Of all the cultures James Bond visits, he outwardly shows the most appreciation for Japanese culture in You Only Live Twice. He follows many of the Japanese’s customs even before he “becomes” Japanese. As a guest at Tiger Tanaka’s home, Bond wears a yukata and slippers. The yukata is a casual kimono made of cotton, and the name “yukata” means bathing clothes. Bond does indeed wear a yukata at the baths at Tanaka’s home.
Bond’s yukata is a printed pattern of grey on white that resembles trees and water. It has a shawl collar and the front parts overlap left side over right side across the body. The yukata is held closed around the waist with a black sash called an obi, and it’s tied in back. The yukata’s length reaches the ankles, and the wide sleeves end at the middle of the forearm. Tiger Tanaka’s yukata has all of the characteristics of Bond’s yukata, but his has a light grey ground with closely-spaced indigo lengthwise stripes and wavy black crosswise stripes that create a scale-like pattern. Bond wears dark brown slippers, and Tanaka wears cream slippers.
Since I know little about Japanese garments and have never worn them, I found most of my information on the yukaka Wikipedia entry. If anyone knows more about these Japanese garments, feel free to comment below.
James Bond briefly wears a navy silk dressing gown in Thunderball that he likely found in his large, luxurious room at the Shrublands health clinic. It has a shawl collar, turnback cuffs and a belt around the waist. The dressing gown is clearly sized for the average shorter man, since the sleeves end at the middle of Sean Connery’s forearm, and the length reaches the middle of his thighs. At 6’2″, Connery needs a longer dressing gown than what most men need. Though it’s too short, the gown’s shoulders are also much too large. Dressing gowns are often made as one size to fit all, but they don’t always have to fit poorly. Compare this dressing gown to the much better-fitting example in Goldfinger.
Like most of Bond’s bathrobes and dressing gowns, the bathrobe Bond wears in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is not his own. In fact, it’s not even a men’s bathrobe. Tracy (Diana Rigg) wears the bathrobe after she breaks into Bond’s hotel suite, and she leaves the bathrobe behind when she disappears from Bond’s balcony in the middle of the night. Since her dress is on the bed when we first see her in the bathrobe, Tracy probably found the bathrobe in Bond’s hotel suite closet. The bathrobe is likely provided by the hotel in every suite’s closet.
Bond puts on the bathrobe when he wakes up and finds it laying next to him in bed. The robe’s short length is what gives it away a women’s bathrobe, and when Bond sits in the bathrobe it just barely covers the parts that it needs to. On Tracy, the bottom of the bathrobe hits at her upper thigh. Diana Rigg 5’9″ tall, and the short bathrobe plays up the sex appeal of her long legs. Bond, however, is 6’2″ tall and for obvious reasons needs a longer bathrobe. The brief shot of Lazenby just barely wearing the bathrobe that is too short for him may have been for the same reasons Diana Rigg wears it. After all, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service features a new younger and fitter Bond.
The terrycloth bathrobe is white with a windowpane of double navy lines. The lines are thicker in the vertical than in the horizontal, which is an attempt to make the pattern more slimming by emphasising the vertical lines. There are two sets of three navy stripes follows by a single navy stripe around the shawl collar and the ends of the sleeves. The sleeves are worn folded up. A belt ties around the waist.
This may be the only piece of women’s clothing I ever cover on this blog, unless Bond again wears women’s clothing. It’s a shame we don’t get to see Bond wearing the gold silk pyjama suit with blue piping laid out on his bed.
“It was a very amusing performance between you and the owner of this,” says Bond, referring to Countess Lisl von Schlaf (played by Pierce Brosnan’s wife Cassandra Harris) and Milos Columbo (played by Topol), respectively. And “this” is the red and black striped bathrobe that Bond is wearing whilst spending the night at Columbo’s beach home. Bond often borrows bathrobes and dressing gowns wherever he sleeps, since it’s not the kind of garment most people travel with. However, Bond didn’t come to Columbo’s home prepared with a change of clothes either. The red in the bathrobe brings out the best in Roger Moore’s spring complexion, and the colour was likely chosen by the costume designer to look better on Moore than on Topol, who has a cool, olive complexion. The bathrobe is made of a smooth velour that is very comfortable for lounging in, though it’s not the most absorbent as a bathrobe. The robe also has traditional details like a shawl collar and turn back cuffs.
In For Your Eyes Only, Bond wears two bathrobes aboard the research vessel Triana. After being painfully pulled through the water in his t-shirt and cotton trousers, Bond dons the most comfortable thing he can: a terrycloth bathrobe. Bond has worn terrycloth bathrobes starting in Dr. No, but they are likely never his own. This one his most likely found in a closet on the ship. The prussian blue terrycloth has a pile of very long, absorbent loops that dry him and keep him warm. It’s not luxurious but it serves its purpose. The robe has raglan sleeves and a shawl collar, and there are three stripes of the cloth missing the pile around the collar. Though we don’t see much of this bathrobe, it most certainly has a belt around the waist, and it probably has patch pockets under the belt.
The second robe is a more lavish white velour, the kind you might find in the closet at a luxury hotel. Velour is knitted and has a fine cut pile, which is very soft but not so absorbent. Some are lined in terrycloth to be a more absorbent bathrobe, but if not it’s great for lounging around. Like a more classic dressing gown it has a shawl collar, a belted waist, a patch breast pocket, two patch pockets below the belt and set-in sleeves with turnback cuffs. Like the blue bathrobe, this robe is most likely not Bond’s own and probably belonged to Sir Timothy Havelock, the owner of the Triana.
Most men don’t travel with dressing gowns and instead wear the ones provided by the hotels they stay at. More often than not, the dressing gowns Bond wears are not his own. Some are nicer than others, and the one Bond wears in his hotel suite in San Monique is one of the more luxurious ones. It’s a rather nice dressing gown for one provided by a hotel, and even better hotels typically only provide basic terrycloth robes since they can easily be washed in hot water with the towels. This is a traditional dressing gown with a shawl collar and belt, and it has a breast and two hip patch pockets. Bond turns back the cuffs, which have a short vent at the end. The dressing gown is made from a dark blue plush material with a simple light blue embroidered paisley design. The pattern looks dated now, but not terribly so. It’s a suitable dressing gown for a 1973 James Bond.
When at Shrublands helath clinic in Thunderball, Bond wears some terrycloth garments provided by the clinic. His pale blue bathrobe has a narrow shawl collar, a patch breast pocket and a belted waist. It’s clearly not Bond’s own bathrobe due to it not fitting him so well, and the shoulders extend down his arms. The sleeves extend past the elbow, though if the shoulders fit properly the sleeves would end above the elbow. The length is a few inches above the knee, shorter than the typical bathrobe.
Under the bathrobe Bond wears a beige towel wrap around his waist. The wrap has an elasticised waistband that closes at the side and a patch pocket on the front.
Roger Moore is introduced as Bond in a dressing gown and pyjamas. Live and Let Die was a big movie for dressing gowns (with Bond wearing three total). The half-sleeve cotton dressing gown is pale yellow with a subtle floral motif and red piping. The yellow is characteristic of the 1970s and even matches Bond’s bedding. But it’s still not quite as outdated as Bond’s kitchen. The dressing gown has a shawl collar and a belted waist. The breast pocket is monogrammed “J.B.” in burgundy silk, so you may notice the monogramme does not match the piping. The dressing gown is lined in yellow silk.
The pyjama bottoms match the dressing gown. The dressing gown and pyjamas came from Washington Tremlett Ltd., The store was then located at 41 Conduit St. in London right next door to Moore’s tailor Cyril Castle, who was located at 42 Conduit St.
Bond also wears purple velvet Prince Albert slippers, also monogrammed. The monogram is in gold thread and the slippers have light purple piping. All three pieces of this outfit together were sold at Christie’s in South Kensington on 14 February 2001 for £7,050.