Poll: Should Bond have worn a tweed jacket for Skyfall’s climax?

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Should Bond have worn a tweed jacket for Skyfall's climax?

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Skyfall gives a few nods to past James Bond films to commemorate the series’ 50th anniversary, and the most notable of these nods is the return once again of the Aston Martin DB5 that Bond first drives in Goldfinger. In Goldfinger, Bond is first seen with the Aston Martin at the Stoke Park golf club in the English countryside and soon after in the Swiss mountains wearing a brown barleycorn tweed hacking jacket.

The hills of Scotland where Bond takes the Aston Martin in Skyfall could have provided a great opportunity to bring back the tweed sports jacket. Instead, Bond wears a Barbour waxed cotton sports jacket.

Skyfall-Barbour-Jacket

The Barbour jacket in Skyfall is the limited edition by To Ki To, designed by Tokihito Yoshida. It is made in Barbour’s classic olive waxed cotton with three buttons down the front, flapped bellows pockets on the hips.

It’s not the traditional Barbour with a zip front but rather a sports jacket like Bond’s tweed jacket in Goldfinger is, so it’s not as practical as the traditional Barbour jacket. Barbour calls the current version of the model the “Beacon Sports Jacket” and describes it as such:

The three-pocket waxed Beacon Sports jacket is an iconic blazer-style button through, inspired by the limited edition Barbour Sports Jacket worn by Daniel Craig in the James Bond film, Skyfall in 2012.

It’s an excellent choice Bond considering Barbour’s English heritage and the damp, cool Scotland location, and it’s about time Bond wore a Barbour. But at the same time, Bond has a long history of wearing tweed and it’s a shame Bond didn’t use this opportunity to wear it. Apart from the brown barleycorn tweed hacking jacket in Goldfinger and Thunderball, Bond wears a houndstooth tweed hacking jacket in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, a herringbone tweed jacket and a plaid tweed jacket in Diamonds Are Forever, a tweed-inspired lightweight plaid jacket in The Man with the Golden Gun, a donegal tweed suit in Moonraker, a brown tweed jacket in Octopussy, a grey tweed jacket and a brown barleycorn tweed jacket in A View to a Kill, a tweed-esque gun club check jacket in The Living Daylights and a charcoal windowpane cheviot tweed suit in The World Is Not Enough.

Goldfinger-Hacking-Jacket
The tweed hacking jacket in Goldfinger

Scotland would have been a great place for Bond to wear a tweed jacket again, since Scotland is known for tweed, namely Harris Tweed. The cool, damp weather is perfect. Bond finds the Barbour jacket in the Skyfall Lodge, so he wears it for his showdown with Raoul Silva (Javier Bardem). But would a tweed jacket have been appropriate considering the context? Of course! A tweed jacket is harder-wearing than a waxed cotton Barbour jacket and just as great for action. If Bond could wear a sports jacket made of waxed cotton he could just as effectively have worn a sports jacket made of tweed.

The cut of Bond’s Barbour jacket gives it no advantage over a tweed jacket either. Since tweed jackets are designed for country sports like shooting, they are very practical for a scene full gunfire. Tweed jackets are especially practical for shooting if they have bi-swing shoulder pleats and bellows pockets to store extra rounds. And a tweed jacket had the same details as Bond’s Barbour sports jacket, like the bellows pockets, it wouldn’t be any dressier. There’s nothing that Bond’s Barbour jacket did that tweed could not have done just as well, if not better.

Considering that Bond finds the Barbour jacket at the Skyfall manor, it should be a more traditional jacket. Either a more traditional Barbour or a tweed jacket would have made more sense to find. For something meant to be decades old, a modern take on the sports coat made of waxed cotton is rather out of place.

Skyfall-Barbour-Jacket-2

Tweed is once again popular and not just for old men. Trendy shops like Topman (which provided Daniel Craig chinos’s in Skyfall) and H&M sell tweed or tweed-esque sports jackets. Other shops that provided clothes for Skyfall sell tweed sports jackets, like Acne Studios, Billy Reid and, of course, Tom Ford. Tweed is hardly a thing of the past, and if Bond wore a tweed jacket unfortunately-cut like his suit jackets in Skyfall he would look trendier than he does in his Barbour sports jacket. And we know from The Golden Compass that Daniel Craig looks brilliant in brown tweed. For a fashionable look, Bond could wear the collar of a tweed jacket turned up like he does with his Barbour. Many traditional tweed jackets have a throat latch that connects either side of the collar across the front when it is turned up, so turning up the collar of a tweed jacket would not be inappropriate.

For Bond to wear a tweed jacket instead of the Barbour sports jacket, he would need to wear something underneath it other than the Henley shirt and round neck jumper that he wears with the Barbour sports jacket. He could keep the jumper and wear a collared sports shirt under it instead of the Henley, or he could keep the Henley and wear a polo jumper over it instead of the round neck jumper. Either way, a shirt collar is necessary under a tweed jacket, both to prevent the tweed from irritating the neck and to prevent the oils on the neck from soiling the tweed. The rest of the outfit, however, would go perfectly with a tweed jacket in olive—like the Barbour—or in medium brown like Connery’s jacket in Goldfinger. The corduroy trousers, the pebble grain leather boots and the scarf would still go perfectly with a tweed jacket.

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Overall, the Barbour sports jacket is a fantastic choice for Skyfall‘s climax, and it is certainly much classier than Pierce Brosnan’s tactical gear for battle. But a tweed jacket would have been just as appropriate for the character, the story and the location. Not using a tweed is a missed opportunity to further connect Goldfinger‘s Aston Martin scenes to the Skyfall‘s Aston Martin scenes, a well as connecting Bond’s country wardrobe from the past to the present.


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35 COMMENTS

  1. Well, I’m surprised this topic has evolved into a separate article by itself. But I do find it interesting. Nice write up as usual, Matt.
    I like the barbour jacket a lot and almost voted maybe. IMHO, both the barbour jacket and the tweed jacket are appropriate for the scene. But in the end I think it is a missed opportunity for tweed. Skyfall had this whole theme of “the old ways are the best” and it keeps referencing previous Bond movies (DB5, the radio transmitter). A shot of Bond in the tweed jacket standing next to the DB5 with his hands in his pocket would be very appropriate. Additionally, the setting is Scotland, which as you say, Matt, is perfect for tweed. I think it would be very believable that Bond’s father would own a tweed jacket.
    I would have loved it even further if he manages to wear a knit tie with the tweed but seeing as it’s a stripped down action scene it would probably look out of place. A polo neck would be more likely I think. And I think the polo neck under a jacket look is starting to get trendy again (right?). I’ve been seeing it more in movies and magazines for the last few years.

  2. That Barbour has actually been extensively modified. I read somewhere that the off the peg coats have a zip under the collar for a pretty big hood to be attached, and several buttons just under the collar to attach a “dog bone” triangular piece (to keep the wind out). All those has been removed

    Given the fit of the jacket, it’s quite possible (I guess), that it was made to measure for Craig.

  3. As someone who has both the Skyfall Barbour jacket and two tweed jackets, I would have to absolutely say the Barbour is more appropriate.

    If Bond was in that location and was not expecting to be in combat, then I could see wearing a tweed jacket. But knowing that he would be doing battle, a tweed jacket would have seemed a bit ridiculous. Tweed jacket and polo or a sports shirt? Seems a little overdressed for combat.

    In the same way I will change out of my tweed jacket and put on my Barbour when dog-walking after work. If it’s damp and misty, with possible rain and a chance of getting dirty, I’ll absolutely want my Barbour on (it’s also warmer than my tweed jackets).

  4. As much as I would like to see Bond wearing tweed, I’m glad that they went with the Barbour. I thought it struck the perfect balance between functionality, believeability, and british heritage.

    Perhaps we’ll see Bond in tweed in the next film given that they will likely be spending some time in a cold weather climate.

    • I have to agree that the Barbour was more functional – perhaps a chunky Harris Tweed with bi-swing back would have done the trick, but it might have looked a little anachronistic. Having said that, I still think they missed out on a great opportunity to have the new Bond pose next to the old Aston Martin in a tweed hacking jacket and knit tie. That really would have “sealed the deal” on the “old ways are better” message of the movie. Even though, come to think of it, shrink-wrapped Harris Tweed would probably be pretty uncomfortable…

      • Shrink-wrapped tweed wouldn’t be as bad as the shrink-wrapped suits. Because of the heavier weight it would be less wrinkled, and it has a little give. Tweed has more give than the Barbour’s cotton.

    • @Dan:
      Like I said above, I totally agree with you. But seeing how popular the barbour jacket is, they probably made the right choice.
      It was still a missed opportunity for me personally though. I do hope we will get a chance to see Bond in a tweed jacket in the future.

  5. I’m a bit biased, seeing as how when I starting wearing a sport coat and tie regularly, I inherited all of my father’s and grandfather’s tweed jackets. And still they’re my standard if I’m going outside for any reason.

    That said, the necessity for wearing a collared shirt would have been a bit odd, and whatwith how trendy tweed jackets are nowadays, I appreciated being introduced to the Barbour.

  6. I’m a big fan of Barbour jackets in general and Bond’s is easily my favorite wardrobe item in Skyfall (the Omega Aqua Terra excepted!) I think it’s just the sort of thing that James Bond would wear in Scotland.
    As far as combat wear goes the Barbour makes him look tougher than a tweed sports jacket would. If the scene were a leisurely drive through the countryside like Connery’s in Switzerland then I think tweed would be the way to go, but for the climactic gun battle I prefer the Barbour.

  7. I am a big fan of Connery’s hacking jacket – but IMHO it would not have been the right garment for Craig in SF. There’s quite a lot of action going on in the movie’s final part (perhaps overmuch – contains elements of “Platoon”, “Straw dogs” and some other movies at the same time) and it would be quite ridiculous to see Craig acting in a Harris tweed jacket with tattersall check shirt (Imagine!). Just think of how Bond is introduced in the beginning – drinking and hanging around in a Zara or H&M shirt and a leather jacket (M: “You should take a shower”). And remember the scene in the National Gallery (“Bloody big ship”) and how it continues. No, that’s certainly not the right mood and attitude for strolling around in a tweed jacket. So I think the Barbour jacket is all right.

    • But the Zara shirt, leather jacket and poor hygiene are all supposed to be indicative of how lost and out of sorts Bond has become; by the end of the movie most of the imagery reminds us that he has found himself (“the hero is back”, as Sam Mendez says in the DVD commentary), so an additional nod to Connery’s iconic tweed would not have been THAT out of place.

  8. As much as I love the discussion on Bond’s ever changingg wardrobe (where would this site be without it?) I wonder of I’m the only one thinking that its getting a bit more difficult to suspend my disbelief with each film.
    Some welcome continuity is being established with Craig now working on his fourth and contracted for a fifth Bond film. Bond is supposed to be a pragmatic cold hearted assassin on a civil servant’s salary with perks if we still believe Fleming, yet theres room in his budget for an entire wardrobe overhaul every few years? Any secret agent needs to be able to fit in with whatever his assignment may be but I would welcome some continuity of wardrobe across films. I realise this doesn’t make sense in today’s world as there are endorsement dollars to be earned but I think it would add to the pursuit of some level of realism that the films seem to be engaged in recently. Wouldn’t someone as pragmatic as Bond have little time for following clothing trends and spending money on swanky labels, and instead have a wardrobe stocked with utilitarian items along with a few things needed for when ‘in character’. Would he have the money and inclination to own Omegas for every day of the week?
    The most egregious example is of course the continuity error at the beginning of QoS, as there had been a switch of costume designers and suits changed from Brioni to Ford, so after shooting Mr White at the end of CR Bond has time to change suits before stuffing him in the boot and hauling him off to the MI6 field office.

    Anyway, back on topic. I don’t really like Barbours but agree with the consensus above that it is more practical than a tweed for impending combat, even given the touchstone to Goldfinger.

    • The first suit in Quantum of Solace at least attempted to save some continuity by keeping the suit a button three navy pinstripe, and but the change of suit provider necessitated the change. At least the hacking jacket from Goldfinger made it to Thunderball. And some dinner suits are so similar that they might as well be the same, like the dinner suits in Dr. No and From Russia with Love, and the dinner suits again in For Your Eyes Only and Octopussy. And the shirts stayed consistent between most Connery’s films and Roger Moore’s 1980s films.

  9. Matt I love Bonds combat outfits like this.
    Could you do one of Brosnans tactical outfits like you mentioned in the post.

  10. @Dan Ippolito: “The hero is back” – Yes, that might be right but I don’t see why wearing a tweed jacket should indicate that.

    • Renard,

      In the next to final scene, Bond is once again conservatively dressed, gazing over a sunlit London with the Union Jack blowing, and is given a british bulldog as a keepsake. The entire movie, with its “old is better” theme, has been moving towards that moment. A bow to early Bond and to a quintessentially British fabric (Harris Tweed) would not have been out of place.

  11. I do not think the tweed jacket would have helped Bond during his unexpected “bath” in the frozen lake…
    Wouldn’t he be frozen to death and taken to the depths by the weight of the soaked fabric?
    The Barbour is no life-jacket but is perhaps a better protection…

  12. They used Barbour because they are trendy IMO. I think he could have worn something similar to Kinkade (excuse the spelling) which appears to be a classic Field Coat made of Tweed (as opposed to a Tweed Sports Jacket)? This Barbour is ok of course but to me it looks like it’s a simple nod towards current trends. To be fair though, at this stage of the film it didn’t really matter what he wore; they’d already ruined the look of Bond long before this scene I think the costume folk just don’t get bond (or choose to ignore the true identity of him based on Fleming’s illustration).
    The boots he’s chosen to wear for this sequence are £400. approx. Crocket and Jones, that seems very extravagant for combat; would a pair of HiTec Magnum boots for around £90.00 not have sufficed?

    • Honestly, if Bond’s film wardrobe was modeled after Fleming’s books, he would be wearing silk short-sleeved shirts, worn out suits, one variation of tie, plain slip ons, and occasionally sandals. Not exactly aspirational attire.

  13. As someone who wears tweed jackets on a daily basis and probably wouldn’t ever buy a Barbour, I can safely say I prefer the way the movie went.

    You make some really good points but I simply think it would be a bit distracting. You say it’s a missed opportunity because he’s in Scotland and has the DB5, but I think that’s exactly why I’m glad they didn’t. I just wouldn’t buy it.

    At this point there’s absolutely no reason for Bond to care about how good he looks, and tweed would simply look too dressy even for this scenario. I’m not sure I can put it into words very well, if they did it I wouldn’t help but notice it was done not for the benefit of the film but as fan service. I think the car was enough.

  14. The tweed jacket would look just grand and would also form another link to the Bond of the 60’s, but I just hate the thought of such a great garment being destroyed in combat. It’s happened so often…Anyway, Bond had very little or no time to pack before heading off to Scotland with M, and he surely wouldn’t have left a costly tailored jacket in the boot (trunk) of the Aston Martin. It sure would have kept him toasty-warm, at least until the icebath. These Barbours must be mighty good, if other posters think they are as warm as tweed.

    • I have two Barbours (Bushman and Classic Beaufort) and I have to say I’m not that carried away with them. They are indeed very functional with all of the handy pockets (including a poachers pocket at the rear [two zips at either side of the rear the enclose a large pocket for storing your game]). But in essence it’s just a pricey cotton jacket that needs lots of maintenance. I much prefer tweed field coats.

  15. If I were Bond I would wear tweed. Sir Roger would wear tweed too, I think. But Daniel Craig’s face may not tweedesque enough for such a kind of fabric.

    Having mentioned Brosnan’s battledress: could you imagine him wearing tweeds? Sorry, I cannot.

  16. While I do like The Hacking Jacket from Goldfinger and Thunderball, I think it, or another tweed jacket would have looked a bit ridiculous and affected given the setting and context of the story. The Barbour looks and works great.
    The Series has, in the Craig era, done a good job at respecting its past while not being weighed down by it. And Craig has done an excellent job in both portrayal and style at making the role his own (while respecting its heritage) in a way at which Brosnan never quite succeeded. Bond must now be a British symbol of past greatness and yet also a modern, forward looking protagonist. I don’t think wearing tweed in the context of his and M’s escape to Scotland would have worked.

  17. I own the original Barbour Tokito Sports Jacket as seen in the film – It was also made in a tweed version (which I also own), called the Oates Jacket, and its fit and features are more or less identical (save for there is no flap on the breast pocket). It’s a rather coarse herringbone tweed, treated by a 3rd party company called Ventile to be waterproof, as the inside of the jacket has some sort of synthetic lining as a water barrier.

    Imagining that if I modified the tweed jacket in the same manner the sports jacket was, I could kind of see it working. Between its “shrink wrapped” fit (I sized up to the large to avoid that) and the way it was worn with the lapels and collar flapped shut, it’s certainly a viable alternative. But at that point it’d be so far removed from the Connery hacking jacket that there wouldn’t be much of a point.

    I think the waxed cotton Barbour served as a nice medium – a very English brand with a storied history and an overdue Bond connection, and suitable for the context of the scene, but it’s a very untraditional Barbour jacket. If he wore the standard Beaufort jacket or a hacking jacket, combined with the country house and “antique” hunting rifle that could floor a rhinoceros, it’d be a little more Downton Abbey than James Bond. The waxed cotton jacket harmonized with the fit of the other jackets in the film (like them or not) and looked more the part for the climax of the film. The hacking jacket would have ultimately been too dressy and out of place for the gritty feel of the final act – Which Mendes himself said definitely had the feel of a Western movie.

  18. Leaving aside that this conjectural topic is a little odd idea for a posting, it’s interesting to consider how the concept of aesthetics and what we’ve become accustomed to becomes hotwired in to our beliefs. This hacking jacket looks very masculine (aside from the fact that the über-masculine Connery is wearing it) https://www.bondsuits.com/the-hacking-jacket/. This style of suit with normal length jacket, double vents and normal rise trousers too (regardless of actor);
    https://www.bondsuits.com/mid-grey-flannel-suit-2/
    https://www.bondsuits.com/the-blue-overcheck/
    https://www.bondsuits.com/the-classic-charcoal-suit/
    https://www.bondsuits.com/classic-city-suit-the-grey-rope-stripe/

    Now, one presumes the idea of quality tailoring is to enhance a man’s masculinity?

    This ugly modern “tailoring” with it’s jarring, out of proportion dimensions serves only to diminish the wearer’s masculinity https://www.bondsuits.com/the-cummerbund/ (although there’s much worse out there on the high streets than Craig’s) and if Connery wore such an outfit it would diminish his masculinity too.

    Given that the wardrobe people cannot (apparently) currently imagine anyone other than Tom Ford as Bond’s tailor (those who criticize Moore’s “bling” Italian tailoring of the late 70’s for being anti the ethos of the “real” Bond image would do well to consider the irony here) and we know that Ford produces clothing in the style of at least Connery and Lazenby’s clothing in these links, it’s, therefore, bizarre that they cannot appreciate what enhances the leading man and what diminishes him. This is the problem with fashion followers. They cannot see the wood for the trees!

    • It should come as no surprise that I agree with David; as Matt has pointed out recently, the purpose of good tailoring was always to hide flaws and to make a man look taller and stronger. The shrink-wrapped look does just the opposite. As far a hacking jacket making Bond too “Downton Abbey” in the context of the Skyfall finale, that may be the case, but then again, the whole “old is better” motif of the movie is a little “Downton Abbey”, if you think about it. And yes, it doesn’t get much more masculine than the GF hacking jacket.

  19. Interesting post, thanks, Matt.
    Having worn Barbour jackets over 30 years, I must give them credit for the sheer Britishness the convey, besides their practicality. They may not be warm (at all) they are perfect for the place and situation.
    I leave Barbour ‘life-saving tales’ up to the readers’ judgement, letting them free to connect them to Bond’s aquatic experience at the end of Skyfall.

    Maybe tweed is indeed a missed opportunity in Skyfall.

    Interestingly, when googling ‘Cool hunting jackets’, the first images are from the Musto website:

    http://www.musto.com/our-world/blog/in-the-press-tweed-jackets

    I only knew Musto from their expert sailing gear, but this is a discovery. Thanks to you, Matt.
    The first 2 are properly awesome. But that is maybe my dinosaur’s taste again..

    I am quite sure that this type of jackets would have suited James Bond, even for the action-packed climax.
    Knowing that the quality of such clothes vouches for their longevity, one could even assume that they could have even been borrowed from Kinkade’s wardrobe (from his younger slimmer years, of course).

    Now the question remains: would they have suited Craig ?

    Or rather: would Craig have suited them ?

  20. Agreed. The ‘Bookster’ is less old-fashioned, I think.
    Craig’s Barbour is somewhat reminiscent of Danny Wilde’s leather jacket, that must be what bothers me. Not ugly per se, but too modern of fashion-driven.

  21. What kind of hat would a modern day Bond wear then, as played by Daniel Craig for example? I;m struggling with this dilemma now. I”m 37 and I wear casual elegant closes (not a suit) to work. A dress hat would be too formal. A watch cap, too informal. What’s left?

  22. While a excellent case may be made for putting Bond in tweed, arguably the history of Western fashion in the past two or three hundred years would suggest that the Barbour is correct for this outdoor scene, while the tweed would be excellent, but in a more formal, probably urban setting.

    There is a cycle that seems to proceed from a garment being seen as outdoor and/or sporting dress, proceeding to being treated as a business garment, and eventually becoming relegated as a formal garment for particularly formal occasions. Even the tailcoat now found only in white tie, started out as being an informal outdoor garment, and this process has come full circle in the case of the frock coat to the point that the garment is essentially extinct. This is not simply a case of a type of garment becoming unfashionable either; there are subcultures like steampunks excentric enough to try to revive the garment, and it is unlikely that someone who likes the look of a modern business suit will dislike the look of a frock coat. Rather the situation seems to be that garments in this cycle start seeming increasingly inappropriately formal when they are worn in anything but ceremonial occasions.

    While tweed is traditionally regarded as being less formal than solid worsted garments, wearing it in a hunting environment is seems increasingly archaic and ceremonial even in the British Isles.

    The Barbour is in fact also a participant in this formality cycle, albeit it is outerwear. While the Barbour started out as being a popular outdoor technological expedient like tech fabrics used in modern mountain climbers and hikers, it has now become a somewhat traditional piece of outerwear commonly worn as much for its elite social signalling value in urban areas, as because weather conditions require its rain resistance. As such, I would suggest that by wearing the Barbour, Bond is approximating the level of formality seen many decades earlier in Goldfinger, when tweed would have been considered to be inappropriately formal for much London business.

    While the formality cycle suggests that tweed might be a bit formal for this outdoor rural scene, the same cycle would make it eminently suitable for many modern urban scenes, and by for example, giving Bond a tweed sportcoat and shirt without tie, the tweed would nicely bridge the space between what is now, suited formality, and streetwear like Bond’s mock-polo neck.

    Finally, of course it would be possible to make a modern looking tweed garment which would not look at all excessively formal by making something like a mackintosh or parka out of the tweed fabric, such a garment would be a bit of a mash-up, in no way improper, but also lacking some of the iconic value of many Bond outfits, simply because that combination of cloth and cut is not a definitive type. A tweed sportcoat in an urban environment however, is both iconic, and relevant for both the clothing firms which supply Bond films, and fans who would draw inspiration from them.

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