Archives: Shirts

How to dress like James Bond – Casino Royale

I’m a big James Bond fan.

I always aspired to have the poise and confidence that my favorite fictional spy is known for. And this summer, with the combination of the heat and my new-found interest in reading Ian Fleming’s original novels, I set out on a lofty goal. One that would require hours and hours of online research and much pause/play of the film Casino Royale. All in hopes that I could dress like James Bond.

In the film, Bond visits Nassau on “vacation” and is seen sporting a light grey linen suit with a very cool white dress shirt worn underneath. Now for those of you that may need a refresher, check out this excellent blog post to get a better view of the original shirt from the film.

It’s this white shirt that I wanted to recreate. My reasoning was two-fold. First, it’s the perfect time of year to sport a sophisticated short sleeve dress shirt and secondly, I could wear it under my new linen/wool sportcoat.

Let’s go through it from the beginning and then you can tell me how authentic (or inauthentic!) I may have been.

We’ve dubbed the shirt, Royal.


So, if this was to be a warm weather shirt, we had two options – cotton or linen.

Linen breathes like a screen door and is a warm weather staple, albeit a wrinkly one. Cotton is not only breathable, but versatile – it looks right at home in either the office or on a warm cafe patio.

We could have went either way, but to stay true to the film, we chose cotton.



Here’s where things get interesting. Because second to the fabric, I’d argue that the collar style has a huge impact on the overall level of formality of a dress shirt. A very shallow, frumpy looking collar is going to convey a relaxed look. Consequently, you’re nixing any chance of wearing a sportcoat, as any weak collar will fold under the pressure of a jacket. On the other hand, a stiffer collar will hold up better and look a little more dressy.

Bond’s shirt had a very strong collar. It was almost the type of collar you’d expect on a more formal evening shirt. But this selection makes sense when you look back at other bond films; his style is often traditional and simple. That is, he’s not wearing bright color or bold pocket squares. And usually when he’s dressed casually, it’s still more dressed up than those around him.

So we chose our 2-inch traditional collar to keep the shirt dressy and to pair well with a jacket.


Let’s talk about the epaulettes. Common on many military uniforms, epaulettes were typically functional – one would button them down over their berets. Today, you rarely see them on clothing, expect the odd shirt at the mall, and even then it’s usually marketed towards a much younger audience. And this is rather odd, because epaulettes are a very masculine feature on clothing.

In my opinion, this is what makes the shirt. Because it’s a very unique detail, and honestly, it’s pretty subtle, isn’t it? With the white on white, you can barely make them out until you look close. And this is something people are only going to notice when they are up close talking to you. They aren’t a distraction, but an enhancement.


Contrast lining

Here’s where we departed a little bit from the film. We wanted to have a little fun with the contrast lining inside the collar, but we didn’t want anything too distracting. In other words, we didn’t want to add color for the sake of adding color.

What we ended up with was a very coastal, and in my opinion – Mediterranean, fabric. The blue refers to the top and bottom contrast button threading, and will pair nicely with the summer sportcoat I built a month ago.


Overall style

Clean, neat, and masculine.

That’s how I would describe Bond’s succinctly.

A couple other things you should know is that we cut the shirt a little on the short side so that one could wear it untucked. However, there is enough shirt tail to still be tucked in neatly, without fear of the sides coming out.

Make it your own

Naturally, you can grab the shirt for yourself by visiting our online store. Alternatively, you can take the tips above and build your own shirt. Because many of the style points above transcend fabric and will help you to build one awesome summer dress shirt.

Wrap up

What do you think? How did we do? We tried our best to capture the key details of this shirt, while still adding a little BE uniqueness.

By Ryan Wagner

The Perfect Shirt for Summer – Part I

As I am sure you would expect, those of us at BE have ordered some summer shirts.

And as they begin to trickle in, we thought that it would be fun to feature each one in its own blog post. This way, we can give you some insight into how we design our own shirts.

Summer is a fun time to start something like this. Because shirt style is a little less formal and a little more playful. For instance, the business stripes and plaids take a back seat to the prints and the more textured fabrics, like linen.

Since Brett’s shirt arrived first, we are going to kick off the Perfect Shirt for Summer series with a versatile print style. In my opinion, it has Mediterranean vacation written all over it.

Consequently, we’re calling it the Sorrento, after the peninsula located in Southern Italy.

But don’t think that you need to be zipping around the Italian coastline in your vintage Fiat in order to wear a shirt like this; Brett drives a 4Runner!

So, let’s break it down.


Brett wanted something semi-casual. A shirt that he could wear to the office, but that would also pass for poolside style. What he ended up with was a white with blue print. The abstract design has coastal references and just looks downright cool.

To dress it up, Brett can carefully choose a bow tie or neck tie (this is tricky though, for any print design), and wear the sleeves down and cuffs buttoned. Or, he can loosen the collar and roll the sleeves up for happy hour on a patio.


Regarding the cuffs, Brett wanted to do something a little different and so he chose the envelope style. This is a unique cuff design and one that you don’t see very often.

I think it has an almost vintage appeal.



Depending on which day of the week it is, I sometimes feel that the button down collar is formal and then sometimes I say just the opposite. Today, I’m thinking it depends on the fabric. And with the more casual print fabric of the Sorrento, I think Brett really nailed it with the button down collar. I say this because the buttons help to add some structure and help the collar maintain its shape. After all, there are no collar stays, so this is important.



You probably already noticed the red button hole stitching on the cuff, didn’t you? The bright red looks great up against the white of the shirt and blue background. And when you wear the sleeves down and buttoned, it provides you with an opportunity to show off the detail of the shirt.

However, you may notice that Brett didn’t carry the accent theme across all of the button holes, as that would make for a potentially distracting shirt (especially on a predominately white background).


Wrap up

Want to be just like Brett?! The Sorrento is available today in our online store.

And we will continue to build on this series.

By Ryan Wagner

The only 2 casual dress shirts you need

No matter how regal your sartorial leanings may be, we all find ourselves in a spot sometimes where we just want to wear something a bit more casual and roll the sleeves up. So, this week we are taking a close look at the 2 casual dress shirts you need. Not only are they versatile, but they are unique options to help set you apart from the crowd.


Plaid is back in style, gentlemen. Although, one could argue that it never really fell out of style!

And today we have far more options of plaid shirts from which to choose than we did years ago. So, it makes perfect sense that if you’re going to wear plaid, it may as well be something unique!

Here’s an example:


It’s a winter-weight plaid – so it’s great for the present season – and it has a lot more complexity than what you may think of as a common plaid pattern. Due to its heavier construction, the shirt comes off more casual. However, you can still pair a nice knit neck tie in a green, blue or brown shade. Add a pocket or two, roll the sleeves up, add a cardigan, and you have a great looking casual outfit.


Chambray is a very popular fabric today. It’s a mid-weight cotton and is especially popular among men who work in a more relaxed office environment and don’t want to look too dressed up (what’s that?!).

Regardless, we really like the chambray because of its versatility. Not only is it the perfect casual shirt for when you want to dress it down and roll the sleeves up, but you can still pair a great looking bold neck tie and wear your best pants. And don’t forget your blazer!


In case you were wondering about pockets, yes, this is the shirt you want to put some pockets on. Add one or two. Maybe one with a flap, maybe one without.

There’s just something about a chambray fabric that seems to say “I’m here to get some work done!”


So, there you have it. Two casual shirts that need to be in your closet. In our experience, there are just so many combinations you can build with these shirts that we think these 2 can give you the best bang for your buck!

By Ryan Wagner


Introducing our first featured shirt – the Daily Rider


If you’ve been wandering around our online store lately you probably noticed a category of shirts designated as Featured Shirts.

What we’ve done is created a place for our collaborative shirts to live. What does this mean? Well, a collaborative shirt is one that we helped build with the help of another local business that we really admire. To help kick off this series, we teamed with the wonderful cyclists over at The Bespoke Pedaler. We gave them full control over the shirt’s style and detailing.

And the result? An absolutely wonderful shirt that is truly one of a kind. Jointly, we decided to name it the Daily Rider in honor of it’s urban cyclist inspiration.

Now, you can find many of the shirt’s details on our website, but we wanted to go a bit deeper and really explain how this shirt came to be and go into more detail on the shirt’s unique styling.

Enter Emily Hogle and Rick Evans – the braintrust behind The Bespoke Pedaler, a retail shop in Denver geared towards the urban cyclist. We thought, who better to help us design a great looking business casual dress shirt that a guy can wear on his bike and then actually want to wear to the office after he arrives?

Here’s how the shirt turned out…

The fabric

Rick selected a versatile fabric that he could both dress up for the office with a great looking neck tie, but also one that he could roll the sleeves up and comfortably ease into happy hour. This chevron check is made in one of our finest cottons and comes in a medium weight. Perfect for layering under a cable knit sweater as you pedal into the office!

A subtle chambray contrast collar helps to ground the shirt and the dark buttons don’t overly call attention to themselves. It’s important that the details don’t clash with the bold red and black check pattern.


The cycling details

Firstly, you’ll notice a fun cycling contrast fabric on the cuffs. This is a real fun fabric that you’ll find nowhere else.

Secondly, Rick wanted to have a little more room in the shoulders for when he’s riding down on the drops or in an otherwise crouched position. BE founder Ron Wagner suggested an inverted box pleat to give him the room that he was seeking. And the great thing about this pleat is that it’s very subtle, especially so in this particular fabric. It almost blends in because of the check pattern. In contrast, if the fabric was a solid French blue, such a pleat would become more obvious.

Furthermore, the tail of the shirt is rounded. It’s a little subtle, but you can see in the image below that the shirt tail isn’t as pronounced, or for that matter, as long, as your typical dress shirt. Rick and Emily chose this style because Rick knew that he would often be wearing the shirt untucked and didn’t want to have a shirt tail so long that he may be sitting on it! However, we were careful to not cut the tail too short that it wouldn’t cover Rick’s back fully.



And just for good style…

Rick also had a couple other details he wanted to add to round out the shirt and ensure that it was truly one of a kind. He chose a corner cuff because of its contemporary style and side gussets on the side seams since he would be wearing the shirt untucked much of the time. It’s worth noting that these side gussets are an often overlooked aspect of many shirts. Nowadays, it’s becoming a bit of a giveaway of a custom shirt.

The contrast fabric on the collar and the placket is also a fun choice. The grey chambray really works well to complement the grey and black in the shirt fabric. A bright color, for instance, would clash with the strong red and black so a somewhat subdued grey was a great choice.

Wrap up

We had a great time designing this shirt with The Bespoke Pedaler and we couldn’t be happier with how it came out.

If you’re in the Denver area, swing by the Pedaler and see the real deal on display. And the shirt is available for purchase at the BE store (so long as the fabric is in stock!).

By Ryan Wagner