At Iconic Alternatives, we try to focus on affordable clothing that will help us get the Bond style we want without emptying our wallets. So it doesn’t make a whole lot of financial sense to invest in a piece and then only use it with one “screen accurate” look. Versatility is the name of the game. That’s where our “4 Ways to Wear It” series comes in. We take one piece of iconic Bond clothing and combine it with other affordable 007 inspired alternatives to extend our wardrobe and get the most bang for our buck. In this post we look at the classic James Bond grey t-shirt.
The James Bond Grey T-shirt
Ah, the humble t-shirt. If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably treated t-shirts like disposable items. Buy ’em cheap and toss ’em when they start to look worn out. But if you’ve read our Guide to Contemporary Casual Style, you’ll have learned that t-shirts can form the foundation for many of our best looks. Which means investing in well made tees with a great fit actually makes sense.
For this post, I’ve used the Sunspel Classic Cotton T-shirt in Charcoal Melange (£59.00/$90.00), mainly because it’s a Bond brand. We’ll be looking at other options in future posts. But the qualities that make a t-shirt “perfect” can be very personal. So the best thing you can do is get to a store and try some on. Pay attention to the quality of the stitching (particularly around the collar) and the weight of the fabric. Lots of people prefer 100% cotton. But cotton/poly blends can also be great, especially during the hotter months. As for fit, here are some tips …
How to get a great fitting t-shirt
- With a crew neck tee, you want the collar line to sit at the divet at the base of the throat in the front and where your shoulders meet your neck at the sides. Pay attention to the collar band construction. You want it to be a heavy enough to stand up to being pulled over your head multiple times without stretching. But not so stiff it feels like it’s strangling you when you’re wearing it.
- The sleeve seams should line up with the tops of your shoulders.
- The sleeve should end around the middle of the upper arm.
- You want the fabric to skim the skin through the body. A slightly tighter fit across the chest is okay, especially if you’ve been working out and want to show off your progress. But keep the fit a little looser from the chest down to the hem.
- You want the hem to end around the middle of your pant fly. And if the t-shirt is fitting you great everywhere else, but is just too long, you can get it hemmed to the right length. It’s actually a pretty easy and cheap procedure.
Okay, let’s get to the looks!
Moore Military Style
- Jacket: Wesc Contrast Two Tone Bomber Jacket in Dusty Green (on sale for $89.99): alternative for the A View to a Kill Zorin Industries bomber jacket.
- Pants: J.Crew 484 Slim Fit Stretch Chino in Vintage Dove ($68.00): alternatives for the Skyfall “Enjoying Death” chinos.
- Shoes: Clark’s Desert Boot in Cola Suede (on sale for $89.99): alternatives for the Skyfall Zara “Enjoying Death” desert boots.
- Socks: Smartwool Curated Shadow Ridge Crew Socks in Loden (on sale for $13.95)
- Belt: Badgery Queenslander Plaited Kangaroo Leather Belt ($56.00). Alternative for the Daniel Craig favorite R.M. Williams plaited belt. And you can read my review of the Badgery belt here.
- Watch: Timex Navi Habor ($135.00/£110.00): alternative for the James Bond Rolex Submariner 6538. You can find more options in this post.
- Bag: OFTEN 15″ Messenger Bag in Coffee ($36.99). Alternative for the Daniel Craig style Belstaff 554 Messenger Bag.
- Sunglasses: Persol PO 3135S in Havana/Brown Polarized (on sale for $180.00/£143.24): alternatives for the Goldenye Persols. You can find more alternatives for Bond sunglasses in this post.
I’m convinced the key to wearing military inspired pieces is to limit them to just one or two per look. More than that and you risk crossing into cosplay territory. I’ll admit the desert boots, messenger bag and dive watch are bringing this outfit real close to that line. But I think they’re “generic menswear” enough to keep us on the safe side. And the sunglasses, belt and fun socks let people know you’re aiming for “casual” rather than “off-duty mercenary”. As for the jacket: Bond’s worn more than a few military-style pieces in the films. We’ll explore those further in a future post. The Zorin Industries bomber is maybe more suitable for a security guard, but you can definitely see how it takes inspiration from an MA-1 flight jacket.
Back in Black
- Jacket: Aero Leathers “Long Half Belt” Black Leather Jacket (£710.00): alternative for Daniel Craig’s Patterson leather jacket.
- Sweater: Banana Republic SUPIMA Cotton Sweater Jacket in Black ($98.50): alternative for the Casino Royale Pre-titles Sequence cardigan. We’ll be updating our post with more alternatives in September.
- Pants: APC Petit Standard Selvedge Denim Jeans in Indigo (£145.00): alternatives for Daniel Craig’s selvedge denim jeans. To learn more about buying selvedge denim jeans, take a look at this post.
- Shoes: Frye Union Workboot in Black Smooth Pull-up Leather ($297.95): alternatives for the SPECTRE Crockett & Jones Radnor boots (now discontinued).
- Socks: Smartwool Larimer Crew Socks in Black/Taupe Heather ($25.95)
- Belt: Neiman Marcus Saffiano Leather Belt (on sale for $33.60): alternative for the Quantum of Solace Prada belt.
- Watch: Seiko 5 Sport Automatic SNZH57J1 ($165.46): alternative for the SPECTRE Omega Seamaster 300. You can find more alternatives in this post.
- Scarf: Cortona Burgundy Polka Dot Silk Scarf (on sale for £53.40): alternative for Daniel Craig’s personal Drake’s scarf.
- Bag: Frost River 652 Carry-on Flight Bag ($190.00): Daniel Craig luggage piece. We’ll be updating our post on alternatives for Daniel Craig’s favorite luggage in September.
- Sunglasses: Persol PO 0714 in Havana with Crystal Blue lens on sale for $216.00; just so we can add some McQueen style ….
First off, almost nothing in this look is cheap. Especially that leather jacket. We’ll be looking for more affordable alternatives for the Craig’s favorite Belstaff very soon. But I will say that a great leather jacket in a timeless style is a very worthy investment. Take care of it and it’ll last decades. Craig is also a master at the whole “cardigan under a jacket” style move. When things cool down, it’s definitely something to try. A quick comment about the scarf. As with the military outfit above, when you wear a black leather jacket, jeans and boots, it’s pretty easy to drift into a “wanna-be biker” look. But the scarf, worn under the cardigan, adds a little sophistication that balances out the rugged nature of the rest of the pieces. Not sure how to wear it? Check out this guide at Art of Manliness.
That McQueen Cool
- Sweater: Banana Republic Shawl Collar Cardigan in Steel Blue ($129.00): alternative for the Steve McQueen blue shawl collar cardigan. We’ll be updating our post with more alternatives in August.
- Pants: MKI Cargo Pant in Olive (on sale for $75.00): alternatives for the Tomorrow Never Dies Pre-titles Sequence cargo pants.
- Shoes: Nike Air Max 90 ($130): customized to look like Daniel Craig’s Nike Air Max 90 sneaker boots. Learn more about Daniel Craig’s Nike collection in this post.
- Socks: Smartwook PhD Outdoor Light Mini Socks in Medium Grey ($18.95)
- Hat: VOBOOM Cotton Flat Cap in Dark Grey: $12.99: alternative for Daniel Craig’s Brunello Cucinelli flatcap. We’ll be updating our post with more alternatives in September.
- Watch: Certina DS Action Diver Automatic ($595.00): alternative for the Pierce Brosnan James Bond Omega Seamaster Professional 300. You’ll find more alternatives in this post.
- Bag: Manhattan Portage New York Messenger Bag in Navy ($105.00): alternative for Daniel Craig’s personal Manhattan Portage bag. We’ll be updating our post on alternatives for Daniel Craig’s favorite luggage in September.
- Sunglasses: Rodenstock R7413 Ds ($219.00/£184.00): alternatives for the Quantum of Solace Tom Ford TF108s. Check out this post for more Bond sunglasses alternatives.
The designs of today’s cargo pants have been updated to give them a contemporary fit and look. But if you still feel they’re too 90s, try some tailored fatigue pants instead. These ones from orSlow are nice. One of the tricks to keeping a casual outfit looking “put together” is coordinating colors. You don’t want to get all matchy-matchy with the pieces. But you can tie the main color of one piece into a secondary or tertiary color of another. For example, the colors of the cardigan, t-shirt and cap pick up on the blue and grey accent colors on the sneakers.
There’s also a lesson to be learned here about matching the “stories” behind the pieces. In this look, the t-shirt, sneakers, dive watch, sunglasses and bag are all sportier designs. So they work well together. And the utilitarian cargo pants, despite their military heritage, can also connect to that story. The casual cardigan and cap help to soften the general feel of the outfit and keep it from getting too “tech ninja”; as mentioned above, their colors tie them in with the other pieces. But imagine if we replaced the sneakers with Doc Marten boots. Or the dive watch with a dress watch. What else would you change to keep all the stories aligned?
Q Branch Called …
- Coat: Alpha Industries M-59 Fishtail Parka in Black (£100.31 to £212.38/$54.99 to $180.00): alternative for Q’s Skyfall National Gallery Pretty Green parka.
- Sweater: Buttoned Down Cashmere V-neck sweater in Burgundy ($32.50 to $89.00): alternative for the Goldfinger Slazenger golf sweater. We’ll be updating our post on James Bond sweaters in August.
- Pants: Dondup Slim Fit Checked Trousers in Charcoal (on sale for $156.00): alternatives for the SPECTRE Neil Barrett puppytooth trousers. The Dondups are pretty much sold out now. But we’ll be updating the post with more SPECTRE trouser alternatives in August.
- Shoes: Herring Carnaby Brogues in Mahogany Calf (£235.00/$245.00): alternatives for the Goldeneye Church’s Chetwynds. We’ll be updating our post with more alternatives in September.
- Socks: Smartwool Barnsley Crew Socks in Medium Grey Heather ($22.95)
- Belt: Orvis Woven Leather Belt (on sale for $59.00): alternative for the SPECTRE Brunello Cucinelli Morocco belt. We’ll be updating that post with new alternatives in September.
- Watch: Pulsar Solar PX3157X1 ($87.00/£56.92): alternative for the Quatum of Solace Omega Planet Ocean 600M. Check out this post for more alternatives.
- Scarf: Marks & Spencer Pure Cashmere Scarf in Grey Mix (£45.00/$78.00): alternative for the Skyfall London rooftop scarf.
- Sunglasses: Curry & Paxton Sean in Piano Black (£135.00/$170.00): alternatives for the Thunderball Polaroid Cool Rays N135s. You’ll find more Bond sunglasses alternatives in this post.
I’m a fan of mixing greys with warmer, darker colors. In this case, the burgundy sweater and the brown leather belt and shoes. The base layers of the outfit are actually a pretty conservative outfit. Which is fine, since the coat is the piece doing the real heavy lifting here. Honestly, unless you’re a very confident dresser, that longer, fishtail design with the military-inspired technical details can make it a bit of a challenge to wear. A good reason to go with a more subdued, contemporary look underneath.
A couple more notes on this one. First, I’m not sure I’d recommend this look for guys under 5’9″. The black of the coat does closely tone with the charcoal of the trousers, which is one of the “style guidelines” for guys trying to appear taller. But the length of the coat and the oddly shaped hem could still make your legs look kind of stubby.
Second (and this could just be me), I feel like this outfit is more appropriate for younger gentlemen. As an over 40 guy myself, I’d substitute a couple of pieces to make it more “age appropriate”. I’d probably swap the t-shirt for an off-white, soft-collared button down or maybe a turtleneck sweater on it’s own. And I would use a classic Mackinstosh style coat in black instead of the M-59.
Do you have some suggestions for a great James Bond Grey T-shirt or a favorite way to wear it? Let us know in the comments below! We also regularly post alternatives, deals around the net, and assorted fun stuff and general silliness on our Facebook page, Instagram account and Pinterest boards. You can also visit our official Amazon Store Page! We created it to make it easier for you to find all the different alternatives we discover from the giant on-line retailer. Hope you’ll check it out and let us know what you think!