How To Be As Cool As James Bond

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How To Be As Cool As James Bond

Words by Mr Tom Banham

21 October 2015

Dress like 007 with these sartorial tips from Spectre’s costume designer Ms Jany Temime.

Is there any man who hasn’t swivelled towards his shaving mirror, gun fingers cocked, in emulation of cinema’s most iconic title sequence – accompanied, ideally, by the ding-d’ding-ding of Mr Monty Norman’s theme?

James Bond’s appeal lies in how drastically he differs from the spies of the real world. No, 007 doesn’t lie low for months in a safe house, awaiting an opportunity to pilfer some microfiche. He strides through life, as comfortable in a Monte Carlo casino as in the jungles of Nigeria, unafflicted by self-doubt. That’s because “he embodies elegance”, according to Spectre and Skyfall costume designer Ms Jany Temime, whose job it is to ensure Mr Daniel Craig is dressed to kill.

Though you may never handle a sidearm, rappel through a window or disrobe a double agent with Bond’s élan, you can emulate one integral element of that elegance: a wardrobe appropriate to wherever your briefing takes you. We’ve decoded Bond’s look to prepare this dossier.

Get A Better Tux

A man who wears black tie as often as Bond needs to have options. In Skyfall, 007’s midnight-blue Tom Ford tuxedo was a nod to the dapper days of the 1930s. “The colour means you won’t be mistaken for a waiter,” Ms Temime explains. In Spectre, Bond wears a wide-lapelled white dinner jacket (also made by Mr Ford), which he dons to pass as an Italian mafioso.

Keep Colours Simple

“Colours are dangerous,” says Ms Temime, because they stand out – a poor choice for a spy. “For understated subtlety, I always keep the tie the same colour as the suit.” Ditch the politician’s hues and swap for Emma Willis’ navy woven cashmere version.

Pick A Lightweight Suit

Counterintuitively, Bond’s snug tailoring makes it easier for him to move, thanks to its unstructured style. “It’s a slim fit, not too padded, with not too much construction,” says Ms Temime. “The armholes are high, so Bond can fight and run.” Try Boglioli’s Eton Suit for a slim cut that ditches much of the lining.

Invest In Quality

From trunks to skiwear, Bond prioritises quality for reasons of practicality, not flashiness. Hard-wearing chinos, such as Incotex’s stretch-cotton twill, won’t split mid-gunfight; travel suits, such as this one from Paul Smith, resist creasing, even when worn while riding a motorbike across Istanbul’s rooftops. A man on the move needs durable, versatile pieces so he can travel light.

Slim Down Your Down

No self-respecting spy lumbers around the slopes in a Michelin Man coat – it makes him an easy target. “For Spectre, I put Bond in a slim-fit jacket that flatters his body,” says Ms Temime. To achieve the same sleek effect, opt for this Arc’teryx ski jacket. His ski trousers, an updated version of those worn by French Alpine soldiers in the 1950s, are also tailored, which makes them, according to Ms Temime, “fine on the skis, but off the skis, even better”.

Think Beyond The Trends

Trends date – which is not an option, considering a Bond film’s lifespan. “007’s style is beyond fashion,” says Ms Temime. “He’s a secret agent, not a clothes horse, and we need to remember that these films will be watched for the next 10, 20, 30 years.” Timeless silhouettes mean even Sir Roger Moore’s 1970s wardrobe – including his safari suit – has aged better than most Facebook photos.

Conceal The Gadgets

Tablet. Phone. Walther PPK 7.65mm. Q-bestowed or not, the modern man is overloaded with gadgetry. And it can interrupt the clean lines of that form-fitting suit. Make like Bond and keep it slimline. “He’s not a cowboy,” says Ms Temime. “A pistol can be surprisingly small.” As can a wallet. Exchange your Costanza [bulging wallet as carried by Seinfeld’s George] for a Smythson leather cardholder, and decant your tech into a Bottega Veneta document pouch to avoid suspicious bulges in your tailoring.

Have Back-Ups

“For a shoot, we have at least 30 versions of each suit,” says Ms Temime. They’re tailored for function; a reinforced crotch here, some padding to protect a stuntman there. You won’t have 30 reinforced suits in rotation, but giving your tailoring time to recuperate between scenes helps extend its life, as will rotating your own collection. A second pair of trousers will double a suit’s lifespan, since they wear out faster than the jacket, and investing in a suit brush and better hangers will prevent damage when you’re not wearing it.

Work On What's Under The Hood

Many men ask Ms Temime what one thing will make them look like Bond. “Go to the gym!” she replies. “Daniel Craig is very fit and the tailoring, the sportswear, it flatters his body.” Choose Nike’s Dri-FIT training tees to upgrade your performance in the gym, and Bond’s favoured swimwear, the short-length Setter by British brand Orlebar Brown, when you emulate his exit from the ocean.

Pay Attention To Casualwear

“James Bond spends half his time dressed down,” says Ms Temime. Doubtless you do, too, and an arsenal of fine suiting matters little if your weekend wear is low calibre. Though the clothes change, the rules persist. “Good chinos and a polo shirt. Something that fits. Not too wide – it’s supposed to show off your body.” Bond’s brand, Sunspel, has specialised in crisp, form-flattering polos for 150 years.

Buy British Shoes

“Classic English shoes are the best, from slippers to hiking boots,” says Ms Temime. It’s why Bond needn’t carry a change of shoes for foot pursuits through a packed London Underground. Buy British, with a pair of Dainite® soles such as these Edward Green Derbies, and you, too, can avoid the indignity of commuter trainers.

Watch Your Lines

The best watches don’t let function dictate form. Which is why, despite Bond’s wristwear packing in everything from lasers to garrotting wire, it’s still delicate enough to slot under a tuxedo. Unless your nine-to-five necessitates that kind of gadgetry, opt for 007’s style, not substance. These days, Bond wears an understated Omega Seamaster. Or you could go with his original choice of timepiece: the Rolex Submariner. Bamford Watch Department has given it a stealthy all-black treatment, which will keep you under the radar.

Illustrations by Mr David Doran