There are many things that are symbolic of James Bond: women, gambling, and gadgets to name but a few. While each is deeply intertwined in the fabric of each Bond film’s plot, there is one more thing that sets the tone for the entire movie--the tuxedo. Whether it’s single-breasted or double-breasted, midnight-blue or white, simple formal wear or functional wear, the tuxedo is part of what makes Bond, James Bond. (See what we did there?…Bond, James Bond.)
Think of every major scene from a Bond movie, or think of every Bond movie poster that you’ve ever seen. It is not always the case, but the majority of the time that epic scene or movie poster will feature James Bond in a tuxedo. While all but two of the Bond films feature tuxedos--You Only Live Twice (1967) and Live And Let Die (1973)--we give James Bond credit for making the tuxedo a staple of men’s fashion over the last century. Here are our favorite James Bond tuxedos across the ages:
Dr. No (1962)
The beginning of our saga through tuxedo awesomeness starts with the very first Bond film, Dr. No starring Sean Connery. This midnight-blue, shawl collar tuxedo is the one that started it all. It should come as no surprise that the tuxedo scene in the movie involves James Bond looking like a champ and he spends time at the casino playing Baccarat with beautiful women.
In this one scene, his tuxedo, women, and gambling all come together to show how much of a winner Bond really is. He was using #winning long before Charlie Sheen was.
When people think of white tuxedos, without a doubt, they think of the white tuxedo jacket from Goldfinger. In one of the most extravagant tuxedo reveals in the entire movie franchise, James Bond emerges from the ocean in a wetsuit, later removing it to show his white dinner jacket complete with red carnation.
Diamonds Are Forever (1971)
While James Bond didn’t invent the black-tie outfit, he certainly made it his own. Even today, five decades later, people still associate James Bond with quintessential black-tie attire. In this, the last of the Sean Connery films, Bond sports a great tuxedo- and another red carnation - and he looks incredibly smooth doing so.
Man with the Golden Gun (1974)
The Man With The Golden Gun was the second of Roger Moore’s Bond films, but it was the first in which Moore was able to wear a tuxedo. In this film, he seems to have gone above and beyond to make up for not wearing a tuxedo in his first James Bond film. For the first time in Bond’s cinematic career, he sports a formal dinner jacket which is both double breasted and white. Fitting, as the majority of the scenes take place in cities along the Silk Road, his tuxedo jacket is made from dupioni silk.
Today, he could just sit at home in his silk PJs and perfect his Baccarat skills online, and perhaps fight cybercrime from the comfort of his home. But, had he been able to do that in 1974, he wouldn’t have met the beautiful Mary Goodnight.
For Your Eyes Only (1981)
Fashions change from year to year and with the change of the decade from the 1970s into the 1980s James Bond’s Tuxedo jackets went back from double breasted to single breasted. We wonder if Moore was initially dressed in double breasted jackets to further distinguish his 007 from Connery's, but by 1981 he had made the role his own so it was deemed safe enough to return to single breasted style.
It is a good thing that the tuxedo from this movie was fantastic, because we need something to make up for the fact that later in the film poor Roger Moore has to don first an Ape costume, and then disguise himself as a circus clown.
This single-breasted peaked-lapel white dinner jacket makes backgammon look like it is back in style.
A View To A Kill (1985)
There is irony in the title of this film, especially as it pertains to the tuxedo choices. When it comes to “good views” they usually are things seen that are noteworthy and special. This Bond film, in regards to tuxedos, offer something special to see that isn’t in most Bond films--two different tuxedo jackets. Only very rarely in a Bond film, does James Bond get to wear more than one tuxedo.
A View to Kill is the last time that a white dinner jacket of any kind would be worn in a Bond film (to date). Do you think Daniel Craig could pull off a white Tuxedo?
The Living Daylights (1987)
We all knew it would happen; most of us are just surprised it was twenty-five years into the franchise before Bond would use his formal wear tuxedo for more than just being fashionable. In a matter of seconds, using specialized velcro straps on his tuxedo jacket, Bond turns his fashionable outfit into a specialized, covert outfit. Never has velcro looked so cool before.
Licence To Kill (1989)
Those in charge of wardrobe for this film must have taken the title too literally when selecting James Bond’s formal attire for this movie, because they killed any fashion sense Bond might have had. Deemed by many as the worst Bond tuxedo in film history, the guys at The Black Tie Guide couldn’t agree more:
"In typical 1980s fashion the suit [is] too large overall and the jacket’s shoulders are excessively padded. Furthermore, the exaggeratedly low gorge and wide, shiny lapels epitomize the way that the notch design suggests sloping shoulders and gives the jacket a droopy, flaccid look. Rounding out the rented prom outfit is a 2-button cut and, interestingly, dark studs – two features seen only in this film."
Rented prom outfit? Does this seem a little harsh? We would love to know your thoughts in the comments below.
While the majority of the aforementioned titles have focused on the jackets that James Bond has worn in each film, it is important to remember that a tuxedo jacket itself isn’t complete without accessories. A prime example of this is with the tuxedo pocket square. Initially worn by Bond, as played by Sean Connery in the first three Bond films, the tuxedo pocket square was abandoned after Goldfinger, not to reappear for more than thirty years.
When Pierce Brosnan--a man who many argue best wore a Bond tux--brought back the tuxedo pocket square, it would continue to be worn by the rest of the men who played Bond.
Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)
For this film--as well as the rest of Brosnan’s films--Bond wears what must have been on special discount for multiple orders. Bond from Tomorrow Never Dies, The World Is Not Enough (1999), and Die Another Day (2002) wears almost an identical, midnight-blue tuxedo for each of these films. We love the color, but fans over the last several decades had become accustomed to changes in Bond’s wardrobe--not monotony.
When Daniel Craig took over as James Bond in 2006’s Casino Royale, the Bond we all knew and loved became less debonair and more renegade. One of the only things that didn’t change, however, was his classic tuxedo attire.
These are some of our favorite Bond tuxedos across the ages. We’d love to know...what are yours?