The Scottish bodybuilder who became the world’s most famous spy, Sean Connery is legend of cinema. His role in 1962’s Dr. No introduced the world to James Bond, British Secret Agent, and the rest as they say, is history.
In my original post in the “Style Icon” series, I wrote about one of the all-time great class acts – the King of Cool, Dean Martin. This post will follow in the same vein and focus on two specific aspects of Sean Connery: his fashion sense and drink preferences as they relate to his role as James Bond 007.
To me, a “style icon” is a man who encompasses a number of traits that make him stand out above the rest. A man that’s cool, sophisticated, and has a sense of style that we can all learn from.
Connery created the James Bond persona with his good looks and debonair attitude. He introduced us to James Bond and all of the qualities associated with the character: the perfectly tailored suit, his irresistibility to women, and his kick-ass fighting style – all traits that have remained intact up to today’s Bond films.
I’d argue that without Connery’s magnetic performance, the James Bond franchise wouldn’t have lasted very long and men’s fashion sense would not be what it is today.
Also, can you imagine a world without Pussy Galore??
Dr. No – Black Tuxedo
The signature James Bond look is the classic black tuxedo. Many things can be said about the Bond tux, but I’d like to focus strictly on the one Connery wore in his first scene in Dr. No.
First off, notice how it sits snug on his shoulders. This is crucial as it gives him shape and doesn’t add any excessive padding to his naturally broad frame. Secondly, the lapel is a slightly lighter shade, providing a nice contrast with his jacket. His pocket square is straight and simple – there’s no extravagant design to distract the eye. And his bow tie is just the right size – not too big and perfectly straight.
The right panel shows his side profile and allows us to see his tapered jacket. Notice that it’s not billowing at the back, but hugging his torso to show off his silhouette. However, my favourite part of the suit are the cuffs. You’ll notice that they’re hemmed and rolled back to show enough of his shirt cuffs. Like the lapels, the rolled cuffs give contrast to the jacket, but also add depth to the tux by breaking the sight line of the arm – a very sharp and unique detail.
Here’s a short clip of Bond’s first scene in the very first film. It’s the first time that we’re introduced to James Bond and Connery immediately sets the tone with his voice, movement, and of course, that tuxedo.
Connery gives birth to James Bond in this single scene. We immediately know the essence of the character: he’s handsome, charming, confident, intelligent, and mysterious – the original most interesting man in the world. (Apologies to the Dos Equis guy)
He carries himself like a class act throughout the entire scene. He flirts with a beautiful woman as he mercilessly beats every one of her hands, politely excuses himself to the dealer when he’s summoned back to headquarters, and leaves the casino in a smooth, confident way after getting the woman’s number (the one he cleaned out I might add)!
On his way out, he subtly tips the doorman and heads for MI6 headquarters. He doesn’t make a fuss, but it’s the entire package – the good looks, confidence, and tuxedo, that combine to make him look like an absolute boss. He owns the room.
Gentlemen, take notes.
Goldfinger – Brown Suit Jacket
1964’s Goldfinger is considered by many to be the best Bond film in the franchise. That’s because it had all of the elements that make up a good Bond film to this day – great action, beautiful women, a menacing villain, and the first-ever appearance of the Aston Martin DB5. Can’t ask for much more than that.
This outfit is my favourite one in the whole film for many reasons. First off, the colour scheme is in keeping with the theme of gold throughout the film. The wool jacket is a beautiful shade of brown that Connery pulls off effortlessly and it seems to glisten in the sunlight.
The darker brown tie is a smart touch. Thin and patterned, it’s a timeless piece that compliments the rest of the outfit and contrasts with the crisp white dress shirt underneath. Finally, the brighter, almost yellowish brown pants counter the dark jacket with a nice relaxed fit.
Speaking of a relaxed fit, you’ll notice that Connery’s entire outfit here is more loose-fitting than his tuxedo in Dr. No. These clothes are meant to be worn in a more relaxed environment. This was considered casual menswear in the 1960s! We’re definitely living in the wrong decade…
If you want to look like Connery, you’re out of luck because he’s much more handsome and suave than you. Nevertheless, you can try to imitate a more modern version of his style by taking some notes on his outfits. The website Suits of James Bond is a great resource for that.
Additionally, here are some designers that can help you up your suit and tuxedo game:
Conversely, you don’t have to break the bank to look like James Bond. When it comes to tailoring, it’s all about the fit. You can make a $200 suit look like a $2,000 suit if you have access to a good tailor and look for suits that fit slim. Some examples:
This one’s a no-brainer. Everyone knows James Bond’s signature drink, but not everyone knows how to make it.
Here’s the recipe for the most famous cocktail in cinema. You can also find our post and variations on it here.
Vodka Martini (shaken, not stirred)
2 oz vodka
½ oz dry vermouth
Pour in a cocktail shaker over ice and shake vigorously for approximately 30 seconds and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with olive(s).
From Indiana Jones to The Hunt for Red October, and even The Rock, Sean Connery enjoyed much success throughout his film career. To this day, he’s still considered one of the sexiest men in show business and maintains the Scottish accent that makes the ladies swoon.
But it’s his interpretation of Ian Fleming’s James Bond that stands out the most. Simply put: he is James Bond. He set the precedent for all that followed and his performances are still considered the gold standard by most Bond fans.
Watch him in those films and you’ll soon realize why he was so good. 1960’s campiness aside, he exuded confidence and sophistication in every scene. The way in which he moves (yes, moving is an art form in cinema) is so smooth that you barely notice he’s doing anything – but there’s a lot more going on under that perfectly tailored suit. He also gave Bond intelligence, humour, and vulnerability. He made James Bond a complex character.
Connery’s Bond made men want to be as sophisticated, cool, and romantic as he was. I’d argue that he changed the way men perceived suits as well. How often have men felt like James Bond when wearing a tux? To this day, men go suit shopping and tell the salesman to “make me look like James Bond.”
For all these reasons, I consider him a style icon. His style and performances have been revered by men around the world and will continue to be long after he’s gone. After all, James Bond is immortal – and that’s thanks to the style icon that is Connery…Sean Connery.