Matching Blue Shirt and Trousers in Thunderball

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Thunderball-Blue-Casual

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.

Thunderball-Blue-Casual-2

Though we see little of the trousers, they have a tapered leg and are pressed with a crease. Bond wears shiny black slip-on shoes and no socks. The shoes are possibly made of rubber. 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.

Thunderball-Blue-Casual-3

26 COMMENTS

  1. I think it’s a great colour and great shirt. Maybe the matching trousers are a bit over the top but it would look completely ok on the Italian or French Riviera even today. You’re right that Connery pulls it off as he does with virtually everything but that is because he’s Connery. Many ordinary mortals probably couldn’t do it.

  2. Connery does indeed pull this off (even the straw hat!), and it’s a wonderful color on him. Completely agree with the two posts above.

  3. Sorry, I don’t see the trousers and I don’t have DVD with Thunderball. Could you publish the picture?

      • In other shots the trousers look the same colour. It’s probably just lighting. Bond would be poorly dressed if he tried to match two different royal blues.

      • Thank you for the picture. And yes, it looks awful, just bad.
        But I guess that whether Bond changes his pants to beige khakis with clean front (tapered leg in casual is terribly dated), it won’t look so bad. [Sorry for my English, but I guess you know what I mean; could anyone correct this last sentence — I would love to improve my language skills].

  4. It’s subjective of course, but there’s an argument that “Thunderball” has probably one of the best showcases of warm weather casual clothing of all the Bond films and even after a time gap of 48 years the clothing, for the most part, still holds up as classic, cool summer wear for the tropics (although I agree with Matt that this particular outfit probably looks the most dated in the film, the color maybe, for whatever reason…).
    This set me thinking then that the Bond movie which had the most similar geographical setting, subsequent to “Thunderball”, was “Licence to Kill” and how did the wardrobe in this movie end up being so god awful in comparison to its predecessor. Had they adopted “Thunderball” as their sartorial template with a slight adjustment for the times they could have been on to a winner as opposed to the bottom of the barrel they ended up scraping. A combination of Dalton (who had even less innate flair for clothing than Connery) and the era in which the respective movies were made was all I could come up with. Terence Young’s input into the former is another consideration.

  5. (continuation/conclusion of previous point) Thunderball’s wardrobe illustrates its lush mid 1960’s setting and Connery’s undeniably cool persona. Perhaps, for whatever reason, 1989 was simply never going to compete with 1965 on a sartorial basis as the prevailing trends in the latter period just weren’t as aesthetically tasteful as 24 years earlier but you do still wonder how both movies from the same canon set in a similar climatic location could end up being so radically different wardrobe-wise.

  6. My little eyes are not as sharp as Bond but I think there are patch pockets on the sides of the “shirt”. Does it qualify as a pre-70’s -please forgive me for what follows-“leisure suit”?

    • Yes there are patch pockets. I thought I had mentioned that but it looks like I left it out. They’re another things that the outfit has in common with pyjamas. It probably does count as some form of a leisure suit, though those typically consist of a shirt jacket with matching trousers, with a separate shirt worn underneath.

  7. Agree with you, David. Connery admittedly had no idea how to dress and just looks better than anyone. Agree as well on the casual clothing of the period. For me the ultimate is the short sleeved blue and white striped shirt with white trousers which he wears to Largo’s estate

    • Much agreed, the white and blue striped shirt with camp collar is the ultimate short sleeve shirt. Just perfect. I must get one made!

  8. As a kind of post script, Matt, and vis a vie Connery making anything look cool, I wonder will you cover the dungarees which he wore in “Never Say Never Again”. I just recalled them again in the last couple of days. In my opinion, nobody, even Connery could look cool in these and this casual outfit exceeded even Dalton’s rubbish and was the worst Bond outfit until Craig’s Madagascar ensemble in 2006.

    • I defy anyone to look cool in dungarees, no disrespect to farmers. To qualify my remarks about Connery always looking cool, that applies to both his formal and casual dress from Dr No to Thunderball when he was in shape and relatively young and when he was dressed in that “classical’ style by Terence Young. If you had put Connery in a tight T shirt and hipster trousers he would have loked like an overgrown bear. he would have been even worse in the tight and ill fitting suiys from Skyfall.

  9. If the shirt wasn’t a short sleeves one this could be one of my pyjamas’ jackets… Anyway, Connery pulls it off as you mention it Matt. I don’t really mind the clothing ensemble -although two different colours would have improve it-, it’s just the hat I find ridiculous. Bond looks like a typical tourist… But some people will argue, doesn’t he have to ? Quite right though… Anyway, Q’s Hawaian shirt outfit is way more offensive, especially with his skin colour.
    That said, I appreciate the casual outfit of the black man in the first picture too. Nice mix of colours.

  10. Matt,

    I’m surprised you didn’t mention any relation of Connery’s blue shirt and pants in “Thunderball” to the “dark blue sleeveless Sea Island cotton shirt and dark blue trousers” Fleming (who wore the same combination himself around Goldeneye in Jamaica) usually outfitted Bond in for casual wear in the books. Although the shirt and pants look “vivid royal blue” on film, this is the closest the screen Bond came to wearing the literary Bond’s “sleeveless” Sea Island cotton shirt and pants. And for what its worth, a lot of (at least American) males occasionally wore identical hats in the summer months and when visiting the tropics in the early and mid-1960’s.

  11. Living in a very warm climate like Australia, I myself have to have many short sleeve casual shirts on hand for our warm springs and then very warm summers. But i’ve never thought of match trousers to many of my solid blue shirts. Tan chino trousers and tan chino shorts are my go to casual bottom. Connery does pull off the look though, Matt are the shirt and trousers cotton or a linen blend do you think?

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