Welcome to part two of our look at affordable alternatives for James Bond casual summer shirts! If you haven’t already seen part one, you can check it out here. Folks, we have a LOT to cover in this post. So let’s get right to it!
The Dr. No Pale Blue Polo
The first polo shirt Bond wore was also the simplest. Just a basic, light blue pique cotton shirt with a knit collar and sleeve cuffs and dark buttons at the placket. It was a classic then and it’s a classic today. The best part is there’s no shortage of affordable alternatives available.
This one from the UK retailer does the job just fine. It’s a slimmer fit, they’ve used 100% cotton fabric, it has the knit collar and cuffs. They even went with darker buttons. And the price is right. Seriously, once I found this one, I didn’t really feel the need to look for other alternatives. Marks & Spencer has sizes small to XXL in stock.
Since Orlebar Brown thought that toweling was a good choice for their homage to the Dr. No polo, I thought I’d throw in another suggestion. I’ve shared this Aurélien shirt a few times now. And with good reason: I own one and I love it! It’s a great color and cut. The collar design, with its single genuine Mother of Pearl button, has a slightly more contemporary feel to it. And the 80% cotton/20% polyester toweling fabric is awesome. Below is my Bond-inspired flatlay with the shirt. Aurélien has sizes small to XL available.
Orlebar Brown Dr. No Toweling Polo: $245.00/£165.00
And now a shirt that, at this point, probably needs no introduction. The only thing to tell you is that, at the time of writing, the Orlebar Brown U.S. website has all sizes back in stock. On the UK site, sizes small to XL are available. Matt Spaiser over at The Suits of James Bond has a good review of the polo shirt and other pieces from the collection.
The You Only Live Twice Pink Linen Shirt
I’ll admit I don’t find Sean Connery’s overall outfit in the film to be particularly inspiring. But it does give us a chance to look at a damn near perfect summer shirt! The fabric is most likely a cotton/linen blend in a nice warm pink. Wear it with the sleeves rolled up and untucked over some jeans, chinos or Bond-style swim shorts and you’re pretty much ready to go. Seriously, pink is definitely an underrated color for guys.
The most interesting thing about the Bond’s shirt design is the cocktail-style cuffs, a signature feature of Connery’s Turnbull & Asser shirts. And unless you’d like to pay to have a shirt custom-made by the venerable London tailoring house, it’s also a feature we’re going to have to sacrifice.
Tasso Elba Linen Shirt in Dolores Blush: on sale for $39.99
The color may not be the exact, screen-accurate pink. But the price is certainly acceptable! For those that don’t know, Tasso Elba is Macy’s house brand and they’ve used a 100% linen fabric for the shirt. Sizes small to XL are in stock. As for the price, the current sale only lasts until June 2nd (regular price is $69.50). But Macy’s is always running some kind of deal so I’d expect you’ll be paying around the same if you’re patient.
Again with this shirt! I’ve suggested the Black one (now sold out) as an alternative for the Bond 25 Jamaica shirt. The Sky Blue color works as a substitute for the Orlebar Brown SPECTRE shirt. And now here’s the Parrot color one being used for the YOLT look. Since the Mango shirt has a camp collar, it’s not exactly screen accurate. But (in my humble opinion), the collar design does give it a relaxed-but-still-dressy vibe that makes it more versatile for casual use. Mango has sizes XXS to XL on their website.
What I like about this one is the hem. It already has a straighter cut that looks good when worn untucked. Other than that, we’re once again getting a 100% linen fabric and more casual, unstructured collar. You’ll find sizes small to XL available on the White Stuff website.
The Diamonds are Forever Toweling Camp Shirt
Well, I now understand why Orlebar Brown decided to make this shirt part of their 007 collection. I don’t think there’s another one like it anywhere! The combination of the toweling fabric plus the camp collar plus the pleated chest pockets is pretty unique. If you want that same swinging 60s resort feel, you could go for a classic and traditional Guayabera. This 100% linen one from My Cuban Store for $83.99 should do. Or just get a basic linen shirt in the right color. El Corte Inglés has a two pocket model from Dustin for 29.95€ that looks nice.
But, being who we are, dear reader, we want to get as screen accurate as we can. Which means we’ll need to get creative. Hence my first suggestion ….
LL Bean Long Sleeve Chamois Shirt in Oatmeal: on sale for $49.99
It’s a good color match. It has the chest pockets and dark color buttons. And the 100% brushed cotton chamois flannel fabric (made in Portugal!) is just as soft as toweling. Pick it up for under fifty bucks and then head to your tailor to chop off the sleeves to right length and straighten the hem. I won’t say this is the ideal summer shirt, even with the two top buttons undone. But it will look pretty darn close to what Bond wore. L.L. Bean has sizes small to large and XXL in stock.
Coming to us from the respected outdoor clothing manufacturer. No, it’s not toweling. But the 69% organically grown cotton/25% recycled nylon/6% hemp fabric will keep you cooler. A more practical choice for those you willing to give up some screen accuracy for comfort and practicality. R.E.I. has sizes small to XXL in stock. And if you’re worried about those UV rays, Patagonia also has the similarly styled, 100% polyester rip-stop Sol Patrol II Shirt for $75.00. The fabric won’t be as plush. But you are getting 50+ UPF protection.
Sold out now. But Orlebar Brown has a contact form for the Waiting List on the product page. They estimate it will be back in stock in July. If you can’t wait, then Mr. Porter U.S. and UK still have a few sizes left. By the way, if you haven’t had a chance yet, check out Orlebar Brown’s new collection with artist Rob Wyn Yates. There are some very cool pieces! You can find the artist on Instagram here.
The Live and Let Die Black Silk Shirt
A special request from our fellow Instagramer commander_robert_billic. Of course, I was going to include Sir Roger Moore’s classic shirt, even if no one asked for it! Personally, I think you’ve got to be totally on top of your style game to pull this look off. A fitted, black silk, short sleeve shirt (worn with lots of buttons undone) can go wrong in soooo many ways. The fact that Sir Roger actually does it is a testament to his status as an underappreciated style god!
Perry Ellis Short Sleeve Slub Texture Shirt: on sale for $29.99
We’re going to start with something a little tame. This alternative from Perry Ellis uses 100% cotton fabric that has a bit of a texture to keep things visually interesting. It also has the fitted cut and slighter higher-cut sleeves. Although it is missing the original’s chest pocket. For those of you that just want to experiment with the look, this is a safe and inexpensive way to try it out. 6pm has sizes small to XXL available.
It has a subtle, tone-on-tone pinstripe and the button through chest pocket. And the fabric is 100% nylon. So points off for those deviations from the original. But undo that second button and we’re definitely starting to get that Live and Let Die vibe. The nylon will even add some silky sheen! You can find the shirt at Amazon, where sizes small to XXL are in stock.
It’s missing the chest pocket. But other than that, this is a great modern take on the LALD shirt. The fabric is actually a nylon and spandex blend. Some you get some stretch and moisture wicking properties to help keep you cool and dry. Added bonus: the fabric has a bit of sheen to it. You’ll find sizes XS to XXL on the Express website.
Why a polo? Here’s my little speech about Sir Roger’s black shirt. Its whole mission is to look sexy. It’s black silk. It’s fitted. And he wears it open almost to the middle of his chest. But the thing that actually makes it sexy is the fact that he wears it with confidence. He completely owns that shirt. Now, if I tried to wear the same shirt the same way, I’d feel like an idiot. It’s simply not a style I’m comfortable in, so I wouldn’t wear it with confidence. And “not confident” never equals “sexy”.
However, I am comfortable wearing polo shirts. So, for me, choosing a really nice polo, like this silk/cotton one from John Varvatos, makes much more sense. Maybe I won’t look screen accurate. But I’ll feel confident. And capturing Sir Roger’s attitude in that scene seems like a better goal.
The Tomorrow Never Dies Blue Linen Shirt
There’s no denying that Pierce Brosnan’s blue linen shirt was oversized in that oh-so-1990s way. It was also a great color in a great summer fabric. Not mention that it got a ton of screen time during the best stunts of the movie. Bond jumped out a window, dangled on a banner from a tall building, jumped a BMW motocycle, dodged helicopters and escaped explosions. All while being handcuffed to the incredible Michelle Yeoh! And he wore this shirt for every minute of it.
So, with an updated fit, it’s definitely a worthy Bond Summer Shirt!
H&M Linen Shirt in Blue: $49.99/£39.99
Aside from the fact that it’s missing the button-through chest pocket, this is a pretty solid match. The color is a little brighter than what we see on screen. But the fabric is 100% linen and the price is reasonable. H&M have sizes XS to XXL on their website.
Banana Republic Linen Shirt in Bright Blue: $55.00 to $75.00
To my eye, this more muted blue looks like a better color match. Unfortunately, it’s missing the chest pocket completely. The fabric is once again 100% linen. The link above goes to the Standard Fit version of this shirt, priced at $74.50. But you can also get it in a Slim Fit in the same color for the sale price of $55.00. Sizes XXS to XXL are available in both styles.
The Casino Royale Bahamas Arrival Shirt
Man, this one is tricky! There’s so many little details to consider. First, the fabric. It has a tone-on-tone track stripe with a different texture than the background material. Then’s there’s the two button collar. And we certainly can’t forget the epaulets! It’s almost impossible to find an off-the-rack shirt that has everything we want. But we’re still gonna try!
Tailor Store Made-to-Measure Pilot’s Shirt: $79.00 to $129.00
Here’s a fun project: make your own Casino Royale shirt! On-line made-to-measure service Tailor Store actually has a function that let’s you design your own uniform shirt. You can choose everything from the fabric to the number and types of buttons at the collar to – yes – shoulder strap style. I designed the one above using their 100% cotton dobby weave shirting, which has a very subtle stripe. As you can see, I was able to add the correct two button collar and shoulder straps and select to not add any pockets. Total price for my shirt came out to $79.00. I haven’t tried Tailor Shop yet, but I’m definitely considering it for custom work like this.
I’ll call this our “inspired by” alternative. The 100% cotton fabric has more of Jaspe-style stripe which gives the shirt the right kind of look. Obviously, it’s missing the shoulder straps. But the sleeves have a neat button feature that adds some character. This would be a solid off-the-rack choice if you’re trying to get that Bahamas arrival look but aren’t too worried about replicating it perfectly. Amazon has sizes small to XXXL available.
A close to screen accurate reproduction from fan favorite Indy Magnoli. I say “close to” because some say the fabric he uses isn’t a perfect match for the screen used shirt. But, as of right now, the shirt has a perfect 5 star rating from customers and, in terms of style details, he’s offering the closest version we can get. Each shirt is made-to-measure. So you’ll need to be a little patient during that whole process.
The Casino Royale One & Only Ocean Club Poker Shirt
It’s been a while since we looked at alternatives for Bond’s black sueded polyester shirt from Macy’s house brand Alfani. And, to be honest, this is probably not the most practical shirt to be wearing for playing poker on a hot, humid night in the Bahamas. So we’ve added some alternatives below in more summer appropriate fabrics that still capture the style we want. If you’d like more information on the entire look, BAMF Style has a great write-up on it.
Claiborne No Tuck Textured Slim Fit Shirt in Black: on sale for $24.99
The main advantage of this alternative (aside from the price) is the straight hem, which is designed to be worn untucked. The shirt is made from 100% cotton fabric that has a subtle, almost herringbone texture. And the French placket is a nice little style detail. Honestly, if you can get past the lack of a chest pocket, this is a solid alternative for the Casino Royale shirt. JC Penney has sizes small to XXL in stock.
It’s the 100% jersey knit cotton fabric that makes this one special. It has a natural stretch and a very slight nape, similar to what you’d find on a high quality Pima cotton polo shirt. Which means the fit and feel will be super comfortable when you’re at the poker table. The shirt also comes very close in the other style details: dark buttons, shorter hem and a chest pocket. It’s certainly more expensive. But I think it would also make a solid alternative for the Bond 25 Tommy Bahama black Jamaica shirt. Two looks for the price of one? Zappos has sizes small to XXL in stock.
Do you have some suggestions for alternatives for the James Bond casual summer shirts? Tell us about them in the comments! And remember to check out our Facebook Page, Instagram Account and Pinterest Boards for more James Bond style advice, inspiration and info!
The photo used for the You Only Live Twice Pink Linen Shirt was sourced from The Suits of James Bond.