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.
James Bond recovers from Le Chiffre’s torture in Casino Royale wearing comfortable, loose clothing. The first outfit consists of a dressing gown over a jumper and t-shirt. The dressing gown is made of woven cotton in navy with a white grid check, and it has a shawl collar and a patch breast pocket. It probably has a belt and patch pockets on the hips, but we don’t see them since Bond is covered in a white towel below the waist. The light grey ribbed wool V-neck jumper has a full fit. Under the jumper, Bond wears a black crew-neck t-shirt.
Bond later recovers in a light blue cotton dressing gown. This gown has collar but Bond doesn’t fold it over. Under this dressing gown Bond wears a dark grey crew-neck t-shirt and navy sweatpants. His shoes are brown trainers.
As Bond’s recovery progresses he wears another outfit made up of parts of the previous two outfits. He again wears the light grey V-neck jumper from the first recovery outfit with the navy sweatpants from the second recovery outfit. Under the jumper he wears a white t-shirt, and white underwear peaks out above the trousers. His shoes are white trainers. The clothes in these three outfits are all worn for comfort and not style. One could say the jumper is too baggy or that James Bond should never wear sweatpants, but Bond is appropriately dressed for his situation, and he doesn’t look so bad either.
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.
Some of us may be experiencing warm weather at this time of year. Whilst in Jamaica in Dr. No, James Bond sleeps in only white pyjama trousers. Like most, they have a full cut and drawstring waistband. They are most likely made of a fine Sea Island cotton, which is soft, lightweight and comfortable in the heat. The alternative would be silk, which wears warm and is best avoided on hot summer nights.