Bond’s Beige Bomber Jacket in The Living Daylights
Timothy Dalton as James Bond, British government agent
Tangier, Morocco, Fall 1986
Film: The Living Daylights
Release Date: June 27, 1987
Director: John Glen
Costume Designer: Emma Porteous
Costume Supervisor: Tiny Nicholls
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
BAMF Style is sticking around in Morocco for the 00-7th of June after this week’s earlier post about the beige linen suit that Brad Pitt’s character wears in a Casablanca-set scene in the World War II thriller Allied (2016).
Thanks to a suggestion from a great BAMF Style reader, Sonny, today’s post takes a look at another famous spy famous for his sartorial savvy… although Timothy Dalton’s James Bond has a relatively dressed-down approach for his mission in Tangier during the actor’s first 007 film, The Living Daylights (1987).
The action begins with a public assassination, when KGB chief General Pushkin (John Rhys-Davies) receives several well-placed shots during a speech… which turn out to be delivered by Bond with his trusty Walther PPK.
Bond leads the Tangier police on a chase from the roads to the rooftops until he is captured by two young women who happen to be cruising past him in a vintage Impala convertible. Of course, Bond being Bond, the provocative pair are also well-armed and 007 resigns himself to his fate. Yet another twist reveals the duo to be a pair of improbably fetching CIA agents allied by Bond’s old pal, Felix Leiter (John Terry), in the character’s least charismatic – or necessary – appearance to date.
With Pushkin and now Leiter in on the faked assassination, the gambit seems to have worked, and Bond returns to his hotel room where more trouble awaits in the form of Russian cellist Kara Milovy (Maryan D’Abo) and a vodka martini that’s considerably strong…even for 007’s standards.
What’d He Wear?
When sartorially compared to his predecessors, Timothy Dalton’s 007 was more prone to put function before form, drifting away from the elegant tailoring of his predecessor Roger Moore in favor of practical if rather unsophisticated casual wear. This characterization remains in line with Dalton’s own personal consideration for fashion.
For his adventures in Tangier, Bond knows he will need to be active and in such a way that a suit wouldn’t be appropriate. Darting up stairwells and jumping from rooftops under the hot Moroccan sun is no place for even the most comfortable or lightweight of suits… with apologies to Messrs. Moore and Brosnan, who may yet disagree.
Thus, Mr. Bond hangs up the tan gabardine suit of the previous scene and slips into an oversized beige casual jacket, navy polo shirt, and khaki pleated slacks, an ensemble explored in detail at Matt Spaiser’s The Suits of James Bond. The jacket and trousers are just a shade apart in color, a fortunate contrast lest the outfit look too much like some sort of uniform. The issue of contrast would have been avoided with a differently colored jacket altogether – perhaps navy like the jacket that Dalton would wear in Licence to Kill (1989), but the lighter beige jacket is a good fit for the scene’s sandy setting.
Styled like a classic MA-1 bomber jacket, Dalton’s jacket appears to be made from a beige cotton gabardine with a more neutral stone-colored ribbing on the collar, cuffs, and blouson-style elasticized waistband. The jacket has two open slash pockets, one on each hip, with no flaps, buttons, or snaps to close.
Per the trend toward baggy clothing in the mid-to-late 1980s, Dalton’s beige jacket is clearly oversized, with the set-in sleeves beginning well below his shoulders.
Timothy Dalton also reintroduced the polo shirt to the Bond series after a more than 20-year hiatus, last seen sported by Sean Connery in Thunderball. In this case, it’s a dark navy cotton long-sleeve polo shirt with a unique nine-button front which goes from having six buttons fastened to only four by the end of his considerably rough day. As an additional deference to an ill-advised trend of the ’80s, Dalton wears his polo shirt with the collar popped.
During some of the hand-to-hand combat sequences, Bond’s shirt rises above his belt to reveal a glimpse of a white undershirt, likely a sleeveless cotton A-shirt.
Dalton’s Bond also got the memo that trouser pleats were back in style for the latter half of the eighties. His khaki cotton slacks for this sequence have double forward pleats that provide a full fit around the hips as well as a loose fit through the legs to the plain-hemmed bottoms. The trousers have straight side pockets along the seams, a coin pocket with a buttoned flap under the right belt line, and two back pockets with a flap over the back left pocket.
Bond wears a slim leather belt with a gold single-prong buckle, though it appears to be a different belt depending on the scene. In some scenes, it appears to be a textured skin-like material while other shots – notably at the Russian airbase in Afghanistan – seem to show a braided leather belt.
Dalton’s boat shoes also indicate his character’s appreciation for emerging fashion trends with an eye toward functionality.
Also known as “deck shoes”, boat shoes were introduced by American yachtsman and outdoorsman Paul A. Sperry in 1935. Inspired by the hundreds of cracks in his dog Prince’s paws that allowed the pup to run through ice without sliding, Sperry developed the non-slip sole of the now iconic boat shoe that would be known as the Sperry Top-Sider.
As they were originally designed for traction on wet decks, Sperry’s boat shoes caught on first among the seafaring folk of New England. The footwear slowly caught on until, a half-century after their development, boat shoes from Sperry and various other brands were the de facto casual shoes for men around the world.
This outfit in The Living Daylights makes the sole recognizable appearance of boat shoes on Bond’s feet to date, though the siped non-slip soles serve him well from the slippery rooftops of Tangier to the ass-kicking of a brutish guard on a Russian airbase in landlocked Afghanistan. Bond’s boat shoes are styled in the classic boat shoe tradition, made from oil-finished brown leather with moccasin stitching construction, two-tone rawhide laces, and siped rubber outsoles.
For your own pair of Bond-inspired kicks, look no further than the Sperry Authentic Original “Richtown” Boat Shoe in the medium shade of brown leather that Sperry calls “tan”, available from the Sperry website or from Amazon.
Though many gents opt to wear their boat shoes sans socks (or with no-show socks), Bond sports a pair of long brown cotton lisle socks.
Behind-the-scenes photos (like the one above) seem to indicate the steel link bracelet of a watch on Bond’s left wrist, though the long sleeves of his jacket and shirt keep it mostly concealed on screen.
Instead, Bond’s most conspicuous accessory is a pair of sunglasses that he picks up from a street vendor. The shades have large rectangular tortoise frames, dark gray lenses, and thin metal arms.
Inspiration for Spectre?
One of Daniel Craig’s costumes in Spectre includes a possible sartorial homage to The Living Daylights. In this 2015 installment of the Bond franchise, 007 arrives in Morocco wearing a rich tan suede zip-up jacket made by Matchless over a navy V-neck polo shirt by Tom Ford with taupe gabardine chinos from Brunello Cucinelli, a Craig favorite brand and the same trousers that he would wear with his linen-blend Brunello Cucinelli jacket later in the film.
The similarities are close enough to suggest that Spectre costume designer Jany Temime was inspired by the attire that Dalton’s 007 sported in Morocco and wanted to channel that with a modernized version for Daniel Craig, though she denied this in an interview with The Bond Experience. If you’re interested in finding an outfit similar to what Daniel Craig wears in Spectre, please visit Iconic Alternatives’ features on the suede jacket, the navy V-neck polo, and the taupe gabardine slacks.
Go Big or Go Home
…and pick some reliable transportation!
Bond’s escape from the police in Tangier was meant to be via flying carpet, and director John Glen explains in the below video why the scene was filmed but not ultimately included.
Hardly as effective as an Aston Martin.
What to Imbibe
After a long day of mock assassinations and police chases, James Bond’s heart must have warmed when he returned to his hotel room to find that Kara had already prepared the ingredients for a dry vodka martini. Stolichnaya vodka, Martini & Rossi extra dry vermouth, and even olives accompany the ice-filled shaker and two cocktail glasses that await him.
Unfortunately for Bond, the gullible Kara has also slipped in a secret ingredient… just enough chloral hydrate to knock 007 out until he wakes up as an unwilling passenger on a Soviet plane headed for Afghanistan.
James Bond still faithfully carries his Walther PPK, likely kept in a shoulder holster although the agent’s oversized agent prevents us from getting a good look.
Though the PPK is the most common and recognizable variant, it is a progeny of the somewhat larger Walther PP (Polizeipistole) that was introduced in 1929 for the German police market. Both the PP and the shorter-barreled PPK (Polizeipistole Kriminalmodell) are straight blowback-operated semi-automatic pistols most commonly chambered in .32 ACP (7.65x17mm Browning SR) or .380 ACP (9x17mm Kurz).
How to Get the Look
Timothy Dalton’s James Bond embraced functional yet fashionable trends while discarding the sartorial sophistication of his predecessors, evident with this action-oriented outfit of an oversized beige bomber jacket, navy “popped collar” polo shirt, pleated khakis, and boat shoes.
- Beige gabardine bomber jacket with slash side pockets and ribbed-knit collar, cuffs, and waistband
- Dark navy cotton long-sleeve polo shirt with nine-button front
- Khaki cotton double forward-pleated chino trousers with belt loops, straight/on-seam side pockets, flapped coin pocket, flapped back left pocket, jetted back right pocket, and plain-hemmed bottoms
- Brown braided leather belt with gold single-prong buckle
- Brown leather two-eyelet boat shoes with moccasin stitching and ivory siped rubber outsoles
- Brown cotton lisle socks
- Tortoise-framed sunglasses with slim metal arms
Do Yourself a Favor and…
Check out the movie.
We have an old saying too, Georgi. And you’re full of it.
Never understood this. If you’ve going to wear a jacket, why not the Baracuta G9? I mean if you’re going to wear boat shoes, khakis and a polo, then let’s go all in on the Ivy Look.
A G9 Baracuta would have been a good look and a great British brand. A G9 in stone grey would have worked a dream.
Dalton understood that Bond is supposed to be a spy (of sorts) and should therefore be inconspicuous. It was just a shame that his tenure was in the 80s when most casual clothes weren’t very cool and suits were baggy.
Stranger Things-style nostalgia doesn’t work when you’re actually there.
Oh dear… Craig’s Bond outfits are way too tight and Dalton’s are way too baggy 🙂
I have a day off today and was watching The Living Daylights. I revisited your write up about this outfit which can inspire a great outfit today. Perhaps an article in the future about the tan suit Dalton wears in Tangiers?
I’d recommend doing an article on Bond’s tan suit in Tangier in The Living Daylights: https://www.bondsuits.com/tan-suit-tangier-living-daylights/