In one of the great pictures of Sean Connery heâ€™s not portraying Bond, heâ€™s not that young, heâ€™s not even wearing a suit. His beard is saltier, the hair is starting to go, and he looks past the camera as if heâ€™s addressing a friend. For a moment you can miss the fact that his shirt is searing orange. On the great man itâ€™s a perfect piece of clothing, practical and daring at the same time.
It looks like moleskin, in a size larger it would be a shirt that you wear over a shirt. It looks like what we call a camp shirt, though Sean probably doesnâ€™t get bogged down in those technicalities. Whatever it is, itâ€™s most welcome as we get into October, playoff baseball begins and you put away the aged rum and break out the scotch. I like to wear a close fitting camp shirt buttoned all the way up, or a roomier one over a shirt with a tie. That puts me in the minority, most people wear them over a shirt (as a â€œlayering pieceâ€ in #menswear speak). But there are as many camp shirts as there are ways to wear them.
Leviâ€™s Vintage Clothing scours the archives for jeansâ€”we know thisâ€”but they also bring back beloved shirts and jackets. This fall they went heavy on the camp shirt. Thereâ€™s a terrific wool option in bright navy with a great long collar. On the lighter weight are woven wool shirts in colors that will get noticed: lime, a sort of orange yellow that they call sunflower and vivid red.
Freemans Sporting Club (a company I work with) makes a more tailored camp shirt in green tweed herringbone. Itâ€™s dressier, but just as easy to wear. LL Bean, the stalwarts from Maine, have a very nice Chamois shirt in a run of colors (blue with blue buttons feels right to fish the end of trout season). And check out Filsonâ€™s nice moleskin shirt in Burnt Orange. Thatâ€™s probably the closest thing to what Sir Sean was wearing. It conveys a warm sense of welcome, like walking into a bar where thereâ€™s a roaring fire and ordering a Laphroaig.
At the luxurious end of the spectrum is Noahâ€™s pink cashmere shirt, also available in more discreet navy and camel. At a tidy $798, this is an indulgence thatâ€™s meant to be worn. Brendon Babenzien, Noahâ€™s founder and designer, says, â€œI would never wear a cashmere shirt unless it was going to be put to good use.â€ And he wanted to do it right. So for cashmere he went to Joshua Ellis, which has been making fabric in Yorkshire since 1767. â€œIt has a natural toughness along with the luxuriousness warmth and weight.â€ Itâ€™s something above the fray that you can get used to. How does he wear them? â€œI wear these shirts constantly for all things. I wear them as outerwear, I run in them in the winter, I do dirty work in them.â€ Thatâ€™s the spirit.