James Bond style is legendary, and if there’s one thing he’s known for other then being the oxymoronic ‘world’s most famous secret agent’, it is his clothing.
Sprawling 25 films and a multitude of other unofficial adventures, James Bond’s style is (usually) turned out beautifully for any occasion.
It is such a staple of his personal brand because it is timeless – it dates well, and always looks good.
This means that most of the looks from the 1960’s Connery era are still as applicable to menswear today as they were then.
Therefore, there is always reason to incorporate some of the classic charm of 007’s wardrobe into yours.
In this article, we will explore many areas of James Bond’s style, his accessories, and what you can do to emulate it and dress like James Bond.
James Bond Style Fast Track
James Bond style is most synonymous with tailoring, or more specifically, business formal attire.
That is, he frequently dons a full suit with a simple colour palette and conservative details.
The films are a masterclass of how to do it properly.
But despite most of his suiting coming from Saville Row Tailors, such as Anthony Sinclair (now Mason and Sons), or juggernaut fashion houses such as Tom Ford or Brioni, you can definitely look out for some of Bond’s styling options when you are looking at, perhaps lower priced, alternatives.
James Bond’s favourite lapel style is ‘notched’, when there is a inwards groove breaking up the lapel around the collar bone area.
This is the ‘safest’ lapel type, and is never a detail that could offend when you are wearing a suit.
He is rarely seen in business suits with peaked lapels.
This is when, instead of a groove inwards like with ‘notched’, there is a peak that extends outwards. This builds up the shoulders and aids in creating a more masculine appearance.
This is likely a deliberate choice from the costume designers as the peak lapel commands more attention, something that a secret agent doesn’t want.
Furthermore, the notched lapel is less formal, which makes it more versatile.
Even though ‘James Bond style’ stays similar no matter the time period, subtleties in his attire do vary.
One such detail is the number of buttons he has on his suit jackets.
The majority of Bond’s jackets feature two buttons, the standard, classic setup.
You can never go wrong with a two-button jacket – but remember to only do the top button up!
In contrast, we are introduced to the first three button suit jacket in George Lazenby’s 1969 On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. This style again made a resurgence in the 80s with Timothy Dalton at the helm.
The three button suit jacket is harder to pull off, especially when it is considered to be ‘out of style’.
However, if you execute it correctly, it can look incredible and add another dimension to your outfit.
It looks especially elegant unbuttoned, as is seen above.
James Bond style is muted.
As a spy, it would be expected that he would keep a low profile.
Therefore, most of the time he can be found in a navy or charcoal suit.
However, he occasionally brings out a light coloured ensemble.
The lighter the colour of the suit, the more informal it is.
Even though, in my opinion, these are some incredible combinations, I would personally not recommend anything lighter than light grey, purely for convenience reasons.
However, when bored of solids, sometimes James Bond wears checked suits.
These patterns add an interesting element to the outfit.
But, to accommodate this, he mutes back the rest of his clothing by usually opting for plain, dark, accessories, leaving no potential for a clash.
In most of the films, James Bond’s suits all generally have good, timeless, fit.
This is the most important part of, not just dressing like James Bond, but looking good in a suit.
How to look like James Bond in a suit:
- Look for notched lapels in your suits.
- Stick mainly to two button suit jackets, though you can bring in a three buttoned if you’re brave enough!
- To dress like James Bond, keep your suit colours dark and conservative. If you want, you can bring in a subtle check.
- Make sure your suit fit is perfect!
Like with his suit style, James Bond is not one for bold shirts.
He sticks to classic, block colours, such as white, blue and occasionally pink.
Again, this is what allows him to always look perfectly put together, as they are safe and guaranteed to look good.
James Bond’s collar styles are classic. He wears the point, semi-spread and spread collars for the majority of his adventures.
He has ventured into cutaway collars in Dr No and Die Another Day. However, this is more of an extreme style, and preferable for longer and rounder faces. Because of the knowledge required to use the cutaway to it’s fullest affect, it is harder to get right.
In Skyfall he wears a Tab collar, and in Spectre he wears a pointed eyelet collar. These are two unique collar types that are very difficult to find, but, in my opinion, are extremely stylish.
His shirts, coming predominately from the London based shirt makers Turnball and Asser, feature both of the typical shirt cuff types, the barrel cuff and French cuff.
However, sometimes Mr Bond has a specific preference for the cocktail cuff, which is characterised by a ‘turn back’. It is similar to the French cuff, but instead features a curved ending, and is fastened by buttons.
What to take from Bond’s business formal shirt style:
- When pairing shirts with your business suit, James Bond style requires for you to keep it simple.
- To stay safe, stick to classic and collar styles, such as the pointed and spread collar.
- You can bring in ‘fancy’ collar types, such as the tab and eyelet collar, for extra flair.
- You can wear any cuff type. If you’re getting a shirt made bespoke, consider asking for a cocktail cuff!
The nature of Bond’s ties is something that stays generally consistent.
They are always in a muted, conservative colour, and are usually solid or feature small, non-intrusive patterns.
With more visual elements, more could possibly go wrong. Less is sometimes more.
It is this constant call to the basics that allows James Bond to keep his clothing looking eternally sharp – it is easy and guaranteed to look good.
However, there are some features of his tie that change with time, such as the blade width.
We have seen everything from very slim ties in the 1960s and 2012’s Skyfall, to very wide 9.5cm ties in films such as 1997’s Tomorrow Never Dies.
James Bond’s favourite tie knot is the 4-in-hand.
However, depending on his collar type and if he has more space to play with, he is also seen to occasionally wear a half Windsor.
Again, James Bond keeps his accessories simple.
He frequently wears a belt (or, a grappling hook in one instance) which matches with the rest of the leathers in his outfit.
His pocket square, if at all, is muted, usually complements his shirt, and is almost always folded with a presidential bar fold.
When necessary, he also accessorises with sunglasses. In the more recent films, these have all been Tom Ford made, such as the Snowdon, Henry and Marko.
What to take from Bond’s business formal accessories style:
- Make sure that your accessories do not command more attention than the rest of your outfit – they are there to complement the rest of your outfit.
- Stick to classic knots such as the 4-in-hand and half-Windsor.
- For a timeless look, stick to ties that are 7-8cm at their widest point, depending on your stature.
James Bond style typically involves standard black Oxfords, and variations of them. This is your ‘bog standard’ dress shoe.
Sometimes, like in Brosnan’s Goldeneye, he switches it up and brings in some brogue detailing, adding slight visual interest.
His shoes usually come from reputable shoe makers such as Church’s and Crockett and Jones.
My favourite style of shoe that James Bond has rocked is the whole cut.
This is when one piece of leather is wrapped to create a single shoe. It features a closed lacing system, and is as sleek as you can possibly get. The specific model that he wears in the recent films is the Crocket and Jones ‘Alex’.
In one instance, the opening sequence of Thunderball, he swaps these out for an equally as dashing pair of ‘ankle boots’, a rare and elevated pair of loafers.
This style was especially reminiscent of the period and shares similarities with the Chelsea Boot, which was just being brought into popularity by The Beatles.
Furthermore, despite its more casual nature, James Bond has ventured into monk straps, that is, shoes with a buckle fastening.
He wears a pair in 1999’s the World is Not Enough. On top of this, in 2015’s Spectre, in the Rome scenes, he is seen wearing a pair of double monk strap boots.
What to take from Bond’s business formal shoe style:
- Bond isn’t a big fan of brown in business formal. Black shoes are the way to go.
- If in doubt, keep it simple.
In less formal settings, James Bond may choose to wear a business casual outfit, that is, a blazer, smart trousers and shoes.
This is a less concrete and harder to get correct dress code compared to business formal, as was discussed previously.
Blazer (Sports Coat)
Like with his suit jackets, Mr Bond usually wears notched lapel two buttons blazers (and sport coats).
They feature either patched or slanted pockets to reflect the more casual nature of the dress code. On top of this, some of his jackets have a ticket pocket and flapped breast pockets.
A favourite of his on country outings is a structured tweed sports coat, a quintessentially British piece.
Commander Bond has also worn double breasted navy blazers, a testament to his nautical roots.
Fittingly, with business casual, it is appropriate to bring in ‘busier’ shirts.
In the Moore era, Bond experiments with some interesting colours, and stripy shirts.
In the Man With the Golden Gun, Bond wears a brave combination of a red and brown checked sports coat with a yellow shirt, an odd choice given Sir Roger’s lighter complexion.
However, most of the time, and as is the case in the more recent films, he sticks with simpler combinations, as they are more in line with his general aesthetic.
When in business casual, he usually sticks with barrel or cocktail cuffs, and maintains a classic or spread collar.
James Bond has paired almost anything with his blazers.
He has worn your typical beige chinos, which create a flattering and interesting contrast, especially when the upper half is of a dark colour.
He has also worn darker trousers to create a sleeker look and a more elongated stature.
In the iconic Goldfinger business casual ensemble, Bond wears a pair of brown suede derby shoes.
What to take from Bond’s business causal attire:
- When bringing out business casual, you can afford to be bolder. However, remember to still stay classy.
- Bring in a blazer (sports coat) to elevate your business casual look.
- Your shirt should complement your skin tone and not wash it out.
- Experiment with solid trouser colours, and see what works best with your outfit.
There has been a recent resurgence in the reputation of James Bond’s smart casual and casual clothing.
Therefore, more than ever have men wanted to dress like James Bond.
What once was in the shadow of his far superior sartorial game, is now an extension of it.
Bond’s smart casual clothing, especially in the Daniel Craig era, has meant that he is the still the best dressed man in the room, no matter the formality.
The main look I am of course talking about is the Quantum of Solace shawl collar cardigan outfit.
Starting out on top with a beautiful black Tom Ford cardigan, and ending with Church’s Ryder III chukka boots in brown suede, this outfit is a masterclass on how to rock this dress code.
Bond also sports a white Tom Ford shirt and cream Levi’s 306 jeans.
The shawl cardigan dresses the outfit up along with the shirt and crepe sole chukka boots.
However, the lighter colour of the jeans lowers the formality level, making it appropriate for a wider range of casual situations and removing potential for it to look stuffy.
Regardless of the colour palette used, the nature of the outfit is just perfect for ‘smart casual’ – it is not too casual and not too smart, as it does not include a formality raiser such as a tie, or formal footwear.
Furthermore, going back to 1995, Brosnan wears a perfect smart-casual combination during the chase scene with Xenia Onnatop.
Brosnan sports a navy cable knit jumper, beige chinos, brown Church’s Chetwynd brogues, and an unusual dark green cravat, which ties everything together.
It is a more formal outfit compared to the aforementioned thanks to the cravat and full brogues.
What to take from Bond’s smart casual attire:
- Try to bride the gap between casual and business casual to create a killer smart casual look. This can be done by removing elements of business casual clothing and replacing them with less formal counterparts, or by removing elements of casual clothing and replacing them with dressier counterparts.
- Bring in lighter colours to dress down an outfit.
- Don’t be afraid to wear dressier shoes with your smart casual attire. The entire outfit can be made more casual by other elements.
James Bond has some truly iconic casual clothing outfits, from all of the franchises’ 60 years.
One item that he has continuously rocked is the polo shirt, both in short and long sleeves.
In the very first film, Dr No, Bond is seen in his iconic, light blue towelling polo.
Again in Thunderball, he is seen in a black polo, pairing it first with medium brown trousers, a really suave casual look.
Jumping forward to Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace, Daniel Craig and his ripped physique rock a more than a couple polo shirts, solidifying the idea that polos aren’t just for granddads.
In Casino Royale, Craig can be seen wearing the ‘Sunspel Riviera polo shirt’ which was especially made for the film. In Quantum of Solace, Craig also wears a Tom Ford polo.
Bond combines his polo in Quantum of Solace with the ever-popular Harrington Jacket – the look is a winner.
Popularised by icons such as Elvis, James Dean and Steve McQueen, the Harrington is the perfect casual piece to bring into your rotation, for really any time of the year.
Furthermore, in Tunderball, Sean Connery wears a rather dashing short sleeved linen salmon shirt with a revere collar to Largo’s hideout.
This is an uncommon style that is not frequently seen, and will elevate even a simple look.
What to take from this:
- Bring in polo shirts to your casual rotation.
- Bring in Harrington jackets to your casual rotation.
- Fit is extremely important. If Bond’s casual clothing didn’t fit him properly, then he wouldn’t look half as good as he does!
- There are alternatives to jeans and t-shirt!
An unequivocally iconic part of Bond’s identity is his timepiece.
When wanting to know how to dress like James Bond, it can’t be ignored.
He has worn everything from Rolex to Seiko, so there is something for all budgets.
The Rolex Submariner, alongside the Omega Seamaster, take their place as the most iconic James Bond watches.
First worn in 1962’s Dr No and again occasionally through the next 10 years (and also in Licence to Kill), the films showcase its perfection.
The Moore era was flooded with Seikos.
One of the most memorable was the M354 from Moonraker.
This watch is very similar to typical digital watches that can be purchased easily today.
TAG Heuer Profesional 200M
Timothy Dalthon rocks the TAG Heuer Professional in The Living Daylights breifly in the opening sequence in Gibraltar.
Although it is very visible in the film, it was perfectly suited for the training situation that he found himself in.
It was 1994 and Bond needed reinvent himself for the modern age, and a watch needed to accompany him.
That watch was the Omega Seamaster.
The costume designer Lindy Hemming is quoted as saying:
“I was convinced that Commander Bond, a naval man, a diver and a discreet gentleman of the world would wear the Seamaster with the blue dial.”
And so the partnership was born.
Bond has worn a variation of the Seamaster in every film since 1995’s Goldeneye, the most recent being in Spectre, with the now iconic NATO strap.
Conclusion – James Bond Style – How to Dress Like James Bond
So, you probably haven’t gone as far as changing your name to ‘Bond, James Bond’, but after this article, you may have brought some of his aesthetic into your wardrobe.
Bond’s clothing is specifically powerful because it sends signals of capability and doesn’t draw unnecessary attention to itself, allowing the person under the clothes to shine through.
On top of this, it is essentially the epitome of timeless style – it is so well regarded because it is a perfect example of the basics done right.
Now you know how to dress like James Bond – get out there and look incredible.