Beach weather is coming on fast. Which means it’s time to start looking at some James Bond swimwear! In this post, we’re going to be looking at affordable alternatives for every pair of swim shorts that Bond has worn in the films (or at least the ones I can think of). If I’ve missed any, just let me know in the comments. And if you’re looking for some Bond-style summer shirts to wear with the shorts, check out this post. Okay, let’s dive right in!*
The From Russia With Love Boat Shorts
Connery’s Bond wore this pair during his riverside afternoon date with Ms. Sylvia Trench. And it’s not easy to find a good match for them. To start, that pale blue color isn’t common. The combination of the elasticized waist (no drawstring) with the coin pocket also makes it tougher. Then there’s the white piping. I’ll keep looking, but for now we need to sacrifice some features. Check out BAMF Style for a complete analysis of Bond’s look from this scene.
They’re a darker but still pale blue. And they have the elasticized waist and white piping. Unfortunately, they also have a drawstring (maybe just pull that out?), a slightly longer length and they’re missing the coin pocket. But throw a nice gingham shirt on top and we’re starting to get the look at an affordable price. Amazon U.S. has sizes small, large and XL available. For those of you in the UK, you can find them here for £4.90 to £12.99.
On Amazon UK you can also find the same style in grey for in all sizes. Honestly, I think the grey comes closer in color to the FRWL shorts than the Pale Blue.
A bit brighter blue than we want. And it’s missing the coin pocket and has a button and zip closure. But the white piping is there. And the shorter length and stretch fabric gives it that 1960s fitted look. Sizes 29 to 32 are available on their website.
Sunspel Technical Nylon Tailored Swim Shorts in Sky: on sale for £84.00/$140.00
Fun story. Sunspel, makers of the now classic Casino Royale Riviera Polo, decided to design a pair of swim shorts to pay homage to the swimwear Bond wore in Thunderball. And they used this iconic photo of Connery for inspiration:
Except, as Matt Spaiser of The Suits of James Bond is always quick to point out, that is NOT a photo of Connery as 007 in Thunderball. It’s a publicity still for the 1964 film Woman of Straw, which starred Connery and Gina Lollobrigida. So Sunspel kind of missed the mark if they wanted to create some Thunderball shorts.
Happily, the swim shorts Sunspel did design are a pretty good match for the From Russia With Love shorts! They’re a nice pale blue and a shorter length. Plus they have the coin pocket. And I think the button closure and zip fly just dresses them up a bit to make them more versatile. Sunspel is down to sizes 30, 33 and 34 in this model.
The Goldfinger Miami Beach Swim Shorts
I don’t want to tell you the things I saw searching for a modern alternative for these shorts. Seriously, if I shared product photos from some of the sites I visited, this whole post would be flagged NSFW. And I should probably clear my browser history ….
Same model as the From Russia With Love shorts above, but this time in mid-blue. They also have the white piping and a zip fly. But the color and general styling makes them a great modern match for the Goldfinger shorts. Parke & Ronen have sizes 28 to 36 in stock on their website.
Bower Elsinore Swim Shorts: £133.00/$177.00
I’ll call these the “inspired by” alternative. Actually, if you could only invest in one pair of Bond-style swim shorts, these may be the ones to get. They kind of blend together elements from all of them. The fabric is 100% polyamide and they’re made in Italy. MatchesFashion has sizes 2 to 5 (or small to XL) available.
The Thunderball Jantzen Trio
This is the big one. A whole post could be dedicated to affordable alternatives for Bond’s swimwear in this film alone. For more information on the complete looks, see BAMF Style’s article here and The Suits of James Bond’s articles here, here and here.
The Pale Blue Belted Jantzens
Probably the most famous shorts from the film. These pale blue Jantzens have a short inseam and button-down belt loops to hold a black belt. As most already know, Orlebar Brown recently released a pair of Setters inspired by them as part of their 007 collection (see below).
Obviously, the belt feature is the most difficult detail to match. Unless you want to get into $600 Prada territory. So we’re going to take a cue from Orlebar Brown and look for alternatives with a darker colored waistband that gives the effect of the black belt.
Speedo Vintge 14″ Contrast Swim Shorts: on sale for £14.99
Another awesome suggestion from AJB007 forum member Chriscoop. He found them at the UK website Get the Label and … I can’t find them anywhere else! Chris reports he was able to remove the label by the left hem pretty easily. Get the Label still has sizes small to XXL in stock and they fit true to size.
Prana Kingfischer Shorts in Blue Anchor: on sale for $44.25
A dark colored waist band and belt loops? Woohoo! “But what about the length?” you ask. I say, “Get ’em hemmed”! Seriously, hemming is a pretty cheap way to shorten these ones so they have the look we want. Even with the additional cost, they’ll still be about 1/5th the price of the Orlebar Browns. Zappos has sizes 28 to 40 in stock.
Pullin Bond Short in Orient Blue ($85.00) + Black Nylon Belt ($7.99)
Or we could just find some light blue swim shorts with belt loops. And then add a cheap belt. As the name suggests, this pair from Pullin were inspired by the Thunderball Jantzens. So not only do we get the belt loops. They also have a shorter inseam and are made from a 92% polyester, 8% spandex 4-way stretch fabric for a more fitted look. Pullin has sizes 28 to 40 available on their website. The belt is just an inexpensive nylon one with a black plastic buckle from Amazon. Plenty of these to choose from.
Well I had to include these ones. I’ve linked to Mr. Porter above. They seem to have the best selection of sizes right now. But if they run out, it’s always worth checking the Orlebar Brown website or independent retailers for size restocks.
The White “Drive with Fiona” Jantzen Shorts
Although these ones were a big part of Thunderball‘s promotional artwork, they actually don’t get a lot of screen time. We mostly see them poking out from below Bond’s red wetsuit (cuz nothing says “secret-underwater-nighttime-recon mission” like BRIGHT COLORS!). But the general assumption is they’re a similar style to the other Jantzens in the movie. Anyway, because we don’t get a great look at them, I decided to have a little fun with the alternatives.
We’re going full-on 1970s Björn Borg retro style, baby! Man, I really love these. Sure, they have more colored accents than the Thunderball shorts. But I don’t care. In my eyes, they totally capture the vibe of Bond’s white Jantzens and would look great with a navy polo. Atom Retro has sizes small to XXL in stock.
Equally awesome McEnroe retro style! The Time Archivio shorts from the iconic Italian tennis brand are repros of their own original 1960s shorts, right down to the fabric. They have sizes small and large to XXL in stock. And if they had a size medium, they’d be in my closet.
The “Real Men Wear Pink” Shorts
Just keep telling yourself, “I CAN wear pink!” Again, the style is similar to the blue Jantzens, with the shorter length and button down belt loops. But this time Bond goes sans belt. The fabric also seems to be a natural fiber (or at least a blend) instead of 100% synthetic. Which explains the more muted or faded appearance.
Cove Five Arubas: on sale for $68.99
These have a longer length and the overall style is more similar to a pair from Orlebar Brown. But I think the more washed-out pink color actually comes closer to what we see on screen. The fabric is a 4-way stretch synthetic and Cove Five has sizes small to XL available on their website.
Another pair from Orlebar Brown’s recent 007 collection. The most noticeable thing is these ones have the screen-accurate button-down belt loops. Now, I understand that these are “inspired by” the Thunderball shorts. But a couple of their design decisions have me scratching my head. First, why go with a deeper, almost brick-toned pink instead of a paler shade? Second, why the longer Bulldog cut? If the Bond shorts are known for anything, it’s how short they are. Honestly, if you’re not that bothered about the belt loops, you should check out their Springer Model in Watermelon below. They’re shorter, I think the pink is a better tone, and their about fifty bucks cheaper.
The Goldeneye Steam Bath Shorts
For his relaxing swim in the pool and friendly tussle with Xenia Onatopp in the steam room, Pierce Brosnan’s Bond wears a pair of simple black swim shorts. There’s really not much to say about them. They have open side pockets with white liners, an elasticized waist and a black drawstring. There is a white logo on the front left, but I can’t figure out what brand it’s from. In any event, if you’re looking for some basic, no-nonsense swimwear, these are a good place to start.
H&M Swim Shorts in Black: $12.99/£8.99
Simple black swim shorts with open side pockets, an elasticized waist and a black drawstring. At a very affordable price. Not much need to look further. H&M has sizes XS to XL in stock on their website. If you’re taller or prefer a slightly longer length, check out these ones for $14.99/£9.99.
Perry Ellis Solid Swim Trunks in Black: on sale for $29.99
Again, a plain and simple pair with the details we want, this time with a longer inseam. Zappos has sizes small to XXL in stock.
The Casino Royale La Perla Grigioperla Lodato Briefs
We Bond fans should be thankful for these shorts. For many of us, the publicity photo of Craig wearing them is what finally convinced our non-Bond-fan significant others to share our passion for 007. So if you think about, the La Perlas really helped us bridge our differences, find common ground and ultimately brought all of us closer together. You can learn more about the screen-used shorts at James Bond Lifestyle.
Sauvage Blue 70s Swim Shorts: $60.00
I learned my lesson searching for the Goldfinger shorts. This time I stuck with well-known and respected swimwear manufacturers and found a pair at Sauvage that comes pretty close to the La Perlas. We’re getting a similar color scheme, although reversed, and the cut and little style details are a good match. They have sizes small to XL available on their website.
The Skyfall Orlebar Brown Setters
I don’t want to say Orlebar Brown wouldn’t be successful today if it wasn’t for Bond’s Setters in Skyfall. But I’d be hard pressed to put a price on the impact they’re 10 seconds of screen time had on the company. And we never even see them from the front!
None of that is to say Orlebar Brown doesn’t make great swimwear. They re-invented a style that dozens of companies have tried to copy over the last few years. Their execution of that retro-look and the quality of their manufacturing are top notch. And the brand has been very savvy as it’s grown, constantly re-enforcing its “Resort Lifestyle” image and leveraging the Bond-connection to maximum effect. Some may feel that Orlebar Brown’s prices are unreasonably high. But no one can argue that their products sell.
However, a nice side-effect of that style’s popularity is that we, the more price conscious buyers, have plenty of great affordable alternatives to choose from.
We’re getting a great color match, plus the button front and adjustable side tabs. The button-closure coin pocket, while not screen accurate, is a nice call-back to the From Russia With Love shorts. The length is longer than we want. But, as I said before, I’m a big believer in hemming to take care of that problem. All in all, not bad for just under fifty bucks. Amazon has sizes 28 to 38 in stock.
Cove Five Maldives: $85.00
These are actually the same model as the Arubas above, but in pale blue. So again we have a 6″ inseam (which is a touch longer than ideal), a 4-way stretch fabric and details like the button and zipper front closure and adjustable side tabs. A solid alternative for about one third the price of the originals. Cove Five has sizes small to XL in stock.
A recommendation from our Instagram friends MatchedPefectly. The Hemingsworths are up there in price. But they make their shorts in England and don’t skimp on the quality materials. Chlorine, sun and salt resistant fabrics, Mother of Pearl buttons and solid metal hardware are all part of the package. Obviously, these are quite a bit longer than the Skyfall Setters. But if you want to make some tweaks to the design, they also offer a Made to Measure program so you can get exactly the shorts you desire. They currently have sizes 30 to 38 in stock on their website.
Orlebar Brown Setters in Sky: coming soon!
Apparently Orlebar Brown will be re-leasing the Setters in the screen used Sky color sometime in June as part of their 007 collection. I’ll update this post as soon as they become available. If you can’t wait until then, the Setters in Riviera for $245.00 as closest match they have right now.
The Bond 25 Mystery Jamaica Shorts
Nope, I still don’t have a clue about the brand. But thanks to recent set photos, I can tell you what we do know. First, the shorts have a shorter inseam. Let’s say around 5″, or about the same length as the Orlebar Brown Setters. Second, they have an elasticized waist with a dark blue drawstring that has metal aglets. Third, the set photos appear to show vertical zippered side pockets. And fourth, it looks like there’s no rear pockets. So that’s what we’re looking for.
Until we know the actual brand and can confirm the details of the shorts, I’m hesitant to recommend anything too expensive. So the options below are definitely on the low cost/low risk side. They should give you the look, but you won’t be cursing me too much if I’ve missed anything.
Men’s Zipper Pocket Swim Shorts in Navy: $6.99 to $14.99/£2.99 to £7.97
An extremely affordable option shared by AJB007 forum member August Walker. He found them on the German Amazon site. A little more digging turned them up on Amazon U.S. and UK as well. The reviews for these aren’t great, but not horrible (3.7 stars after close to 18,000 reviews; that’s not a typo). Lots of comments about cheap fabric, uneven stitching and weird fits. But then again … they’re $10 swim shorts from Asia! My suggestion would be to take a very close look at the size chart and comments before ordering. The great thing is they have most of those style details we want. Navy fabric with a plain front and back in a shorter cut? Check! Dark blue drawstring? Check! Zippered side pockets? Check! Thanks for the share August Walker!
ASOS Short Swim Trunks in Navy: £12.00/$19.00
Simple navy swim shorts, again suggested by AJB007 forum member August Walker. These ones don’t have the zippered side pockets. But the do have the plain, pocket-free back. Which is harder to find than you’d think. ASOS has sizes XXS to XL in stock.
Perry Ellis Solid Swim Shorts in Navy: on sale for $29.99
These are the same model as the black Goldeneye alternatives above, but in a dark navy that matches the color of the Bond 25 shorts. The plain, pocket-free back and great sale price are the main selling feature here. Length-wise they could definitely be shorter. But taller and bigger guys might appreciate the extra coverage. Zappos has sizes small to XXL available.
Okay, so did I miss anything? Or do you have some better recommendations James Bond swimwear alternatives? Let us know in the comments! And don’t forget to check out our Facebook Page, Instagram Account and Pinterest Boards for more James Bond style advice, inspiration and info!
*Sorry about that … couldn’t resist ….