When Orlebar Brown first released their Bond range I wasn’t impressed, four printed poster shorts just weren’t for me.

Article by Daniel Gaster.

Cardinal Pink, White/Riviera and Blueprint

Reimagining a classic

These short sleeve camp collared shirts seen on Bond throughout Thunderball were believed to be originally produced by Turnbull & Asser.

Firstly, we see what Orlebar Brown call the Cardinal Pink shirt when Bond first meets Domino and goes to lunch with her.  We then see the Blueprint coloured shirt when Bond introduces Felix to Pinder and Paula, this is then followed by a briefing by Q.

White and Riviera Striped Linen/Cotton Capri Collared shirt (phase 3 release)

The third

The third shirt, the Striped White and Riviera is seen on Bond when he visits Emilio Largo at his house, Palmyra, for lunch. (See above). Orlebar Brown also have a blue gingham shirt, which Bond wears in the Helicopter when searching for the missing plane. This shirt has a towelling interior which is significantly different to the original.

The other shirts

There is also a pink gingham shirt, which Orlebar Brown have not yet created that Bond wears on the beach with Domino when he tells her that her brother has died and shoots Vargas with a spear gun.

Thunderball beach locations

Editor Pete on Love Beach with his partner Anastasia recreating the Bond and Domino speargun scene from Thunderball

Get the point?

All said shirts have also been reimagined by Mason & Sons in linen for the plain coloured shirts in pink, blue and a white. And in seersucker for the striped blue and white shirt and the pink gingham and blue gingham shirts.

Learn more about the relationship between Orlebar Brown and James Bond in the book From Tailors With Love: An Evolution of Menswear Through the Bond Films, available on Amazon.

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Daniel Gaster wearing the Pink Cardinal

Second time’s the charm

When Orlebar Brown first released their Bond range I wasn’t impressed, four printed poster shorts just weren’t for me. However, the second time round I took more attention and in particular one item; the Pinder shirt. This Italian linen shirt came in Cardinal Pink, with a left chest patch pocket and had a camp collar.

It looked remarkably like the one Connery wore in Thunderball. I just had to have it!

Thunderball is my favourite Bond film, and I remember Bond wearing this in several scenes in the film. When meeting Domino and later (the next day) and when returning to his room to discover one of Largo’s men.

Thunderball pink shirt

Pinder Cardinal Pink Capri Collar Linen Shirt (phase 2 release)

You don’t disappoint Mr Bond

I had previously purchased the Morton long sleeve shirt, which is also Linen, so I was confident that this shirt would be good also. Let me tell you I was not disappointed! I took a medium which I had done with my previous shirt and was happy. It isn’t as fitted but does provide a slim silhouette – a more relaxed feel for the summer.

Thunderball blue shirt

Blueprint Linen Shirt (phase 3 release)

They came in 3’s

The same can be said with the two additional shirts released in the third phase. Both similar in design with some minor differences. The navy or ‘Blueprint’ Italian linen shirt is almost identical, other than the breast pocket missing which the original didn’t have. Otherwise, this shirt is identical to the Phase 2 cardinal one.

Compared to the original it doesn’t have the lower patch pockets on the left and the right that the original did. I’m okay with that.

Not sure it would look right, and the buttons look smaller to the original shirt too. The striped shirt is a cotton and linen mix, so for one thing it doesn’t crease as much. Again, similar to the first, it has the same slightly tailored fit and chest pocket. Although this one is slightly rounder on the bottom of the pocket. Otherwise, I would say it is similarly cut.

Summer vibes

All three shirts have an Orlebar Brown label on the outside bottom left seem of the shirt, which has the 007 logo on the reverse of it. It also has the red stitching at the bottom, a common feature on all Orlebar Brown garments. On the latter two (from phase 3) the internal label features a slightly altered Orlebar Brown logo.

Orlebar Brown logo

Happy accident

I wear all the shirts in the summer or in hotter weather and I can wear them with trousers and shorts, always untucked! I wouldn’t wear them outside of summer conditions as they only really sit well in these climates. Like Bond I can throw on a shirt after being in the water and go off to lunch. These are perfect for that.

I tend to iron the shirt so that the camp collar goes to the second button rather than the first, which I think matches that of the original striped shirt in term of collar length. I did this by accident the first time and tended to like the look of it so continued to iron them in this way.

Some nice detailing

I like the imitation mother of pearl buttons that are on all three shirts. They have Orlebar Brown written on the inside of them which is a nice touch. They are also a lot easier to use than the rubberised (unsure of which material exactly) that my other Orlebar Brown shirts used in the past.

To my recollection the camp collar or the ‘Capri’ collar (as Orlebar Brown call it) or the reverse collar (which I think Turnbull & Asser call it) wasn’t seen much before the 007 Phase 2 collection. But there are now some styles which now use this, including the ‘Hibbert’ and the ‘Travis’ shirts. It’s a nice detail to differentiate between a work shirt and a summer shirt, in my opinion.

Thunderball shirts blue and white striped

Summer loving

I love these shirts and wear them as soon as the British weather allows, or abroad when on holiday (pre-pandemic which so far only included the Cardinal Pink shirt). I would like to see the Pink Gingham shirt brought out in a future release (not as the towelling shirt) and the brown “You Only Live Twice” shirt worn when piloting ‘Little Nelly’. Another possibility would be the long sleeve gingham shirt from From Russia with Love.

Shortly Orlebar Brown are re-releasing some of the items from their previous offerings. So, if you are interested, I would highly recommend any of these three shirts for your summer wardrobe.

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Credits, Further Reading, Where to buy

Photos from Thunderball sourced through the Thunderball.ORG website, the unofficial James Bond picture archive. Used here under the fair use doctrine. Be sure to check out more reviews by Daniel Gaster. Follow Daniel on Instagram.