The linen shirt is an updated take on Connery’s original outfit in Thunderball, which was made up of a matching camp shirt and trousers. Orlebar Brown’s shirt is made of 100% Italian linen in a plain weave with mid blue in the warp and navy in the weft with specs of white, making it a very interesting variegated fabric. They call this colour ‘Blueprint’, and I find it to be a most apt description. The colour is spot on to the original.
The linen is very lightweight and breathable, making it great for the hottest and most humid locales. While linen is known for wrinkling, this shirt does not wrinkle very much after wearing it for the day. Being in a darker colour helps mask the wrinkles as well. The shirt has a rather traditional fit on me, which helps it wrinkle less.
The shirt is detailed with a ‘Capri’ collar, which is Orlebar Brown’s name for a one-piece camp collar. The collar and front edge have traditional quarter-inch stitching. The shirt is made in Portugal.
There are five white imitation mother-of-pearl buttons down the front. Connery’s shirt only has four buttons, and I like to wear the bottom button open so I can more easily reach my hand into my pocket. On a taller man or on someone wearing trousers with a lower rise, a fastened bottom button will not get in the way of the pockets. I also find the shirt more comfortable with the bottom button open. Like Connery, you could wear the top button open as well, though I prefer to keep it buttoned to limit the amount of chest hair on display.
The shirt is hemmed slightly longer at the back, and there is a short vent at the side seams. The top of the vent is reinforced with a red stitch, an Orlebar Brown trademark. There are shoulder pleats at the back.
Like many of the pieces in Orlebar Brown’s 007 collections, this shirt takes inspiration from one of Bond’s shirts but does not copy it. This is one piece that I am glad they did not copy exactly, but Connery’s blue shirt still served as excellent inspiration. I think that they improved the shirt over the original.
When I wrote about Connery’s blue outfit seven years ago, I compared it to pyjamas because the shirt, with its combination of camp collar, large white buttons and lower patch pockets, paired with matching trousers would have resembled a set of pyjamas if it didn’t fit so well. Most people could not pull off that look, and on most people I think it would be indistinguishable from a set of pyjamas. Wearing matching shirt and trousers is not a look I would attempt as I am not Sean Connery.
Maybe the people at Orlebar Brown read my article and purposefully took the steps to avoid making this shirt look like a pyjama shirt. They succeeded by not putting any pockets on the shirt and using smaller shirt-sized white buttons. The colour of the linen and the contrasting white buttons are enough to give this shirt the look of the original.
This shirt is one of the easiest to wear in the collection, being in a solid dark colour. I see it as an alternative to the ubiquitous navy polo for warm weather, as it’s likewise a casual shirt in dark blue. It’s something I can imagine myself reaching for a lot this summer because the colour is easy to wear.
I’m pairing the shirt with the Orlebar Brown Bond Linen Trousers. It also pairs well with chinos, swim trunks and shorts. You could even wear it with jeans for an updated take on Connery’s all-blue look.
I am wearing a size small and I am 5’9″ and have a 37″ chest.
Photos by Janna Levin Spaiser