Mason & Sons Barleycorn Hacking Jacket and Cavalry Twill Trousers

42

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

42 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks Matt!

    Quite simply a fantastic outfit that suits you even better than Connery because your fair complexion (Autumn? Spring?) is perfect for those earth tones. Compliments!

    Best,
    Renard

  2. I like the beige coloured trousers better then a Connery’s darker fawn. I like the higher contrast and it makes the outfit look more of a country outfit. I have a pair of taupe wool trousers I love to wear they would also go well with the Connery tweed jacket.

  3. Why not just get the color right the first time?
    That whole thing about the blazer being cut incorrectly would irritate me …I know it’s small but it would still irritate me nonetheless.

    • I have bought a few things from M&S and appreciate what they’re trying to do, although I find it a bit maddening they can’t just go “all in” with trying to offer more screen accurate versions of their products. Who is going to all the effort to try and buy a Bond-suit-as-seen-in-the-film-xxxx only to have lapels that are clearly wider or colors that are notably different? I guess it gives some incentive to order from their MTM or bespoke though…

      • The truth is that the majority of their customers do not want an exact Connery replica. Most people want something that looks current. People used to tell Mason that they wanted an exact replica of one of Connery’s suits. They’d come in for a fitting and be upset that the suit is full-cut, the button stance is too low and it has pleated trousers. Mason needs to sell clothes, and exact replicas of Connery’s clothes do not sell very well to the masses because they are not in line with current fashions. However, I do think that these trousers in the proper colour would have been better and likely would sell better, though I think they are hesitant to put in the investment to weave their own cavalry twill. The demand for the trousers is not as high as the demand for the jacket.

    • When someone comes in asking for an exact replica of a connery suit back in the 60s it’s hard to take the man seriously and at times may seem bit laughable. I saw an interview with Mr. David Mason and it seemed he wanted to laugh a bit when he spoke about the bond enthusiast coming into his haberdashery.

      Do not get me wrong if what bond wears matches me, then so be it, but if it does not I’m not going to force it otherwise I just become a parody of the character, rather than using bond as a foundation for the best version of myself.

      • I agree whole Heartedly . Anthony Sinclair is a tailor , not a costume maker for cosplaying.
        These clothes cost a good deal of money and l think that it would be better suited to make ( and buy ) clothes which can be regularly worn in a person’s day to Day life. Not just for a James Bond themed costume party . I personally really appreciate what Mason and Sons are doing. They are taking inspiration from Connery Era clothes , but making it something which people in this era can wear , while retaining their own identity and not looking like a costume. When l was at Mason and Sons , l was told that the biggest reason why they use buckle side tabs instead of the Screen accurate Daks Top , is because the Daks Tops don’t hold the trousers well , in the long term.

  4. I love this jacket. I have a light brown tweed that is similar in concept (single vent, hacking pockets, ticket pocket, lightly-padded roped shoulders, 11oz, and even the same colored lining!) and get a lot of use out of it. It looks great here on Matt with the off-white shirt and brown tie. I’d agree to combine it with grey trousers though, especially in the city. IMO a light blue shirt and navy tie also look excellent with this sort of jacket.

  5. Matt, do the lapel notches seem too high to you? The rest of the jacket looks pretty spot on to what I recall in the movie, but the lapel notch seems quite high.

  6. It might be because you have your hand in your pocket, but the back doesn’t look like a very clean fit. I expected a tweed to drape better…

    • I put my hand in the pocket to show off the vent. It has quite a good fit and drapes beautifully. I think the vent could have been a bit longer, which would also have helped this picture.

  7. Matt, is this MTM? The button stance looks lower than what I’ve seen on their RTW offerings. The lapels are also slimmer. Overall I think it looks great.

    • Actually, I just re-read the paragraph where you confirm it is special order. Somehow I missed that. Did you narrow the lapels?

      • I didn’t ask for the lapels to be narrowed, but I believe Elliot did narrow them. As I wrote, the button stance was lowered, but it is half an inch higher than on my blue suit (and half an inch higher than where I ideally wanted it).

  8. Excellent Matt! I have one coming in their second batch, and it is a jacket I have been looking for since the 1990s. I completely agree with your statements about the need for Mason to offer styles that honor the inspiration but that are fashionable today. And I passed on purchasing the trousers as I am not interested in dressing-up like Connery; I think it’s just a cool jacket. I hope mine looks as good as yours.

  9. Matt, congratulations on getting your outfit. Looks extremely nice on you to begin with! I dare say much nicer than the suit itself!

    I’ll be getting my semi-bespoke version, probably next year. It’ll be every bit as close as possible to Connery’s cut, so, fuller than Mr Zaritsky’s and your’s. I really look forward to it.

    Coincidentally, I ordered a three piece grey Glen plaid suit to go with it. I can see how exciting next year will be!

  10. Hi, any idea why they have not issued this suit under the Anthony Sinclair brand? This was the brand Sean Connery was wearing, so when re-creating the suit why not do it under the Anthony Sinclair brand which is now owned by Mason & Sons anyways?

    A Mason & Sons label is not as authentic as an Anthony Sinclair one for these type of suits perhaps?

  11. Looks really good, Matt – congrats on getting yours. May it give you years of good use!

    I am waiting for mine as well – I ordered as part of the first batch, so hopefully soon! Also passed on the cavalry twill trousers – not much use in the southern hemisphere for material that heavy (unless you actually engage in some equestrian activities, I suppose.)

    A question, if I may: other than white or cream, what other color shirt would work well with the jacket? I would imagine it needs to be fairly neutral, so most darker or violet blues would be out? What about a very light pink or blue?

    Long time reader, and big fan of the blog. Thanks for doing the work you do!

    • Glad to hear you have one on the way! I recommend softer or darker blue shirt with this jacket. I find that bright, vivid blues can often clash with the soft brown. The right lilac or pink would go nicely with it as well. As I wrote in the article, I do not recommend wearing white shirts with it.

  12. I think the 2.75″ lapels look very balanced on your frame. The buttoning stance is pretty much perfect in my opinion and won’t date any time soon.

  13. Beautiful and timelessly cut trousers, great jacket, though Connery did have straight lapels. Love your blog!

  14. Any plans to wear the trousers with Braces , Matt ? A lot of people only wear Braces with suits. I am one of the few who wears them with odd trousers too.

  15. Unfortunate the trousers are not the screen accurate co!or and it is unfortunate there was the error with the fabric cut, but you do look good in the outfit. The jacket fit seems especially good. I had initially thought I would pass on this offering due to the trouser color, but after reading your article I may just have to see about getting me one. Again, excellent article Matt.

  16. Matt, my jacket was also cut upside down, which I had not noticed until reading your piece. It’s a shame, but if it is a common way of cutting the barleycorn pattern I don’t mind too much. I went for a full canvas jacket and love it with the cavalry twill trousers. I’ve also vot a full canvas Serge Blazer currently being made. Kepp up the good work!

  17. I was researching the Barleycorn Hacking Jacket from you article and made a comparison between a screenshot from Goldfinger to your photo of the jacket. To my eyes the jackets are different looking and there’s a lot of barleycorn tweed residue on yours. I also found yours to have black while Connery’s were shades of brown. It must be difficult to find the proper material with similar colors to fully convey James Bond’s Barleycorn Hacking Jacket.

      • Then your jacket is an exact replica? My apologies, I’ll definitely be seeking that jacket. Will you be searching for a proper colored pants similar to Connery’s in Goldfinger? I would love to see the contrast of the piece with the pants.

      • It’s not an exact replica, but it is very, very close. An exact replica would need to be bespoke. I have another pair of trousers that are closer to Connery’s, but they’re still not the same colour.

  18. I wore my own version of this outfit to church today. My jacket is a Brooks Brothers herringbone tweed 3-roll-2 sack jacket instead of a proper barley corn hacking jacket, but close enough for me. The color scheme was basically the same. At first, I was a little leary of wearing so much brown. But I found the varying textures between the tweed coat, knit tie, twill pants, and suade shoes provided a lot of visual interest while the brown kind of kept everything classy and in check. I felt very dapper indeed.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.