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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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I’m 30

Today is July 21, which means…

"I just realized..."

"...today is my birthday."

"I'm 30."

 

Hm.

While today is, indeed, my 30th birthday, I’m greeting the day with considerably more enthusiasm than The Great Gatsby‘s despondent narrator Nick Carraway, who rings in “the portentous menacing road of a new decade” during a contentious confrontation between romantic millionaire Jay Gatsby and brutish Tom Buchanan over the affections of Daisy, Tom’s wife and Gatsby’s former flame. (For a more in-depth look at the style of my favorite book and its multiple cinematic adaptations, check out this post from last month!)

Sam Waterston and Lois Chiles in The Great Gatsby (1974)

Sam Waterston and Lois Chiles in The Great Gatsby (1974)

Fellow July 21 birthday celebrators include:

  • Sam Bass (born 1851), an outlaw who died on his 27th birthday following a gunfight with police in Texas
  • Sara Carter (1898-1979), lead singer of the Carter Family
  • Hart Crane (1899-1932), American writer and poet who died by suicide
  • Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961), American writer and adventurer who also died by suicide
  • Marshall McLuhan (1911-1980), the media theorist I know best from his famous cameo in Annie Hall
  • Kay Starr (1922-2016), described by Billie Holiday as “the only white woman who could sing the blues”
  • Norman Jewison (born 1926), director of stylish flicks including The Cincinnati Kid (1965), In the Heat of the Night (1967), and The Thomas Crown Affair (1968), among many others
  • Sonny Clark (1931-1963), jazz pianist who recorded prolifically for Blue Note in the late 1950s
  • Janet Reno (1938-2016), first woman to serve as United States Attorney General
  • Edward Herrmann (1943-2014), actor who famously portrayed FDR (and also appeared in 1974’s The Great Gatsby)
  • Robin Williams (1951-2014), Academy Award-winning actor and comedian considered among the funniest people of all time
  • Jon Lovitz (born 1957), comedian and former Saturday Night Live cast member
  • Brandi Chastain (born 1968), American soccer champion and two-time Olympic gold medalist
  • Godfrey (born 1969), comedian, actor, and 7 Up spokesperson
  • Josh Hartnett (born 1979), actor who starred in Pearl HarborSin City, and 30 Days of Night
  • Paloma Faith (born 1981), eccentric singer-songwriter

The Office: A Benihana Christmas – Ranking Holiday Looks

Dressing for the holiday office party can be a mixed bag. Do you embrace the festive aspects of the holiday with a snowman-themed tie, Santa Claus socks, and a nutcracker pin… do you treat it like any other day of work and not worry about your grays and blues discouraging Christmas revelry… or do you meet somewhere in the middle, maybe wearing a tie with some holiday color but not looking much different than you would any other Monday?

As a satirical look at American work life, NBC’s The Office fully leaned into some of the most absurd aspects of corporate culture from ridiculous jargon and petty office politics to the time-honored tradition of the office holiday party. Over its nine seasons, The Office dedicated seven episodes to corporate Christmas celebrations (seasons one and four were the exception), all showcasing the unadvisable drinking, flirtations, and holiday outfits that cogs of the real-life corporate machine can identify with all too well.

This week is probably kicking off a bulk of your workplace holiday parties, so – in the spirit of Christmas – enjoy this ranking of the male characters’ outfits during the third season’s “A Benihana Christmas”, one of my favorite Christmas episodes and something that gets just as much airplay for me during the holiday season as classic films like Christmas VacationElf, and White Christmas do.

The cast of The Office poses for a promotional shot of season 3's "A Benihana Christmas", though only the characters from Dunder-Mifflin's Scranton branch are featured.

The cast of The Office poses for a promotional shot of season 3’s “A Benihana Christmas”, though only the characters from Dunder-Mifflin’s Scranton branch are featured.

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BAMF Style: My 5 Formative Movie Suits

For my birthday today (July 21, same as Ernest Hemingway and Robin Williams), I hope you’ll excuse an indulgent post as I explore the suits that grabbed my attention from a young age and stirred my early interest in men’s style. Though, given the dapper white jacket that Sean Connery wore on the cover of GQ the month I was born, I should have known what direction my life would eventually take!

While not necessarily the greatest suits to every appear in the movies, these five each contributed to my interest in menswear that led to the eventual creation of BAMF Style a decade later. Interestingly, all of the featured outfits are from period films, highlighting fashion of an earlier era (the 1930s, in more cases than not) and accentuated by a musical soundtrack designed to emphasize the character and the moment.

Warren Beatty in Bonnie and Clyde (1967), Jack Nicholson in Chinatown (1974), Nicholas Clay in Evil Under the Sun (1982), Ray Liotta in Goodfellas (1990), and Robert Redford in The Sting (1973)

Warren Beatty in Bonnie and Clyde (1967), Jack Nicholson in Chinatown (1974), Nicholas Clay in Evil Under the Sun (1982), Ray Liotta in Goodfellas (1990), and Robert Redford in The Sting (1973)

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Mad Men – “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes”

 

Mad Men premiered ten years ago today on AMC, revolutionizing television and introducing the world to mysterious ad man Don Draper (Jon Hamm), the womanizing Korean War veteran whose endless consumption of Old Fashioneds and Lucky Strikes seem to serve only to make him better at his job.

The quintessential American businessman, Draper sports a classic gray flannel suit throughout the pilot episode. Check out this slightly updated version of one of my first BAMF Style posts on the tenth anniversary of “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes” (episode 1.01).

(Please forgive any dated references – this post first went live in October 2012!)

BAMF Style

Jon Hamm as Don Draper in the Mad Men pilot episode.

Vitals

Jon Hamm as Don Draper, Madison Avenue ad man with a dark past

New York City, March 1960

Series: Mad Men
Episode: “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes” (Episode 1.01)
Air Date: July 19, 2007
Director: Alan Taylor
Costume Designer: Janie Bryant

Background

If you haven’t yet seen Mad Men, most of your friends or every award show is convincing you to watch it. If you have seen it, then you likely know every episode from all seven series by heart, and you’ve been to at least two Mad Men parties.

Mad Men is a refreshing phenomenon to Americans. Refreshing especially after waves of popular TV meant Jersey Shore or Dancing With the Stars, or the inevitable and dreaded Dancing With the Stars of Jersey ShoreMad Men has style, class, and a story that is…

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Roger Moore (1927-2017)

RIP Roger Moore (1927-2017), a terrific actor and humanitarian who brought his dapper, tongue-in-cheek charm and class to his many roles, including James Bond and Simon Templar in The Saint.

Sir Roger leaves a lasting legacy through his charismatic performances and inspiring charity work for organizations like UNICEF and PETA.

BAMF Style is now on Patreon!

Blogging is hard work, but the much-appreciated support, encouragement, and feedback from my readers makes it all worth while!

If you’re willing and able, please consider supporting BAMF Style on Patreon: http://www.patreon.com/bamfstyle.

Certain levels of financial support get special perks (A hand-drawn guy in a suit! A random vintage tie! Sneak peeks at new posts!), but please know that any and all support is always appreciated by yours truly.

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If you think that I’m selling out, then please feel free to roll your eyes but still explore the many great artists at patreon.com who could always use help to support their creative efforts!

Thank you!

Iconic Alternatives – Reader Appreciation Contest

Iconic Alternatives has developed five incredible prize packages of items to help you live more like James Bond! There are sartorial items like a pale blue Mason & Sons cocktail cuff shirt, Magnoli Clothiers James Bond tie, Goldfinger watch strap, Herring suede desert boots, and a midnight blue dinner suit ensemble as well as a whisky set with cut crystal glasses and a bottle of Macallan 12-year-old single malt Scotch. One prize option will even bring you a step closer to 007’s kitchen with a Chemex coffee maker (as featured in Ian Fleming’s From Russia With Love), the “Q” mug from Skyfall, and Matt Sherman’s book James Bond’s Cuisine.

All that it takes to enter is a short form for your name, email address, DOB, and location. Enter here by 12 midnight (GMT -6) on Wednesday, Nov. 30 in order to win! Good luck!

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Iconic Alternatives – 5 Favorite Bond Looks

I’m honored to have been contributed to an article posted today at Iconic Alternatives, featuring my top five favorite outfits from the James Bond 007 series. Iconic Alternatives did all the hard work of tracking down fashionable and affordable options of suits, formalwear, and casual wear worn by Sean Connery, Roger Moore, and Daniel Craig in From Russia With Love, Goldfinger, The Man with the Golden Gun, Casino Royale, and Skyfall.

Check it out here if you want to find out my five favorite outfits from the Bond series and affordable alternatives as researched by the pros at Iconic Alternatives. The entire site is a great resource for tracking down individual items to help you dress like the world’s sharpest secret agent.

Image credit: Iconic Alternatives

Image credit: Iconic Alternatives

Did I include any of your favorite James Bond outfits? Feel free to share your favorites or clothing that you’ve found on your own that reflects 007!

North by Northwest

 

Today is the 4th anniversary of BAMF Style, so I’m commemorating the occasion by posting a revised and updated version of my first post – an analysis of the iconic gray-blue glen check suit worn by Cary Grant in North by Northwest. Thanks for all the support over the years!

BAMF Style

Cary Grant as Roger O. Thornhill in North by Northwest (1959). Cary Grant as Roger O. Thornhill in North by Northwest (1959).

Vitals

Cary Grant as Roger O. Thornhill, Madison Avenue ad man mistaken for an international spy

New York City, Fall 1958

Film: North by Northwest
Release Date: July 28, 1959
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Tailor: Arthur Lyons of Kilgour, French & Stanbury
Wardrobe Department: Harry Kress

Background

North by Northwest is famous for being one of the best thrillers and espionage films of all time, but it has also received plenty of accolades as the greatest “suit movie” due to the sharply-tailored gray-blue Glen plaid suit that Cary Grant wears throughout the film. In August 2015, Esquire gave it the top spot on its Greatest Suits in Film list… which also included several other heroes you’ll see on the pages of BAMF Style.

The suit even inspired a short story from writer Todd McEwen, retelling North by Northwest from the…

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