I sometimes feel we can be a little too quick to overlook the quilted gilet or vest. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I think it’s an incredibly versatile article of clothing. It adds that extra layer of insulation when it’s too cool for just a sweater but too warm for a jacket or coat. It basically lets you fine-tune your comfort in a variety of situations. And they’re stylish too! Especially the more traditional versions that look perfectly at home during the fall months. What’s not to love?
I guess Bond agrees with me to some extent. After all, he chose a gilet for his stealth climb up to, and subsequent attack on, the St. Cyril Monastery in For Your Eyes Only. 007’s gilet was a mid-navy blue, diamond quilted style with darker navy suede shoulder patches. It’s a fairly simple and pretty traditional shooting vest design. He wears the gilet over a heavy gauge ribbed grey sweater and navy blue shirt.
Features Wanted for the James Bond For Your Eyes Only Gilet
- Navy blue nylon with a diamond quilting pattern
- Dark blue suede shoulder patches
- Open neck with no collar
- Hip length with an open hem
- Uncovered front zip
- Two chest pockets
- Two patch pockets
Unless we only go with shooting vests, the difficult detail to match will be those shoulder patches. They’re just not that common. The second most difficult? Believe it or not, it’s that open neck. Almost everything on the market today worth looking at has some kind of collar.
Best Options for the James Bond For Your Eyes Only Gilet
J.Crew Factory Walker Vest in Navy: on sale for $55.00
The outer fabric is a cotton/poly blend, and the insulation is a quilted cotton twill. So you don’t want to wear this one on a rainy day. On the plus side, the color is a good match for Bond’s and it has the patch pockets. Aside from the higher collar and missing shoulder patches, it got the look we want at a reasonable price.
And further proof that you guys are way better than me at finding the perfect alternative! This one was suggested by Bobby Morelli in the comments below. Aside from the button front and trim around the pockets, this is an excellent match for the screen used gilet. If you’re willing to pay up. Sizes small to XXL are available at the Farlows website. Thanks for the share, Bobby!
Champion Country Estate Quilted Gilet in Black: £13.04 to £35.00
The affordable option if you just have to have the shoulder patches. These ones are corduroy, not suede. But they still give the right impression. They call the color black. But it looks more like a very dark blue/grey in the product photos. Available in sizes small to XXL at Amazon UK.
Nimbus Camden Quilted Gilet: $60.70 to $67.95/£48.00 to £56.39
About as clean and simple a design as you’re going to find. It’s missing the suede shoulder patches and has a higher collar. But it captures the practicality and overall style of 007’s gilet. Amazon U.S. and UK have sizes small to XXXXL in stock.
If you do want something a little more technical looking, but still has it’s roots in traditional styling, this option could do the job. It has water resistant outer fabric and Thinsulate insulation. Marks & Spencer have sizes small to XXL available on their site.
Vedoneire Contrast Quilted Gilet in Navy: £49.95/$69.00
Another clean and simple design, this time from Irish company Vedoneire. Those flap cover, snap closure pockets are a little busier than Bond’s. But they’ll also keep your cell phone/wallet/sunglasses from falling out. So not necessarily a bad concession.
There’s clean and simple. And then there’s downright basic. To quote Vesper, “This is the latter.” It’s actually designed to fasten into some of Baracuta’s other shell jackets for an extra layer of warmth. Hence the shorter cut and purely practical design.
Fred Perry Quilted Gilet: £100.00
A traditional vest from a traditional, Bond-approved brand (see his Thunderball polo). It’s shorter than the gilet Bond used. And, again, there are no shoulder patches. There’s also that bit of knit hem at the sides. Still, it’s relatively simple style in the spirit of the original. House of Fraser has sizes small to XL available. Those of you in the U.S. can find it on Amazon for $162.40 to $165.20.
I seriously thought about making this one the best option. It’s a close color match, it has the patch pockets and it’s even cut a little long at the back. But at this price, I just couldn’t justify calling it the Best affordable option. Best to wait for one of J.Crew’s semi-regular 30% to 40% off deals to get the price down.
Completing the Look
By focusing more on the cut and fit of the different pieces, this is a pretty easy look to update. For our example below, we’ve used our “Best Option” for the gilet: the J.Crew Factory Walker Vest in Navy. Obviously, the climbing gear is optional ….
- Sweater: New Look Light Brown Ribbed Jumper, £24.99.
- Shirt: Uniqlo Oxford Slim-Fit Long Sleeve Shirt in 69 Navy, on sale for $19.90
- Pants: Uniqlo Heattech Slim Fit Corduroy Jeans in 09 Black, $49.90
- Belt: Canvas Belt from Amazon, $9.99
- Watch: Seiko 5 Automatic Analog SNXK97J1, $178.00 at Amazon
- Shoes: Five Ten Guide Tennie Leather Approach Shoe in Black Asphalt, $139.95 to $286.22 at Amazon
- Sunglasses: Apland Mountain Glacier Sunglasses, £20.00 on Amazon UK. Alternatives for the vintage Vuarnet PX5000 glacier glasses from SPECTRE.
- Harness: Petzl Calidris Climbing Harness, $109.95 at REI
- Rope: Sterling Evolution VR-10 Dry-Core Climbing Rope, $152.95 at REI
Have some suggestions for the James Bond For Your Eyes Only Gilet or ways to wear it? Leave them in the comments below! And you can also visit our Facebook page, Instagram feed and Pinterest Boards for more James Bond style advice, inspiration and info on where to find the latest deals!