James Bond’s Ecru and Cream Shirts

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Sean Connery wearing an ecru shirt in From Russia With Love
Sean Connery wearing an ecru silk shirt from Turnbull & Asser in From Russia With Love

Ecru comes from the French word écru, meaning raw. It is used to describe shirtings ranging anywhere from beige to pale yellow to off-white ivory. Properly, ecru should be used to describe a light grey-ish beige. Turnbull & Asser (along with most other British shops) uses the word “cream” on their website to describe their pale yellow shirts, though when I asked what they call the colour an English employee at the New York store said “ecru.” Ecru and cream shirts pair better with browns and greens than pure white, but they can also be a great match for blue and grey suits, as the photos here show.

Roger Moore wearing a very cream shirt in Moonraker
Roger Moore wearing an ivory silk shirt from Frank Foster in Moonraker

Ecru often describes the raw colour of silk and linen, and silk shirts traditionally come in an off-white ecru rather than in a pure white. A number of the ecru or cream shirts that James Bond wears are made of silk as an even more luxurious alternative to fine and silky cotton shirts that Bond typically wears.

Roger Moore wearing a cream shirt in For Your Eyes Only
Roger Moore wearing a cream cotton poplin shirt from Frank Foster with a strong yellow tone in For Your Eyes Only

Ecru and cream are versatile colours. Roger Moore is a big fan of ecru and cream shirts and wears them at least once in all of his James Bond films. In the sixth and final season of The Saint, Roger Moore wears cream shirts with his suits and sports coats almost exclusively. Sean Connery wears a number of cream shirts throughout his tenure as Bond, and Pierce Brosnan wears a number of shirts in light ecru—which can be called ivory—in his first two Bond films. Some may consider ecru and cream to be between light blue and white in formality, though all three are appropriate for most suit-wearing occasions. If white is too stark for your complexion, ecru or cream may be a better choice.

Cream and ecru shirts are currently out of fashion, and Daniel Craig has yet to wear such a shirt in his James Bond films. They often can have an aged look compared to a white, making them look a bit more old-fashioned.

9 COMMENTS

  1. Did they wear ecru for style or to keep a better light balance for the picture and the actors complexion?

  2. The ecru shirts were probably chosen for all of those reasons. Sadly, Bond hasn't worn an ecru shirt since the 80s.

  3. I'm intresting for what complexion ecru shirt is better than white. In this pictures I can see that actors (especially Connery) are little tanned.

  4. Do beige shirts also count as ecru/cream shirts or is it something different? Also could it be worn with suits and what color of the suits if it can work?

    • Beige shirts are not ecru. Roger Moore could make them work with suits in The Persuaders, but generally they work best in casual settings. They pair best with other earth tones.

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