Few images of Sean Connery as James Bond are as iconic as when he is posing with the gadget-laden Aston Martin DB5 in the Swiss Alps in Goldfinger. This iconic image has in turn made Sean Connery’s outfit in these Goldfinger scenes equally iconic on its own. This outfit is the elegant and sporty hacking jacket and cavalry twill trousers made by Anthony Sinclair. The outfit’s iconic status is further enhanced because Connery wears it in two other films. Bond fans will also notice that Connery wears this outfit when sneaking around the Shrublands health clinic in Thunderball. But this jacket wasn’t even made for James Bond. Anthony Sinclair originally tailored this jacket for Connery for his 1964 film Woman of Straw, so James Bond got this jacket second-hand from Connery’s other character Anthony Richmond.
Mason & Sons, who owns the Anthony Sinclair brand, has painstakingly recreated the iconic barleycorn tweed hacking jacket and cavalry twill trousers as part of their “Conduit Cut” line so ordinary people can now wear this too. Elliot Mason, the “Son” in Mason & Sons, helped me with getting this jacket and trousers. The jacket and trousers were made Special Order to my measurements, with revised measurements from my first Special Order suit.
The Hacking Jacket
Traditional hacking jackets have three or four buttons, but Anthony Sinclair updated Connery’s jacket with two buttons to match the modern look of his suits. Because my jacket was made Special Order, the button stance was lowered slightly from the standard height, but it is not as low as on Connery’s jacket. Compared to the lapels are 2 3/4 inches wide and are about the same as the width of Connery’s lapels. They look wider on me than on Connery because I have a much smaller chest.
The jacket has softly padded shoulders and roped sleeve heads. The front has a welt chest pocket and slanted hip pockets with flaps. There is also a slanted, flapped ticket pocket over the right hip pocket, aligned to the front of the lower pocket. Slanted pockets are essential for a hacking jacket; slanted pockets are known as “hacking pockets”. Slanted pockets are easier to access on horseback, and flaps ensure that items in the pockets don’t fall out. These are the ultimate sporting pockets, which since the late 1960s have also been popular on more formal city suits to give them a more British look. There are four buttons on each cuff.
The back of the jacket has a centre vent, which is used on hacking jackets so the jacket’s skirt is able to split on either side of a horse. The vent on my jacket is 10 1/4 inches (26 cm) long, which is a few inches shorter than the very long vent on Connery’s jacket. I need a shorter vent than Connery does because I am about six inches shorter than he is!
The jacket is adorned with brown horn buttons, which are a classic type of button for a tweed jacket and the kind of buttons on Connery’s tweed jacket. Woven leather buttons are too old-fashioned for Bond. The buttons on this jacket are darker, more streamlined and more Italian than the lighter-coloured and chunkier horn buttons on Connery’s original tweed jacket.
Like the ready-to-wear version that is offered, my jacket has half-canvas construction. The canvas extends further down the front of the jacket than on other half-canvas jackets I have, helping the lines of this jacket.
The Barleycorn Tweed
Since David Mason, founder of Mason & Sons, relaunched the Anthony Sinclair brand in 2012, there has been high demand for them to replicate Sean Connery’s famous hacking jacket. Finding a tweed that is the same barleycorn pattern in the same colour that Sean Connery wears proved to be nigh impossible, so Mason & Sons had to commission someone to weave the cloth especially for them. They chose the West Yorkshire mill Abraham Moon, who has been weaving cloth since 1837, and the copy looks spot on.
Barleycorn is a pattern that looks like tiny triangles and has a unique weave, and this tweed is woven in light brown and dark brown. The brown is a flattering cool shade of brown, which has hints of red that make it look good on people with both warm and cool complexions. Many browns, such as ones with golden undertones, only look good on people with a warm complexion, but this is the perfect brown for the many people who have cool complexions, like Sean Connery has. Depending on the lighting, the brown can look lighter or darker. It looks bright in the sunlight or dark in at night, enhancing its versatility.
At an 11-ounce weight, this is a lightweight tweed but not a lightweight fabric. Though it is lighter than Sean Connery’s tweed, it looks just as heavy and is much thicker than an 11-ounce worsted wool. It feels light, but it wears fairly warm like a proper tweed, so it is good for wearing outside in cool autumn or spring weather. The fabric label inside the jacket says the tweed is made of linen, but this is a pure woollen.
The only thing that went wrong with my jacket is that the cloth was cut upside down. The barleycorn triangles on Sean Connery’s hacking jacket point up while on mine they point down. Elliot has assured me that this is the only time this has happened. It is a shame that with all the effort put into replicating the cloth that mine was cut the wrong way to be screen accurate. Regardless of what is screen accurate, this is an equally valid way to cut the pattern and it does not make my jacket any less of a hacking jacket. The downward-pointing direction is a common way of cutting barleycorn tweed, and it subtly reflects the ideal V-shape of a man’s torso. By comparison, the hacking jacket that David Zaritsky of The Bond Experience wears in his excellent review was cut the correct way.
The Cavalry Twill Trousers
The trousers are made of wool cavalry twill in almost the same style that Connery wears. The trousers have a plain front with frogmouth pockets, which are easy to access on horseback. The trousers are detailed with pick stitching 6 mm from the outseam for a sportier look instead of the usual 2 mm. There are slide-buckle side adjusters at the waist, which are more effective at holding up the trousers than Connery’s “Daks tops”-style button-tab adjusters. Despite the trousers being a heavy weight, the side-adjusters still hold well. There are also buttons for braces inside the waistband.
The back of the trousers have one button-through pocket on the right with the same kind of brown horn button that is on the jacket cuffs. The bottom are plain and have very little slant with the factory hem. I may have the hem redone with more slant like Connery’s trousers have for a neater break, which is a very easy fix with the extra cloth under the hem. The length of these trousers is sized for shoes, but I am wearing chukka boots with these trousers, which need a shorter length. But even Connery’s trousers have a little too much break when he stands straight.
The Cavalry Twill
The cavalry twill is an 18oz weight wool, which is likely to be the same weight as Connery’s well-draped trousers. Like on the jacket, the fabric label in the trousers incorrectly says 100% linen. They are 100% wool. I see other materials like whipcord confused for cavalry twill, but this is authentic cavalry twill. Cavalry twill has a steep double twill line while whipcord is a steep single twill. It’s one of the hardest-wearing trouser materials and a traditional material for riding breeches to go with a hacking jacket. Cavalry twill also has a natural stretch in the weave without using synthetics, so they are ideal for sports—country sports that is.
I am looking forward to wearing these heavy trousers on my mile-long walk to work in the dead of winter. These will be useful for dressing up when it is 15°F/-10°C outfit and a mile-long walk feels much longer!
It is obvious that the colour of the trousers is not authentic to what Connery wears. The trousers are lighter in colour than the trousers that Sean Connery wears. They are beige instead of fawn, so this outfit has a higher contrast between the jacket and trousers than Connery’s outfit has. The lighter trousers has the effect of making the jacket look darker than it looks on screen. When paired with trousers of the screen-accurate colour, the colour of the jacket looks spot on to the original. When I asked Elliot about why they chose a lighter colour, he said that they were not happy with darker options they had, but they may weave their own at the screen-accurate colour if there is enough demand for it.
What to wear with the jacket and trousers
Because I do not have a cream shirt with double cuffs like the shirt that Sean Connery wears in Goldfinger (let alone a cream shirt with a vintage Dobby stripe), I have gone the Thunderball route and I’m wearing a cream shirt with cocktail cuffs. My shirt from Frank Foster, who made the shirts in Goldfigner, is cream royal oxford with a spread collar similar to Connery’s in that film. I find that a white shirt looks harsh against the brown jacket, so I prefer cream. A softer cream, ivory or ecru shirt is best for the look that Connery wears with this jacket in Goldfinger and Thunderball. Soft blue shirts can also pair well with it, and Sean Connery wears a blue shirt (though too bright of a blue) with it in Woman of Straw.
I also got the mid brown knitted silk tie from Mason & Sons, which is a close match to the tie that Sean Connery wears in Goldfinger. The texture has more variation than many other knitted ties, which gives this knitted tie a more interesting look. My old brown knitted silk tie by comparison looks like a sock! The Mason & Sons knitted ties are amongst the best I have. Though the brown knitted tie gives the classic look from Goldfinger, I also have a chocolate brown grenadine tie that can give this outfit the less iconic but more refined Thunderball look. Blue ties, like what Connery wears with the tweed jacket in Woman of Straw, also go beautifully with this jacket. Almost every tie hanging in my closet would go well with this jacket.
The tie is a bit long for me, so I tuck it into my trousers. I don’t mind tucking in knitted ties. I am 5’9″ and wearing mid-rise trousers, and this tie is optimised so that taller people wearing lower-rise trousers can also wear it.
This is a versatile jacket. You are not limited to wearing it with beige or brown cavalry twill trousers. It pairs well with other heavy trousers like whipcord, flannel, moleskin or corduroy in colours from grey to blue to green to maroon. For the trendier people who wish to wear this in an un-Bondian fashion, denim can even pair well with this jacket. You can wear it with or without a tie. This jacket also pairs beautifully with knitwear. Because barleycorn is one of the more refined tweeds, you can put it on in the morning or wear it out in the evening. Few tweed jackets are as versatile as this one.
The trousers can be paired with any heavier sports coats in almost any colour, and the lighter colour of these trousers compared to Connery’s original makes them more versatile. Tweed jackets and heavier navy blazers go especially well with cavalry twill trousers. They also pair well with knitwear, for a cool-weather casual look.
Though I live in New York City, I am not against wearing brown in town, and these clothes are just the kind of brown to wear in town. I will not wear the entire outfit in the city because I think it is too much brown to wear together in the city. It may just be switching out the shirt for blue or switching the trousers for grey flannels for something that brings some city colours into the outfit. Otherwise it feels like I am playing dress up when I have all the parts of the outfit together because I am wearing a country outfit in the city or I’m not making the outfit my own.
I am wearing snuff suede chukka boots with Dainite studded soles from Brooks Brothers Peal & Co., made in England by Alfred Sargent. Though Sean Connery wears brown suede derbys with his hacking jacket, suede chukka boots are the closest I have and do a perfectly good job.
This is not a sponsored post, and no material compensation was given to me in exchange for this review.
Photos by Janna Levin