The updated wardrobes of Bond characters reflect casual post-pandemic dressing, and a drop in suit sales
Skyfall’s Daniel Craig says to Moneypenny (played here by Naomie Harris) “Well, some things I like the old-fashioned way.” Bond is known for his no-nonsense fashion choices, which include sharp tuxedos and unfussy beachwear, as well as leather driving gloves. These are all examples of elegant, alpha menswear. In an era when formalwear sales have declined, can Bond accomplish his most difficult mission yet, and save his suit in “No Time to Die”?
It was revealed last month that Marks & Spencer had stopped selling suits in more that half of its 245 largest stores. This was a good business decision as formalwear sales had dropped by 72% in the wake of the pandemic.
No Time to Die’s release on September 30 coincides with another sea change in workwear. Professor Andrew Groves, director at the Westminster Menswear Archive, says that there was a strong desire to go back to formal clothing after lockdown ended. It is also evident that there is resistance to dressing in the same way as before the pandemic. Google searches for “smart casual”, have increased by 5,000%.
Suits that were reintroduced to the public’s attention after the lockdown were subversive versions of the traditional silhouette. These include Timothee Chalamet’s pink suit at Venice film festival, Shawn Mendes’s leather jacket suit with bare chest at the Met gala, and Shawn Mendes’s bare-chested leather jacket suite at the Met Gala. The script was also rewritten for some of Bond’s latest suits.
Remmert van Braam, who manages the website Bond Lifestyle, says that Bond wears a Massimo Alba beige corduroy suit in in No Time to Die. “This is a new look that James Bond has never worn before. A full corduroy suit is something we’ve never seen him wear before.”
Suttirat Anne Larlarb, costume designer, has updated Bond’s wardrobe for No Time to Die. This includes a navy sweater with epaulettes, grey combat trousers from N Peal and Henley shirts, and an army combat outfit.
Van Braam says, “Since Bond has retired from MI6 for part of the movie, we see even less casual clothes this time around. This is also a more accurate reflection of the wardrobes of the audience.”
Q may also have lost his sense of style due to the pandemic. Ben Whishaw plays Q in the role of Q. His work wardrobe now includes a Marni jumper. Groves says that although it may be fashionable, it could be mistaken for a thrift store find.
Similar fashion pivots can be also seen in the wardrobes Lea Seydoux and Moneypenny’s characters, Madeleine Swann.
Groves believes that No Time to Die will be a key to Bond’s stylistic longevity. “The Bond films function in the same way as classic British tailoring. They take familiar elements and tweak them to make it feel fresh and timeless.”