BAMF Style’s 5 Days of Christmas
While most of us will be choosing to spend Christmas Eve with family, James Bond instead settles on an alpine resort filled with gun-toting henchmen and undersexed European beauties. Unfortunately for him, his penchant for the latter gets him in deep water with the former.
Merry Christmas Eve from James Bond and BAMF Style.
George Lazenby as James Bond, British secret agent posing as a heraldry expert
Swiss Alps, Christmas Eve, 1969
Film: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
Release Date: December 18, 1969
Director: Peter R. Hunt
Costume Designer: Marjory Cornelius
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is one of the more controversial Bond films. As the world’s first Bond after Sean Connery, George Lazenby turned in a suitable performance for a 30-year-old who had previously been an underwear model in Australia. Not all were crazy about him, but the film is good enough on its own merits that, despite an initially harsh reaction – but a big box office! – it has stood the test of time and now ranks among the highest films for educated Bond fans (aka ones who don’t love Octopussy and don’t hate From Russia With Love).
Made in 1969, it bridged the awkward gap between 1960s cool and 1970s obnoxious. Lazenby’s suits look just as good as Connery’s while effectively mixing conservative (three-piece charcoal suits for the office) and modern (a cream suit and pink shirt for vacation). Unfortunately, casualwear and formalwear suffered the influence of current fads, including the infamous frilly-shirted tuxedo, the orange golf jump suit, and – of course – his Highland kilt and cravat at Piz Gloria.
However, one casualwear ensemble from the film stands out as an example of comfort and timelessness.
What’d He Wear?
Christmas Eve at Piz Gloria. Mega-villain Blofeld is plotting his final moves before threatening the rest of the world. A bevy of European bimbos are receiving their last round of Blofeld’s “therapy” and anxiously awaiting their late night rendezvouses with Sir Hilary Bray. Sir Hilary himself, James Bond in disguise, is roaming around armed with only a metal ruler to break into the electronic doors and into the “hearts” of Blofeld’s young patients.
For his casual and comfortable romp around Piz Gloria, Bond takes it easy in a relaxed cardigan and trousers. The cardigan is a deep beige with five dark brown buttons, low patch pockets, and raglan sleeves. It appears ribbed but is still large and roomy.
Underneath his sweater, Bond wears an ecru tattersall shirt in brushed cotton twill with buttoned barrel cuffs. The collar is a standard turndown spread collar and the front features white buttons on a plain front. The tattersall pattern is dark green and gold.
Bond’s trousers are from his brown tweed suit worn during his arrival the previous day. The pattern consists of cream mini checks with a rust red windowpane overcheck. They have double forward pleats like most of the Bond series’ ’60s suits but a lower rise. The bottoms are cuffed and the waist is fitted with button-tab side adjusters. The side pockets are slanted and have a useful ecru lining that Bond finds a fun new use for. There are no rear pockets.
On his feet, Bond has brown wing-tip leather derby shoes (also known as bucks or Gibsons, which, coincidentally, are both types of gin cocktails). His socks are black.
Bond’s watch, used in the novel as a knuckle duster, is a stainless steel Rolex Chronograph 6238 with a steel bracelet and silver dial. On December 16, 2003 – two days before the 34th anniversary of the film’s release – the watch was sold at a Christie’s of London auction for £23,400 (about $41,000 in real money). The actual watch’s serial number is #1206613, for record’s sake.
The book On Her Majesty’s Secret Service features a rare mention by Ian Fleming of Bond’s watch brand, described as a Rolex Oyster Perpetual.
Go Big or Go Home
Unfortunately for Bond, his libido got him into a fair amount of trouble here. As Blofeld tells him when Bond tries to re-assume his identity of meek heraldry expert Sir Hilary Bray…
Oh, no, no, no, Mr. Bond… Respectable baronets from colleges do not seduce female patients in clinics.
While this may be a rather dubious claim, it can be very contextually important during the holidays. If your family still believes that you’re seeing “that nice girl” from Vermont and working as a mid-level manager, be sure not to betray the truth of your impulsive marriage to a Vegas cocktail waitress or the fact that you were fired for stealing staplers.
If you can manage to survive the holidays without being found out, or without being chased by goons with SIG Sauer assault rifles down a mountain slope, you’ve outdone James Bond. Well done.
What to Imbibe
Bond later asks for some Hennessy Five Star, which is probably his usual Christmas beverage but he was too busy being shot at by Blofeld’s thugs to get his hands on a good snifter. BAMF Style endorses Hennessy as a holiday cognac of choice.
How to Get the Look
This is actually pretty easy, as only the details set it apart. For example, you don’t need to rip the pockets out of your pants just to have Lazenby-style gloves. In fact, please don’t.
- Deep beige ribbed cardigan with five brown buttons, low patch pockets, and raglan sleeves
- Ecru (with gold and dark green tattersall pattern) casual shirt with spread collar, plain front, and buttoned barrel cuffs
- Brown cream-mini-check tweed double forward-pleated suit trousers with 2-button side-tab waist adjusters, extended front closure tab, slanted side pockets, no rear pockets, and turn-ups/cuffs
- Brown leather wingtip derby shoes
- Black dress socks
- Rolex Chronograph 6238 stainless watch with a white dial and steel link bracelet
Iconic Alternatives has a great rundown of affordable options to channel elements of this, such as his Rolex watch, and many other 007 outfits. More information about Bond’s watch can be found at the brilliant James Bond Lifestyle site.
Do Yourself a Favor and…
Buy the movie.
After his escape from Piz Gloria, Blofeld naturally sends his disposable thugs down on skis to chase him. After Bond runs into Tracy at the foot of the mountain, she is curious about his new acquaintances.
- Tracy: “Why are they looking for you?”
- Bond: (matter of fact) “I suspect they’re trying to kill me.”
Something you don’t hear too often on Christmas. Happy Holidays.