Olive Tactical Gear in Never Say Never Again

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To help camouflage himself in the jungle, Sean Connery’s James Bond is fitted in army-green gear for Never Say Never Again‘s opening training sequence.

Until Timothy Dalton would debut a black tactical look at the start of The Living Daylights four years later in the EON Bond series, this sort of look was not particularly Bondian. Bond always wore more conventional clothes for his assignments and could typically blend in as a civilian. The most tactical that Bond got was a turtleneck, which was more of a 1960s and 1970s idea of how an action hero should dress.

There were new fashions for the 1980s, and Connery’s soldier-type look at the start of 1983’s Never Say Never Again may have been inspired by 1982’s John Rambo in First Blood. The Rambo series set a new standard for the action film, and Connery’s outfit possibly could have been a response to it.

Connery’s return to Bond in tactical gear shows that after a 12-year break from playing the character, he is in top form and ready for action (at least until he fails this training exercise). This was something that Roger Moore was not in Octopussy, his Bond film released the same year.

The main piece of this outfit is an olive drab waxed cotton blouson, the fabric of which recalls Barbour’s famous material. The jacket has a front zip closure hidden under a fly, and there’s a button at the top of the fly. Its collar is a stand-up collar. The hem is gathered, giving the jacket its blouson character, and the hem is most likely sewn with elastic thread to keep it closely fitted.

There are large square patch pockets at the waist with velcro-fastened flaps and a vertically opening zip pocket on the left side of the chest. The rear has a yoke and a centre inverted box pleat.

Shoulder straps are sewn a few inches down from the top of the sleeve; they feed through the loop at the top of the shoulder and fasten there with a button. There is a metal D-ring sewn at the bottom of the strap. The sleeves have squared single-button cuffs that Connery wears folded back, where the beige inside of the sleeve is visible.

With its many features, the blouson looks more utilitarian than stylish. If you’re looking for a stylish alternative, the Barbour Hagart achieves a similar look without all the bells and whistles.

Underneath the blouson, Connery wears a black fishnet crewneck shirt tucked into his trousers to keep cool. The fishnet is rather odd for Bond, but it’s mostly hidden under the jacket. If Connery had run around in just the fishnet top without the jacket, this film could have been a proper sequel to Zardoz.

Connery’s cotton trousers are a slightly greener shade of olive than the jacket. They have cargo pockets high on the hips — not the thighs — with button-down flaps. Following certain 1980s fashions, the trousers have a trim leg. He wears the trousers with a wide black leather belt.

To complete the outfit, Connery wears beige and white trainers with grey soles and white edging. He also wears brown leather gloves with three darts sewn on the back of the hand.

34 COMMENTS

  1. I’ve never understood fishnet shirts or singlets/vests. It’s not just that I don’t care for them, I actually don’t know why they exist. What purpose do they serve?
    It keeps cool, yes, but then why not just go without a shirt completely? There’s little to no fabric there to protect your skin from abrasian so that can’t factor in. It certainly doesn’t protect your modesty.

    Can someone clue me in here?

    • I think it was intended to allow air to circulate under a less breathable layer. Once fabric came along that could breathe vapour and wick moisture, fishnet was unnecessary.

      • I would imagine than when one gets sweaty, the fishnet prevents the jacket from sticking to the skin. My research on fishnet unfortunately did not provide much background on its more practical purposes.

  2. A fishnet, really ?? What were they thinking ?! Any kind of t shirt or polo shirt , in navy, dark green, light grey, whatever… would have worked much better. I like the numerous features of the blouson.
    It would be interesting to compare this outfit to Brosnan’s military gear in the jungle in Goldeneye.

    • Agreed. I thought I’d seen it covered in this blog earlier but couldn’t find it (unfortunately the search function isn’t very accurate). Bond in tactical gear doesn’t really sit well as he’s supposed to be a secret agent not a military operator, even if his role occasionally overlaps that of “ex SAS types with an easy smile and an expensive watch”
      Aside from this botched civilian take on military tactical gear we’ve seen Dalton in his black jump suit in Gibraltar, Brosnan’s black combat gear early in Goldeneye and then his tactical gear at the end. leaving aside ski and scuba gear and black snooping outfits,, are there any more examples of combat gear?

  3. AVTAK: “My velvet tracksuit is the worst fashion choice Bond will ever make!”

    NSNA: “Hold my fetish gear.”

  4. Hey Matt,
    Would you not characterize his outfit during the opening sequence of Goldfinger or his Palmyra night ops gear in Thunderball as tactical gear?

    • In Goldfinger the outfit is a drysuit, while in Thunderball the outfit is just a black polo and black wool trousers. There’s nothing tactical about the Thunderball outfit. The Goldfinger outfit could be considered tactical, along with all of Bond’s other diving garments and ski garments, but they don’t have any special military purpose like this outfit has.

      • Thanks, Matt, for identifying that opening Goldfinger outfit as a drysuit. I have been saying that for years. It is referred to as a wetsuit but it isn’t. Wetsuits are meant to let water in so it is warmed next to the skin. Dry suits are meant to keep you dry. A wet suit would mean his dinner suit beneath would have been soaked.

  5. Another dog’s dinner of an outfit in a movie which overall came across as a dog’s dinner sartorially (and otherwise). Any old rubbish seemed to have been thrown together and this is a case in point. Had Roger worn this (he wouldn’t have. Only likely with Sean or Tim, I’m afraid) the criticism would have been even louder than what’s already here. This is an environment- when a safari type shirt or jacket would have been far more suitable than a blouson paired with fishnet top, grey trainers and brown leather gloves.

    Breaking the individual garments down, the jacket itself is fine and with olive or brown trousers and a sports shirt would have worked well as a street casual look for an ageing Bond. The trousers here would also be fine with a matching cotton bush shirt. The fishnet; as the others have said, no excuse. A T shirt please. The grey trainers. Bizarre choice and finally, leather gloves in the jungle! Here we are in to George Peppard in “The A Team” territory; leather gloves worn in a warm weather environment (in his case it was, like Tony Curtis in The Persuaders, likely to cover up nicotine staining) I’m not sure (aside from grip purposes) the sense of them here.

    • Modern soldiers wear much heavier gloves than this in desert environments, based on my limited knowledge (i.e. film from the iraq war on the news).

      It appears grip and protective considerations trump comfort.

    • Tactically speaking I think the leather gloves are proper in the jungle and other tactical situations. I was deployed to Panama and gloves were a must due to animals and vegetation that could harm you. You never reached for a handhold without looking first. The gloves also protected against burns from pyro and hot weapon barrels. I had a pair of army “contact gloves” with leather palms up to the fingers for protection while the rest of the glove could breathe.

    • The idea of a safari suit – aside from dating the film considerably- would have been totally at odds with the scene, and what the story was conveying.
      The outfit looked plausible as a paramilitary outfit in 1983- and to some extent still does- and gloves would absolutely be worn in those circumstances.
      I agree that Moore couldn’t have pulled off that costume, or that scene. He would have been completely implausible.

  6. Bond wears this jacket again towards the end of the film after being captured by Largo, and then I guess ditches it after the horse jump stunt, because he’s bare chested when Felix rescues Bond and Domino.
    Where exactly he got his jacket is anyone’s guess, as he’s in entirely different clothes when Largo tells his men to “take him away.” It doesn’t make sense! Why would Largo and his men let Bond change outfits before handcuffing him?

  7. NSNA looks more in synch with what the 80s looked like than Octopussy does. And it certainly turned out to foreshadow what the EON films adopted after Moore retired. Whether that’s a good thing or not is subjective of course.

      • In terms of what Moore and Connery wore that year (1983), they were actually very similar cut and style. I always looked at the movies as having the same approach to the clothes as a whole. Moore’s clothes are of a slightly higher quality though in my opinion. You can’t really compare the casual clothes but the tailored items you can.

      • The tailored clothes take the same approach in both films, and I have reason to believe that Hayward tailored Connery in Never Say Never Again. Connery’s Turnbull & Asser shirts are excellent. But the sportswear is done better in Octopussy.

      • That’s interesting to hear that Connery was a Hayward client as well. I’ve never heard that before. The suits look the some style as Roger Moore’s Hayward clothes in Octopussy, though I think the button stance is slight higher on Connery’s jackets, at least they do to my eye.

      • The navy blazer and grey trousers in NSNA looks very much Hayward’s work. Especially the flapped hip pockets, which Hayward always did on a blazer. I think Roger Moore looks great in his tailored clothes in Octopussy for 53, but Connery looks almost as good as he looked in 1965. He apparently started working out, running and gave up the beer, he looks leaner then he was in YOLT and DAF for sure. He pulls off the cream gabardine suit very well. Apart from the cream suit that Connery wears a lot of his clothes are forgettable as they don’t stand out, Moore’s suits stand out more for some reason in Octopussy. Maybe it’s a testament to Moore’s suavity.

      • Moore’s darker suits in Octopussy are more interesting, with one a three-piece suit and the other double-breasted. Moore’s tan suit and Connery’s cream suit are comparable.

      • The quality of acting , believability and many more elements improved vastly after Moore left.
        They were objectively better films

      • I think everyone agrees that AVTAK wasn’t great, but it really depends on what you’re looking for in a Bond film. The Moore films didn’t take themselves too seriously, sometimes to their detriment in my opinion (slide whistles, out of place musical cues, etc.), but a lot of people enjoyed that and they continued raking in the money.

    • Matt/Ryan,

      I hadn’t watched Never Say Never Again for quite some time and watched it again last night. What struck me again is that although Connery always carried himself well and his suits in the official Bond movies showed their obvious quality, for some reason which I’ve never been able to put my finger on, the tailoring in this movie doesn’t stand out and looks very nondescript on Connery. From the style and cut, yes, the suits could well be Hayward (though wasn’t Dimi Major mentioned before?) but how can suits cut by the same tailor at the same time look so good on one actor and like chain store on another? I can’t be the only person to have come away with that impression?

      • David, l had the same impression too. I think the outfits often look bland because there’s no special accessory and the color schemes are a bit bland. Too much grey on grey outfits, too much dark ties worn with shirts that are blue but look a bit grey on Connery. I think the outfits I enjoyed the most were the cream suit and the navy blazer (worn with ties that had a bit of color).
        Let’s also not forget that Connery’s iconic look had details that were lost here : the (higher rise) trousers with side adjusters, the white pocket square… the light blue shirts and navy ties also seemed to be more colorful that what he wore here.
        I also think that you will always enjoy normal outfits better if you really like the movie, and NSNA to me is really forgettable, despite Connery being in great shape and giving a great performance.

  8. The suits and shirts are good. For me, it is the accessories that ruin them with 1980s belt buckles and dull ties in a Windsor knot. Except perhaps the grey grenadine.

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