In Never Say Never Again, Sean Connery shows off a better body than he had when he had left the James Bond series in Diamonds Are Forever. For his final scene as James Bond, Connery wears a pair of white swimming trunks. They have red stripes down the sides that curve into the hem and form a vent. Between the red and white sections is a thin line of black piping. The swimming trunks sit about three inches below the waist and have a short inseam of approximately 3 inches.
These swimming trunks have a similar fit to what Sean Connery wears 18 years earlier in Thunderball, but the style has been updated. They are a little looser around the hips, and the material looks lighter. These swimming trunks resemble the athletic shorts that were popular in the 1980s. Instead of a belt, these trunks have an elasticised waist and maybe a drawstring.
In trying to find out who sold these swimming trunks, I’ve discovered that many brands at the time made very similar trunks. Some of these brands include Balboa, Jantzen (who made Sean Connery’s swimming trunks in Thunderball), Islander, Laguna and Styled in California. Most of these brands make their trunks with a flapped patch pocket on the right side, with Jantzen being the exception. Since these swimming trunks do not have a side pocket, Jantzen possibly the maker of these trunks. That would be a welcome throwback to Thunderball, the film that Never Say Never Again remade.
Very little of Daniel Craig’s black swimming trunks in Casino Royale are seen. These trunks have a drawstring waistband, a thick white stripe on either side of the hips and a dark burgundy piece that curves from the bottom of the leg up to the waistband and over the seat, leaving a black semicircle at the bottom of the legs and seat. Like the light blue swimming trunks that Daniel Craig wears earlier in Casino Royale, the black trunks have a low rise, very short inseam and an overall tight fit that accentuates Daniel Craig’s “perfectly-formed arse”. Unlike the Skyfall swimming trunks, these have a long enough rise so that Craig doesn’t show buttock cleavage when he sits down. The maker of these trunks is unknown, and they were not made by La Perla like the light blue trunks earlier in the film.
As the weather gets warmer it’s time to look at summer clothes again. In Thunderball, Sean Connery briefly wears a camp shirt in blue and white gingham, a check that is great for summer in any type of shirt. The shirt has a camp collar, an open breast pocket, a straight hem with side vents and shoulder pleats at the back. Other than the colour, the shirt is the same as the pink and white gingham shirt Connery also wears in Thunderball.
The light blue swimming trunks from Jantzen are the same as what Connery wears with the rose-coloured camp shirt earlier in the film. They sit just below the waist and have a short inseam. The trunks have button-down belt loops that hold a built-in black belt.
Light blue appears to be Bond’s favourite colour for swimming trunks. We’ve seen it in From Russia With Love, Thunderball and Casino Royale. The ones in Goldfinger are still blue but in a darker shade. The now well-known swimming trunks from Woman of Straw are also light blue. Bond continues with sky blue swimming trunks in Skyfall, in Orlebar Brown’s Setter model. They have a zip fly, a snap fastener waist-closure, side-adjusters on the waistband, angled side pockets, short vents at the side of each leg, and zipped rear pockets. These have a not-too-short inseam of just over 4 inches, but in following the trend of clothes fitting too small these swimming trunks are too short in the rise. Though it grabs the attention of women, there should be no buttock cleavage when seated. Bond’s “builder’s bum” is out of character—it’s just as crass to let the buttocks accidentally show as it is to show them for sex appeal—but this exposure is clearly no accident. If they fit better, these would be some of the nicest swimming trunks of the series.
In Woman of Straw, Sean Connery wears a pair of light blue swimming shorts that are now well-known because of Designing 007 at the Barbican last year. The shorts were hardly seen in the film, but a picture of Connery wearing them surfaced and Sunspel recreated them for the Barbican show since they were mistakenly thought to have been worn in Thunderball. These shorts might have more in common with the From Russia With Love swimming trunks, which have a similar front pocket. They are arguably more elegant and more refined than any that Connery wore in the Bond films. The original shorts have a medium-low rise, an inseam of about 3 inches, an extended waistband closure, and a set-in pocket on the front right with a button-down flap. There is a small round cutout at the at the bottom of the side of each leg. The waist is fitted without a belt. On top Connery wears a light blue shirt with a spread collar and the cuffs rolled up. The bottom is cut with a vent at each side.
The sexual emphasis of the Bond films was always placed more on the Bond girls than on Bond himself. That changed in Casino Royale when Daniel Craig was put into a pair of skimpy blue swimming trunks. Sean Connery’s Jantzen swimming trunks in Thunderball were definitely on the skimpy side, but that was typical for the 1960s. Most men in recent decades wear larger board shorts, but Daniel Craig’s swimming trunks fit tightly with a low rise and short inseam. They go to the extreme of men’s swimming trunks without being swim briefs. These swimming trunks are the “Grigioperla” model from La Perla. They are light blue in the front and navy in the back, have a navy stripe on each side, and have a navy waistband with a light blue drawstring.
If a man wears something made of terrycloth it’s typically a robe. In honour of Sean Connery’s birthday, we’ll look at a more unusual piece of towel-wear, a light blue playsuit from Goldfinger. A playsuit is a jumpsuit with short legs, something typically worn by women. They’re actually quite popular in women’s fashions this summer, but they’re not made of terrycloth. Bond’s playsuit zips three-quarters up the chest and has a button and loop that can close the top, which can occasionally be found of camp collars like this playsuit has. It has a built-in belt around the waist with elastic around the back. There’s an open patch breast pocket and large patch pockets below the belt.
Underneath the playsuit Bond wears tight slate blue swimming trunks, detailed with lighter blue bands just below the top of the waist and just above the hem of each leg. His shoes are light blue canvas slip-ons.
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.