Ian Fleming: The Man with the Golden Gun (1965)

“Wearing his usual rig—dark-blue single-breasted suit, white shirt, thin black knitted silk tie, black casuals— but they all look brand-new. Raincoat bought yesterday from Burberry’s.” (Chapter 1)

“Bond then took off his clothes, put his gun and holster under a pillow, rang for the valet, and had his suit taken away to be pressed. By the time he had taken a hot shower followed by an ice-cold one and pulled on a fresh pair of sea island cotton underpants, the bourbon had arrived.” (Chapter 7)

“James Bond had a quick and small breakfast in his room, dressed, reluctantly because of the heat, in his dark blue suit, armed himself, and went for a walk round the property.” (Chapter 7)

Here’s one of the rare occasions when Bond’s clothing is mentioned by brand name. Sea island cotton underpants is a nice change from the nylon underclothes of some of the previous novels.

This is a mission, not a fancy dress ball

Saunders rudely greets Bond, first telling him that he’s late and then saying that he’s overdressed. In The Living Daylights, Bond wears a black shawl-collar dinner jacket with a 1-button front, no vent, jetted pockets and 4-button cuffs. Though the shoulders are a little wide, the dinner jacket fits well through the body. The collar is noticeably wider than the more familiar shawl-collar dinner jackets Bond wore in the 1960s. The trousers have double reverse pleats and a black silk stripe down the sides, and they are held up by white clip-on braces. Proper braces button in and do not clip-on, and Bond isn’t wearing a cummerbund, which at least would hide the clips.

But Bond also shows that he is well dressed for his mission when he turns up the collar and closes it with a Velcro strap, better to hide himself in the dark. Underneath the dinner jacket he wears a white dress shirt with narrow pleats, mother of pearl buttons, a spread collar and double cuffs. He wears a well-tied black satin silk bow tie.

Shooting Vest

Suede-Shooting-Vest

Bond wears a brown suede shooting vest on his visit to the title character’s palace in Octopussy. The cartridge loops on the left chest are what identifies this as a garment for shooting. It has slash pockets on the sides and what appears to be shoulder pleats in the back. What puzzles me is why a vest would have shoulder pleats. The arms are not restricted, so pleats wouldn’t serve much purpose.

Taupe-Shirt-Brown-TrousersUnderneath the vest, Bond wears a taupe end-on-end shirt in a very fine cotton made by Frank Foster, and it has a spread collar, placket front and 1-button cuffs. Bond’s brown flat front trousers have a slightly tapered leg and plain hems, and he wears them with a dark brown belt. Bond’s shoes are dark brown leather slip-ons.

This vest sold at Christie’s on 28 November 1996 for £1,725.

Blue Pinstripes

“So sorry to have ruined the line of your suit for nothing,” said Blofeld after his men tore the left shoulder of his suit jacket. This 3-piece suit from Diamonds Are Forever is made in a navy cloth with blue pinstripes, similar to Daniel Craig’s blue pinstripe suit in Quantum of Solace.  The suit is cut and styled exactly the same as the black 3-piece suit that Bond wears earlier in the film. It has a 2-button front with wide lapels, straight pockets with wide flaps, 4-button cuffs and deep double vents.

The waistcoat has a 6-button front with all the buttons fastened, though it is cut to allow it to be buttoned in that fashion. The trousers have a darted front and plain bottoms. His sky blue cotton poplin shirt from Turnbull & Asser has a spread collar and 2-button turnback cuffs, but with only the first button fastened so the cuff rolls back over the second button. He ties his navy grenadine tie in a windsor knot.

Bond’s shoes are black, full brogue, 3-eyelet derbies. It’s a style you will pretty much only find from bespoke shoe makers.

The GoldenEye Prince of Wales Check Suit

GoldenEye Plaid Suit

In GoldeneEye, Bond wears a Prince of Wales check 2-piece suit to the new M’s office. The suit was originally made with a 6-button waistcoat, but it was not used in the film. The jacket has a 2-button front in the typical Brioni cut, with a single vent, slanted pockets with flaps, and 4-button cuffs. The trousers have turn-ups. The cloth is a blue and sand check, as seen below.

Prince-of-Wales-Check-GoldenEye

Bond’s ivory shirt is made by Sulka and has a moderate spread collar and double cuffs. The tie is a pattern of squares in shades of blue and gold, bringing out the colours in the suit. A puffed blue pocket square brings out the blue in the tie and the suit.

GoldenEye Plaid Suit

On 19 December 2007, an example of this suit was sold at Christie’s in South Kensington for £19,200.

Black as Night

Goldfinger is the first time Bond goes out at night camouflaged in black. Black is the natural choice of clothing to wear if one wants to stay hidden at night. Bond wears a black V-neck jumper over a black knit shirt. Three buttons on the shirt show above the jumper’s neck opening. He wears black (or very dark grey) flat front trousers, black socks and black plain-toe leather shoes with elastic side gussets and black soles.

Ian Fleming: You Only Live Twice (1964)

“Bond’s face and hands were of a light brown tint, his black hair, brightly oiled, was cut and neatly combed in a short fringe that reached halfway down his forehead, and the outer corners of his eyebrows had been carefully shaved so that they now slanted upwards. He was dressed, like so many of the other travellers, in a white cotton shirt buttoned at the wrists and a cheap, knitted silk, black tie exactly centred with a rolled gold pin. His ready-made black trousers, held up by a cheap black plastic belt, were rather loose in the fork, because Japanese behinds are inclined to hang low, but the black plastic sandals and dark blue nylon socks were exactly the right size. A much-used overnight bag of Japan Air Lines was slung over his shoulder, and this contained a change of shirt, singlet, pants and socks, Shinsei cigarettes, and some cheap Japanese toilet articles. In his pockets were a comb, a cheap, used wallet containing some five thousand yen in small denomination notes, and a stout pocket knife which, by Japanese law, had a blade not more than two inches long.” (Chapter 9)

Bond is now Taro Todoroki. The black tie of kitted silk is the only part of this outfit that we generally associate with Bond’s wardrobe. According to Fleming, the rest is all characteristic of a Japanese traveller.

The Thomas Crown Affair (1999): The 3-Piece Glen Plaid Suit

Just a few months before the release of The World Is Not Enough, Pierce Brosnan starred in one of his most notable films during his tenure as Bond, The Thomas Crown Affair. Milanese tailor Gianni Campagna made Brosnan’s suits for the film for a total cost of $400,000, at $3,400 a suit, according to an article from the San Francisco Examiner. But like in the Bond films at the time, Turnbull & Asser made the shirts and Chruch’s made the shoes. Thomas Crown is a rich man with luxurious suits, and his clothes are most appropriate for the character. Though the look is more old-fashioned than what Brosnan wore for Bond, there are many similarities between the two characters’ clothing.

Notice the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso with the branding removed
as not to conflict with Brosnan’s Omega endorsement

This suit is made from a fine hopsack glen plaid in light blue and black with a blue overcheck. The jacket has a 2-button front, but the lapels have a gentle roll more like those found on a soft 3-button suit. Double vents, flapped pockets and 4-button cuffs detail the jacket. The jacket has a clean, structured look with padded shoulders, yet the shoulders have a natural curve compared to the straight shoulders of Brioni. The waistcoat has a 6-button front, with the bottom button left open, and four pockets. The full-cut trousers have double reverse pleats and turn-ups. In comparison, these trousers are much fuller than those he wore as Bond.

Brosnan’s Turnbull & Asser shirt is made from a white cotton herringbone. The shirt has a spread collar and double cuffs. The tie has a dark grey ground with black polka dots and light grey stripes. The puffed pocket square is light grey to coordinate the with the tie. Brosnan’s shoes are black plain-toe oxfords.