This week, No Time To Die — the newest James Bond film and Daniel Craig’s last in the role — hits theaters. I think the first Bond movie I saw was Live and Let Die, and in my 28 years I’ve seen all of them, most more than once. My favorite Bond is Roger Moore, though I concede that Sean Connery is perhaps the Bond. Bond movies are exciting, and fun, and marked by a singular sense of glamour and sex appeal that keeps us coming back time and again.
If you’ve read my work for this site, you will be unsurprised to find out that I like my movies like I like my men: old. And I like my suits the way I like my movies: classic. So the Bond films — on top of being pure entertainment — also really scratch my menswear itch. It seemed fitting then, for me to break down the best looks we’ve seen Bond wear over the years, to celebrate the momentous occasion of a new, era-ending installment being released.
First things first: let’s talk about my ranking criteria. I watched each movie, going through frame by frame, picked my favorite outfit from each, and then ranked them. I considered doing a point system or something of the like, but truth be told I am terrible at math and that seemed like it might bore you, dear reader, to tears. You should also know that if you’ve come here hoping to find a love letter to the slim-fit suits and pumped-up physique of Daniel Craig, you will also be disappointed; in my opinion whoever decided James Bond shouldn’t have a break in his pants deserves jail time.
That being said, I’m sure this list is going to hurt some feelings; everyone has a favorite Bond, and to that person, he is the only James Bond. And as I’ve learned as a woman who writes about menswear, the very fact that I am not a man myself often invites correction and ire from readers. So let’s lay down some ground rules: if you find yourself inclined to rage-tweet about what you perceive as the misplacement of your favorite or least favorite Bond on this list, please consider spending that energy in other ways, as I am tired, there is a pandemic outside, I am only 5’4, and a few weeks ago Ben Shapiro quote-tweeted something I wrote about abortion and I’m still blocking the stragglers among the pack of feral dogs who follow him around the internet.
Praise for my ranking, astute sartorial observations and magnetic sense of humor, however, are all welcome. So without further ado, here they are: the best James Bond looks, ranked, and — because I’m generous — modern analogues for you to shop right now.
24. License to Kill
Coming in at number 24 is this simple navy suit and white shirt moment from Timothy Dalton’s License to Kill (more pics here). The Dalton films in general don’t boast a ton of noteworthy looks, but this one stuck out to me. A simple navy suit and white shirt is one of my all time favorite looks on a man in general, and I think every man should have some iteration of it. It’s timeless and still modern looking, it’s well tailored, and it’s an incredibly versatile look whether you’re going out to dinner or seeking revenge for the murder of your best friend’s wife.
I’m going to be completely transparent and say that I really struggled to find looks that I loved in the Daniel Craig movies; everything is very tight and modern and cool and the antithesis of how I think any man — let alone James fucking Bond — should be dressing. That being said, this simple moment in Skyfall is worth your attention. Craig is wearing a beautiful navy overcoat, a grey trouser (still too tight for my taste) and a simple knit tie. And while I usually am partial to white shirt under a navy suit, the light blue gives the whole look an easy appeal. I also want to make note of the collar; it looks like it has a tab collar which impacts the shape of the collar, pulling it tight to the tie knot.
22. Casino Royale
Again, I really did not have an easy time finding an outfit in this film that excited me. Then I saw Daniel Craig emerge from the ocean in that powder blue short-short bathing suit and I was, um, excited! If wearing your swim trunks quite this short is intimidating, a little longer is allowed — but for the love of all men hairy, keep those hems above your knees.
Shop the look: Swim trunks
21. The Living Daylights
This reminds me of the kind of thing a hot dad in an ’80s movie might wear, but like, a dad who also works for the CIA — sort of Jack Ryan-esque (more pics here). The chunky knit layered over a white shirt and under a worn leather moto jacket doesn’t really look chic or tailored but that’s kind of the appeal; this is off-duty Bond, and the luxurious materials make it clear that even when he’s not in a suit, he’s still 007. I also love that the entire look is monochromatic, one of my favorite ways to make a casual outfit look more refined.
20. Diamonds Are Forever
Generally speaking, I have mixed feelings about tan suits, yes even that tan suit. Are they appropriate for summer weather? Sure. Do they always kind of look like someone made khaki pants into a suit? In my opinion, yes. But they can be done well, and Sean Connery’s in Diamonds Are Forever is a perfect example of a tan suit that works (more pics). I think the sort of undone styling — some research reveals it’s a heavy Irish linen, his top button undone, and his tie loosened — are what make it work. I also really love the choice to pair the look with a pink tie; it keeps the suit from looking too preppy or self serious. And it’s finished off with John Lobb ankle monk straps which are sheer perfection.
19. A View to a Kill
A View to a Kill feels like a fever dream during an acid trip; it’s probably one of Roger Moore’s lesser-known films and not exactly critically acclaimed, but it’s hard to argue with the casting decision of making Grace Jones and a bleach blonde Christopher Walken the film’s villains. My favorite look from the film is equally impracticable: a distinctly English riding getup that makes Moore look like a riding instructor I would definitely [redacted] in the stables (more pics). The brown jacket is beautifully complemented by the yellow knit tie, and the length of the jacket against the tight riding trousers makes me weak at the knees, which unfortunately makes it hard to grab your ankles, and if you have not guessed at this point, Moore ranks as my top Bond because I’m horny for him, I don’t know what to tell you.
This look on Roger Moore is so simple and unassuming, but I love it mainly because I think high-rise trousers (seen here), especially these days, are dreadfully underappreciated for men. I love the straight cut of these and the simple grey button down that he’s paired with them — leaving it of course open at the top to reveal a chest that’s not quite as hairy as Connery’s but delicious nonetheless.
This is one of my all-time favorite casual Bond looks and in my opinion one of the easiest to adapt for everyday wear: a simple black polo and a camel colored chino is a fail-safe look that will flatter pretty much any guy (more pics here). In this scene Connery is technically wearing a long sleeve polo that he rolls the sleeves up on and he’s also barefoot, but if you’re looking to rock the look yourself and not die from some sort of deadly ringworm, I’d recommend a low-profile brown loafer or even a white tennis sneaker.
16. The Man With the Golden Gun
The costume designer for the Roger Moore films had an obvious kink for safari jackets and I’m grateful they brought us along on that ride; he wears one in virtually every single film and The Man With the Golden Gun is no exception. The straight cut of this one, made by Hong Kong tailor Jimmy Chen, diverges from the typical belted silhouette of safari jackets, and pairing it with a straight-leg trouser with a flat front takes things up a notch. What I love most about this Indiana Jones-meets-007 look is the length of the safari jacket: Is it a shirt? Is it a tunic? Is it a jacket? Who’s to say. What I do know is you don’t have to be Roger Moore to embrace this timeless look.
15. From Russia With Love
The beach scenes in James Bond films boast some of the sexiest resortwear in Hollywood history, and Connery’s purple gingham shirt in this scene (paired with powder blue shorts) is one of my favorites of all the films (more pics). The blue short-shorts are such a classic 007 swimwear look (see item 23), but the gingham overshirt is really what makes this look stand out to me. It’s not exactly a dress shirt or a simple casual button down. There’s some stiffness and structure to it and the big silver buttons and patch pockets give it a retro look that you might be hard pressed to find a direct analogue for these days. That didn’t stop me from trying though!
14. Quantum of Solace
It wouldn’t be a list of James Bond’s best looks without a tuxedo, and Daniel Craig’s in Quantum of Solace is a really beautiful one. To be completely transparent, the reason this one is making the list is because I do love plenty of the other Bond tuxedos, I like other looks in those films more, and like most of the Craig films, not many of the looks really stuck out to me, so this tuxedo seemed like a fitting choice. It’s classic: black shawl collar with a black bowtie, and it’s beautifully tailored. If you’re looking for a modern tuxedo, it’s a great example of how to do it right without looking trendy or like you’re trying too hard.
13. Die Another Day
What I love about this look is Brosnan looks like the hot dad chaperoning the school ski trip; somehow he’s both incredibly suave and incredibly cozy in a way that only James Bond could pull off. Layering two winter coats, a half-zip sweater and a turtleneck without looking even slightly bulky is not for the faint of heart, but what makes this look especially noteworthy in my book is the monochromatic element; each item of clothing is an obviously different texture, but because they’re all close in color, they look refined and put together.
12. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
This is just an incredible look. I mean, a tan-on-tan golf ensemble – or a co-ord, as the kids these days would call it — and an orange turtleneck? It’s mod, it’s retro, it’s sleek, it’s lighthearted — even whimsical — all without looking silly. The jacket’s bi-swing pleats at the back give it a sporty refinement, too, which keeps it from coming off as costume-y. It also strikes me as a rather unique look for Bond, in its aesthetic and feel. It feels young and hip, when I think we typically see the different iterations of Bond leaning more toward traditional or classic styles.
I absolutely love a lux knit polo shirt and this is a great example of how to style it. Craig’s suede bomber-style jacket from Matchless London pairs perfectly with the Tom Ford polo. Keeping the bottoms simple and opting for a slim fit chino and finishing the outfit off with a tan desert boot is a super accessible look that any guy can make work (even if he can’t spring for the Tom Ford polo). More pics here.
10. For Your Eyes Only
Remember that suede bomber jacket look we just talked about? So this is like that, but better. Moore’s version of the look includes an olive green collarless bomber over a lightweight short-sleeve button down and a mid-rise tan trouser; all in all, the look has an earthier aesthetic than Craig’s, which is why it’s earned better real estate on this list. It feels less trendy and more authentically rugged and glamorous at the same time — and what could be more James Bond than rugged glamour?
9. The World Is Not Enough
The Brosnan era boasted some of Bond’s most beautifully tailored suits from the Brioni house, and this three-button number is no exception. A three-button suit takes exceptional skill to work; the tailoring has to be just right and the person wearing it has to have the physique and height to pull it off. Brosnan and Brioni are a match made in heaven in this regard; granted you could put dogshit on Pierce Brosnan and he’d still turn heads, and you could dress dogshit up in a Brioni suit and it would be the best-dressed thing in most rooms. The choice to go for a three-button offset the simplicity of this dark grey suit, white shirt and tie, keeping Brosnan looking classic without looking staid.
8. The Spy Who Loved Me
Monochromatic dressing for men is one of my all-time favorite aesthetics and this look from The Spy Who Loved Me does it so right. Moore looks smoking hot in this all black ensemble; black trousers and a black button down layered under a black v-neck sweater. It’s an outfit that radiates sex appeal. It looks easy (like something he threw on to woo a Bond girl in his home) but at the same time pristine, as if every piece was handpicked and perfectly tailored for his physique. A look every man should have some version of in his closet.
7. Dr. No
It would be a crime for my Dr. No pick to be anything but the powder blue beach ensemble Sean Connery wears in the very first James Bond film (more pics). I’m not entirely sure this is a try-at-home kinda look, but if you’re going to a really chic beach club or resort, I don’t see why you can’t pull it off. There’s such a tenderness to the color of this ensemble; even the fabric looks soft to the touch. And juxtaposed against Connery’s absolutely raw, throbbing masculinity, it’s easy to see why it’s become such an iconic look in the franchise.
In Brosnan’s inaugural film as Bond, he wears a beautiful layered look to go on a — let’s say joy ride — early in the film (more pics). A cozy navy crewneck knit is layered on top of a rich blue button down with a subtle windowpane and finished off with a cravat that, I’m going to be completely honest, is going to be hard to pull off if you’re not Pierce Brosnan. But the density of the knit and the subtle depth the pattern on the shirt provides combine to keep his choice of neckwear from looking too stuffy.
5. You Only Live Twice
This is one of my favorite suit moments in the entire franchise. It’s simple, it’s perfectly tailored, it flatters his frame, and if you saw a picture of Connery in this suit you would immediately think, “That’s James Bond.” I love the rich flat navy, and I love that it has a single button, which was popular at the time and gives it a flash of trendiness without trying too hard. And finally, I love that Connery pairs it with a soft slip-on shoe instead of a tie shoe. More pics here.
I am such a sucker for a good tweed suit, and this Donegal tweed moment on Roger Moore just makes my heart sing (more pics). The weight of the fabric is absolutely beautiful and it has amazing little details like two slanted flap pockets on one side and an extra-wide lapel, and it tucks in perfectly at his waist. Knit ties are not an uncommon choice for Bond, and the brown one Moore wears with this suit complements the look really well. The texture and weight of the tweed balances the knit and makes it seem like you can feel the outfit as much as you can see it.
3. Live and Let Die
When I think of Roger Moore as Bond, I think about him in this beautiful double-breasted jacket in Live and Let Die. The richness of the coat against the crispness of the shirt and tie to me are everything Bond’s menswear should be about: clean lines and timeless silhouettes that exude sex appeal without even trying (more pics here). The double-breasted jacket has a velvet collar, which is one of those subtle details that — like the aforementioned knit tie and tweed jacket combo — makes you really feel the clothing as you watch. There’s an immediate luxury to this look; you can imagine a man walking through an airport or train station in this outfit (OK maybe not in 2021, but let me have my fantasy, please) and he immediately draws that kind of quiet attention that only a truly well-dressed man can. The outfit is finished off with a soft pair of high vamp loafers that I just know make that click-clack sound when he walks on pavement.
This is hands down my favorite Connery look. I love a man in a brown suit, and as we’ve established, I’m also a sucker for a tweed jacket, so this brown barleycorn tweed blazer is truly everything to me. Like Moore, Connery wears a brown knit tie with his, a white shirt, tan trousers with a perfect half break, and a brown suede tie shoe. He looks every bit the proper English gentleman with slight off-duty vibes; the brown color palette is warm and comfortable and the choice to opt for a sport coat and trousers instead of a full suit gives the outfit a unique ease and confidence.
1. Tomorrow Never Dies
Ok look, if you had told me when I started this project that my number-one spot would go to Pierce Brosnan I would have told you you were hallucinating. But here we are. This perfect — and I mean perfect — look in Tomorrow Never Dies earns my top spot; the best way I can describe this look is, when I see it, I feel like my eyes are feasting. Every single detail – every color choice, every hem length, every lapel and collar proportion, to me epitomizes what menswear should be at its absolute best. A pristine Brioni navy suit that flatters his physique without looking tight or overly spacious; a simple white shirt, a deep red tie and a classic black dress shoe tie the look together. Then he throws that deep camel overcoat over it all — that’s my single favorite item worn in the entire Bond franchise. Its color against the navy of his suit is as close to what I imagine an eye orgasm would feel like
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