thunderball inspired me to get the same to wear with my dinner suit.
Sean Connery will always be remembered as the first man to play James Bond in films and for his roles in other films such as The Man Who Would Be King, Highlander, The Untouchables, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, The Rock and countless others. He will be remembered for a thick Scottish brogue that was uniquely his own. He will be remember for being voted People magazine’s sexiest man alive in 1989 at the age of 59. But because of his role as James Bond, he will also always be remembered as a style icon.