Bond… James Bond…
When contemplating where to begin a blog series on various films and media clips related to classic men’s style, it only seemed natural to start with a stereotype. Dr. No introduced Ian Fleming‘s James Bond character to the screen in the form of a well-clad Sean Connery. Bond makes his film debut in a London gentlemen’s club with smoke whirling about his shawl collared dinner jacket while he removes the money from his latest target’s purse as effortlessly as he will remove her dress later. But, alas, duty calls, and no Brit can fail to heed Her Majesty’s government’s beckoning.
That brings us to the clip shown above. Bond, called away from his leisurely escapades, finds himself among a less stimulating lot to receive his Walther PPK pistol. The scene, however, is a visual feast for classic style and adornments. All three male characters are impeccably tailored, and it captures in one room all three gentleman’s lapel shapes, i.e., notch, peak, and shawl, in proper proportions and on the correct garments. In the world of modern tailored garments, no gentleman should ever consider wearing a shawl lapel on anything except a dinner jacket nor anything but a peak lapel on a double-breasted jacket. As for the Major who enters the room with Bond’s new pistol, a subtle but elegant layering technique is employed in his presentation. Take note that the Major is wearing an odd waistcoat that is a shade darker than his shirt but also a shade lighter than his suit. While it is not mandatory that layering clothing should be carried out in this manner, this technique helps guide a viewer’s eye upward to the Major’s countenance and is the mark of a seasoned dresser.
Dr. No, unlike many Bond films, presents a very well turned-out James Bond. His clothes adhere, for the most part, to classic style; although, the same cannot be said of every other character in the film. Most of what Bond wears in the film could easily be worn with confidence today. Everything from trousers with double-forward pleats and side-adjusters that sit at the natural waist to grenadine ties and cocktail cuffs on his dress shirt would pass as immensely stylish today – more than 50 years after the film’s release. This is no astonishing fact to those familiar with classic style but should be a key takeaway from the film for those seeking sartorial enlightenment.
If you are so inclined, give Dr. No a try. It contains many scenes that showcase the intricacies of Bond’s dress quite well. I find it best enjoyed in the cool of the evening at the end of a leisurely and stylish day. A word to the wise though, vodka and vermouth shaken with ice and poured into a glass may be a drink, but no subject of the Crown would call it a Martini.