When you’re looking for some warm-weather wardrobe ideas, you can’t go wrong taking a cue from Bond’s attire in Thunderball. Connery’s Bond has probably the best tropical wardrobe of the franchise and his clothing in Thunderball is the apex.
One of the best things about Connery’s tropical wardrobe is that it is very simple–a lot of camp collar shirts, shorts/swim trunks, and linen in classic colors and patterns. It’s a look anyone can emulate with minimal effort. His blue camp collar shirt is a perfect example, so it’s no surprise Orlebar Brown chose to recreate it in their 007 Heritage Collection.
The Orlebar Brown Thunderball Linen Shirt is medium blue with a capri collar, five buttons, and a straight hem. Based on the pictures, it looks like it has a tailored fit but the website description doesn’t mention fit. It’s a fine-looking shirt and it retails for $295.
Camp-collar shirts are a dime a dozen, so there are a lot of budget-friendly alternatives if you’re looking for the Thunderball look without the Orlebar Brown price tag. I think the key features to look for are the camp collar, straight hem, a medium-to-dark shade of blue, and a summer-friendly fabric.
Here are some of my budget-friendly pics for Thunderball Linen Shirt alternatives. None of these shirts are identical to the Orlebar Brown shirt—the hardest thing to match seems to be the blue—but they’ll all give you the same look at a fraction of the price.
The blue on this shirt is slightly darker and the buttons are brown instead of mother of pearl, but the collar is pretty much a dead ringer for the collar on the Thunderball Linen Shirt. The design is a more relaxed fit so it is designed to be worn more loosely than the Orlebar Brown shirt. Overall, it’s far from an identical match, but at less than $15 it’s definitely a budget-friendly way to get Bond’s laid-back tropical look.
This navy linen-blend shirt from Abercrombie is darker than the Orlebar Brown shirt and the angles in the collar aren’t as straight. Other than that, it seems like a great way to get the same Thunderball look, and the shirt’s linen-blend construction will help keep you comfortable during the hot summer months. The website doesn’t have any pictures of a model wearing the shirt so it’s hard to tell exactly how it fits, but I imagine it’s a slimmer fit because it’s from Abercrombie.
UPDATE: Check out my full review of the A&F shirt here.
This shirt from Todd Snyder is seersucker instead of linen, made of 100% Portuguese cotton. You can see it has a navy/black stripe instead of being solid navy—while that’s a departure from the Orlebar Brown shirt, I really appreciate the texture it gives the shirt. This shirt features a chest pocket, which I also like. I think the best part about this shirt is the mother of pearl buttons—it’s the only option on my list of alternatives that check that box. This camp collar shirt from Todd Snyder looks like a great option. (As of Aug 1, you can use code “SUMMER20” to save an extra 20%, which drops the price to $51.20.)
Like the option from Uniqlo, this Mango shirt is designed to fit more loosely than the shirt from Orlebar Brown, which gives it a more screen-accurate look. This shirt is another navy option, so it is a bit darker than the Orlebar Brown version, but the collar is a good match. I also like that this shirt is made from Lyocell fabric, which will give it a softer and more flowy feel than a lot of linen shirts.
Tommy Bahama is officially a Bond brand now, so you can feel good about this budget-friendly alternative. This shirt checks all the same boxes as the other shirts on this list, with one big difference—this shirt is 100% silk, so it will be light and breathable during even the warmest summer days.
Admittedly, these Sunspel shirts definitely stretch the notion of “budget friendly,” but I decided to include them because Sunspel makes great products and they’re still at least $100 less than the Orlebar Brown shirt. The indigo dyed shirt is the closest color match to the original shirt from Thunderball. Both shirts are 100% cotton, which makes them excellent summer shirts. If you don’t mind spending a couple hundred dollars on a shirt, you can’t go wrong with either of these options.
What do you think of my list of budget-friendly alternatives? Like I said before, camp-collar shirts are a dime a dozen, so I know I could’ve made this list twice as long without even trying. I actually cut four other options while writing this because some things sold out. Did I miss or cut any of your favorites? Let me know in the comments below!