Dressing like James Bond

09 December, 2008

To dress like James Bond is to dress with absolute timeless style. From the Antony Sinclair (Ian Fleming's Savile Row tailor) days of Dr. No to Tom Ford's latest designs for Daniel Craig in Quantum of Solace, 007's suits have always exuded understated cool. Even Roger Moore's suits by Mayfair legend Douglas Hayward were beautiful - it was the rest of his wardrobe that made him look so naff!

The following is a list of guidelines for dressing like Bond without breaking the bank. Follow them to the letter and girls will be falling for your sartorial charms faster than you can say Pussy Galore. Stray too far and you could find your license to kill rapidly revoked.


The Suit

James Bond's suits are invariably in block colours - plain blacks, greys and midnight blues. With the exception of Roger Moore, who was far more the business Bond than any of the others, 007 doesn't do pinstripe. By the same rationale, he seldom wears a 3-button suit, but favours a 2-button jacket for work and a 1-button for play - although just like Bond, we should aspire to combine the two whenever possible. The best thing about 1 and 2-button jackets is that whilst they are sharp enough to ease the knickers off an unsuspecting American attaché, they offer enough movement to scale the wall of a foreign embassy.

Jacket details: 

1. I'm going to assume that you're buying a bespoke suit, since there are companies out there who do an outstanding job for under £500 (King & Allen suits are priced £249-£499 - that's less than a single cuff link from Tom Ford!). Insist with your tailor that you would like the first button to be positioned at the narrowest point on your torso - cutting in for the most flattering silhouette. 

2. Modern Bond's jackets are invariably double-vented, for style and movement. 

3. Ask for 9-11oz weight cloth, so that your suit regains its shape after a cable car brawl, but it's not too hot that the imminent destruction of mankind causes you to perspire. Or if you commute. 

4. On a similar note, opt for a Super 100-120 superfine wool or wool-blend. Your suit needs to be durable enough to withstand the blast of an exploding building but be soft and luxurious enough to turn the political allegiance of a would-be female assassin. Anything above 120 is too delicate - anything below is too coarse. 

5. Keep the pockets straight, in the style of classic British tailoring - leave the slanted pockets to the Italians. 

6. Ensure that the jackets sleeves have working cuffs. It's a subtle indicator that your suit is bespoke. 

7. Keep the lining simple and understated. No loud colours or patterns.


Trousers

Trousers should be a classic cut - a boot-cut trouser is too showy for Bond, whilst he leaves the skinny trousers for the Italians and the indie kids. No pleats, no turn-ups - Bond's trousers are simple and elegant. A straight line should fall to the back of the shoe with a single break at the front.

Shirts Bond's shirts are clean, crisp and ice white. Modern Bond wears a high collar (but that's in part because Daniel Craig has no neck!). It also happens to be a great look. Single or double cuffs are fine, so long as about 3mm of cuff protrudes from your suit sleeve, both falling neatly at the break of the wrist. Never wear a button-down collar. Unless your name is Ernst Blofeld.


Shoes

Bond's shoes are made by Church's and cost a small fortune. The old adage that you must always wear really expensive shoes is simply not true. There are some superb shoes in the shops for under £100 so long as you stick to basics. Opt for a classic, simple lace-up, with thin, leather soles and a defined heal. To match a grey, black or midnight blue suit your shoes should be black and their design very simple. Above all, they should be clean and un-scuffed.


Socks

There is only one part the human body that is more repulsive to a woman than the sight of exposed ankle on the seated male - and that's the back of the nut-sack... 
Rule 1: Find a long black comfortable sock from an established high street store. 
Rule 2: Continue to buy until you are dead.


Ties

If you're dropping in to MI6 to receive orders from M you'll need a tie, otherwise modern Bond doesn't wear one. The white shirt and dark, monochrome suit means that you may feel tempted to wear something fun and colourful. This is tantamount to confessing the nation's deepest secrets. ''Colourful' ties make it much easier for snipers to shoot at your heart - and rightly so.

If your suit is black or midnight blue find a tie that matches it exactly. Avoid ties that are too thick or too wide (often they are more expensive) - they make the knot look too big. Remember this simple rule: looking like a secret agent on an undercover mission = cool. Looking like a premiership footballer = not cool. A four in hand or a half Winsor are the best knots, as long as the main part of the tie rests just above your trousers. Always hide the short end in the hoop provided.

Public school style striped ties are very popular with Bond. Your best bet is to wear your suit to the shop and seek advice from a salesman you trust.


Accessories

You may feel tempted to "show a bit of personality" through accessories. A secret agent should show his personality through his words and deeds - his clothes should simply show how cool he is. It is a little known fact that "Novelty" cufflinks actually attract enemy radar. They should be simple, silver and small. Belts look great but they must match the shoe colour exactly.


The Final Touch

Buy a cheap (it needs to be very thin), crisp, white handkerchief and place it neatly into the outer welt (top left breast) pocket of your jacket. Line it flat above the pocket (see picture). Do not ever put it anywhere near your nose. Instead, wait patiently for the moment to arrive when you need to comfort a beautiful Slovakian scientist whose father was killed by the KGB...

© 2008 King and Allen - Bespoke Suits by King and Allen


All copyrights for products, logos, images etc are held by their respective owners. Bond Lifestyle is not responsible for these articles, please take any queries up with the author.


Comments

My gripes with the article, in order of appearance.

Bond began with two button suits because those were the most common in the 1960s. Bond's button number has changed with the times - he has never been firmly with one style only.

The 'King & Allen' company mentioned is not a bespoke tailoring house. It is just a made-to-measure service. The two are very different things. Reasonably priced bespoke is available but it is still not THAT cheap.

A wool blend suit should never be bought, the plastic in them takes its toll.

Slanted pockets are fine and a great look on country clothes; I would not put them on a city suit though.

Working cuffs, if present, should always be fastened so what exactly makes it an 'indicator'. Additionally, there are bespoke suits that don't have working cuffs whilst there are off-the-peg suits with them. It does not 'indicate' anything.

Forward pleats on trousers are commonly seen in good English tailoring.

Bond in the books and in the early films wore slip on shoes (Chelsea boots in particular) - not lace ups. 'Heel' is not the same as 'heal'

Not all socks should be black! Socks should be the colour of the trousers worn.

Wear a tie. The advice to go tieless is foolish. Knit ties may be a good choice, as seen in the Connery films. The author of this article clearly does not know that Bond distrusts a man in a Windsor ('Winsor' in this article) knot.

Try to avoid belts in general. Go for side adjusters if you can.

Lastly, instead of trying to get bad product mislabelled as 'bespoke', look at good quality suits and such on sale, or even vintage. Ede & Ravenscroft and even Marks and Spencer have some good OTP suits available for the money - certainly better than the sort of 'bespoke' mentioned here.

All the movie Bonds have worn pinstripes at some point. Connery, Lazenby, and Brosnan also wore Glen Plaid somewhere along the line. Bond has never worn a one-button jacket except for tuxedoes. Slanted pockets are quintessentially British, NOT Italian. The author of this article knows next to nothing about clothes or about Bond!

I agree with the above comments. The writer of this article knows nothing about James Bond's clothing nor English clothing. Every Bond has worn pinstripes (or more appropriately chalk stripes) and 3-button jackets. Quantum of Solace featured 3-button suits, yet the lapel rolls over the top button to make it appear to be a 2-button suit. You have to look closely to see the third buttonhole.

Bond abhors Windsor Knots.
007 does not wear lace-up shoes; he wears custom-made slip-ons.

I hav question where you can help maybe, in the latest bond movie: quantom of solace, james bond has a nice wool coat
in the scene: where he "sits in a room with his gun with a silencer on it, waiting for the man who knew vesper and a girl.
Where he says: this man and i have soms unfinished business or something like it...
Al most at the end of the movie.

My question is what brand is the wool coat.

Black socks should only be seen on chauffeurs and undertakers.

I don't know who you are, but you're awesome! I'm throwing my husband a 40th birthday surprise party with a 007 theme, and I think I'm going to send all the guests your tips for dressing like James Bond..Daniel Craig is my personal favorite.

Thank you!

Brilliant, thorough report, but what about casualware? In the latest bond movies, daniel craig has gone for a pair of grey trouser ( the construction site in casino royale) which i would love to get a hold of something that has the same look. Also what shoes would he wear? If you could do a casualware section it would be great!

Overall not a bad review although I agree with some of the opinions expressed by Mr Khan... Bond wears an electric blue pinstripe suit at the beginning of Quantum... and buttons have certainly gone up to 3 if you inspect some of the suits worn. Slanted pockets (and turn ups - Tom Ford!!) can also be seen on modern Bond at least. Bonds style is always classic and subtle. He is always a man of his time and that reflects his development from the 60's until now.

My inspiration is 007, I believe its the ideal role model to most men.

Have a look, we are new in town, but we are planing to dress men elegantly and discreetly for a long time.

Albert

I like the article and whilst some of the comments are valid, I agree that pleats should never be ok...ever....ever. Also black socks as a rule is good. You can if you want break this but tread carefully, many so called fashionable males gamble and lose on this and look a bit like a childrens tv presenter with their colour matching. I use black or brown depending on the shoe colour. Simple cufflinks- great tip and with the suit buttons, always 2 unless you really like 1990s boyband fashion. 3 button only works if you choose super high end tailoring and have a very flattering physique. Anything else and you look like you are wearing a shiny sack.
For all things Bond, from where to attain a copy of his gadget laden briefcase, to the exact clothiers and who makes respectable repro's, look no further than Absolute James Bond 007(www.ajb007.co.uk).
Yeah James Bond has its own style of suiting he proved yet again in his recent movie "Skyfall" in which skyfall suit was just amazing. Daniel Craig worn all those suits which is designed by TOM FORD in the movie and was looking great he really uphold the status of James Bond clothing.
It's a Tom Ford.

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