When it comes to stylish fictional heroes, none comes close to James Bond. The spy with the licence to kill is everything men want to be: He's handsome, intelligent, knows his liquor and is a crack shot with a Walther PPK.
On top of that, he gets to speed around in an Aston Martin, sleep with beautiful women and save the free world. What's not to love?
Which is why there's a whole online world dedicated to teaching men how to imitate their favourite spy. Some of the Bondophiles border on the obsessional.
One member of the forum attached to the popular James Bond Lifestyle site gets down to discussing the number of eyelets on 007s' shoes:
"Interestingly the current range of Diplomat and Chetwynd shoes have 6 pairs of eyelets (holes for the laces) while the Brosnan ones have five, so if you really want the same, you would need to find vintage pairs from the nineties."
In the equally popular The Suits of James Bond we discover that one of the new suits for the upcoming Spectre film will be a three-piece navy herringbone made by Tom Ford. "It's made in Ford's well-known style: a two-button jacket with wide peaked lapels and strong pagoda shoulders with roped sleeveheads. The shoulders are similar to the Quantum of Solace suits' shoulders."
Matt Spaiser, a graphic designer from New York City, founded the site in 2010, and it now gets more than 40,000 visits each month. Spaiser told Executive Style he's always been fascinated by Bond: "I love how 007 always gets out of difficult situations in a stylish way, from his clothes to his watches and his cars," he says.
Obsessed with detail
Spaiser started his site as a way of blogging about clothes, and as a resource for those who want to dress like Bond.
"There's a lot to learn from the small details in Bond's clothes, as well as from the big picture," he says. "I try to include as many details as possible, since without all the details there is nothing special about Bond's clothes. If I just looked at Sean Connery's grey two-button suit worn with a blue shirt and navy tie, he's dressed like most other conservatively-dressed men. But things like the suit's natural shoulders and draped chest, the shirt's cocktail cuffs and the tie's grenadine weave make the clothes special."
Part of the blog's appeal is Spaiser's accuracy. "I've seen people write incorrect things about Bond's clothes all over the internet. Before my blog, people would write that Sean Connery's legendary light grey three-piece suit is a sharkskin weave, whilst in reality it's a very fine Glen check. It makes a difference when people are trying to make replicas of the suit so they can dress like Bond."
Spaiser says Bond inspires the way he dresses himself. "Because of James Bond I like British suits and shirts, cocktail cuffs on my shirts and grenadine and knitted ties."
As for his favourite Bond when it comes to style? He finds it difficult to choose between Sean Connery, George Lazenby and Roger Moore.
The worldwide interest in all things Bond culminated in the Designing 007 exhibition which premiered at the Barbican Centre in London and came to Melbourne Museum in November 2013. Fashion historian and journalist Bronwyn Cosgrove collaborated with Academy Award-winning costume designer Lindy Hemming to curate the show, which featured more than 400 objects including the Anthony Sinclair overcoat worn by Sean Connery in Dr No and the 1964 Aston Martin DB5 from Skyfall.
For the exhibition, Hemming enlisted high-end British sportswear brand Sunspel to recreate the iconic sky blue swim shorts worn by Connery in the 1965 film Thunderball.
Get the look
With the recent Melbourne opening of Australia's first Sunspel boutique, dressing like Bond got a whole lot easier. The Thunderball shorts will set you back a cool $220, but it's a small price to pay if you want to strut around like a spy (although you won't be hiding many secrets in these briefest of briefs).
Sunspel was also approached by Hemming to design the navy 'Riviera' polo shirt and t-shirts (grey melange crew and white V-neck) worn by Daniel Craig in Casino Royale (2006).
In fact, if you're so inclined it isn't too difficult to put together a fairly solid wardrobe of basics using clothes worn by Bond – especially by Daniel Craig in the more recent films, as most are still available.
This list is by no means exhaustive, but along with the Sunspel products above, your wardrobe could include a Barbour X to Ki Beacon heritage sports jacket (Skyfall 2012); the Dr No shirt by Turnbull & Asser (as worn by Sean Connery); an N.Peal cashmere sweater in blue wave (Skyfall); A dark pair of 7FAM jeans (Quantum of Solace); Khaki chinos from Topman, brown corduroy jeans from All Saints, and a Billy Reid Bond Peacoat in navy (all from Skyfall).
Daniel Craig's suits are designed for him by both Tom Ford and the film's costume designer, and are adjusted from a standard size pattern at the factory. Spaiser says the suits in Quantum of Solace were labelled 50R (Euro), while the suits in Skyfall were a 48. "A bespoke suit wouldn't have a size tag, and it should fit much better," he says. "The Skyfall suits certainly weren't fitted by a proper tailor."
For a better fit and a lot less expense, try Australian tailors Institchu. They can recreate any of the Bond suits from the films, and it will be cut specifically for your body shape.
When it comes to accessorising as Bond, opt for Marko FT0144 aviator sunglasses by Tom Ford (Skyfall); Dents black leather gloves (Skyfall); Tom Ford limited edition cufflinks featuring Bond's family crest and motto: Orbis Non Sufficit (Skyfall); and an Omega Seamaster Watch (featured in numerous Bond films).
Spaiser says that many of the Turnbull & Asser ties from Brosnan's Bond films are available. T&A also still sell the navy grenadine ties like Connery wore in all of the Bond films except Goldfinger.
Finally, in the shoe cupboard, you could have a pair of Tetbury chukka boots by Crocket & Jones (Skyfall); Church's Ryder III dark brown desert boots (Quantum of Solace); and a pair of Jack Purcell OTR in chocolate…these were the shoes Bond wore for the famous parkour building site scene in Casino Royale.
007's newest outing in Spectre (scheduled for release on November 6) is highly anticipated by Bondophiles wanting to capture the look. A whole bunch of them are scouring the still shots and trailers for clues as to what their favourite spy will be wearing.
According to Spaiser, Craig will be slipping his feet into a pair of Crockett & Jones Camberley double monk boots. And he will probably be sending all his secret text messages from the soon-to-be-launched Sony Experia Z4, while on his wrist will be his trusty Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra with a NATO strap.
Other Spectre spoilers include a pair of Mulberry cashmere-lined black leather gloves, Tom Ford suits again, and an N.Peal NPG-300 fine gauge mock turtle neck, in dark charcoal grey.