Daniel Craig is famous for the tight-fitting suits he wore as James Bond, but his fits weren’t always that way. Changes in fashion, changes in suitmakers and changes in costume designers brought variation in the ways that Craig’s suits fit throughout his tenure as Bond. The fits define the suit styles that Daniel Craig wears more than any other aspect of the silhouettes.
Casino Royale (2006)
When Daniel Craig began his tenure as James Bond, he inherited both the costume design, Lindy Hemming, and suitmaker, Brioni, who worked on Pierce Brosnan’s four Bond films. Brioni made four suits plus a dinner suit for Casino Royale.
The jackets are made in different styles—three buttons on the suits, one suit with peaked lapels, and a dinner jacket with one button and peaked lapels—but they all have the same fit based on the ‘Chigi’ model. The silhouette comes from the Roman tradition, with straight, padded shoulders and roped sleeve heads. The shoulders are exceptionally wide so they can match the width of Daniel Craig’s muscular build and allow the sleeves to drape cleanly from the shoulders.
Unlike the fuller fits that Brioni made for Brosnan, Craig’s jackets fit closely through the body with significant waist suppression, but they have a clean fit. The intent behind this fit is to is to have an elegant drape that also emphasises Craig’s athletic physique. Craig is at his most muscular in this film, and the jackets work with it. The jackets also have a traditional length that fully covers the seat. The sleeves were often too long, which makes the jackets look a little sloppy even if they otherwise aren’t.
The suit trousers all have a darted front, a high rise and a wide leg hemmed with a full break. The dinner suit trousers change up the style with single reverse pleats. Some of the suit trousers sit lower than they’re designed to because the belt doesn’t hold them up well.
The leg width is the most notable fashion of these trousers. Wide legs were fashionable in 2006, after being fashionable in various forms since the 1970s. These legs are some of the most shapeless of the Bond series, with only a little taper. The wide legs attempt to balance Daniel Craig’s bulk on top for a more elegant look. Whether or not this elegance is achieved is a matter of taste.
The fit of the suits in Casino Royale has the goal to make Daniel Craig look both elegant and imposing, but muscular bodies prove to be some of the most difficult to tailor in an elegant way. It’s one reason why the skimpy La Perla swim trunks made the biggest splash of all of Craig’s looks in the film. While some costume choices in the film reflect Bond as a new 00 agent, his suit fit isn’t intended to reflect immaturity in character or in fashion sense. He’s meant to look perfect in his tailored clothes, even if the fashions don’t all hold up many years later.
The fit in Casino Royale is based on timeless principles, and one day this style will look fashionable again. The aughts, however, lacked any defined trends in tailoring. Men were asked if they wanted a jacket with two buttons or three buttons and trousers with pleats or a flat front. Regional silhouettes dominated because there was no popular fashion to unify them like there would be in the 2010s. Fits were about neatness, with no specific expectations for fullness or tightness.
Quantum of Solace (2008)
James Bond was first introduced to Tom Ford suits in Quantum of Solace, and the character would enjoy a relationship with the brand through the rest of Daniel Craig’s tenure. The menswear brand had launched only two years earlier in 2006. The film also had a new costume designer, Louise Frogley. Together they reinvented James Bond’ a completely new ‘s silhouette.
Daniel Craig had lost some of his bulk from Casino Royale and his new suits were based on a size EU50. Craig’s trimmer physique allowed for the suits to also be trimmer, but Tom Ford’s aesthetic derived from English bespoke tailoring was inherently trimmer than Brioni’s wider Roman style. Ford also prefers his suits to have a very close fit, but not necessarily an overly tight or shrunken fit. The suits in Quantum of Solace follow Ford’s fit preference, which has remained the same since even though his suits in subsequent Bond films are tighter and shorter. The shrunken look was still a fringe fashion in 2008 and it wouldn’t be adopted by Bond until the following film in the following decade, but the trim fit of this suit reflects some of the influence of the tighter suits worn on the runways.
Craig wears the ‘Regency’ model, also known as ‘Base B’. It has a dramatic look, with wide pagoda shoulders. The shoulders are not as built up as the Brioni shoulders, so they look more natural on Craig while still being wide enough to match his strong build.
The jacket’s fit looks slightly too snug on Craig at times, but for the most part it is smoothly fitted over the body. The jackets have a traditional length that fully covers the seat, bringing a classic elegance to the silhouette.
The trousers have a mid rise and a trim leg with a contoured shape. The legs are somewhat narrow, but they aren’t tight. The jacket and trousers combine into a balanced silhouette that’s mainly elegant but with a hint of aggression. This aspect of Tom Ford’s look works for Daniel Craig’s iteration of 007.
Skyfall saw a revolution in James Bond’s style with costume designer Jany Temime, and the new fit of his Tom Ford suits was one of the most significant evolutions in Craig’s Bond’s style. It was all about the new ‘slim fit’ fashion that Temime wanted to incorporate for an ‘iconic for 2012’ look.
The term ‘slim fit’ had taken on a new meaning at this time. What was previously a term that described a trimmer ready-to-wear fit that could more readily accommodate a slim person in contrast to a less shaped ‘classic’ or ‘traditional’ fit had morphed into a fashion trend that indicated a suit that was too small for the person wearing it. While Hedi Slimane at Dior Homme initiated this fashion in 2005, it took more than a few years for this look to become mainstream. In 2012 it was still a shocking look for James Bond, especially since it wasn’t a look professionals had yet adopted, but after Skyfall that changed. It transitioned from a nightclub fashion to an office look thanks to James Bond.
While Daniel Craig was roughly the same size in Skyfall that he was in Quantum of Solace, his new suits in the ‘O’Connor’ model with a ‘Base F’ fit were a size EU48. This small sizer combined with a new cut gave Craig a fresh look for Skyfall. While the new look was very fashion-forward on James Bond, it didn’t go to the extremes that Dior Homme or Thom Browne did in tightness or shortness.
The shoulders are much narrower than they were in the previous two films. Narrow shoulders give the jacket a more natural look, but they also downplay Craig’s muscular physique and don’t allow the sleeves to drape as neatly over the upper arms. The sleeves are also narrower in an attempt to show off Craig’s muscles, but they lack the drape and movement from before.
While the jacket has a close fit through the body in Quantum of Solace, in Skyfall the fit is too tight for it to follow the shape of Craig’s body, with considerable pulling as it fights the body. The jacket’s length is noticeably shorter, exposing the bottom of the buttocks.
The trousers have a similar silhouette to the one from Quantum of Solace, but they’ve been slimmed down for Skyfall.
Because the suit is so tight, it doesn’t move well with the body and it looks best in certain poses. The tight fit also doesn’t allow for fluctuations in body size, so it may fit better in some scenes than it does in others. While Daniel Craig’s training works to get his body to a specific size, there’s naturally going to be fluctuations in his body throughout a film production that takes many months. Such a tight fit works better on a rigid sculpture that it does on a living, breathing and moving body.
While the aggressive fit mirrors Craig’s portrayal of Bond, it is mainly a reflection of Daniel Craig’s fondness of the era’s tight fashions. After Skyfall the style would bring the tight look from the runway to mainstream fashion, with almost every suit brand updating their silhouette. Tom Ford was one of the few fashion brands that continued to offer a more traditional style that stayed true to their history, despite what they popularised in Skyfall.
Tom Ford and Jany Temime returned for Spectre, and the overall look from Skyfall continued with minor tweaks to suit Craig’s slightly trimmer physique. Fashions hadn’t changed, and Craig’s personal preferences remained the same.
The most significant change is that the shoulders are wider in Spectre. This may be because the jacket has wider shoulders or because Craig’s own upper body has less bulk than it did in Skyfall. Either way, the shoulder fit is an improvement. The body, however, sometimes appears tighter than it did in Skyfall. The trousers also look tighter this time with a lower rise.
For one suit and an ivory dinner jacket, Spectre introduced Bond to Tom Ford’s classic ‘Windsor’ model with wide peaked lapels and two buttons instead of Craig’s usual three buttons. While this model typically comes with a fuller fit, Craig’s examples have the same tight fit as his O’Connor suits.
Spectre also has Daniel Craig wearing one ready-to-wear tailored jacket from Brunello Cucinelli. Like the Tom Ford suits it has a short and very close fit, but the body of the jacket better follows the shape of Daniel Craig’s body. The shoulders have a very narrow fit, which is too narrow for Craig’s athletic build. Even though Craig is trimmer in Spectre, his shoulders are still too big for this jacket, and his arms are bulging out of the sleeves.
No Time to Die (2021, filmed 2019)
Tom Ford returned for their fourth time suiting James Bond in No Time to Die, but there was a new costume designer: Suttirat Anne Larlarb. Larlarb made minor changes to the O’Connor silhouette that Craig wore in the previous two films, but overall the same style makes a reprise.
Though No Time to Die was released in 2021, it was made in 2019, so the fashions should be considered as being of the 2010s rather than the 2020s. The tight suit was still in fashion, and it was still Craig’s preference. The fit, however, is less aggressive in this film, and the suits drape more naturally over Craig without straining. Unlike in the last two films, he no longer looks like he’s wearing a size too small. It shows more maturity that effectively shows a James Bond who is ready for his final mission.
However, the fit has one glaring issue: the jackets’ collars do not sit against the neck and show a gap between the shirt collar. This issue isn’t related to any fashions; it’s simply a poor fit. The mark of a good fit, whether it’s tight or full, is that the collar should hug the neck without any ripples in the upper back below the collar. This issue happens when the jacket is designed for a different posture or when the upper back is too tight. It can be fixed by removing the collar and shortening it.
No Time to Die also features one ready-to-wear suit from Massimo Alba, whose needlecord suit has a different style and silhouette than the Tom Ford suits, most notably due to its soft shoulders, but the fit is generally the same as the Tom Ford suits in the film albeit less refined. It also has the same the collar gap problem.
While many people today still like a very tight suit, the fashion has run its course as its shock value has dissipated over a decade later. Extremes in fashion never last forever, particularly as people look for the next extreme. Craig’s tenure as James Bond showed an evolution from big shoulders and wide trousers to narrow shoulders and tight trousers just six years later, only to back away from the tightness seven years later. The fashion pendulum always swings back and forth, passing through a point of balance along the way. Now that four years have passed since No Time to Die was filmed, the pendulum has continued to slowly swing back to its equilibrium from Skyfall, but it hasn’t figured out its new direction yet that will define the tailored style of the 2020s, if there will even be one.