With the February 13 release of Kingsman: The Secret Service, we see the return to the screen of one of cinema’s most enduring characters: the British gentleman spy.
In Kingsman, that role is filled by Colin Firth (and who better to serve king and country than the man who took home an Oscar for playing the lead in The King’s Speech?). He’s dashing, he’s debonair, and he’s the embodiment of the persona perfected by James Bond and The Avenger’s John Steed. Women want to be with them and men want to be them. And now you can—or you can look like them, at least. And with the right gadgets, a bunch of phony passports and the backing of a clandestine government agency, you’ll be ready to embark on thrilling undercover missions all over the world.
Let’s start at the top: if you’re going to be an elite British agent, you’ll need the right headwear. While James Bond was known to wear the occasional fedora, the epitome of spy headgear is John Steed’s bowler, complete with steel plate. This might help you fend off the deadly bowler of the henchman Oddjob, which, when thrown correctly, could knock the head right off a marble statue. (As deadly as the spy chapeau became over the years, it’s no wonder that men’s hats have gone out of style.)
Next comes the suit—tailored, and from Saville Row, naturally. But the well-dressed spy also has been known to carry radioactive lint in his pockets (so that he can be more easily tracked by the Home Office), and a “snap trap” in the interior breast pocket (to teach a lesson to thugs who are searching you for weapons). In the film GoldenEye, Peirce Brosnan’s Bond also wore a leather belt with a pistol hidden in the buckle that was capable of firing a grappling hook with a 75-foot wire. Of course, that might be a bit difficult to find at your local department store.
Accessories? Let’s start with the wristwatch. Depending on the model (and your mission), your wristwatch should be able to fire a laser beam, turn into an electromagnet, transform into a rotating saw, receive digital messages, or display a video transmission. (Come to think of it, we really do have watches that can receive digital messages and display video transmissions. You’re in luck!) Your glasses should let you see X-ray images, or contain a “flash-bang” charge, depending on how dire your circumstances may be. And the handle of your umbrella should be a sword—because you never know when you might find yourself in a really fierce swordfight.
Ladies, if you’re feeling a bit clandestine, you’ll be dressing more mod as opposed to your gentleman counterpart’s traditional. Your rings should contain micro-cameras, your earrings should be made up of a set of lockpicks, and your kinky boots should have room for you to conceal a small pistol. Gas-spraying perfume atomizers and exploding charm bracelets can also come in handy.
And shoes? According to Kingsman’s trailer, the infamous “shoe-dagger,” the knife that pops out of the toe with the click of the heel, is making a comeback. But even though the modern smart phone has made it obsolete, we prefer Maxwell Smart’s shoe phone. (Was today’s ingenious smart phone named after Maxwell Smart? Hmm…)
Remember: you can have the skills, and you can have the smarts, but if you don’t have the looks, you’re not really a secret agent—not in the movies, anyway. With the right threads (coupled with the right gadgetry), you’ll be ready for your own license to thrill.