Not sure if you should wear that Tommy Bahama shirt out tonight? The magnificent bastard is here to help. Go ahead. Ask away.
Q: First off, I'm a junior at Cornell University and have been using MB since my first year, and I love it. Second, I recently purchased a tailored dinner jacket from Indochino, and a tux shirt. I was wondering if you have any suggestions on studs for the shirt as I was hoping to get a look more similar to Daniel Craig as he wears only buttons, and I made the unfortunate mistake of ordering the studded tux shirt. Thanks so much for your time, I really appreciate it.
A: Seth, we're honored that an Ivy League lad like yourself would read state-school products like us (UW-Madison). Thanks. Anyhow, about your shirt dilemma, you could probably mitigate the error by buying a set of mother-of-pearl studs, but this is throwing good money after bad. We treat clothing purchasing mistakes much like former Packers GM Ron Wolf treated his draft choice mistakes: don't hope it will work out. Recognize your mistakes early, cut 'em, and move on.
So go ahead and put that Indochino shirt on the waiver wire. If you want a tuxedo shirt like Daniel Craig's Bond, we say get the tuxedo shirt worn by Daniel Craig's Bond. Contact Turnbull and Asser (email link) and have them make you one, either with the concealed front placket of Casino Royale or the full-button placket of Quantum of Solace (top). Yes, it will cost more than the Indochino equivalent, but it's surprisingly affordable and, far more importantly, you'll end up getting exactly what you want.
Speaking of mistakes and James Bond, on the heels of his 1964 Aston Martin DB5 selling for £2.6M ($4.13M), Christie's is auctioning James Bond's infamous Walther LP-53 air pistol, used to promote From Russia With Love (bottom), expected to go for the relative bargain of between $23K-$30K (in 2001 it sold for $20,437.41). When Bond's standard Walther PPK didn't show up for the From Russia With Love photo shoot, photographer David Hurn's air pistol was substituted. He said he'd airbrush out the long barrel to make it look like a PPK, but lied, and this ersatz weapon was used to promote several more Bond flicks.
In other words, Seth, don't feel so bad.
Q: I was just thinking about how Bryan Ferry hasn't ever popped up on this site (at least that I can remember)...I think he deserves a little more recognition than he gets for a few reasons:
1. His music is some of the best made in the 80s. Particularly with Roxy Music. Contemporary at the time but still classic despite the normal pitfalls of the era (very "80s" production, dependence on models gracing the album covers).
2. Impeccable style. Look at literally ANY photo of him. Perfectly rolled sleeves, check. Askew bowtie or loose necktie, check. Commitment to a classic hairstyle for 40 years, check.
3. Dated Amanda Lear, Jerry Hall (BEFORE Mick Jagger), married Lucy Helmore...
4. He's British.
Basically what we're talking about here is the Bond of Rock'n'roll.
A: We like the idea of a "Bond of rock 'n' roll" and appreciate the case you make for Ferry. There is, however, the little matter of this photo from 1972, which clearly suggests the influence he would eventually have on cultural icons as diverse as Wild at Heart-era Nic Cage, Ed Grimley, and Siegfried & Roy. That's a tough legacy to overcome, and to be honest, while we know he played a crucial role in synth-pop's evolution as aural tranquilizer, Avalon never made us feel all that comfortably numb. While a better candidate for the Bond of rock 'n' roll doesn't immediately come to mind, we're abstaining from voting for now.
When a reader recently asked us about watches, we endorsed the gray and black stripe "Bond strap" worn by Sean Connery in Goldfinger and sold at Westcoastime. This prompted several responses from our readers. Here are a couple:
Q: Saw your recent post about military inspired watches and the "Bond-band". In my follow up search, I found these folks who took spy fantasy authenticity to a new level. After studying a high-res freeze fame of MB Connery's wrist in Goldfinger, they had that strap reproduced down to the precise hue of every thread. http://corvuswatch.com/index.asp?page=watchbands
Q: The true Bond Nato strap was not grey/black: http://www.corvuswatch.com/index.asp?page=watchbands#Greybond
After some investigation, we've determined that it's actually the same U.K. company, Phoenix Straps, that manufactures the "Bond Strap" sold at Westcoastime and the "Real Bond Strap" sold at Corvus. To make things even more complex, Phoenix Straps sells a version of the Bond Strap itself on British eBay. There are almost as many real Bond Straps as there are James Bonds.
So why are there more than one and which one is the real one?
The way we hear it, GQ was doing a feature on Bond-inspired apparel many years ago and asked Phoenix Straps about producing a copy of the strap. TV technology being what it was in the 20th century, all involved believed the strap to be black and grey. And thus the first iteration of the Bond Strap was born. This is the version Westcoastime sells.
But you know how it goes -- time marches on, technology improves. Equipped with Blu-ray and HD, the folks at Corvus viewed Goldfinger and Thunderball and decided the true colors of the Bond Strap were not grey and black, as long believed, but rather black and olive green with thin red stripes. Corvus asked Phoenix Straps to produce a new version of the strap and began selling it on its site.
If you think that's the end of it, you don't know many Bond geeks. Some people believe the Corvus version is correct. Others insist the red stripe is a phenomenon of Blu-ray rendering technology and not an accurate representation of the original.
Meanwhile, Phoenix Straps also sells a slight variation on the new Corvus version: This third version -- the one available on British eBay -- replaces the olive green of the Corvus version with the traditional grey of the pre Blu-ray version.
So which strap to buy? We recommend that you watch the Blu-ray version of Goldfinger and follow your heart.