When we really start looking at James Bond military style, we quickly realize that it’s been part of 007’s wardrobe more frequently than we may have first thought. Sure, there’s the Navy uniforms. And the big four tactical outfits from The Living Daylights, Goldeneye and Tomorrow Never Dies. But what about the pea coat? Or the SPECTRE J.Crew Kentons, based on the classic N-1 service boots? Do those count as “military style” clothing? Before I knew it, the items I planned to include in this post had gone from the obvious six or seven examples to a list of more than a dozen. And that’s why it’s going to be a two parter.
Just a couple of things to note before we get rolling. First, we’re going to be looking at pieces inspired by Bond’s military style. To me, that means civilian clothing that has some of the characteristics of the screen-used outfits, but is more wearable for us guys on the street. If you’re looking for actual military or tactical clothing, companies like 5.11, Rothco and your local Army/Navy Surplus store are great places to start.
Second, it can be a bit of challenge wearing military inspired clothing. Go overboard and you’ll end up looking like someone playing “soldier”. One simple strategy is to only wear one piece at a time. But we’ll also have a “4 Ways to Wear It” coming up focused on some of the pieces we see here. Okay, off we go!
The Octopussy Military Uniform Shirt
I’ll admit Octopussy isn’t one of my favorite Bond films. But I thought the pre-title sequence was very well done, with some truly amazing stunt flying in the BD-5J. That last second sneak through the closing hanger doors still gets me! And I love how Moore gets into disguise as Colonel Toro to infiltrate the airbase. As much as I like Daniel Craig, getting dressed up as a “gangster” to sneak into a funeral in Rome just doesn’t show quite the same commitment. The Suits of James Bond has a good write-up on the complete look from the film.
Back on topic. Moore’s disguise includes a fairly standard light khaki military dress shirt with two flap chest pockets and epaulets. I wouldn’t recommend using a proper military dress shirt for your casual fits. But the styling comes very close to the more relaxed, and very popular, utility shirt design. And that can be a useful style to have in your closet.
EMAOR Button Down Long Sleeve Shirt in Khaki: $17.99 to $21.08
It’s missing the box pleats on the pockets. And the color is a darker beige than Sir Roger’s. But it’s 100% cotton, it has the epaulets and it’s very affordable. It also looks to be a pretty trim fit. So best to think of this one as a “fashion” interpretation of the military shirt. Amazon has sizes XS to XL in stock.
Propper Long Sleeve Tactical Shirt in Khaki: $29.99 to $33.99
This one is pretty much the opposite of the EMAOR option above. More of a true military dress shirt, it’s 65% polyester, 35% cotton ripstop. If you’re looking for screen-accurate, this is probably the way to go. But I can’t say it’ll be particularly stylish. In a somewhat annoying move, Amazon has the various sizes posted as different items. I’ve linked to the medium above. If you need a large, go here. And for extra large, head here.
Department 5 Camicia Maverik Shirt in Sand: on sale for $68.00/£66.00
The military shirt as interpreted by high-end Italian fashion designers. This one is on sale at YOOX, down from the MSRP of $236.00. It’s 100% cotton and almost certainly a very fitted cut. Sizes small to large are available on the website.
Orvis Bush Shirt in Light Khaki: $98.00
And now a purely American-style alternative. As the name states, this is more of a safari type shirt, made from a lighter weight 6.2oz cotton poplin. Expect the fit to be loose and relaxed. Orvis has sizes small to XXL in stock.
The James Bond Fatigue Pants
As I noted in our 4 Ways to Wear a Grey T-shirt post, fatigue style cargo pants have been making a comeback in the last couple of years. Designers as diverse as Engineered Garments and Brunello Cucinelli have regularly included interpretations of them in their collections. And that influence has led almost every menswear brand to offer their own versions. The designs of today’s cargo pants have been updated to give them a contemporary fit and look. Gone are the days of the super baggy straight legs. Now you can expect them to be a trimmer, more tailored fit.
Brosnan’s Bond was a huge fan of both black and olive fatigue pants in his first two films. They show up twice in Goldeneye (BAMF Style covers the Cuba look in this post) and twice again in Tomorrow Never Dies. And we can’t forget Connery’s pair in Never Say Never Again. In fact, his fatigue pants in that movie, with their slimmer cut and minimalist design, wouldn’t look at all out of place today. In this post, I’m just going to focus on modern alternatives for the olive colored ones.
Am I the only one surprised by how well some of these Amazon in-house brand pieces are turning out? Especially at those prices? These cargo pants are another example of that. Slim fit, made from a 97% cotton/3% elastane fabric and they’ve nailed all the right style details. They currently have 4 out of 5 stars, with most complaints focusing on the fit. And it appears durability may be a bit of an issue for some customers as well. But those that love them really love them. Amazon has almost every size you can think of in stock.
The H&M cargo pants have a slightly looser, street-wear style cut with drawstrings at the cuffs. The Swedish fast fashion brand is also embracing supply chain transparency, so you can find out where, how and with what the pants are made on their website. Sizes 28 to 42 are available.
Mennace Utility Pant in Khaki: on sale for $47.00/£30.00
A 98% polyester/2% elastane option for those of you wanting more of a technical pant. Even though they’re calling this a “classic fit”, I’d expect them to be on the trim-to-slim side. They also only have sizes XS to medium in stock.
A more tailored cut with a cleaner look made from Banana Republic’s popular 55% cotton/39% polyester/6% spandex Core-Temp fabric. According to the product description, the fit has a medium rise with extra room in the seat and thighs. So good for those of you with an athletic build. They have sizes 28 to 38 in four different inseams in stock.
The Goldeneye PTS Black Tactical Jacket
When Eon changes Bond actors, it can be just a little traumatic for fans. But, in my humble opinion, the franchise caretakers have done a pretty good job of introducing each new 007 in the films. In literally a matter of minutes, they’ve been able to create scenarios that give us a snapshot of the type of Bond we’re about to see. The PTS of Goldeneye is a great example of this. The infiltration of the Soviet chemical weapons factory with 006 gives us action Bond, quick quip Bond, Queen and Country Bond and over-the-top stunt sequence Bond all in under 10 minutes.
It’s also notable that Brosnan’s costume was something of a callback to what Dalton was wearing the first time we saw him as Bond. Black tactical gear is the sartorial opposite of a dinner jacket or suit. And it’s a clothing choice that established each Bond as a man on mission, an agent with a military background and a deadly skill set.
Since Brosnan wears a vest for the entire sequence, we never get a good look at the jacket underneath. However, Eon gave replica maker Secret Identitee license to create some promotional jackets for the film based on the screen-used one. And from those we can see that Bond was wearing an M-65 style jacket with four flapped patch pockets on the front, epaulets, velcro straps at the cuffs and neck, and a stand collar with a zip across the back for a stowaway hood.
Banana Republic Lightweight Field Jacket in Black: on sale for $99.99
The shirt-style collar keeps this from being a perfect match. But as a fashion interpretation of the M-65, it gets the job done. The fabric is 100% cotton and front closure uses both buttons and a zipper. Regularly priced at $229.00, at ninety-nine bucks is a darn good deal. And they still have most sizes in stock.
Save the Duck Tech-Fabric Field Jacket: on sale for $124.50
Much like the Banana Republic cargo pants, this is a cleaner, more fashion forward take on a military garment. Save the Duck also takes pride in its efforts to create environmentally friendly products, using recycled fabrics, materials that are animal cruelty free, and production processes focused on sustainability. This particular jacket is made from 100% recycled polyester, finished with a water-resistant treatment and taped seams. Normally retailing for $378.00, it’s definitely a steal at that Barneys Warehouse price. Sizes small to XXL are available.
Fjallraven Raven Jacket in Black: $224.95
I really like the way Fjällräven updates these classic pieces, blending heritage designs with more modern fabrics and fits. The Raven is based on the timeless 60/40 jacket design from the 1970s, now made with their proprietary G-1000 Eco fabric, a blend of 65% recycled polyester and 35% organic cotton. I’ve linked to Backcountry.com above. But you can also get it directly from Fjällräven for €269.95.
Belstaff Field Master Nylon Jacket in Black: on sale for $275.00/£212.00
This might be the best deal on the list. I’m sure many of you don’t need an introduction to Belstaff. And the Fieldmaster is one of the brand’s iconic designs. The black 100% polyester version is on sale right now at Luisa Via Roma for 50% off the regular $550.00 price tag. But they’re also running a further 25% off promotion with the code EX25. That brings the total down to $206.00/£159.00. Plus, they still have most sizes in stock AND offer free express shipping. So now’s the time to pick up an awesome jacket for the fall at a great price.
The On Her Majesty’s Secret Service Anorak
The Piz Gloria raid has to be one of my all-time favorite action scenes from a Bond film. You’ve got the stunning location, the gun battle between Draco’s team and Blofeld’s guards, Tracy’s up-close fight with the henchman, 007’s last minute escape from the exploding mountain top fortress, and the high-speed bobsled chase after the best (IMHO) Blofeld in the series. And John Barry’s score, of course.
For the raid, George Lazenby’s James Bond wears a mid-blue anorak. The jacket is 3/4 length, with a distinctive funnel neck, two flap chest pockets, straps at the cuffs and a cinch waist. Some might think it’s a stretch to call this a “military jacket”. However, anoraks have a long history with the British Royal Navy. Here are two examples. The blue one is a ventile smock from the 1960s/70s, most likely used by a radioman on an aircraft carrier. The olive green one is a very rare 1950s British Special Forces Canoeist Smock currently owned by The Vintage Showroom.
Before anyone gets their hopes up: I couldn’t find any alternatives with a true funnel neck. Or buckle cinch straps at the cuffs. Or two chest pockets. Seriously, just finding a modern day anorak with a cinch waist was difficult. So the options below will help you get close to the OHMSS look. But screen accurate they’re not.
This option from Sierra Designs offers a good match for the color and overall design of the screen-used jacket. It’s also more a technical piece, with features such as water repellent/breathable fabric, a helmet compatible hood and strategic ventilation points that will appeal to those of you who are planning on using it for some real outdoor adventures. If you’re sizes large to XL, you can pick it up at Moosejaw for $99.95. And if you’re sizes small or medium, you’re in luck! Sierra Designs has the jacket on sale for $48.00!
Like the Sierra Designs’ alternative, the evo Anorak would also qualify as technical outerwear. This time they’re using their proprietary “Pertex Shield” treatment to make the 100% polyester fabric waterproof and breathable. The color is very close to what we’re looking for. But this one’s missing some key details, like the chest pockets and drawstring waist. evo has sizes small to XL in stock.
The Living Daylights Combat Boots
So, did Bond wear Doc Martens in The Living Daylights? Screencaps seem to suggest the answer is “Yes”. Specifically, it looks like they were their 14 eyelet 1914 model. The clues are the triple row of stitching connecting the quarters to the vamp, the distinctive welt stitching (which was probably darkened for the film) and the clear PVC outsole with it’s grooved sides.
I’ve included the current version of the Docs below. But for many of us, a 14 eyelet boot with an 11 inch shaft isn’t really that practical. So I’ve focused on alternatives that should be a little more useful for day-to-day wear.
Dr. Martens 1914 Smooth Black: $169.95/£169.00
If Bond was indeed wearing Docs (and I’m convinced he was), then here’s the current model for the boots. One thing people point out as a strike against them being Docs is the semi-transparent, light colored sole. In the movie, the sole on Bond’s boot looks quite a bit darker. But that sole really only looks that bright in product photos. In the real world, it appears darker and much more opaque, as you can below.
For those of you in the U.S., the best deal I could find on the current boots is from Zappos. If you’re in the UK, the official Dr. Martens’ website seems to have the best price, although some sizes are cheaper (and others more expensive) on Amazon UK.
I should also point out that if the 14 eyelet style is just too much for you, you can also get the classic (and less dramatic) 10 eyelet 1490 model for $149.95 (£149.00) or 8 eyelet 1460 model for $139.95 (£179.00). Aside from the shaft height, they’re both virtually identical to the 1914s.
Frye Country Crepe Lace-Up Boot in Black Deerskin Leather: on sale for $104.40
Well, this is an awesome deal from 6pm.com. They’ve reduced the price on these by 70%. And there’s lots to like about the Frye Country beside the price. First, the deerskin uppers are soft and lightweight but still pretty durable. The boots also have a full leather lining and are made using a Goodyear welt construction. That natural crepe sole might put some people off. But, in my experience, high quality crepe rubber actually wears quite well as long as you don’t walk on office carpet all day. 6pm still has a good selection of sizes left.
Allen Edmonds Higgins Mill Boot in Black Tumbled Leather: on sale for $297.00
A heck of a deal on a very popular boot. Allen Edmonds has been making footwear in the U.S.A. since 1922. And despite some recent ownership changes and price hikes, the brand’s fans remain loyal. This version of the Higgins Mill uses a softer tumbled leather that gives it more of a vintage workboot vibe. It’s also Goodyear welted and comes with a studded Dainite sole. I wouldn’t call them true combat boots. But they are very well made and excellent value for the money. Allen Edmond still has a good selection of sizes available.
Those are some damn fine looking boots. And they’d also make good alternatives for the now discontinued Crockett & Jones Radnors Bond wore to visit Mr. White in SPECTRE. Made in Portugal by Carlos Santos exclusively for Herring Shoes, the Churchstows feature a combination Norwegian/Goodyear welt construction, full grain leather uppers with a pebble finish and a lightweight rubber commando outsoles. UK sizes 6 to 10.5 are in stock on their website.
Have some suggestions for James Bond military style alternatives? Tell us about them in the comments! You can also visit our Facebook page, Instagram account, Twitter account and Pinterest Boards for more James Bond style advice and inspiration! And don’t forget to check out our Amazon Store. That’s where we’ve organized the James Bond and Steve McQueen alternatives we’ve found the massive online retailer.