The Bond Lifestyle: The Look pt. 2

As promised, I continue my series of posts on how to James Bondify your life. The previous post on The Suit provided no nonsense, no frills instructions on how to outfit yourself with this flexible yet dignified suit. Nevertheless, the suit is not the usual go-to for men these days. Casual wear has taken several turns for the more casual in the decades since Ian Fleming birthed our hero. I exist to provide you with…

Bond Casual

The Casual Outfit:

1) Light denim pants. Think tan or cement colored pants. Not necessarily khakis, but something heavier, denser, Bondlier. Here is a link to some tan Levis:

2) For warmer climes, make it a nicely fitting polo shirt. A light colored button-down shirt works well underneath a sweater or light jacket (seen above). Bond wears a Sunspel polo in this photo, but similar results can be had from Ralph Lauren, Lacoste, etc. Make sure the polo fits well - this is key!

Bond in a polo.

3) 007 usually sports a nice looking pair of desert boots or driving loafers. In the movies, Bond wears the more expensive Church’s Ryder III. Well made pairs can be had for cheaper at Clarks or J. Crew.

4) A cardigan or light jacket cuts the evening chill. Daniel Craig wore a badass shawl collared cardigan by Tom Ford (top photo). Similar looks can be found for cheaper at Lacoste and Brooks Brothers.

5) Sunglasses. They keep your eyes safe from the sun, and yes, they do look awesome. No surprise here - 007 always looks good in his sunglasses. Depending on the era, you can find Bond in Persols, Tom Fords, Ray Bans, etc. Try and find a classic frame rather than trying to find a current trend. Ironically, classic frames are very trendy right now. But in case current fads change (and they will), try one of these more neutral frames worn by Bond.


Tom Ford

Better your life. The Bond Lifestyle: The Look Pt. 1

James Bond’s look, his personal style, is so endearing to men and women alike for several reasons. Firstly, his style is the epitome of classic. A dark suit, a black tuxedo, white dress shirt, stainless steel watch- that’s it. However, this basic, no frills look will still turn heads at the office or a party. It is at once unique and devastatingly simple; it is the uniform for a man of distinction but also of modesty. Secondly, this look is infinitely repeatable; you can look like Bond tomorrow! Most men receive this compliment whenever they attend a black tie event or some cocktail party, “Oh, I love your tux, so James Bond”, or “that suit makes you look like 007.” If you enjoy receiving these compliments, why not court them every single day? It is easy, accessible, and is in many ways a humble approach to style.

My reasons for this post are simple: to educate men on dressing like 007. I come across dozens of similar articles and posts every month on the internet and in magazines on how to achieve this look, yet I usually come away with at least some frustration. GQ, Esquire, Details, whatever- They all say the same things, but without conviction. These magazines make money advertising products that few young men can actually afford. Esquire’s “Black Book” of style promotes buying a second tuxedo (in midnight blue), or a pair of reindeer skin dress shoes recovered from an 18th century shipwreck… that’s so not Bond! In defense of these sources, I myself will draw on several of their articles on buying a suit, how to talk to your salesman, etc. I will compile dozens of articles into easily accessible instructions on how to achieve “007: The Look”. You will finish this post more confident than ever in your ability to look like your favorite spy. 

The James Bond Suit

This is the basic uniform for Bond. He wears a suit to the office, to dinner, driving a tank, shooting a submachine gun. A commonly repeated anecdote concerning Sean Connery’s first role as Bond says that Connery wore a suit continuously (even to sleep in) leading up to filming so that he would look comfortable in his suit. When you walk into a department store or your local gentleman’s clothing store, you will want to know exactly what you are looking for so you do not get lost at sea when the salesperson starts his or her spiel. Fortunately for us, the Bond suit is easy to remember.

1) Dark blue. Not necessarily navy, but not Carolina blue. Dark blue with a very light pattern or very thin/ light pinstripes.

2) Wool, tropical weight. This you will have to ask for specifically. Tropical weight wool is a two-ply, plain weave, worsted wool that is sturdy but lightweight, airy, and breathable. The worsted part also means that it is somewhat wrinkle resistant and durable. Do not worry about the specific number of the weight, just get it in the tropical category. Bond frequently travels to the warmer climes and needs a suit that will insulate well in London while keeping him cool when the heat is up.

3) Two buttons, generally speaking. If you are somewhat taller/larger, or they only have a 3 button of what you’re looking for, go ahead. Remember- with two buttons you only button the top one, and with three buttons you only button the middle one.

4) Single vent, though also of debatable importance. The slit(s) in the back of your jacket is called the vent; most American men wear single vent and that’s that. However, Bond and his European friends still prefer a double vent. In my opinion, wear a double vent if you want to stand out a little more, or if you live and do business across the pond.

5) Notched lapel. Jacket lapels usually fall into either notched or peaked. For this Bond suit we will almost always go with notched. However, tune in later for the perfect time to rock the peaked lapel.

6) The suit pants will change depending on your body style or preference. Bond’s pants generally end up on the ground by the end of the night so don’t worry about it. Flat fronts are in for those skinny guys. If you have a little girth or “child bearing hips” then there’s no shame with a little pleating. Cuffs on the bottom of your pants also look good, except when they don’t.

Comments: Whether you order this bespoke or buy it off the rack, make sure that your suit fits! Look for rolling bumps at the back of the neck, fabric hanging off the shoulders, anything more than a few inches of space between your stomach and the buttoned jacket. Bond’s suit is one made for action- dancing, driving, snogging, skydiving- make sure it fits! For shorter guys: try getting a jacket with buttons that close nearer to your waist. The deeper V of the jacket elongates the torso and makes us look more Bond.

The Accessories to Bond’s Suit

1) White dress shirt, heavy cotton or silk. Bond wears Sea Island Cotton shirts which you can find online and in stores. My advice is to find a heavier, better quality cotton shirt and make sure it fits.

2) Black belt, black shoes. No need to wear patent leather with your suit, but a nice shine will catch the ladies’ eyes.

3) Necktie. Perhaps my favorite line in any of Fleming’s novels is when Bond remarks that the windsor knot is often the mark of a cad. Don’t be a cad, go with the old regular knot, also known as the Four-in-Hand. Solid colors or traditional patterns will do nicely. Try a silk knit tie in a solid color for ultimate Bondness. A silk knit tie.

4) Stainless steel watch. We in the business have many debates over whether Bond prefers a Rolex or Omega, but don’t bother your pretty head with this overmuch. Tag, Swatch, Citizen, etc. all make watches that are closer to the average affordability. Stainless steel is durable, classic, rugged, and I think it looks great with a suit. Isn’t that what it’s all about?

Comments: Keep it simple. Nobody need remember what tie your wore, what brand of shoes you wore, or anything else. The purpose of the Bond Suit is to eliminate frills (white handkerchief in front pocket if necessary) and to allow your own amazing self to dominate your environment. The Bond Suit detracts nothing while maximizing your advantages with anyone who comes into contact with you. This suit is utilitarian but also beautiful. Follow these several easy steps, don’t overthink it, and be amazed at how much more confident you will feel once you slip it on.

Next Post: Bond’s formal attire and casual wear.

Here are some helpful links:

Better your life. Become Bond, James Bond

Women want him, men want to be him. 007 has girls, guns, and gadgets. He drinks what he wants, wears what he wants, and always gets what he wants. Bond saves the world, gets the girl, and never gets tied down. There it is: 50 years of conventional wisdom concerning the world’s most famous spy. The brainchild of author Ian Fleming, male sexuality manifest in over 20 films, and a cultural icon as recognizable to your grandmother as a first grader, Bond remains Bond. Despite his lofty place in the pantheon of fictitious characters, I contend that Bond is alive and well deep within every man. Whenever you go fast because it feels good, whenever you drop the perfect line to a beautiful woman, order a martini, or play cards with your friends you become Bond, James Bond of her Majesty’s Secret Service. If you desire to regularly tap into that part of your soul, to master the forces of your own environment, I welcome you to the Bond experience.

Over the next several weeks I will put down into writing, and through hyperlink, an extensive formula for not only becoming Bond, but to bettering yourself. I propose that there are three phases, of equal importance, in this program, and each will be meticulously explored through a series of posts. Together, we will delve into:

The Lifestyle of 007

The Actions of 007

The Mind of 007

This 3-part regimen will cover the major areas of any life, from “what to look for in buying a suit” to “defending yourself from an assailant” to “theories of international relations and statecraft”. Step into the shoes of James Bond for a while and wiggle your toes. These posts are promised to be informative, conducive to any budget, and hopefully entertaining. After all, becoming Bond is about fulfilling a fantasy, not doing just another job.

In case your curious, my own qualifications for providing this service are up to debate. I have spent several years in pursuits that would not be foreign to Bond himself. I currently work for a university based policy institute that deals with international security, and specialize in areas of nuclear proliferation and ethnic conflict. I am an avid fan of all Bond literature, cinema, and history; I kick-ass at Bond trivia. Scuba diving, rock climbing, self-defense, foreign languages, tailored suits, and ice cold martinis are my passions.