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Jason Bourne’s Style Across Four Movies

Matt Damon as Jason Bourne in The Bourne Identity

Matt Damon as Jason Bourne in The Bourne Identity (2002)

To commemorate the 20th anniversary of when The Bourne Identity was widely released, check out this comprehensive breakdown of how Matt Damon’s style as the amnesiac assassin Jason Bourne, née David Webb, evolved over the course of the original Bourne trilogy and was updated a decade later in Jason Bourne.

Unlike his fellow J.B.-named super-spy, Bourne never dressed to impress, instead favoring a more subdued and utilitarian wardrobe consistent with the “gray man” philosophy of blending in, specifically in urban environments like the European capitals where he evades his one-time CIA overlords.

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Matt Damon in Jason Bourne

Matt Damon in Jason Bourne (2016)

Matt Damon in Jason Bourne (2016)

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Matt Damon as Jason Bourne/David Webb, amnesiac ex-CIA assassin

Athens, Berlin, London, and Las Vegas, Fall 2015

Film: Jason Bourne
Release Date: July 11, 2016
Director: Paul Greengrass
Costume Designer: Mark Bridges

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Happy 50th birthday, Matt Damon! Nearly 15 years after the actor first kicked cinematic ass as the amnesiac assassin, Damon again stepped into Jason Bourne’s globe-trotting boots for one more installment of the spy franchise extolled for its relative realism, intriguing narrative, and expertly choreographed fight scenes.

I remember… I remember everything.

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10 Years of BAMF Style!

Hi, BAMF Style readers! Today is the 10th anniversary of my first-ever post, analyzing the iconic suit worn by Cary Grant in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1959 thriller North by Northwest. In the ten years since that post went live on September 26, 2012, I’ve been honored to connect with so many great people as I’ve felt welcomed into the online menswear community.

It’s been a lifelong journey for yours truly, from being a 7th grader hobbling together a rusty pinstriped suit with my grandfather’s flat cap in the hopes of emulating Robert Redford in The Sting to taking countless screenshots from my James Bond and Mad Men DVDs in my college dorm to try to crack the secrets of sartorial success to ultimately—and quite nervously—clicking “Publish” on that first post detailing my observations of Mr. Grant’s attire as the wrongly accused Roger Thornhill.

While I could never look quite as stylish as the erstwhile Archie Leach, this was certainly how my anxiety felt when I decided to begin a ridiculously titled blog about men’s style in my favorite movies.

To tell the truth, I almost never hit “Publish” on that first post… after all, we all know the internet can be a vicious forum that brings out the worst in people. I even considered just making this a private site, accessible only to me, where I could curate my growing knowledge about the style in movies that I admired without fear of criticism, either for my lack of knowledge or the topic itself. Slowly but surely, I realized that there was not only an audience for this type of blog but an actual community of people who cared about the same things! I would have never guessed that, within 10 years, I would have nearly 10 million views from people around the world reading my humble scribblings about the intersection of my interests. (And, if I had known, I surely would have put more thought into what I called it!)

The last decade has been filled with plenty of exploring, connecting, learning, and—most importantly—getting to know so many of you through your comments and emails, and I remain grateful each day for the empowering impact of those with whom I share this digital space. I was a green 23 years old when I started the blog and now, somewhat grayer at 33, I’m lucky that this little hobby has remained fun and fruitful to a rewarding degree. While I’m not 100% sure what the future may hold for BAMF Style, I hope to continue writing for as long as it stays fun… and we’ll see if my anxiety can continue stubbornly resisting the current trends in content sharing, be it TikTok, starting a podcast, or the next great thing.

With much gratitude, I thank you all!

— Nick


Should any of you be curious, I delved into my web insights and metrics to deliver a few morsels of BAMF Style trivia…

Total number of BAMF Style posts: 1,365
Total number of views: 9,486,372
Total number of visitors: 4,041,718

Top 10 most-visited posts:

  1. John Wick’s Suit
  2. John F. Kennedy’s Ivy League Style
  3. Daniel Craig in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
  4. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood: Brad Pitt’s Aloha Shirt and Champion Tee
  5. Bond Style — Bolivian Combat in Quantum of Solace
  6. Val Kilmer as Doc Holliday in Tombstone
  7. Collateral — Vincent’s Suit
  8. Aaron Cross’ Biker Jacket in The Bourne Legacy
  9. Dexter’s Kill Outfit
  10. Aaron Cross’ Winter Attire in The Bourne Legacy

A downside of this decade-long longevity? So many of these popular posts are many years old and, in my opinion, require substantial overhauls!

Top 5 decades most represented in BAMF Style posts:

  1. 1960s (282 posts)
  2. 1970s (192 posts)
  3. 1950s (163 posts)
  4. 2000s (145 posts)
  5. 1930s (120 posts)

Top 5 actors most represented in BAMF Style posts:

  1. Sean Connery (44 posts)
  2. Daniel Craig (41 posts)
  3. Jon Hamm (40 posts)
  4. Robert Redford (39 posts)
  5. Robert De Niro (35 posts)

Bond in Action: Daniel Craig’s Racer Jacket and Mockneck in Spectre

Daniel Craig as James Bond in Spectre (2015)

Daniel Craig as James Bond in Spectre (2015)

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Daniel Craig as James Bond, British government agent

London, November 2015

Film: Spectre
Release Date: October 25, 2015
Director: Sam Mendes
Costume Designer: Jany Temime

WARNING! Spectre spoilers ahead!
(And, if you’ve already seen No Time to Die, please try to avoid adding any spoilers in the comments!)

Background

M: It’s good to have you back, 007.
Bond: Sir.

After waiting more than a year and a half of delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic, No Time to Die is finally arriving in U.S. theaters tomorrow! To celebrate on the 00-7th of October, let’s check in on the last time we saw Mr. Bond in action.

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Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy: Tom Hardy Echoes Steve McQueen’s Baracuta Jacket

Tom Hardy as Ricki Tarr in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Tom Hardy as Ricki Tarr in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011)

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Tom Hardy as Ricki Tarr, disillusioned British spy

Paris, Spring 1974

Film: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Release Date: September 16, 2011
Director: Tomas Alfredson
Costume Designer: Jacqueline Durran

Background

With increasingly warmer weather as spring continues through the Northern Hemisphere, I’m swapping out wool coats for windbreakers at the front of my closet. Of course, on some recent climatically chaotic days that start at temperatures around freezing and then rise to over 70°F by mid-afternoon with the occasional burst of rain, I often rely on smart layers to effectively dress for this unpredictable weather.

One of my favorite examples of smart casual layering that illustrates versatility for different weather and situations is the combination of a Harrington jacket over a light sweater and open-necked shirt. William Claxton had famously photographed his friend Steve McQueen dressed accordingly in 1964, and these headshots are still used to illustrate the enduring style of both the jacket and the King of Cool himself.

Steve McQueen

Steve McQueen, dressed in his stone-colored Baracuta G9, open-neck shirt, and V-neck sweater, as photographed by his friend William Claxton in 1964.

Decades after his death in 1980, McQueen remains a seminal style icon whose blend of practicality and toughness has influenced scores of men from stars to schlubs (like yours truly)… and a few movie spies, as well. McQueen’s legacy seemed particularly prevalent on silver screen espionage fashions beginning in the late 2000s as Daniel Craig’s James Bond fully embraced Harrington jackets, shawl-collar cardigans, and suede boots as particularly seen in Quantum of Solace, his 007’s action-packed sophomore adventure.

Three years later, costume designer Jacqueline Durran also saw McQueen as her muse when dressing a fellow British agent, the more grounded—and cynical—Ricki Tarr, as portrayed by Tom Hardy in Tomas Alfredson’s adaptation of the John le Carré novel Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.

“We very much looked to that kind of ’60s Steve McQueen look for all of them,” Durran explained to GQ of Ricki Tarr’s costumes, first dressing Tarr in a Belstaff shearling coat often associated with McQueen before pulling together the lighter layers as seen in McQueen’s MGM headshot shoot with Claxton as the film approached its conclusion with Tarr in Paris, working to flush out an MI6 mole. Continue reading

Wild Card: Jason Statham’s Corduroy Car Coat and Ford Torino

Jason Statham as Nick Wild in Wild Card (2015)

Jason Statham as the Ford Torino-driving Nick Wild in Wild Card (2015)

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Jason Statham as Nick Wild, tough security consultant and bodyguard-for-hire

Las Vegas, Christmas 2013

Film: Wild Card
Release Date: January 14, 2015
Director: Simon West
Costume Designer: Lizz Wolf

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Car Week continues into December with a little-discussed action movie that—like The Bourne Identity and Three Days of the Condor—is set during against a Christmas backdrop complete with carols on the soundtrack, though the holiday timing has little impact on the plot. (I don’t include Die Hard in this category because, as many have argued, Christmas is the reason for the whole plot!)

Reviving a role originated by Burt Reynolds in William Goldman’s 1986 movie Heat, Jason Statham plays Nick Wild, a “security consultant” for Las Vegas lawyer Pinchus “Pinky” Zion (Jason Alexander), who makes his daily commute from a seedy motel in a snazzy ’69 Ford Torino. Continue reading

Why James Bond?

On the 00-7th of November with six months until the release of No Time to Die, I’m briefly diverting from my usual content and hope that you’ll forgive a brief, somewhat personal essay reflecting on the relevance of James Bond’s style

Roger Moore and Britt Ekland in his second film as James Bond, The Man with the Golden Gun (1974)

Roger Moore and Britt Ekland in his second film as James Bond, The Man with the Golden Gun (1974)

The first James Bond movie I had ever seen was The Man with the Golden Gun. I was at my friend Nate’s tenth birthday party, a month shy of turning 10 myself, and the entire group of about a half-dozen adolescents were transfixed for two hours by the increasingly grainy VHS from Blockbuster that took us to an escapist world of wit, style, thrills, and Britt Ekland in a bikini. I had certainly been familiar with Bond before that, as the agent had been part of pop culture for nearly four decades before I first saw Roger Moore’s sophomore adventure in late June of 1999.

The next three years, my budding interest in menswear would continue to develop I was exposed to Edith Head’s Depression-influenced designs in The Sting (1973), the lavish resort-wear in the John Braborne/Richard B. Goodwin-produced adaptations of Agatha Christie’s mystery novels, the roaring twenties brought to life by Theoni V. Aldredge and Ralph Lauren in The Great Gatsby (1974), and the mobbed-up fashions of Goodfellas (1990) and Casino (1995), but I like to think that Bond started it all.

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Timothy Dalton’s Shawl-Collar Dinner Jacket in The Living Daylights

Timothy Dalton as James Bond in The Living Daylights (1987). Source: thunderballs.org.

Timothy Dalton as James Bond in The Living Daylights (1987). Source: thunderballs.org.

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Timothy Dalton as James Bond, British government agent

Bratislava, Fall 1986

Film: The Living Daylights
Release Date: June 27, 1987
Director: John Glen
Costume Designer: Emma Porteous
Costume Supervisor: Tiny Nicholls

Background

Happy birthday to Timothy Dalton, born 74 years ago today on March 21, 1946! To celebrate the Welsh actor’s birthday, I want to revisit Dalton’s debut as James Bond, bringing a serious, Ian Fleming-influenced approach two decades before Daniel Craig would approach the role in a similar manner.

Dalton had long been a contender for the role, turning it down twice due to his youth when the filmmakers sought a replacement for Sean Connery and then for George Lazenby. When it was unclear if Roger Moore would return for his trio of 007 films in the ’80s, Dalton’s name came up each time, but it wasn’t until Pierce Brosnan was contractually obligated to turn down the role to return to Remington Steele in 1986 that a pathway was finally opened for Dalton, then 40 years old and seasoned enough to play the agent, to slip into Bond’s finely tailored dinner jacket for The Living Daylights. Continue reading

Bond’s Leather Coat and Aston Martin in The Living Daylights

Timothy Dalton poses with an Aston Martin V8 as James Bond in The Living Daylights (1987)

Timothy Dalton poses with an Aston Martin V8 as James Bond in The Living Daylights (1987)

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Timothy Dalton as James Bond, British government agent

Bratislava to Vienna, Winter 1986

Film: The Living Daylights
Release Date: June 27, 1987
Director: John Glen
Costume Designer: Emma Porteous
Costume Supervisor: Tiny Nicholls

Background

For a wintry #CarWeek post on the 00-7th of December, let’s look back to Timothy Dalton’s first—and best, in my opinion—adventure as James Bond in The Living Daylights, adapted and greatly expanded from Ian Fleming’s short story of the same name, though the primary plot of Fleming’s story is used up during the pre-credits defection sequence.

After noticing that reportedly a KGB sniper was a beautiful blonde cellist during the opening defection, Bond returned to Bratislava to meet the woman, Kara Milovy (Maryam D’Abo), in person. He persuades her to accompany him to Vienna, evading and eventually out-driving their KGB pursuers in 007’s tricked-out Aston Martin, which had been “winterized” and loaded with gadgets by Q (Desmond Llewelyn), MI6’s esteemed and exhausted quartermaster.

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Brad Pitt’s Blue Casual Wear in World War Z

Brad Pitt and Abigail Hargrove in World War Z (2013)

Brad Pitt as Gerry Lane and Abigail Hargrove as his daughter, Rachel, in World War Z (2013)

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Brad Pitt as Gerry Lane, former United Nations investigator

Philadelphia, Fall 2012

Film: World War Z
Release Date: June 21, 2013
Director: Marc Forster
Costume Designer: Mayes C. Rubeo

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

As Halloween approaches and witches, vampires, and zombies prepare their annual big screen takeover, there’s still talk in the air of a sequel to World War Z, the 2013 thriller starring Brad Pitt as a former U.N. investigator tasked with saving his family – oh, and the world – during a viral outbreak that spawns a zombie apocalypse.

The film is loosely adapted from Max Brooks’ innovative novel, World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War, that employed a docudrama-style narrative as “collected” by a U.N. commissioner, measuring the geopolitical impact of the plague and its subsequent conflicts. In fact, it was the geopolitical themes that drew Brad Pitt to the idea of a film adaptation, though they were dropped during the transition to the big screen in favor of more traditional “zombie film” elements.

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