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.
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