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Signature style: Dress like James Bond, the ultimate in suave sophistication

Let James Bond be your guide to men's fashion

James Bond Goldfinger Aston Martin db5 contunation
Courtesy of MGM

One of the most influential men in the history of cinema and men’s fashion is the suave James Bond. With his gadgets, trickery, and ability to woo almost any woman into the sheets, he has gone up against the worst the world has to offer on behalf of queen and country. Of course, it isn’t simply the hard-hitting way he dispatches henchmen or his quick-witted battles with the fiendish members of Spectre that brought Bond into the forefront of pop culture. It was also his impeccable sense of style.

If you have looked at the style Venn diagram and found yourself drawn to the James Bond archetype, it means you value two things above all else: Function and quality. You combine the dedication to dapper dress with the preference for adventurous function. The life you lead isn’t sedentary; you are a man of action and someone who will always step up when the time comes. Your wardrobe supports that lifestyle by being of the highest quality, not only so it looks like it’s made from the best materials, but also so that you can move, breathe, and function at the highest level of efficiency.

If you want to improve your James Bond wardrobe, there are three places you can focus your attention to always ensure you’re at the top of your game.

James Bond in gray suit fixing cuffs
Courtesy of MGM

The spy who loves luxury

When you live the life of a spy, you know that each day could be your last. You put your life and limb on the line and don’t think twice when doing it, but that’s at work. At home, you adopt the work hard, play hard mentality and indulge in life’s luxurious sides. You’re Armani and Rolex, not JC Penney and Timex. You don’t just choose to buy the highest-quality garments and gadgets; you can also tell the difference by looking at them on the street.

That doesn’t mean you break the bank every chance you get. James Bond doesn’t mortgage the house for his Omega dive watch or his Aston Martin. You shouldn’t either. Just know the brands that are the highest quality you can afford at your phase of life and always look to improve. Choose Fossil over Timex, then upgrade to Citizen, Omega, and finally, Breitling or Rolex. Learn the difference between the high-quality Tom Ford suit vs. the more affordable online retailer, and spot the benefits of higher-end garments.

MI6 is constantly sending James Bond off on suicide missions that lesser men wouldn’t return from, but they do so stylishly. You can do the same. Understand that your wardrobe is an investment and that every piece enriches your lifestyle.

James Bond wearing blue suit
Courtesy of MGM

From tailors with love

Here’s a little trick the high-end men’s apparel world doesn’t want you to know: You don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to look like you have money. What makes the highest-quality garments appear to be of higher quality than the rest sometimes comes down to fit. If you watch James Bond move, virtually every outfit looks like it’s specifically curated for him. The suits he wears look like they were cut to fit his body, with every curve attended to expertly.

This is where a tailor comes in. You don’t have to spend $10,000 on a suit to look like James Bond; you can spend a fraction of that on a tailor to make a lesser suit look like a $10,000 one by finding the right tailor to work on your outfits. Tailoring doesn’t stop at suits either; pants, shirts, and even denim can be altered to fit you perfectly. We’re not saying to skimp on the more luxurious garments in favor of cheaper ones. Instead, take advantage of your trusted tailor’s abilities to take you from one bracket to the next through attention to detail.

James Bond leaning on Aston Martin
Courtesy of MGM

Basics are forever

Here’s where many men make the biggest mistakes when shopping for high-quality clothes. They mistake the most expensive for the highest quality. They also often find themselves wearing bright colors and outlandish patterns that cost money instead of investing in those pieces that last forever, both in durability and sartorial longevity.

If you look at James Bond, you’ll notice he doesn’t wear outlandish items. As a matter of fact, not drawing attention to himself is typically a big part of his work, all while being likable and forgettable. So how does he accomplish this? By picking up only the highest-quality basics. He doesn’t go crazy with wild patterns on the suit; instead, he makes your basic blue the coolest it can look. He picks up simple solids and classic cuts that never go out of style, then pairs them with trendy details.

James Bond in double-breasted navy blazer and royal blue shirt
Courtesy of MGM

The man with the clothes that move

James Bond is a man who loves his clothes to be the most luxurious options on the market. However, since he is also a man on the edge of danger at all times, he needs to be able to move. The Bond, James Bond archetype is one that always looks for the kinds of clothing that meet at the crossroads of function and fashion.

There are dozens of options that help you find that crossroads between The Dapper and The Adventurer. Companies like Ministry of Supply and Ben Sherman create products like chinos, sweaters, and button-ups that are luxurious yet functional. And companies like State & Liberty and xSuit make stretchable suits that move with you, no matter what your mission requires of you.

The James Bond archetype embodies the mentality that men’s style isn’t about what you wear; it’s about how you wear it. Where most men can put on a basic blue suit and get lost in a crowd, the men of this archetype buy the best of the best and trust their tailors to make their garments look even more luxurious. Live hard, play hard, and treat yourself to the best men’s apparel this world has to offer.

Mark McKee
Mark is a full-time freelance writer and men's coach. He spent time as a style consultant and bespoke suit salesman before…
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