About Matt Spaiser

I am a graphic designer in New York. If you have any questions about James Bond's clothing feel free to send me an e-mail.

What Kind of Underwear Would Bond Wear?

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Sea island cotton boxer shorts from Turnbull & Asser, likely what Ian Fleming had in mind for James Bond, and maybe what he wore himself

We see James Bond in swimming trunks, pyjamas and dressing gowns, but we never see James Bond in his underwear. There’s a slight peak of it in Casino Royale, but we can’t tell what kind it is. Bond most likely has varied his underwear styles throughout the decades. Ian Fleming specified “nylon underclothes” in the novel Diamonds Are Forever, which have great drying properties. In The Man with the Golden Gun novel, Fleming wrote about a different, more luxurious type of underwear:

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.”

The “sea island cotton underpants” are undoubtedly referring to the woven boxer short style, since old-fashioned men in Britain at the time wore little else. The cotton material would be similar or identical to Bond’s sea island cotton shirts that Fleming specified. Some shirtmakers make boxer shorts to match their customers’ shirts. Sean Connery and Roger Moore most likely also wear woven boxer shorts as Bond, considering that was traditionally what men wore in Britain. Roger Moore can be seen in cotton boxer shorts in the 1969 film Crossplot, which took its wardrobe from Moore’s television show The Saint. Connery’s and Moore’s trousers have enough fullness in the thighs to accommodate boxer shorts.

In the unofficial James Bond film Never Say Never Again, Sean Connery wears white boxer shorts with a white vest (also known as an A-shirt or wife beater). Bond had just discarded his dinner suit to escape on a bicycle, so he must have been wearing these clothes under his dinner suit. The British ordinarily aren’t fond of undershirts, and Bond almost never wears them. To blend in as an American in Fleming’s novel Live and Let Die, Bond wears “nylon vests and pants (called T-shirts and shorts)”. However, the “nylon underclothes” that Fleming writes about in Diamonds Are Forever may also include vests.

Sunspel Stretch Trunk

Stretch trunk underwear from Sunspel

Underwear is a very personal garment and there’s no way we can guess the different styles of underwear that Bond has worn throughout the series apart from following what the trends were at any given time. Trends in underwear sometimes followed trends in trousers. Boxer shorts were very popular in the 1980s and 1990s when full-cut trousers were popular. However, in a 1985 episodes of Remington Steele titled “Forged Steele”, Pierce Brosnan wears white knitted cotton briefs.

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The James Bond Dossier announced last month that Sunpel, who made some of Daniel Craig’s polos and t-shirts for Casino Royale, has provided their stretch cotton brief and their stretch cotton low waist trunk (a short boxer brief) for Daniel Craig to wear in Spectre. This underwear is made of a 92% cotton and 8% elastane blend so it has more stretch than a pure cotton knit. Neither the brief nor the trunk has a front opening. Briefs and trunks are necessary for Daniel Craig since loose boxer shorts would bunch up under his tight trouser legs and prevent the trousers from hanging smoothly over the thighs.

What kind of underwear do you think Bond would wear?

Stretch brief underwear from Sunspel

Stretch brief underwear from Sunspel

Layer Cake: A Navy Pinstripe Suit Jacket with Jeans

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In the 2004 film Layer Cake, Daniel Craig wears striped suit jackets with jeans instead of the matching suit trousers. It was a popular fashion trend at that time, and it is still popular in some circles. Just as the mullet hairstyle has been described as “business in the front, party in the back”, wearing a pinstriped suit jacket with jeans has a similar effect. The suit jacket on the top is all business whilst the denim jeans on the bottom are as casual as trousers can be. Those who favour the mullet may see some appeal in this unorthodox combination, but like the mullet, this is not a conventionally attractive look. It’s difficult to make any tailored jacket look good with jeans, but rustic tweeds come closest since they match the rough, heavy look of denim. Robert Redford shows a great example of how to pair a tweed jacket with jeans in the 1975 film Three Days of the Condor.

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Craig’s jacket in Layer Cake can by no means be called a sports coat. Sports coats are, as the name suggests, sporty, whilst pinstriped jackets are business wear and part of a suit. The main thing that separates a suit jacket from a sports coat is the cloth it is made from. Sports coats are made from a material that has texture, whether it’s tweed, hopsack, cashmere, silk, linen, corduroy or any number of other materials. These materials are either solid or have a checked pattern. Suits can also be made of any of these textured materials, but they would informal sports suits and not business suits. Business suits are typically made from smooth worsteds and sometimes flannel. They may be solid, semi-solid, striped or have a subtle check.

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Certain cloths can work for both business suits and sports coats, like solid navy serge, bolder checks and woollen flannel. Jackets in these materials, however, need sporty details to make them work as sports coats, These details may include contrasting buttons, swelled edges, patch pockets or slanted pockets. But most worsteds don’t work well as odd jackets, especially not jackets with pinstripes or chalk stripes. And you can’t just put contrasting horn buttons on any suit jacket and turn it into a sports coat.

Daniel Craig’s navy pinstripe jacket is a suit jacket because it is made in a worsted business suit material. The button two jacket is tailored with straight shoulders, gently roped sleeveheads, a lean chest and a suppressed waist. It was most likely purchased ready-to-wear from an English brand. The jacket has a high button stance, straight flap pockets, four buttons on the cuffs and double vents. The jacket mostly fits well, though the sleeves are too long.

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Craig wears the suit jacket with medium wash denim jeans. The jeans have a medium-low rise, five pocket design and straight legs. A wide brown belt holds up the jeans. Craig’s shoes are dark brown chelsea boots.

Craig wears two different shirts with this outfit, a white formal shirt and a grey t-shirt. The white shirt has a tall two-button spread collar, two-button cuffs, front placket stitched 3/8″ from the edge in the traditional English fashion. The placket means that the shirt is from an English brand, and the tall collar likely signifies a brand with a slight fashion edge or a special fashion line. Craig wears the shirt tucked into his jeans.

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When Craig doesn’t wear the white shirt, he wears only a grey crew neck, raglan-sleeve t-shirt under the jacket. Unlike with the white shirt, Craig does not tuck the t-shirt. Though the body of the shirt drapes over Craig’s body, the short sleeves fit tightly around his upper arm. Though t-shirts go well with jeans, it makes the suit jacket look even more out of place with the jeans. T-shirts have a practical disadvantage with tailored jackets. Whilst shirts with a collar and long sleeves protect the jacket from the body’s oils and shedding, t-shirts offer the jacket not protection. Because jackets are considerably more expensive than shirts are, it makes sense to protect them.

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Basted for Bond: Examining Roger Moore’s Douglas Hayward Clothes

The latest “Basted for Bond” infographic breaks down the jackets, trousers and waistcoats that Roger Moore wears in For Your Eyes Only, Octopussy and A View to a Kill, made by legendary celebrity tailor Douglas Hayward. Though the low button two jacket is the mainstay of Moore’s Hayward wardrobe, he also wears button three jackets, very low-buttoning double-breasted jackets and a morning coat, all and more examined in the following infographic.

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The Rock: Sean Connery’s Navy Three-Piece Suit

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A happy 85th birthday today to Sean Connery. In The Rock, Sean Connery plays John Mason, a British national who escaped from Alcatraz. The Mason character was written as an homage to Bond and has a lot in common with Bond. John Spencer’s character FBI Director Womack states that Mason is a British operative but says, “Of course the British claimed they’d never heard of him.” Womack also says, “This man knows our most intimate secrets from the last half-century…Mason’s angry. He’s lethal. He’s a trained killer.”

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Mason even speaks like Bond when he responds to Nicolas Cage’s character Goodspeed’s introduction with the Diamonds Are Forever line, “But of course you are.” For Mason to agree to cooperate with the FBI, he makes a Bond-like demand: “I want a suite, a shower, a shave, the feel of a suit.” The new navy worsted three-piece suit he gets is what matters most, as far as this blog is concerned.

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Though The Rock was released in 1996, Sean Connery’s suit more closely resembles an late 1980s/early 90s suit. The button two suit jacket has a low button stance and a very low gorge, which places the lapel notch almost in the middle of the chest. Sean Connery’s prominent shoulders make the jacket’s shoulders look more padded than they actually are. Still, the shoulders have a fair amount of padding, but natural sleeveheads gives the shoulders a natural but neat curve.

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The suit jacket is cut with a moderately full chest and a gently suppressed waist. The jacket is detailed with flapped pockets, three cuff buttons and no vent in the rear. The suit’s waistcoat has five buttons. The suit trousers have a full cut, likely with double or triple reverse pleats. The legs are wide but slightly tapered. The suit is very similar to the suits Timothy Dalton wears in Licence to Kill, but Connery’s suit has a much cleaner fit. Though this suit is strongly influenced by fashion in its proportions, it follows the principles of a good fit.

Connery’s white shirt has a spread collar with tie space and a sewn interfacing (revealed by a poor sloppy job), front placket and square cuffs with either one or two buttons. The collar design and construction could mean that this shirt is from an English maker. The tie has alternating wide navy and gold stripes. The navy stripes are woven in a twill weave whilst the gold stripes are woven with floats to look like a basket weave. Connery’s shoes are black single monk shoes.

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Daniel Craig Dresses Up For Heineken

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Yesterday, GQ-Magazine.co.uk published three photos of Daniel Craig taken for a partnership between James Bond and Heineken. Though this partnership with the beer company involves Spectre, Daniel Craig is not in costume as James Bond, though he is dressed in a Bond-like manner. Though GQ identifies this navy pick-and-pick suit as a Tom Ford O’Connor suit, this is certainly not a Tom Ford Suit. This suit isn’t as interesting or unique as a Tom Ford suit, and it’s most likely a ready-to-wear suit, but Daniel Craig looks like James Bond in it.

Tom Ford suit jackets always have a curved “barchetta” breast pocket, which this suit jacket lacks. O’Connor suit jackets also have slanted hip pockets, whilst this jacket has straight pockets. The O’Connor jackets in Spectre are button three roll two, whilst this jacket is just a button two like the ready-to-wear O’Connor jackets. The Spectre suit jackets also have four cuff buttons whiles this jacket has only three cuff buttons. The buttons on this navy suit contrast in medium-light grey urea. And whilst Daniel Craig’s O’Connor jackets always have a single vent, this jacket has double vents. The narrow lapels are around the same width as the O’Connor lapels, but the notch on this jacket is smaller.

Craig’s suit jacket is cut with straight padded shoulders, gently roped sleeveheads, a lean chest and a suppressed waist. Overall, the suit has a very close fit, but it has a slightly cleaner fit than the Tom Ford suits he wears in Spectre. Because of his pose, it’s difficult to tell if the pulling at the waist is a result of the jacket being a little too tight, or if it’s because of the pose. The only serious problem with the fit of this jacket is the short length, which is fashionably on purpose. The suit trousers have a narrow, tapered leg with turn-ups, which contrast with the straight leg on Tom Ford trousers.

Under the suit, Daniel Craig wears a white shirt with a point collar and double cuffs. Though Craig wears similarly styled shirts made by Tom Ford in Spectre, this shirt is not one of those shirts. This shirt’s point collar is a bit shorter than the Tom Ford point collars and does not frame his face as well, but it doesn’t look bad either. The navy tie with white pin dots could possibly be from Tom Ford, but any number of brands could have provided this tie. There’s a folded white handkerchief in the jacket’s breast pocket to add to the Bond look. Craig’s shoes are black three-eyelet derbys with a chiselled toe and Dainite studded rubber soles. The shoes are likely the Crockett & Jones Highbury, which Craig wears in Skyfall.

GQ is also wrong about something other than the suit: Daniel Craig’s hair in Spectre. The longer hair in these photos gives Daniel Craig a more mature and sophisticated look, but if they looked at the Spectre trailer they would see that Craig’s hair in the film is the usual shorter length it has been in his other Bond films.

There are more photos GQ-Magazine.co.uk.

Vijay’s Double-Breasted Navy Blazer

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Easily one of the most likeable characters of the Bond series, Octopussy‘s Vijay, played by tennis player Vijay Amritraj, is a British agent undercover at Kamal Khan’s sports club as a tennis pro. He dresses appropriately for a man at a country club in a navy worsted double-breasted blazer, beige trousers and a day cravat.

Notice the tennis racquets on the blazer's button

Notice the tennis rackets on the blazer’s buttons

Vijay’s blazer has six buttons in the traditional configuration of two to button. The buttons have a low stance. The shanked buttons are brass, each engraved with a pair of tennis rackets fitting for the character. The blazer is likely English ready-to-wear, cut with straight shoulders, roped sleeveheads, a lean chest and a suppressed waist. It has long double vents, three buttons on the cuffs and flapped pockets.

The beige wool gabardine trousers are cut with a straight leg and likely a flat front. Vijay’s white poplin shirt has a point collar, rounded single-button cuffs and a placket stitched 3/8″ from the edge. The placket identifies this as an English shirt. Under the shirt, Vijay wears a textured silk day cravat in grey with 1/4″ red stripes widely spaced.

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Vijay’s shoes are black leather horse-bit slips, which Roger Moore wears in his 1970s Bond films but not in Octopussy. The stunt driver of the Tuk Tuk taxi, however, wears light brown trainers that fasten with two velcro straps.

Baggy All-Blue Casual Wear

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Timothy Dalton is partially responsible for this all-blue outfit in Licence to Kill. In a 1989 interview with Garth Pearce, Timothy Dalton said he didn’t want to wear the pastel colours that costume designer Jodie Tillen wanted to dress him in. Dalton said, “The clothes say so much about Bond. He’s got a naval background, so he needs a strong, simple colour like dark blue.” That’s what this outfit is: three different dark blues. However, someone with a naval background would likely prefer trimmer-fitting clothes and not excessive bagginess.

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Throughout Licence to Kill, Bond combines his casual wardrobe items in different ways, giving a certain realism to part of the wardrobe. Bond does not often mix and match different wardrobe items unless they are basics like navy grenadine ties, solid-colour formal shirts or shoes. When Bond meets Pam Bouvier at the Bimini Barrelhead Bar, he is wearing the same navy shirt-jacket he wears at the Hemingway House earlier in the film with the purpose to conceal his Walther PPK. The shirt-jacket is probably made of a synthetic material and is too large, most notably in the shoulders, as was the trend in the late 1980s. The shirt-jacket has a four buttons down front, has pockets on both sides and is constructed with a yoke in the back of the shoulders like a shirt. The cuffs are single-button shirt-type cuffs with a large button, and the sleeve is gathered into pleats at the cuff. Bond wears the jacket open and the collar up.

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Under the shirt-jacket Bond wears a french blue shirt with a short spread collar and two breast pockets. The placket is folded to the inside rather than the outside so that only a row of stitching is visible to the right of the buttons. This gives the front a neater look than a placket does but still has the extra support a placket provides. The collar and placket are stitched on the edges. Bond’s trousers are faded dark blue cotton and slightly lighter than the shirt-jacket. They have triple reverse pleats, slanted side pockets and two rear pockets. The trousers are the same blue trousers that Bond wears when he arrives in Isthmus City. Bond wears a black belt and black slip-on shoes with his blue outfit.

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Strangways: A 1950s Silk Suit

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Kingston-based British agent John Strangways, played by Timothy Moxon, is talked about far more than he is seen. He appears in the opening scene of Dr. No and is soon killed. His death brings James Bond to Jamaica and is the reason for Bond’s first cinematic mission. From the looks of his suit, it would appear that Strangways hadn’t returned to England for quite some time to update his wardrobe. His suit has a full cut dating it to the 1950s.

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Strangways’ suit is made of silk and is the natural silk colour, which is a light beige. The jacket has a full cut with drape in the chest and a nipped waist. The shoulders are soft and natural, and in following the drape cut they are slightly extended. The jacket has two buttons on the front with a medium stance. The lapels are slightly on the narrow side, and they have a low buttonhole. The welt breast pocket has a steep slant and is placed low on the chest. The hip pockets are difficult to see, but I believe they may be open patch pockets. There are three buttons on the cuffs and no vents. The suit trousers have forward pleats—likely two on each side—and very full, tapered legs with plain hems.

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With the suit Strangways wears a white shirt with a short spread collar and button cuffs. His tie is deep red with a subtle tonal pattern and is tied in a four-in-hand knot. It has a crest or some decoration embroidered on the top, though I can’t tell what it is. He also wears a white linen handkerchief stuffed into his breast pocket.

Strangways’ shoes are perhaps the most adventurous part of his outfit. They’re casual two-eyelet desert boots in tan suede with crepe soles. Though they are less formal than the rather informal suit, they fit the relaxed country club setting.

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