When it comes to style icons from the movies, it is safe to say that women have a wider choice of influencers than men. Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Miranda Priestley and Andrea Sachs in The Devil Wears Prada, Carrie Bradshaw in Sex in the City, the list goes on and on. For the guys, however, the face might change, but there’s only one name worth mentioning as a true style icon. Bond. James Bond.
Bond is back – again
When Ian Fleming first created the character of James Bond, he was a somewhat one-dimensional character with no backstory at all until the later novels. But over the course of almost 60 years, we have come to know him through those who portrayed him on the big screen. Connery’s masculinity, Lazenby’s human frailties, Moore’s roguish charm, Dalton’s dangerous edge, Brosnan’s grim humor and Craig’s more introspective nature have all added new layers to the character.
Whoever takes over from Daniel Craig will add more to the mythology, but one theme has remained a constant from 1962’s Dr No to the 2020 release No Time to Die. That is Bond’s ability to look stylish and unflappable whether he’s at the gaming tables in Monte Carlo, out on the golf links or relaxing by the pool. Here, we’ll look at some of the memorable James Bond styles and find out how you can recreate them.
Perhaps the most iconic image in 007’s history is in Goldfinger when he emerges from the water, and removes his wetsuit to reveal a perfectly pressed tuxedo beneath. That’s one of dozens of occasions in which Bond has shown his ability to look the part among the high rollers at the casino. Now classical casino style is something that’s barely changed at all in 60 years, and the black tie and tuxedo is something that will never go out of fashion. That means this is actually one of the easier Bond fashions to emulate, but in this age of online gambling and local casinos in every town, is it a little over the top?
A tux is not necessarily the most versatile of investments, but the good news is it is not a prerequisite to achieve the Bond-style formal look. If you watch Daniel Craig in Skyfall from a fashionista’s perspective, you’ll see he dons several formal suits throughout the movie. Tom Ford collaborated with the directors to create the look you see, and both the rich blue suit shown early on and the classic charcoal pinstripe Bond wears later bear his label.
Pin stripes can cover up a multitude of sins if you don’t quite have Craig’s physique, balancing out any imperfections in your frame. Pair up the suit with a pale blue button down shirt, a dickie bow and your best formal shoes, and you’ll be welcomed with open arms in Monte Carlo!
On the links
Getting out on the golf course is a popular way to demonstrate your sartorial elegance, but it is also fraught with danger. Traditional golf attire can verge on the ridiculous if you don’t take care. This is perfectly demonstrated in Goldfinger, when Bond had a round of golf with the eponymous villain and put him squarely in his place in both the sporting and the fashion stakes.
While Gert Fröbe’s character went all out with the plus fours, Sean Connery’s Bond showed that less is more, with brown slacks, a pink shirt and branded sweater all topped off by that wonderful fedora. It’s a straightforward style to follow, and designers like Lyle & Scott are a good place to look, give their Scottish origins and specialization in golf wear. There are plenty of options there with similar colors, but to bring the overall look into the 21st century, you might choose to swap the brown loafers favored by Bond for a pair of smart branded trainers. Whether you feel you can pull off the fedora as successfully as Sean Connery is a matter of personal choice. It’s a style accessory that you’ll never tire of wearing, and this handy guide will help you choose the right one.
At the beach
Plenty of Bond action takes place at or near the beach, and it is not always wetsuits and tuxedos. In Casino Royale Daniel Craig paid tribute to that famous Ursula Andress beach scene from Dr No, at the same time turning the whole concept on its head, by emerging from the sea in a pair of very short blue trunks.
It’s not something you could ever picture Connery, Moore, Dalton and the rest doing, but let’s face it, Daniel Craig has the physique to make it work. If you’re blessed with similar pecs and want to show them off, nobody can blame you for that. Suppliers like Boardies offer a range of swim shorts, and like Bond, they are as British as they come! For those of us who would need to tone up a little to feel comfortable with the look, try adding a stylish t-shirt and some good quality sneakers.
The life of the secret agent is not all about casinos, golf and the beach, which is one thing 007 has in common with the rest of us. There are numerous examples across the years of Bond blending into his surroundings in casual attire. But still, he always manages to do it with a sense of style.
Our inspiration here is derived from the man who really brought casual style to the Bond character at the turn of the millennium, Pierce Brosnan. The 2002 movie Die Another Day has not gone down as a classic with its lumbering “war on terror” plot and the frankly ridiculous invisible car. But it did allow Brosnan to show us Bond in a few different casual shirts. It’s a triumph of the “just thrown on” look, but still archetypally British.
It’s also probably the simplest of all these looks to recreate. Choose a dark blue buttoned shirt with open collar, and for summer months, you could even pair it with some denim shorts. A pair of tan boat shoes with no socks completes the picture.