The Connery Shirt from Deo Veritas

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Deo Veritas, one of the most prominent online made-to-measure shirtmakers, approached me earlier this year about partnering on a James Bond-related shirt project together. We discussed a few different ideas and they made a few samples, but ultimately we put our resources towards replicating the classic Sean Connery Bond shirt, specifically as seen in From Russia with Love and Thunderball. All details of the shirt have been replicated as closely as possible.

The inspiration for this shirt

The starting points were the collar and cuffs, the most defining aspects of a shirt. The collar that Connery wears in both From Russia with Love and Thunderball is very similar to the Classic Turnbull & Asser collar with a very similar shape and spread width, but it appears to be just slightly larger in scale and has less tie space. The Connery collar is a moderate spread in both the width of the points and the overall scale, flattering to almost any face. Connery’s collar does not have as much of the outward flare that the Classic Turnbull & Asser collar has, but some of it is still present. This collar has a 3-inch point length, a 1 3/4-inch back height and a 1/4-inch tie space. I draughted a pattern for the collar, and Deo Veritas perfectly executed it.

In the British tradition, the collar is stitched 1/4-inch from the edge and is structured with a stiff sewn (non-fused) interfacing. Only a non-fused interfacing is able to give the collar it’s gentle and elegant roll that can be seen in all of Connery’s shirts. The collar has removable stiffeners, but the stiffeners are of only average quality. I use my own set in most of my shirts anyway.

The cocktail cuffs are the most distinctive aspect of Connery’s shirts. On the shirt pictured here, however, the wrong cuff pattern was used. In the initial development, one of the shirts we attempted to copy was Roger Moore’s fly-front shirt from Live and Let Die, which has a very similar cuff to Connery’s, and by mistake that pattern was used here.

I developed a cocktail cuff for this shirt based on Connery’s cocktail cuff. Compared to the cuff in this photo, Connery’s cuff is slightly smaller in scale, is more rounded and uses a lighter sewn interfacing. The cuff came out perfectly on the initial test shirt but unfortunately there was a mix-up on my final shirt, though the overall look here is not noticeably different. The cuff is stitched 1/4-inch from the edge. In the British tradition, the cuff is attached to the sleeve with gathers around the entire cuff instead of Deo Veritas’ standard pleats. Like on Connery’s shirts, there is no gauntlet button.

The front placket copies the traditional English placket found on Connery’s shirts, in a narrow 1 3/16 inches and stitched 3/8-inch from the edge. There are seven buttons down the front, and the bottom button acts like an extra button on the hips that helps to anchor the shirt in place. Turnbull & Asser only does six buttons, but they don’t extend down as far.

The back of the shirt features a split yoke, shoulder pleats and darts at the waist. Though it’s uncommon to find a shirt with both pleats and darts at the back, Connery’s shirts prove that there is no reason why they can work together. The shoulder pleats provide ease over the shoulder blades and allow for an easy range of motion. Connery needed pleats both for his strong build and to move well in action scenes. The darts give shape to the shirt’s waist, and in the case of Connery’s shirts the shape was gentle. Connery had a very large drop from his chest to his waist, and he needed both darts and pleats to fit his unusually athletic figure. A normal man like me can still benefit from having both pleats and darts in the back.

Darts on Connery’s Turnbull & Asser shirts were used to clean up the fit around the waist and not used to give his shirts a tight fit. Likewise, I gave my measurements to Deo Veritas to achieve a similar type of fit and not the close fit that I usually like. However. this shirt does not need to have the fuller fit of Connery’s shirts and can be done in the same style with a closer fit.

I requested less taper in the sleeves (Deo Veritas usually cuts a close-fitting sleeve) and gave them a little extra length so that they would not stress at the elbow when bending my arm, and I recommend this—even if you like a close fit—to extend the life of the shirt. I also find fitting the sleeves like this to be necessary because the sleeves are positioned in an angle slightly more downward than on a traditional English shirt, but the position is not so downward as to inhibit movement.

The shirt tails are rounded with a gusset for reinforcement, but they do not exactly copy—and do need to exactly copy—Turnbull & Asser’s signature hexagonal gusset design.

Deo Veritas typically uses thick buttons when choosing their mother of pearl option, but I requested thin mother-of-pearl buttons to follow the English tradition for this shirt, and I think thinner buttons look more elegant and find them easier to fasten.

The fabric is the Light Blue Poplin 120s that can be purchased on the Deo Veritas website. It is a lightweight, 2-ply, 100% Egyptian cotton by Soktas. Being poplin, it is not the easiest fabric to iron, and it is by any means wrinkle-resistant, but it much better in both senses than Sea Island cotton is. Deo Veritas added it to their site especially for this project, and its smooth, shiny finish makes this the perfect fabric for the Connery look. The price is $125 before adding the cost of mother-of-pearl buttons and sewn collar and cuff interfacings.

I encountered a lot of shrinkage with this fabric (as is typical for any good cotton), but Deo Veritas builds in shrinkage to the shirt. Since I only laundered the shirt once before taking the photos, it will shrink slightly more from that in the next couple of washings.

To receive all of the specifications noted here, advance to the measurements section of the Deo Veritas Shirt Designer and input CONNERY SHIRT SPEC under the box near the bottom of the page labeled “Other”.  This will ensure that all the special features shown follow the spec and pattern that is featured here.

Mother of pearl buttons and sewn interlinings need to be selected when building the shirt to get those options because of the extra cost, but by requesting CONNERY SHIRT SPEC you will get all the proper details I worked out with them.

With my Deo Veritas shirt I am wearing tuc-pleat (shallow forward pleat) flannel trousers with D-ring side tabs from Paul Stuart and a midnight blue garza grossa grenadine tie from Sam Hober. The photoshoot was held outside of a neo-Gothic townhouse where Sean Connery himself lives on the upper two floors for part of the year.

I received my shirt free as part of this project.

Photos by Janna Levin

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36 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks Matt!

    Suits you fine and certainly you have chosen a nice inspiration – I like that TB combination very much! And it is kind of refreshing to see a shirt which is not overtight but rather relaxed in cut and style.

  2. So I have to ask, for the spirit of bond which one should we get?

    Mr. Masons fish connery shirt?
    Turnbull asser connery shirt?
    Deo Veritas connery shirt?

    • Of these three, Turnbull & Asser makes the best quality shirt, but it’s also by far the most expensive. The Mason & Sons shirts use better fabrics than the Deo Veritas fabrics I have (not that there is anything wrong with the Deo Veritas fabrics), but it also costs slightly more. This shirt I developed, however, is the closest in design to Connery’s original shirts. Turnbull & Asser will not make the Connery cuff, even in bespoke. There will soon be a feature on a Mason & Sons shirt here. I recommend trying shirts from multiple makers. There’s always room for more shirts in a man’s wardrobe.

      • >> Turnbull & Asser will not make the Connery cuff, even in bespoke.

        Strange – what is their rationale? Looking at the T&A history they’ve certainly accommodated stranger or more distinctive requests for clients before.

      • I’ve just been told that they don’t want to do it and that they prefer their current cocktail cuff design. That attitude is common in English bespoke.

      • You would think turnbull asser would raise their hands to people who actually wanted to drop cash to purchase bond accurate items. I have been bugging them for over five years to release the rest of the bond neckties and they still have the same three or four. I just don’t understand. Magnoli is selling knock off neckties with their design but I refuse to go that route.

      • Saul, I agree about the ties. I don’t find Brosnan’s ties to be as offensive as some but I am frustrated that they only reproduce his ugliest ties (the black knitted silk notwithstanding).
        I did manage to buy on ebay the tie Bond wears in the beginning of Tomorrow Never Dies but in a red and blue colourway instead of copper and blue. The red is a little too bright for my taste, but I can’t argue that it’s not beautifully made. It makes me thirst for more T&A ties. What I really want is the beautiful ruby one briefly seen in Hong Kong from Die Another Day, then I think I’ll be happy.

      • You take the ruby and I will take the one he wore in bilbao. I have bought so many other versions of that particular necktie from other designers and still can’t get it right.

  3. Matt, thank you for making this project possible and available for all of us Bond fans to purchase! I checked out the Deo Veritas page following your link and noticed that some of the more detailed specifications are not select-able.

    Can we somehow forgo the design page (other than specifying for MOP buttons and sewn interlining), put in the fit measurements and then just email them to request for the “Connery Shirt Spec” and they will know include all the collar and cuff design/details?

    On a side note I really admire your design for the LALD cuffs – are they available for order now, with other Connery shirt specs (does Deo Veritas keep the pattern)?

    • Just select the closest option for each in the design page, and they will override your choices with the proper designs.

      The cuff pictured actually turned out to be a bit of a combination of the Live and Let Die cuff and the Connery cuff. I would recommend just going with the Connery cuff, as it’s more accurate to a Bond style and not that different. But I can contact them to see if they will still sell this cuff.

  4. Nicely done Matt! I’ll just add that to the list…

    Also, would you say this shirt is a similar quality to your cocktail cuff shirt by the Hemrajani Brothers? What are the differences?

  5. Yes, this shirt is similar of similar quality to Hemrajani. While the Hemrajani shirt follows more of my personal ideas, this shirt is more focused on copying Connery’s shirt.

  6. Looking forward to your write-up on the Mason & Sons Mr. Fish shirt. I’ve been on the fence about getting one for quite a while. My main apprehension has been the collar. If it’s too small or two wide, it won’t look right on me.

  7. I went to T&A the other week to try their shirts but they were either too large or too small. Rather poor really. Especially as im neither over weight or skinny. Guess you have to bespoke wirh them.

      • I think the fullness looks fine. Shirts that fit too narrowly look uncomfortable to me. But that’s just my preference. It’s a simple but great looking shirt.

    • I find RTW T&A shirts fit superbly-apart from the length of the sleeves (I have short arms) which are easily altered by a local tailor. Definitely my favourite shirts.

  8. Very nice product indeed, although it might deserve to be taken in in the back. I used to shop at Pink and T.M.Lewin as well as Turnbull and Asser in my London days and after, but finally settled for a made to measure producer in Florence. At least they do whatever you want them to do.
    And not the other way around. I was growing a little fed up to have the impression of having a ‘station wagon’ feel in my back.
    Back in early 1998, I bought the famous copper and blue tie at Turnbull. In the’ old money’ style mentioned by Renard, I have been keen to have it repaired few times, and still enjoy wearing it. I have called Turnbull and Asser to ask why they would not reproduce it, but it is not in the agenda. This type of arrogant attitude is preventing them from monetising on customers’ demand.
    Quite a shame indeed.
    Maybe I should ask Sam Hober to make one from scratch ?

      • Could you elaborate more on that Matt? Do you mean you can ask Hober for a “replica Bond tie” and he will know what you mean?

      • I just mean that they have the grenadine silk to make a Bond tie, but they don’t replicate silks. They would not be able to or want to replicate one of Turnbull & Asser’s patterns.

        If you want a replica of one of Connery’s grenadine ties, you’ll have to specify the width and that you want them to use the wrong side of the silk.

  9. I would gladly share a drink and a Cuban stick 😉
    But apart from Siglo VI, more fond of Montecristos Especiales. (Co-) incidentally, those were Roger’s favourite.

  10. I already have one white cotton poplin shirt with cocktail cuffs from them and it fits nicely. You’re correct I do feel the sleeves a bit close cut but it isn’t a real issue. I’ll try the Connery spec next but I think medium point collars work better for me. Thanks for the great post. I do love those cocktail cuffs!

  11. Btw, I hope it goes without saying but these types of projects/collaborations are fantastic and I hope you do more of them in the future!

    (Would be funny if T&A finally got on board with the program!)

  12. Last year I ordered two cocktail cuffs shirts at Deo Veritas. The result was quite awful. The issue was the cuffs themselves far too large after buttonning them. Deo Veritas charged me 50 dollars to fix it and them shipped back the shirts. Of course I had to pay extra postage. Much to my disapointement instead a careful packaging the shirts were rolled in a single paper and I had to drop them to a local shop. I feel it’s better not to comment over their customers service.
    A big disapointment.

    • I’m sorry you had such a poor experience. This was not my experience at all. The shirts came meticulously packaged. I know a number of other people who also have had excellent experiences with Deo Veritas.

    • I second what Matt said. I think Deo Veritas is an awesome shirtmaker. I had an issue a few months back with fit (albeit my error) and I was able to send the shirt back for repair with no issues / minimal cost. They have a very transparent, no fault (free) repair policy for first orders as well. I now have 6 Deo Veritas shirts and they are by far the best dress shirts I own.

  13. Very nice project! Can you tell me why you chose to stitch on the buttons with light blue thread, matching the fabric of the shirt? I would think that white thread would have been a more traditional and bond-like choice.

  14. Matt, what’s the spread width for the collar you designed? I can’t get Deo Veritas where I live, but I’d still like to get a shirt with as similar a collar as possible?

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