What can I say about that James Bond Tab Collar Shirt from Skyfall? You either loved the look or you hated it.
The shirts were, of course, made by Tom Ford. And as near as I can tell, there were three different colors. The white was used in the PTS. The light blue was used in the London and Scotland arrival scenes. And there was a pale blue one Bond wore for his visit to M’s office at the end of the film. If I’m missing one, please let me know!
The resurgence of the tab collar seems to have died down quite a bit. The style received a lot of attention back in 2012/13 when Skyfall first came out. But most off-the-rack shirt makers and big brands have since dropped the collar option from their offerings.
Features Wanted for the James Bond Tab Collar Shirt
- Longer, soft point collar with tab closure (preferably with a button instead of snap)
- French cuffs
- No chest pocket
- Broadcloth or poplin fabric in white, sky blue and pale blue
A quick note on the tab collar. Tom Ford used a soft collar. Meaning it was probably stitched and had a lighter interlining. That construction, plus the short tab, gave the collar its characteristic roll. Now, it seems that most U.S. companies (like Brooks Brothers) prefer to go with a stiffer collar and longer tab. So we don’t get the same look with them. Just something to keep in mind.
Best Option for the James Bond Tab Collar Shirt
Not the most surprising choice, considering Paul Fredricks’ shirts have been mentioned as alternatives for years now. But there’s a good reason for that. First, this is one of the few companies still regularly offering tab collars at a reasonable price (check out their “Buy 2” pricing). Second, aside from the chest pocket, it gets a lot of the style details right. Especially that collar. It has the soft roll we want and the shorter tab pulls in the points like the Tom Ford.
Also, some may not know this but you can order a custom shirt from Paul Fredricks. I designed this one on their website (but didn’t buy). I selected the 100’s 2-ply Broadcloth in blue, the button tab collar, and the mitered French cuff. Total price is $94.50.
I’ve suggested some other, less expensive Paul Fredricks options below.
Best Option #2: Go Custom
One of the great things about the age in which we live is the plethora of reasonably priced on-line custom shirt makers. For the price of good off-the-rack shirt, you can get one made-to-measure from a growing number of respected services. I wrote an article about ordering your first MTM shirt to get your started (you can read that here).
Next is choosing the shirt maker you want to use. The image above comes from My Tailor, where their shirts start around $125.00. Check out this thread on styleforum.net to learn more about what regular clients think of My Tailor.
Another company worth scoping out is DeoVeritas. They have an easy to use ordering system, multiple options for entering your sizing, and a broad selection of fabrics and customization options. Prices start around $90. Here is a shirt I designed on their website: white cotton/bamboo blend fabric, tab collar, French cuffs and mother of pearl buttons for $139.00.
There are other options. Giorgenti New York offers custom made tab collar shirts starting at a more economical $59.00. And although they don’t offer tab collars as a standard feature, try contacting Spier & Mackay, Proper Cloth and Ratio Clothing to see if they can accommodate your needs. Their shirt prices run between $70 and $125. Just be aware that any company you order from will require some time to make your shirt, running anywhere from two to eight weeks.
Well I’ve pretty much said all I have to say about Paul Fredrick above. These are lower priced alternatives from the company. And yes, the white is available with the French cuff. The blue, however, isn’t. They’ve used a pinpoint Oxford cloth for both shirts. Which is a heavier, slightly less formal fabric. But these are still worth checking out, what with their “Buy 2 for $89.00” deal. They have multiple collar/sleeve sizes in stock.
I’m not familiar with John Clothier in the least. Meaning I can’t talk about the quality of the shirts. A bit of quick research seems to show that they’re made in India? And the description on Amazon UK says these are Made to Order. Oh, and they really like to mention how this is a”James Bond style”. As for the design? Well, they’ve obviously gone with a stiffer collar and a longer tab. So we’re not likely to get that nice roll. But, believe it or not, reasonably priced tab collar shirts aren’t that common in the UK. And blue tab collar shirts with French cuffs don’t seem to be common anywhere!
This alternative from Jos. A. Bank perfectly exemplifies what I was saying about the construction of the U.S. style tab collar shirt. They’ve used a stiff collar and longer tab. So how can we achieve that sweet collar roll? Also note the standard barrel cuff and chest pocket. The shirt is 100% cotton, but does have some type of “wrinkle free” treatment. Jos. A. Bank has sizes 15.5 to 17.5 available with different sleeve lengths.
This option from the classic menswear icon is very similar to the Jos. A. Bank’s alternative in terms of features (and weaknesses). But they’ve gone with a non-iron Supima cotton. The best thing about Brooks Brothers’ offering is the sizing choices. You can get the shirt in Traditional, Milano (slim), Regent (trim), Madison (classic) and Traditional (relaxed) fits. And they have a good selection of sizes in each.
Well, that blue may be a little darker than ideal. But they got that collar roll down! The lack of of a chest pocket and the double button barrel cuff kind of cancel each other out. Hawkins and Sheppard have used 100% 2/140s cotton and mother of pearl buttons. This is also “slim fit”. So maybe not so great for you larger fellas. They’re only offering collar sizes on this one; make sure to check the sleeve length for your size before ordering!
Magnoli Clothiers Skyfall Shirt in White or Light Blue: $130.00/£93.40
Indy Magnoli certainly has his fans in the Bond community. And this shirt sure seems like another winner. Needless to say, Magnoli has based the design of the shirt on the screen-used Tom Ford. So the details should be spot on. It also looks like a quality product, with each shirt made-to-measure using your choice of fabrics. The base model uses a cotton twill. But you can also select Pinpoint Oxford, Sea Island Cotton, or Premium Fabric (not sure what that is) for an additional price.
The Investment Pieces
Eton White Tab Collar Shirt: $250.00/£125.00
I have a few Eton dress shirts in my closet. And when it comes to off-the-rack fit they’re awesome for my frame. They’re also very well made and use high quality fabrics. So, yeah, I’m a fan. Now, I’m not saying you should go out and blow $250 on a shirt. But if you really like tab collars? Then this option from the 90 year old Swedish company is worth a look. Available in Slim and Contemporary fits in collar sizes only.
And if you really like tab collar shirts, but prefer a UK brand give Edward Sexton a try. They’ve decided to use a cotton satin twill fabric for the shirt. There’s also French cuffs, mother of pearl buttons and swelled edges on the collar and cuffs. All-in-all, a very Bond-worthy garment. Sizes 14.5 to 17.5 are available.
Have some suggestions for the James Bond Tab Collar Shirt? Tell us about them in the comments! And remember to visit our Facebook page, Instagram account and Pinterest Boards for more James Bond style advice and inspiration!