The brown suede shoes that Sean Connery wears with his hacking jacket and cavalry twill trousers in Goldfinger and Thunderball are something people often ask me about. Thy are 2-eyelet derby shoes in what essentially looks like a short chukka. The soles are dark brown rubber. The suede uppers, rubber soles and thicker laces make these more casual—but also more versatile—shoes. They work well with informal country wear like in Bond’s case, but they could just as easily be at home with a pair of jeans. They have a slight edge of formality over chukka boots, which allows them to be dressed up a little more whilst at the same time they can still be relatively casual shoes.
My best approximation of the style of this shoe.
Daniel Craig wears very similar shoes with his grey linen suit in Casino Royale.
In Thunderball, villain Emilio Largo played by Adolfo Celi wears a double-breasted navy blazer that has eight buttons with three to button. It’s a very rare style that recalls naval uniforms more than the standard double-breasted blazer does, and as a blazer it’s most famously associated with Prince Charles. Largo treats this blazer like a dressing gown and dons it without a shirt underneath when he gets out of the water after a dive. The only other things he wears with it are his black diving trousers and a burgundy silk day cravat. It’s not an ordinary way to wear a blazer, but aboard his own ship Largo can wear whatever he pleases. There is one scene, however, that shows him more dressed in his blazer, with a white button-cuff shirt and stone-coloured trousers, along with the day cravat.
The blazer is most likely English-tailored and has an appropriate structured, military cut with its padded shoulders, roped sleeveheads and clean chest. It has double vents, jetted hip pockets and three-button cuffs. The shanked buttons are made of polished brass, without any ornamentation.
Largo wearing the blazer with a shirt and trousers.
One of Sean Connery’s best and most popular warm-weather casual outfits is the one he wears on his visit to Palmyra. The camp shirt is a butcher stripe in blue-grey on white. It has a camp collar, cuffed short sleeves, breast pocket, split yoke and side vents. The hem is slightly curved so the front is a little longer than the back. The shirt has a straight fit through the body, which still looks very good without showing off Connery’s V-shaped torso.
The cream linen trousers have a flat front, narrow leg and plain hems. The hem is shorter than usual with no break, which in this case is so the trousers don’t rub against the foot. Bond’s footwear is brown leather sandals. Though not in brown, sandals were a favourite of the literary Bond. Along with most of the other casual outfits in Thunderball, this one holds up very well today.
Though I don’t know if it was a trend in 1965, Bond wears a matching sports shirt and trouser set in Thunderball. And it’s in a vivid royal blue. Out of Sean Connery’s casual Bahamas outfits in Thunderball, this one dates the worst. It looks like a well-fitting set of pyjamas, but Connery pulls it off. The shirt has a camp collar, four buttons down the front, and a straight hem. The hem of the short sleeves is turned up and sewn all the way around. The back of the shirt has shoulder pleats, which are pressed all the way down the shirt. There are two lower patch pockets on the front. If the shirt is of the quality we have come to expect from Bond, the white buttons are likely mother of pearl.
Though we see little of the trousers, they have a tapered leg and are pressed with a crease. Bond wears black slip-on shoes—probably the same shoes we see later when Bond puts his foot in the basin—and no socks. Goldfinger and Thunderball are the only times that Bond wears a straw hat. This pork pie hat is natural straw with a blue and white checked cotton ribbon. The hat has a telescopic crown with no pinch, and a short brim that’s turned up in back. A short brim is unusual for a straw hat since it provides little shade from the sun, but it’s part of the more typical pork pie style. To make up for the short brim, Bond wears the Wayferer-style sunglasses that we see more of later in the film.
Black isn’t the best camouflage at night, but at least it reflects no light so it’s better than light or bright-coloured clothing. Shades of greys are standard for night camouflage because they better blend in with surrounding. But similar to his black outfit in Goldfinger, Bond once again wears black to sneak around Largo’s Palmyra estate at night in Thunderball. The biggest problem with this outfit in the dark is the shiny buttons. Bond’s fitted black long-sleeve polo jumper has a three-button opening at the neck, of which he fastens various buttons at different times, but never the top button. It has ribbed cuffs and a ribbed hem.
The black trousers have flat front with button-side adjusters and plain bottoms. Bond wears black dress ankle boots, probably the same as what he wears with his suits in this film. They are a shorter ankle height, fit with elastic and have leather soles, which are not the best choice for scaling a roof.
On another note, check out the article I wrote for Clothes on Film—On Her Majesty’s Secret Service: The Primer for Skyfall.
In Thunderball, Bond wears a brown and black mix worsted-mohair blend suit by Anthony Sinclair to the office. Brown hasn’t always been accepted for citywear, though Bernard Lee’s M has also worn brown to the office and the secret service doesn’t have the same dress code that banking would. Bond’s suit is a 3-piece in the same style as the grey flannel suit he wore earlier in Thunderball. The jacket is Sinclair’s typical cut with two buttons on the front, natural shoulders, roped sleeveheads and a draped chest. The lapel rolls gently to the top button, similar to the lapel on a button-3 jacket. The jacket is minimally detailed with jetted pockets and no vent at the back. The cuffs have the standard 4 buttons. The waistcoat buttons 6 and is cut straight across the bottom, as was the current fashion. The suit trousers have double forward pleats, turn-ups and button-tab side adjusters.
The most basic complement to the brown suit is the cream shirt. Bond’s cream shirt from Turnbull & Asser has a spread collar and cocktail cuffs. His tie is a brown grenadine, tied in a four-in-hand knot. Bond’s shoes are short, black, elastic-gusseted boots, following the city standard to black footwear even though brown would be a better match. Boots are the best complement to a narrow trouser leg like Connery wears. Narrow trouser legs don’t break well over the shoe and need to be hemmed shorter to look neater. Because they are hemmed shorter the boot makes it less likely for the socks to show when walking. Bond’s brown socks that match the trousers continue the leg line in case sock is exposed when walking.
“I think I had a hat when I came in,” recalls Bond as he walks out of the office looking at an empty hat tree. Not only is the trilby hat missing, but so is the rest of the outfit: the navy blazer, grey trousers, blue shirt and navy tie.
This suit was featured inside a GQ feature on Anthony Sinclair in 1966, but with a striped knitted tie in place of the grenadine. This suit, sans waistcoat, was also sold at auction at Christie’s in South Kensington on 11 December 1997 for £5,175.
Real men do indeed wear pink. Bond wears a classic pink and white gingham short-sleeve shirt on the beach in Thunderball. The shirt has a camp collar and plain front, an open breast pocket, a straight hem with side vents and shoulder pleats at the back. If you’re wearing this shirt and someone tells you you’re wearing a picnic table cloth, remind them that the classic picnic table cloth is red, not pink. The Jantzen swimming trunks are the same as what Bond wore earlier in the film, but in a mottled pink that looks like linen and worn without a belt. Bond also dons a pair of Wayfarer-style sunglasses.
When at Shrublands helath clinic in Thunderball, Bond wears some towelling clothes provided by the clinic. His pale blue dressing gown has a narrow shawl collar, a patch breast pocket and a belted waist. It’s clearly not Bond’s own dressing gown due to it not fitting him so well, and the shoulders extend down his arms. The sleeves extend past the elbow, though if the shoulders fit properly the sleeves would end above the elbow. The length is a few inches above the knee, shorter than the typical dressing gown.
Under the dressing gown Bond wears a beige towel wrap around his waist. The wrap has an elasticised waistband that closes at the side and a patch pocket on the front.