How to dress like James Bond (and not break the bank)
By Martin Montagio, Montagio Custom Tailoring. Published 23 Oct 2011
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Section: Style Star
James Bond in all his incarnations has always been one for simple understatement and timeless elegance. Here's how to get the "Bond Look"... and hopefully the "Bond Girl!"
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The suits seen in Bond films range from bespoke Saville Row suits ($3000-$8000) by Antony Sinclair for Sean Connery in 1962's Dr No, to designer suits by Brioni (around $5000) made for Daniel Craig in 2006's Casino Royale, or suits by Tom Ford ($4000-$5000) made for Daniel Craig in 2008's Quantam of Solace.
Whether you choose Saville Row bespoke or designer, in both cases one would have to spend at least $3000 to $5000 to get the same look. Unless you are willing to part with that sort of cash, Montagio can help you achieve the James Bond look with a 2 Piece Custom Tailored Men's Suit for substantially less cost!
The following are some tips on how to dress like James Bond in all his incarnations:
James Bond's suits are usually solid colours - plain blacks (especially for his tuxedos), greys and midnight blues.
There were also some plaids (otherwise known as Prince of Wales or Glen Checks) worn by Sean Connery.
However Connery's Bond famously wore the Grey suit often and in different variations and shades.
Connery also wore some cream suits in later Bond movies - Diamonds are Forever (1971) and then Never Say Never Again (1983).
However Connery wasn't the first Bond to wear cream...
George Lazenby broke Bond convention with the Cream linen suit he wore in On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969). The suit has a more tapered waist, shorter jacket length, slanted pockets, and flat front trousers - a very modern look! This is ironic considering the movie dates back to 1969 - proof that fashion trends do come back in style eventually.
Then Pierce Brosnan followed suit (excuse the pun) with his Cream linen suit in The World Is Not Enough (1999).
Roger Moore was probably the most business-like of all the Bonds, sometimes opting for pinstripe and chalk-stripe suits - e.g. The Man With the Golden Gun (1974). Even going double-breasted on some occasions - but he pulls it off remarkably well. One would argue that he was made to wear suits, not the other way around!
Probably the most recent and most popular look is Daniel Craig's look from Quantam of Solace - reason being that it is the most modern suit design and cut, and is a very versatile suit that can be worn as a dinner suit / tuxedo ensemble, or as a business suit. It is the simple Black Suit.
Here's how to achieve the look.
- Bond likes the KISS principle - while he is a seasoned veteran in tonsil hockey, we're actually talking about the "Keep It Simple Stupid" principle. The jacket is classic 2 button with the first button positioned at the narrowest point of the torso to achieve a well balanced and proportioned look.
- The modern James Bond's jackets are always double-vented to allow for greater movement - great for situations that require pursuing a henchman to beat some information out of - all the while looking debonair. The double vent is symmetrical and also allows for more tapering at the waist to achieve a slimmer fit jacket. The single centre vent has faded out of style - especially as it is somewhat unbalanced as one flap overlaps the other, and a slim look is difficult to achieve without one flap sticking out and looking awful! The other problem with the centre vent is when you put your hand in your pocket, it splits down the middle to reveal your posterior to people walking behind you - not the best look.
Even in 1973's Live and Let Die with Roger Moore, there is a scene with a tailor's visit to Bond's hotel suite for a fitting. The Jacket is still in mid-construction and is made with a single vent, but Bond does not like it and reminds the tailor, "don't forget the double vents."
- Bond's suits need to be durable enough to withstand the explosion of a villain's headquarters he's just blown up, but also need to be soft and luxurious enough to help turn the allegiance of a would-be female assassin. So for a hard-wearing, yet luxurious suit, always choose Super 100s to Super 130s material. Anything below Super 100s will be too course and anything above Super 130s may just be too delicate for day to day wear.
- The lapel is a standard Notch lapel with 3" width and a button hole in the left lapel.
- For the Quantum of Solace suit, Bond likes his straight pockets with the ticket pocket - signature classic British tailoring. While slanted pockets are in at the moment as they give a sleeker streamline look, if you want to be true to the Bond look - stick with the straight pockets.
- Bond insists on working "surgeon" cuffs on all of his jacket sleeves. Working Cuff Buttons are a subtle indicator that Bond's suit is bespoke and made just for him, since the sleeves cannot be shortened or lengthened once button holes are cut - hence the sleeve must be tailored to the perfect length for the individual customer.
- Jacket length - Daniel Craig likes to wear his jacket long, reaching down to the tips of his thumbs. While the shorter jacket length is in at the moment, to stay true to Bond you can go with the longer jacket - especially if you're tall and have that extra few inches of height to spare.
- The Daniel Craig James Bond trousers are a classic straight cut with an ever-so-slight tapering. Boot cut is too flashy for Bond, and slim cut is not classic British, but rather a more European look. Plus, the slim trouser is too difficult to manoeuvre in and would most likely get Bond killed in encounters with the bad guys.
- The classic look is made more contemporary with modern touches - no pleats (flat front) and no turn-ups (cuffs) like previous Bond trousers (e.g. Sean Connery). Connery's Bond wore double pleated trousers with no belt, but rather adjustable tabs on the sides.
- Bond's trousers are simple and elegant, perfectly tailored to create a single break at the front and a straight line all the way to the seam at the heel of the shoe.
- The side pockets are classic slant - easy for sliding your hands (as well as secret rolls of microfilm) into.
- Always always always wear a crisp white shirt - it's a staple for the modern Bond. Montagio can tailor a superb bespoke white cotton business shirt should you require one.
- A regular or wide spread collar are both suitable - ensure it has space for removable collar stays. Go out and get yourself some metal, bone, or even plastic collar stays to ensure your collar always stays upright and holds its shape.
- French or single cuff are both acceptable - ensure that the cuffs and collar are both stiff.
- Bond's tuxedo shirts are always fly-front, meaning the buttons are hidden by a fold of material. Bond's other shirts will always have a placket.
- 2 darts in the back ensure a slimmer and shapelier fit.
- No pockets on the shirt - all the pockets Bond needs are secretly concealed inside the suit jacket.
And that, folks, is how to dress like James Bond and not break the bank!