Pierce Brosnan as James Bond, suave British government agent
London, Winter 2002
Film: Die Another Day
Release Date: November 20, 2002
Director: Lee Tamahori
Costume Designer: Lindy Hemming
I received a request for this outfit from Die Another Day which, for all of its shortcomings as a James Bond adventure, featured Pierce Brosnan’s 007 in elegant tailored clothing that is always worthy of discussion. Given the extreme chill in the air for the 00-7th of January today, it felt appropriate to explore his luxurious and layered businesswear upon arriving in London and reconnecting with his MI6 allies at the agency’s secret satellite station in an abandoned Underground tube station at Vauxhall Cross.
Bond: You know, you’re cleverer than you look.
Q: Still, better than looking cleverer than you are.
John Cleese’s Q (or is that “R”) returns from The World is Not Enough after Desmond Llewelyn’s death in December 1999, and Cleese pays homage to both his predecessor as well as the franchise as the two waltz through a bevy of relics and gadgets from forty years of preceding Bond films before leaving the past behind and embracing the future in the form of a virtual reality shooting “range” and an invisible Aston Martin.
Bond: You must be joking.
Q: As I learned from my predecessor, Bond, I never joke about my work.
Readers in the Northern Hemisphere, take pride in your attire when heading to the office in this bitter cold by taking inspiration from 007’s gray pinstripe suit and navy cashmere coat.
What’d He Wear?
James Bond’s gray pinstripe Brioni suit and navy cashmere guards coat in London is an elegant business ensemble that has been written about in equally elegant detail by Matt Spaiser at The Suits of James Bond, so I would direct readers to that site for a deeper analysis of the outfit. (Read about the suit here and the coat here.)
This classic business suit continues Pierce Brosnan’s tradition of wearing Brioni as James Bond. The single-breasted jacket has notch lapels that roll to a higher two-button stance, a welted breast pocket, gently slanted flapped hip pockets with a ticket pocket on the right, and double vents.
Unlike the time of Brosnan’s introduction in GoldenEye, pleated trousers were passé by 2002 so 007 sports trousers with a darted front even though pleats may have better accomodated Brosnan’s more ample physique at the time and would have prevented the unfortunate “bunching” effect at the groin when Bond is seated at his desk.
As opposed to most of his predecessors, Brosnan’s Bond wore belts with all of his lounge suits, both a concession to fashionable trends of the late ’90s and early 2000s and to better stabilize the shoulder holsters for his increasingly larger sidearms. This belt is black leather with a squared polished steel single-prong buckle.
When Brosnan’s Bond hung up his Walther PPK in Tomorrow Never Dies in favor of the larger, more modern Walther P99, he also traded in his Galco Executive shoulder holster for the larger, all-black custom shoulder rig in a harness that connects over both shoulders and fastens under the holster itself to the left side of his belt.
Under the holster, Brosnan wears a light blue shirt identified on The Suits of James Bond as another Brioni piece. The shirt has a wide spread collar, front placket, and double (French) cuffs worn with silver links, likely from Dunhill, although the links have been removed and the sleeves rolled up to the elbow for the VR sequence set in MI6’s offices.
Turnbull & Asser still offers three versions of this Die Another Day jacquard weave tie, although none in the original color scheme from the film. The closest is the “Black and Blue Silk Tie” (currently $117 here) with a charcoal ground of gray circles, each shadowed against the left side of the circle with a sky blue crescent moon. The tie is also available in purple and pink and light blue and red; interestingly, these two latter ties are shadowed against the circle’s right border rather than the left.
The tie actually worn by Pierce Brosnan on screen is a series of navy-shadowed light blue circles on a gray ground.
Turnbull & Asser occasionally reissues this tie for sale, and you can read more about it at James Bond Lifestyle. Magnoli Clothiers also offers their own replica, the appropriately named “Brosnan Tie”, for $60. (Brosnan also wears a second tie with this outfit later in the film during Moneypenny’s own VR “experience”, explored in The Suits of James Bond’s post.)
Bond wears a pair of black calf cap-toe derby shoes, likely from Church’s as Brosnan had previously worn their shoes for his first three Bond films. The trousers have a full break, but Bond’s dark socks can be seen as he strolls into Blades (actually the Reform Club at 104 Pall Mall in London) after his “first” encounter with Gustav Graves (Toby Stephens).
“Now, a new watch. This should be your 20th, I believe,” says Q as he hands Bond his latest watch, an Omega Seamaster 300M Chronometer 2531.80.00. Brosnan had first strapped on an Omega Seamaster Professional in GoldenEye, but that quartz model was quickly replaced by the 2531.80.00 Chronometer with the Omega 1120 automatic movement in the following film, Tomorrow Never Dies.
Bond’s stainless 2531.80.00 Chronometer has a blue bezel and blue dial with a 3:00 date window, worn on a stainless link bracelet with a deployment clasp.
Regarding the pièce de résistance… what differentiates Bond’s full-length navy double-breasted overcoat as a “guards coat” rather than a Chesterfield or a paletot? The half-belted back.
Inspired by outerwear worn by traditional English Officers of the Guard, the guards coat is typically a double-breasted coat with a six-button front that can be in a full-buttoning 6×3 formation or a 6×2 like Bond’s with the top vestigal buttons spaced further apart. The pockets are welted for minimalist formality as opposed to the patch pockets of an Ulster coat, though Bond’s pocket flaps nudge it closer to Chesterfield territory. The half-belt cinches the waist in the back and keeps the fit closer to the body, though Bond’s decision to wear his coat unbuttoned somewhat negates this effect while also sacrificing the elegance and warmth of double-breasted outerwear.
You can read more about Bond’s elegant navy cashmere Brioni guards coat and his dark leather gloves in this post at The Suits of James Bond.
Go Big or Go Home
…in an invisible car. Wait a sec-
Even Bond seems incredulous at his latest gadget, a 2002 Aston Martin Vanquish (or “Vanish” if you’re in the mood for a headache-inducing eyeroll) supposedly equipped with “adaptive camouflage” as “tiny cameras on all sides project the image they see onto a light-emitting polymer on the opposite side.”
The sleek gray Aston Martin was fitted with “all the usual refinements” including an ejector seat, torpedoes, and target-seeking shotguns that 007 immediately employs to “shoot through” the manual.
Though one could call it clever, the invisible Aston Martin grew to symbolize the series’ increasing reliability on going over the top, whether with impossible gadgets or extensive reliance on CGI technology. Bond initially quips to Q, “I think you’ve been down here too long,” though his statement could be interpreted to reflect the franchise’s need to emerge from its action-oriented rabbit hole and return to its espionage roots.
How to Get the Look
James Bond’s gray pinstripe suit, coordinated shirt and tie, and navy guards coat is ideal winter business wear… even if his vanishing rear-wheel-drive sports car isn’t exactly practical for your commute.
- Dark gray pinstripe Brioni suit:
- Single-breasted 2-button suit jacket with notch lapels, welted breast pocket, slightly slanted flapped hip pockets with ticket pocket, 4-button cuffs, and double vents
- Darted-front trousers with belt loops, straight side pockets, and turn-ups/cuffs
- Light blue Brioni shirt with spread collar, front placket, and double/French cuffs
- Silver Dunhill cuff links
- Gray silk Turnbull & Asser tie with navy-shadowed light blue circles
- Black leather shoulder holster (RHD) for Walther P99 pistol
- Black leather belt with polished steel squared single-prong buckle
- Black calf leather cap-toe derby shoes
- Dark gray dress socks
- Navy cashmere double-breasted guards coat with peak lapels, 6×2-button front, straight flapped hip pockets, 4-button cuffs, and half-belted back with single vent
- Dark leather gloves
- Omega Seamaster 300M Chronometer 2531.80.00 with 39mm stainless case, blue bezel and dial (with 3:00 date window), and stainless link bracelet
One of my favorite sequences in Die Another Day was the training scenario that begins with James Bond, sitting in his office late at night, sipping whiskey and cleaning his pistol. (Not a euphemism.)
007 hears a suspicious sound… good thing he has his sidearm in hand! Bond loads a fresh magazine into his trusty Walther P99 and leaps up to investigate, discovering that MI6 is being taken over by terrorists! (RIP Moneypenny.)
More razor-focused on tactical precision than we’ve ever seen before, Bond takes down the terrorists before coming face-to-face with M (Judi Dench) in the hands of a stereotypical criminal complete with dark knit cap and sunglasses. Bond immediately regards the situation, makes a decision, and fires… much to the dismay of Q, who steps into the scene as the virtual reality simulation is complete.
Q: Forgive my mentioning it, 007, but a perfect marksman isn’t really supposed to shoot his own boss.
Bond: Check the replay. You’ll find he’s dead and she’s only got a flesh wound.
Q: There’s always an excuse, isn’t there, 00-zero?
Bond: Give me the old fashioned target range, Quartermaster.
Q: Yes, well, it’s called the future, so get used to it.
The frequent reminders of “this is the future” may get a little tired across Die Another Day, but this is still a very slick action sequence that evokes the best of Bond video games while also allowing Brosnan to show off his Walther-wielding skills after four films as 007.
The Walther PPK had been James Bond’s sidearm of choice since Ian Fleming’s 1958 novel Dr. No, but it was first retired after nearly 40 years when Pierce Brosnan’s Bond encountered a Walther P99 in Wai Lin’s armory during the events of Tomorrow Never Dies, released the same year as the P99’s 1997 introduction. Walther’s updated P99 with its internal striker and standard double-stack magazine carrying up to 15 rounds of 9x19mm Parabellum gave Bond a tactical advantage during the age of video games, and Daniel Craig even carried one in his first 007 outing, Casino Royale, before reverting to the classic PPK in Quantum of Solace.
Do Yourself a Favor and…
Check out the movie.