Sartorial-minded Bond fans all know Connery’s Bond had an inclination for gingham shirts—most famously the blue gingham and pink gingham camp collar shirts he wears in Thunderball (Check out Iconic Alternatives’ options for the Thunderball shirts here). But gingham’s first appearance in the franchise actually happens during Bond’s romantic picnic with Sylvia Trench in From Russia With Love.
When the phone rings, Bond answers it and puts on an indigo and white gingham shirt jacket as he prepares to head to the office. As Matt Spaiser explains, the shirt jacket has metal buttons, two patch pockets and a darted front. It’s a unique piece and believe it or not, there just aren’t any gingham shirt jackets out there even though shirt jackets are very popular. But there are still plenty of great gingham shirts you can add to your summer wardrobe.
Gingham is a classic warm-weather pattern that is still a staple in menswear, whether in shirts, ties, or pocket squares. It’s a timeless essential you can wear for years as an accompaniment to shorts, swim trunks, or a nice pair of linen trousers (all Bond-approved looks).
A long-sleeve gingham shirt is the perfect top to take you from the beach to the bar, even if it isn’t technically a jacket. With that in mind, here are five options that can give you the same From Russia With Love Connery vibe.
The gingham pattern on this shirt from Old Navy is a close match to the gingham pattern in From Russia With Love. This shirt has a button-down collar, chest pocket, button cuffs, and it’s made from a 97% cotton/3% spandex blend that provides the “flex.” Its lightweight construction makes it an excellent top for the summer, whether you’re wearing it with swim trunks or linen trousers.
This option from M&Co definitely has the look of a shirt jacket, and the product photos reinforce that impression. The gingham pattern looks the right size but it’s definitely darker than the pattern in From Russia With Love. The collar is my favorite feature on this shirt—it’s a classic collar instead of a button down, which helps add to the jacket look. This shirt also has a chest pocket and button placket, and is made from 98% cotton, 2% elastane.
Because Gap and Old Navy are part of the same company, it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that this shirt looks very similar to the Old Navy option. The navy gingham is darker than the blue in the Old Navy shirt, and as a result the white stitching along the collar, placket, and chest pocket is easier to see. The biggest difference between the two comes down to what they’re made of—this shirt from the Gap is 65% cotton, 32% polyester, and 3% spandex. Polyester is a favorite for its lightweight construction and moisture-wicking properties but it also traps body heat, so this might not be the best option for those really hot days.
Here’s another good shirt option, even though the gingham blocks look just a bit thicker than the pattern in From Russia With Love. Like the M&Co option above, this shirt is also a cotton/elastane blend (although J.Crew conveniently doesn’t give the percentages). My biggest complaint is that it’s hard to tell exactly what shade the navy is because the product photos are inconsistent. I like this shirt because J.Crew offers it in five different styles—classic, slim, tall, classic untucked, and slim untucked—so it’s easy for you to get your preferred style and fit.
The last shirt on this list comes from Brooks Brothers and has many of the same features as the other options, including a button-down collar, chest pocket, and button cuffs. Again, the gingham is darker than the pattern in From Russia With Love, but that’s about my only complaint. The best thing about this shirt from Brooks Brothers is its fabric. Unlike the other options on this list, this shirt is made from high-quality Baird McNutt Irish Linen which guarantees this shirt will be lightweight and comfortable. Brooks Brothers also offers it in three fits—slim, regular, and relaxed—so you can find the fit that works best for you.
Personally, I don’t think you can go wrong with any of these options. They’ll all pair well with shorts, swim trunks, or trousers. There’s really no reason not to grab a gingham shirt—it’s a look that’ll carry you through the whole summer. What do you think of the options on this list? As always, let me know in the comments below or come find me over on Instagram (@bondonabudget).