What Can You Take From James Bond’s Wardrobe?

13

James Bond presents us with no fewer than six ways to dress. Each Bond actor has his own stylistic sense in the character, showing that there is not only one way to interpret Bond’s style. Not even my interpretation is the only valid way to view Bond’s clothing.

What Does Bond Style Mean to You?

For some, Bond style is all about how to wear a suit well. For others it’s about looking elegant in more casual situations because not everyone wears suits very often. Bond has worn just about anything of note in menswear of the past 60 years, so any man today should be able to find something that speaks to him, unless that man wears graphic tees exclusively. There is something every man can learn and take from Bond’s wardrobe, no matter what our lives require.

Bond serves as a superb style inspiration not only because he dresses well but because we like the character and we want to be like him. It takes more than a mannequin or a model to influence. It takes a Bondian level of confidence to convince us that he’s an example of how men should dress.

Bond can introduce us to clothes we might not ordinarily consider, such as cocktail cuff shirts, mohair suits, self-supporting trousers, grenadine ties, military-style sweaters and much more. He reminds us that we can refine our looks with accessories like tie bars, pocket squares and boutonnieres. In a series of 24 films, Bond presents us with plenty of options to consider.

Avoid Cosplaying as Bond

Cosplaying as James Bond instead of dressing like James Bond comes from wearing his clothes without considering ourselves. Buying an item of clothing or patronising a brand only because Bond wore it is cosplay. Buying a budget alternative to a Bond piece is also cosplay if the intent is the same.

There is nothing wrong with wearing clothes that Bond wore or clothes that mimic what Bond wore, but they need to work for our lives. We need to understand our own needs and tastes before we can add Bond’s clothes to our own wardrobe. It’s great to buy a piece of clothes that you love because of Bond, but if it’s not right to wear for yourself, you’re wearing it as cosplay. If you buy it and don’t wear it, it’s sitting in your cupboard as a collectible rather than a piece of Bondian clothing.

It is also important to understand what makes Bond’s clothes special before buying them and wearing them. Wearing Tom Ford suits simply because Bond wears them is cosplay. But understanding why James Bond would wear Tom Ford—or rather the reasons why the brand was chosen for Bond to wear, beyond the product placement deal—can help us make the same decisions that Bond makes for ourselves. This applies to both brands and to individual clothes.

Taking the First Steps to a Bondian Wardrobe

The first step to dressing more like Bond is to find what speaks to you in his clothes. It might be focusing on what outfits are most similar to what you already like to wear. Dressing in a Bondian way should not be about defining your fashion sense; it should be about enhancing it. This is how we dress like ourselves and avoid cosplaying as James Bond.

Start with small upgrades to your wardrobe. This can take the form incorporating clothes from Bond brands you appreciate into your wardrobe. Or it can be slightly refining your tastes, such as if you wear t-shirts every day, instead try wearing polos some days. Likewise, replace jeans with chinos or replace chinos with seasonal wool or linen trousers. Maybe even put on a jacket and tie for a special occasion that doesn’t require it. But never force any of these changes to your wardrobe.

It can often help to ask, ‘would Bond wear this?’, either when purchasing an item of clothing or putting together an outfit. This is a way you can apply critical thinking to wearing clothes in a tasteful, Bondian way. Doing so helps you understand how Bond wears his clothes rather than simply what he wears.

Consulting Bond’s Style

If your wardrobe requirements suddenly change and you need to purchase a type of clothes that are new to you, consult Bond. Bond presents us with an example of just about any type of clothes the modern man requires.

In particular, Bond’s suited expertise is tailored to providing a model for our wardrobes. When purchasing a suit, whether it’s your first suit, or if you’ve decided to improve your tailored wardrobe, Bond is the best man to consult. Wearing a suit does not come naturally to many people, and Bond’s typically elegant but restrained sense of style serves as accessible inspiration, despite the high costs of the brands he wears. We don’t need to wear the same suits as Bond to learn from his sense of style or aspire to the usually perfect fit of his clothes.

For those who are more advanced dressers, Bond’s top-of-the-line suits, whether from British bespoke tailors or from brands like Brioni and Tom Ford, provide us with aspirational goals. Bond’s own suits demonstrate, in various forms, the best a suit can be. We can aspire to wear the craftsmanship and the specific stylistic details that are only found in the best suits.

This website can help you dress more like Bond, but ultimately every person’s individual wardrobe needs are specific to their lives, where they live, their own tastes, and so much more. There are 24 Bond films and 24 style lessons available to help us all dress better, and they exist for us to interpret in the best way for our own lives.

13 COMMENTS

  1. Brilliant write up!
    My level of dress has fluctuated through the years, starting as a teenager and wearing things like cheap black suits with black shirts and ties. Then as a young man earning money it became cosplaying as Bond, trying to perfectly match his style by recreating outfits. Now, as a slightly more mature fellow it’s about dressing to my complexion, and wearing colours and patterns that maybe Bond wouldn’t, like cream sports coats or floral patterned ties (always trying to stay tasteful, of course).

    I’m sure my sartorial journey will take me to new places as I get older. But, as you implied, Matt, keeping one eye trained on Bond will be a good foundation and will keep me from straying too far from the path of taste and elegance. This blog has been invaluable in that regard over the decade or so I’ve been reading it.

  2. Elegantly said Matt. I agree that we must start with small adjustments to help establish an improvement in our wardrobe. I had always been interested in mens fashion every since I was a lad. My mother had me in blazers and suits before I could even remember when. I then grew up and got into the unfournatte habit into wearing black suits, like Timothy mention. Even as a young teenager, I had the misconception that Bond often wore black suits all the time. I then did a lot of research (Thanks to you Matt), and I then realized that I needed to upgrade my solid black suits into navy and charcoal suits. I then adventured off into wearing pattern suit, such as glen checks and pinstripes. I think many individuals wardrobes change once we often muture through live, and like aging, some individuals may choose to mature and some may not.

    I think the James Bond series makes a good blueprint to help evolve our own wardrobe. I even believe some of Bond’s allies and villians make a great blueprint as well. I owe this series from learning my hobby into men’s fashion. I had always looked that mens fashion is an investment in yourself by improving the way you look.

  3. My favourite article Matt. I think irrespective of opinions on each actor’s portrayal, sartorially they all have something to bring to the table.
    Personally, I think casual style is nailed by Craig, particularly in CR and QOS. What Craig does well I feel is he mixes and matches his wardrobe such as the grey t shirt, navy polo shirt and chinos. With a jacket or cardigan. This brings added realism and inspiration.
    Closely followed by Connery. A special mention goes to the burgundy sweater in GF.
    Brosnan effortlessly wears a three piece suit and Roger Moore owns the navy blazer.
    Summer wear is absolutely defined by Connery in Thunderball. His beach attire is timeless and perfect even today – my own favourite being the Palmyra shirt and linen pants.
    Lazenby I thought looked the best in the ski gear. Dalton rocked the tactical gear. No Bond could have looked as great in the TLD opening sequence jump suit. His Afghan disguise also looked spot on.
    If I had to pick one actor who rocked the dinner suit, blazers, suits and casual attire with equal merit I would have to choose Connery. He ticked every box for Bond; and not just sartorially.

  4. Great article Matt. In James Bond related stuff, I recently bought some Benson and Clegg neckties, including the Royal Navy necktie, Brigade of Guards necktie, and etc. I do have some Turnbull And Asser neckties which I bought at eBay many times. Those B&C ties will arrive in the mail very soon. Also, I like to ask you another question, which bespoke shirtmaker has the best fabrics? Turnbull And Asser or Frank Foster Shirts? I hope the London Lockdown ends and both shops reopen soon. Please reply as soon as you can, thank you, stay safe, and God bless you.

    • If you’re in the UK, I’d be wary of wearing Royal Navy or Regimental ties in public if you haven’t served in that unit-it’s considered bad form, and will get you considered as a “Walt”.

  5. I think the essence of what you’re saying, Matt, is that one should be selective rather than slavish when it comes to a Bond-inspired wardrobe.

    A few examples come to mind. Let’s take Sean Connery’s pink camp collar shirt at his first meeting with Domino in Thunderball. Connery looks great in it. But what if one has a ruddy complexion that is not suited to wearing this kind of pink? In that case, it would not be too advantageous to don this particular shirt. On the other hand, the butcher-stripe camp collar as well as the blue Gingham-check camp collar from the same film might be fine.

    Or what about Roger Moore’s double-breasted blazers? They look best on tall men. Thus, a man of shorter stature would be better off choosing a single-breasted blazer, like Connery’s from Dr. No and Thunderball.

    The objective here, I believe, is to look at James Bond as an inspiring template but to make sure we only select the items of clothing that work best for own physique, complexion, age, taste and personality, as well as thinking about what is appropriate for a particular location, climate, season, culture and occasion. The Bond template provides something for every man. But not every man can – or should – wear everything simply because Bond wore it.

    • Roger Moore’s double-breasted blazer in The Man with the Golden Gun is best on a tall man because it is a button-three. The buttons would look crowded on a tall man. On the other hand, the button-two blazer in For Your Eyes Only would be just fine on a short man. Short men often look great in double-breasted jackets, but they have to be the right style and fit.

      Most clothes from Bond’s wardrobe would look good on most people. What I’m saying is that we need to truly like the clothes, they need to be right for our personality, and they need to be right for our lifestyle.

  6. Benson and Clegg knitten silk ties are just wonderful; at first glance they look classic and carries a throwback in time down to the 60’s but if you look hard they bring something more. They would never clash with a Sean Connery like suit. Even you’d say “all is in order”.

  7. Enjoyed this article.
    Recently I have been considering how to make my wardrobe more mature, and naturally look towards Bond. The idea of taking I inspiration rather than Cosplay has really made me think, and will help my future ‘improvements’.
    Not everyone can wear the outfits everyday, but taking little nods will help build confidence … plus I like Zaritskys idea of the ‘invisible Bond moment’ within a wardrobe.

  8. Great website, Matt! A few months back, I was looking up something about “Thunderball” and discovered you. I had been thinking about getting a new navy suit and your research, posts and the discussions have been most helpful. I too go to the opera frequently and am eager to be able to resume performances in the theaters.

    I love Connery’s grey suit that he wears in the Bahamas in “Thunderball.” Would you call it medium gray? It doesn’t seem light or charcoal. Still not sure if it would look flattering on me. I have graying medium brown hair, blue eyes and tan easily. Blues, and greens look good on me. Just concerned about grey making me look washed out. Any tips?

    • That suit in Thunderball turns out as a medium grey, but it’s made up of light grey and black or light grey and dark grey. Often people who tan easily look very good in mid grey suits.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.