Updated October 21st, 2021 – Steve McQueen’s influence on Daniel Craig’s Bond style has been mentioned more than a few times. As evidence, we can compare 007’s look when he visits Mathis in Quantum of Solace and pictures of McQueen from William Claxton’s book Steve McQueen: Photographs. From the sweater style to the pale beige pants to the suede chukkas, the inspiration for Bond’s look is pretty obvious. So it’s time to go back to the source and explore affordable alternatives for the Steve McQueen blue shawl collar cardigan.
Features Wanted for the Steve McQueen Blue Shawl Collar Cardigan
- Rib-knit cotton, merino wool or cashmere
- Muted French navy/dark steel blue color
- Two patch pockets
- Brown leather buttons
If you’re interested in really digging into the style details, BAMF Style has an excellent article on McQueen’s complete look.
The shawl cardigan style isn’t that difficult to find. And if the buttons on the alternative aren’t a match, it’s pretty easy to swap them out (you could try these or these). The real challenge here is finding a good color match. McQueen’s seemed to lean more towards a shade of denim or indigo blue. Which is why we won’t be including the multitude of dark navy options that are currently out there.
Best Option for the Steve McQueen Blue Shawl Collar Cardigan
The same model as our “Best Option” for the Quantum of Solace cardigan. But in blue. And that blue may be a little bit lighter than ideal (it’s always hard to tell with online product photos). But it gets the top spot because of the design details. It has the heavier rib knit, the patch pockets, and the contrasting knit pattern on the collar and down the placket. Plus, they’ve used a 100% organic cotton yarn. Which is great for those of us who prefer all natural fibers. And last but not least, it’s affordable! Simons has sizes small to XXL available on their website.
And now our obligatory 100% synthetic alternative from Amazon. Out of all the generic cardigans you can get from the online mega-retailer why this one? Mainly it’s the color. Most of the other cardigans use a darker navy yarn. But COOFANDY (all CAPS!) has gone with a brighter marine blue which comes closer to the one McQueen wore. Plenty of sizes available at the time of writing.
Spending another fourteen bucks will get you this 30% wool, 70% synthetic blend from another company that likes to use ALL CAPS in their name. It certainly looks like a chunkier knit. And the flecks of lighter blue thread in the yarn help to brighten up the color. It’s currently sitting with 4.5 stars out of 5 on Amazon after an impressive 1000 reviews. Just note that many of the customer comments report that the fit is small and recommend sizing up.
A lighter weight 100% lambswool option for those of you who run a little warm. The styling is pretty basic, with no fancy knit patterns on the collar or placket. But the color looks to be close to what we want. Woolovers has sizes small to XXL in stock.
The Highland Store Shawl Neck Cardigan in Navy: £129.00/approximately $180.00
You want a thick, cozy cardigan? Well, here it is. This 100% wool, made in the UK alternative from the Highland Store is a straight up and down rib knit with patch pockets and genuine leather buttons. It also has elbow patches. If those are too “grandpa” for you, removing them should be an easy job. The slightly brighter shade of navy should also work well to capture that McQueen vibe. Sizes small to large are in stock.
Kent Wang Shawl Cardigan in Navy: $195.00
And speaking of cozy …. This heavy-weight beast is made in Canada from 100% wool and, like the Highland Store alternative above, is a basic, no nonsense ribbed knit. You may want to swap out the buttons. But Kent Wang has used genuine horn for theirs so I’d be tempted to keep them as is. They have sizes medium to XXL available on their website. But pay attention to the notes on sizing! Their sweaters are NOT vanity sized and fit closer to what you’d get from H&M, Zara or Massimo Dutti. Which means a Large is going to fit like a medium from most other U.S. brands.
The Investment Pieces
The design is about as traditional as you can get for a shawl collar cardigan. But the really story here is the 90% wool, 10% cashmere yarn that gives the sweater a slightly more luxurious feel than your cheaper wool options. And the inclusion of genuine horn buttons is a nice touch! Sizes small to XXL are available on the John Lewis website.
New & Lingwood Blue Lambswool Shawl Collar Cardigan: $408.00/£295.00
A classic design, made in Italy from 100% Lambswool in a great, brighter shade of blue. British menswear brand New & Lingwood have been in operation since 1865. And they specialize in putting a fun spin on heritage designs. This cardigan is a great example of their work. Once again, we’re getting a straight forward ribbed knit construction with genuine leather “football” buttons and the patch pockets. But those multi-hued blue flecks in the yarn give the sweater some depth and more visual interest than you’d see in a typical dark blue sweater. It’s “comfortable luxury with a slight twist” that seems like exactly the kind of thing McQueen would have appreciated. Bombinate has sizes small to XXL in stock.
It’s a $500 cardigan. It’s also the kind of knitwear you could pass down to your grandkids as an heirloom. Made in Harwick, Scotland, Billie Todd has used a soft, superfine 100% lambswool from the world renowned Todd & Duncan Mill and Italian-made horn buttons. The construction is a robust 6-ply rib knit in a slightly oversized, relaxed fit. Which means you should think about going down a size if want a trimmer look. You’ll find sizes small to XL on the Billie Todd website, but they’re already running real low in some of the sizes.
Share your favorite alternatives for the Steve McQueen blue shawl collar cardigan in the comments below! You can also visit our Facebook page, Instagram account, Twitter account and Pinterest Boards for more Bond and McQueen style advice and inspiration! And don’t forget to check out our Amazon Page. That’s where we’ve organized the James Bond and Steve McQueen alternatives we’ve found the massive online retailer.