Inspiration is Where You Find It: Ian Fleming

Sir Ian Fleming was the sort of man that James Bond would have come across in the smoke-filled rooms of his stories. It’s easy to imagine Fleming sitting at a bar, dressed to the nines, dragging on a wispy cigarette, while sipping from a martini glass and chatting up his nightly arm candy. It only took Fleming, a former British naval intelligence officer, two months to pen Casino Royale, the first Bond book in 1952. Bond was never meant to be autobiographical, but he was certainly created in Fleming’s image. Spinning his tales of covert missions into full-blown spy thrillers, Fleming reinvented the espionage genre by making 007 as dashing as he was death-defying. And looking at how Fleming carried himself, it’s no wonder where the inspiration for Bond’s attitude and appearance came from. Much like Bond, Fleming was rarely seen in anything less than a pristinely tailored suit. However, unlike his character, Fleming favored the bowtie, an appropriately eye-catching finishing touch for such an eccentric man. Even when off the clock Fleming kept it together, dressing like a Connery-era Bond on vacation, in boat neck sweaters and safari style shirts. With twenty-three films, six separate actors, various villains, and countless women now in the pantheon of Bond, it’s quite easy to spot the differences across the decades, but to find the similarities all you have to do is look at Bond’s style and you know that Fleming’s foundation is still there.

A classic Fleming outfit (on a Bond budget):

Burberry London Slim-fit Wool Suit
Drakes Printed Silk Foulard Bow Tie
Ovadia & Sons Classic White Bedford Shirt
Mr. Casual All Calf Loafer

A classic Fleming outfit (for the rest of us):

Mountain & Sackett Bennett Bow Tie
Ratio Clothing Classic Pinpoint Shirt
Allen Edmonds Naples Loafer
Tagliatore Suit

Jake Gallagher is a writer and student currently living in Manhattan. He focuses on back stories and the historical side of menswear at his site You can also follow him on Twitter.