Website last updated: 12-7-2024

Brace Yourself: James Bond’s Suspenders

By: Greg Bechtloff
James Bond Suspenders
Among the rash of optics we saw last week from the set of No Time To Die emanating from Matera, Italy was Daniel Craig wearing a pair of dove grey suspenders or braces as the British call them. He wore them with a casual, tan colored suit and a blue shirt.

While most people were analyzing every minute thing they could glean from the action being shot, I was struck more by Daniel Craig’s suspenders.

For most of us, suspenders/braces have always been the most un-cool thing that a guy could wear.

We think of overweight or old men wearing them. We do not picture super-spies battling evil SPECTRE agents wearing them. I doubt that the hunky Orlebar Brown model wearing the new 007 Collection would wear them. Jaws wore them, and he was a freak wasn’t he?

Ralph Fiennes wears them in Skyfall. But Gareth Mallory does skew older. He tells Bond that spying is a “young man’s game”, something Mallory himself is not anymore.

Which brings us to the topic of James Bond’s style. In the pictures we have seen so far from the various parts of No Time To Die, Bond is dressed in razor sharp suits by Tom Ford, carrying on the sartorial duties started in Quantum of Solace (2008).

In the Jamaican footage we have seen Daniel Craig in an assortment of casual cool island attire. Craig looks great in a simple gray t-shirt and navy trunks. Even flip-flops - something Tom Ford himself said he does not like guys wearing.

The point here is that James Bond has always been a style icon and always will be. Generations of men have looked to 007 for clothing tips. No Time To Die looks to carry on that tradition in high style.

The Costume Designer on No Time To Die

There is a new costume designer on this 25th Bond film. She is Suttirat Anne Larlarb. She appears to be a Danny Boyle hire since she has been the costume designer for such Boyle films as Slumdog Millionaire, Steve Jobs and 127 Hours.

She did make George Clooney look stylish and cool as an assassin in Italy in The American. Larlarb is coming to Bond straight off the new Ang Lee action film The Gemini Man starring Will Smith and long ago rumored Bond contender Clive Owen.

The role of the costume designer is of course to clothe the principal cast according to the storyline. On a James Bond film that means that Bond looks cool, the women look hot and the villains eccentric, sinister and insane. Rami Malek is on the cover and has a fashion spread on the September 2019 American GQ magazine.

Rami Malek cover GQ September 2019
Rami Malek on the cover for the September 2019 issue of GQ Magazine. Copyright © 2019 GQ Magazine. All rights reserved.

Sometimes a costume designer gets to go to town by designing outfits for an entire army. Many a collector has one of those famous Stomberg crew orange boiler suits from The Spy Who Loved Me (1977).

Different costume designers do bring different references to the film. On SPECTRE (2015), Jany Temime stated in the book Some Kind Of Hero that the cream dinner jacket that Bond wears on the Morroccan train sequence was based on Humphrey Bogart’s look from the classic Casablanca even though most fans thought it looked a lot like the one Connery wore at the start of Goldfinger (1964).

For the character of Bond himself, the costume designer of course has input but obviously has to hew to a very pre-conceived notion of what James Bond wears. They cannot radically alter the Bond “look”. I do not want to see James Bond in a hoodie thank you very much.

The costume designer must also pick attire that meshes with the style of the particular actor playing James Bond. Timothy Dalton rejected a more pastel Miami Vice like look for outfits that were proposed for him for the Florida set Licence to Kill (1989).

Which brings us back to Daniel Craig in those suspenders.

James Bond never wore braces in the Ian Fleming novels

Okay, I will backtrack a little. Braces are what is traditionally worn as support whilst wearing a tuxedo. But we usually do not see Bond wearing them. Check out the pre-credits scene in Goldfinger. Or when Roger Moore takes off his dinner jacket in the Egyptian desert in Spy. Nor do we see them when George Lazenby quickly removes his jacket to rescue Tracy at the start of On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969).

We have seen the white formal types under tuxedoes worn by Daniel Craig and Timothy Dalton. Still though, it’s more of an anomaly.

James Bond is trim enough to not need braces to keep his trousers up. Whatever sans-a-belt arrangement his tailor can come up will suffice. Plus, suspenders would get in the way of the Berns Martin triple draw holster!

Bond certainly does not wear braces under his Brioni or Tom Ford suits. Ian Fleming himself and all the Bonds up to now have been dedicated belt men.

The point here is that the James Bond of No Time To Die is totally of this moment. Maybe even ahead of the curve. The producers have said that the films are set “five minutes in the future”. That probably reflects the clothes as well.

I have let my subscription to GQ lapse but I suspect that suspenders like the ones we will see in No Time To Die are tres 2019. Maybe even 2020.

Fashions do cycle back. Suspenders were a “power” accessory in the 1980’s. Michael Douglas’s famous character Gordon Gekko in Wall Street is the avatar of that look.

Time will tell whether the braces that Craig wears in No Time To Die will be a new style “must have”. They could turn out to be like Roger Moore’s much maligned safari suit look form the ‘70’s though.

In any case, the braces are a conversation starter. And if you must obsess over these things, the braces in No Time To Die are reportedly from Albert Thurston. They already have a No Time To Die shoutout about them on their website.

James Bond definitely is back and his threads are just another element of this event yet to come!

Daniel Craig as James Bond in No Time To Die
Daniel Craig as James Bond in No Time To Die. Copyright © 2019 GQ Magazine. All rights reserved.

For the latest official announcements on No Time To Die, visit the official website.



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