Why is this the perfect time to look at the James Bond safari jacket? Well, the classic style has definitely been making a comeback. And it’s being re-interpreted so that it can work as both a casual piece and with more tailored looks. Just check out #safarijacket on Instagram to see what I mean. We’re also seeing lots of great options with interesting designs, fabrics and colors at prices that won’t kill our wallets. Which is a thing we like around these parts!
There’s already been some great think pieces written about the safari jacket, discussing everything from its origins to contemporary ways to style it. If you’re interested in learning more about the jacket’s history, these articles from The Rake and Fashion Beans are good. For more on modern styling, check out this article from Style Forum. I also have a “4 Ways to Wear It” post on the safari jacket coming very soon!
The James Bond Safari Jacket
As for Bond’s wardrobe, according to The Suits of James Bond‘s Matt Spaiser’s excellent infographic, there are seven pieces that fall under the “safari” label. First is the navy blue leisure suit jacket from Live and Let Die. Next, the green camp shirt and the cream leisure suit jacket from The Man with the Golden Gun. From Moonraker, we have the beige cotton shirt jacket. And a similar style shirt jacket in tan wool from Octopussy. For this post, I didn’t look for options for the tan sport coat from The Spy Who Loved Me or the Octopussy military shirt that Matt included on his list.
Because we’re looking at so many different jackets, it’s a little difficult to put together a “Features Wanted” list for the alternatives. So I’ve gone a slightly more general route in this post, looking for options that have similar style details to what we see in the films and also capture the spirit of Sir Roger’s safari jackets.
Best Option for the James Bond Safari Jacket
No buttons on the pockets. But if you can get past that, then we have an excellent updated take on Roger Moore’s camp shirt from The Man with the Golden Gun. In fact, I think the slightly cleaner design helps the jacket work even better for more contemporary, tailored looks. I’ve tried it on in-store and the fit is definitely on the trim side. The green is also a little darker that it shows in the product photos online. Massimo Dutti has gone with a 73% cotton, 23% linen fabric that has a surprising amount of heft to it. Overall, it’s very nice in person. Sizes medium to XXL are in stock on their website.
Embrace your inner Papa Hemingway! This wouldn’t really be an article about safari jackets if I didn’t include at least one ultra-traditional style. And this one from Tag Safari is about as traditional as you’re gonna get. Made in Africa from a pigment-dyed, pre-washed, pre-shrunk 5½ oz lightweight tropical cotton, it has all the details you could want if Clark Gable in Mogambo is your style icon. You can choose from four colors. But the Khaki is the most traditional. Tag Safari has sizes small to XXXL in stock. You can also get if from Amazon, but the sizing is a little more scattered.
If you’re looking for other, more traditional styles definitely check out Avedon & Colby’s Signature Safari Bush Jacket ($239.00) and William Evans’ Military Style Safari Jacket (on sale for £265.00). The William Evans one in Moss is especially nice if you want Roger Moore’s The Man with the Golden Gun green safari camp shirt look.
Mango Belted Cotton Field Jacket: $139.99/£89.99
A modern take on the classic jacket. The Mango version keeps the traditional button front, four box-pleat pockets and epaulets. But the shorter, trimmer cut give it a more contemporary feel. Sure, the belt isn’t screen-accurate. But tie it in a knot (do not buckle!), roll up the sleeves and you’ve added another touch of style I’m sure Sir Roger would appreciate. The shirt style collar (which it has in common with the Moonraker and Octopussy jackets) might make it a little more difficult to wear as a “tailored” piece. But I’m willing to forgive that since it get so many other details right. The fabric is 100% cotton with a lightweight polyester lining. Mango has sizes XS to XL available. Just note that I almost always have to size up in pieces from Mango.
I was so close to making this one the “Best Option”. For me, it perfectly captures the look of Roger Moore’s cream jacket in The Man with the Golden Gun. And then updates it in all the right ways. We still get the button front, four button pockets and camp style collar. But the shorter, trimmer cut and cleaner overall design make it a great choice for both casual and more contemporary tailored looks. The fabric is a practical 72% cotton. 20% polyester, 8% nylon blend. J. McLaughlin has sizes small to XL available on their site.
I wanted to get one on this list that gives us that Roger Moore Live and Let Die navy jacket look. This one from Robert Graham has some of the key style features but keeps the overall design more modern. Even though it doesn’t have either the shirt or camp style collar (which does, technically, make it field jacket, as the name says), we do get the button front and four button flap pockets. The fabric is a cotton, linen and elastane blend, so even with it’s trimmer fit it will have some stretch. Saks 5th Avenue has sizes small to XXXL in stock. Just note that Robert Graham pieces tend to fit big. So consider sizing down.
I you want to fully embrace that Roger Moore cream jacket look, but give it a modern twist, this is the one you want. Massimo Dutti has gone with a 100% linen, light cream fabric and an unstructured design. The lack of buttons on the pockets flaps and epaulets keep the piece looking clean and sleek. But the wider camp-style collar and slight bit of piping on the bottom pockets are nice call-backs to the 70s collar and contrasting stitching and on Sir Roger’s jacket. Part of their Limited Edition series, they have sizes small to XL available on their website.
The Investment Pieces
Saks 5th Avenue Field Jacket: on sale for $313.95
Another option to give us an updated take on Moore’s cream jacket. This one even has the drop-point camp-style collar! The jacket is made in Italy from a cotton/nylon blend and has an interior drawstring at the waist so you can give it a more fitted look. Regular price is $598.00 and Saks still has sizes small to XXXL in stock.
Lopez Aragon Masai Safari jacket or Borneo Safari Jacket: €299.00
I’m going to talk a little more about this Toledo, Spain based tailor in a future post. For now, I’ll just say: He makes really nice clothing! Great fabrics, awesome cuts and beautiful quality for a very fair price. I have a pair of his cotton/linen pants, and they’re some of my favorites for hotter weather. Take a look at his Instagram account to see more of his creations. And try and tell me that Masai Safari Jacket isn’t the perfect alternative for Sir Roger’s cream jacket! To be honest, I just added the photo of the Borneo jacket because it looks great.
If you’re a Bond-style fan and you don’t know about this one, you’ve been living under a rock since mid-May. It’s constantly selling out, but if you’re patient there could be a re-stock.
Do you have some alternatives for the James Bond safari jacket? Or any thoughts on the style? Let us know about them in the comments below! And don’t forget to check out our Facebook Page, Instagram Account and Pinterest Boards for more James Bond style advice, inspiration and info!