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…
Read More:The Best Outfit From Every Single James Bond Movie, Ranked