Sean Connery’s two grey suits in Thunderball have always been among my favourite suits of the James Bond series, and I believe they represent the pinnacle of Sean Connery’s style as James Bond. When Anthony Sinclair added the Thunderball-style straight-bottomed waistcoat to their made-to-order and made-to-measure suits, I knew I had to get a suit with this waistcoat. I never had a formal three-piece suit before. My only three-piece suit was a vintage corduroy suit, so I had a void in my wardrobe to fill.
Since I was a young boy I have loved Connery’s mid to light grey suits in all his Bond films, and the black-and-white mohair suit from the Junkanoo scene in Thunderball has particularly always stood out to me. While I also love the grey flannel suit in Thunderball, I tend to wear warm and I’d be too warm with three pieces of a flannel suit. I found a way to combine these two suits.
I wanted a suit that would be as if the Thunderball black-and-white mohair suit was a three-piece suit with a waistcoat like the two other suits in Thunderball have. At a glance, this suit may recall the Goldfinger glen check suit because the colour is the same and it is Bond’s most similar three-piece suit to my suit. However, the Goldfinger suit was not part of the inspiration for my suit. My suit is based almost entirely on the two Thunderball suits.
I chose a cloth that was as close to the Junkanoo suit as I could find. I appreciate mohair for how it wears cool, is naturally wrinkle-resistant and has a gentle sheen. The contrast of black and white in the weave emphasises the sheen. I got this suit to wear for social occasions, and while its overall light colour looks good in the daytime, the mohair’s sheen looks elegant at night.
Since Anthony Sinclair partnered with Holland & Sherry for their 60th Anniversary collection last year, I chose a cloth from Holland & Sherry’s Classic Mohair bunch. The cloth code is 2821500, and it’s 9 1/2 oz and composed of 75% wool and 25% mohair. It’s a sturdy medium-light weight cloth that feels comfortable to wear most of the year. Compared to pure wool or a cloth with a lower mohair composition, this cloth is stiff and springy, which helps it look sharp. It will not crease. However, it does not drape as well as a pure wool cloth of the same weight. My bespoke Anthony Sinclair dinner suit is made of the same cloth in midnight blue, and I love wearing it.
They can work with you to get any cloth you want to replicate any James Bond suit, or any other suit for that matter. They are not limited to Holland & Sherry cloths either.
The style of this suit mostly follows the Thunderball style. The jacket has two buttons on the front, roped sleeve heads, jetted pockets and four buttons on each cuff. The lapels are 9.2 cm wide, which is about 2 cm wider than in Thunderball. I prefer a medium lapel width over a narrow one.
The suit jacket breaks from Thunderball in a few ways based on my own preferences and ideas. I had the jacket made with 27-cm double vents instead of no vents because I don’t care for the look or feel of un-vented jackets. One could say that I’m recalling the grey mohair suit from Dr. No with the vents. My vents are proportionately longer than what Connery wore in Dr. No because I like long vents, but these aren’t going to extremes. The vent length is customisable.
The waistcoat has six buttons, a straight bottom and four welt pockets. The trousers have double forward pleats, a waistband with Daks-style three-button side adjusters and a hook-and-bar-fastening extension, on-seam side pockets, trim—but not skinny—legs with a 40-cm hem circumference and 4-cm turn-ups. For taller men I’d recommend 4.5-cm turn-ups.
I also wanted this suit to have smoke mother of pearl buttons instead of Connery’s grey polyester buttons to add to a more luxurious look. The buttons nicely complement the mohair’s sheen and add a bit of extra flashiness to the suit. They ordered classic English suit buttons for me from Richard James Weldon, including bevelled-edge smoke mother of pearl buttons for the trousers for the authentic Savile Row style. The usual buttons for Anthony Sinclair made-to-order and made-to-measure suits are corozo, but they have a standard button selection for a variety of choices that also includes mother-of-pearl buttons.
The Anthony Sinclair Brand
Anthony Sinclair was a bespoke tailor in London’s Conduit Street who made Sean Connery’s dinner jackets, suits, jacket, trousers and coats for his six EON Productions James Bond films, from Dr. No in 1962 through Diamonds Are Forever in 1971. The brand went dormant for decades after Sinclair died in 1986, but the name was revived in 2012 when David Mason partnered with Richard W. Paine, a bespoke cutter who trained under Sinclair and took over his business after Sinclair died.
Anthony Sinclair is one of a number of British heritage brands resurrected, owned and operated by David Mason’s company Mason & Sons. Most of Mason & Sons’ tailoring is done under the Anthony Sinclair brand, which offers made-to-order, made-to-measure and bespoke tailoring.
The Anthony Sinclair made-to-order suits come in stock sizes, ranging from 36 to 46 in short, regular and long lengths. Prices start around $1,800 but go up depending on the cloth. Made-to-order takes about four weeks to arrive. They no longer sell ready-to-wear.
Anthony Sinclair made-to-measure—which my suit is an example of—adds an approximately 20% premium on top of made-to-order to account for the extra labour involved in fittings and pattern changes. Made-to-measure means that a stock pattern is modified to fit the client. It is superior to altering a ready-made garment because many more adjustments can be made that are not possible with alterations.
Mason & Sons also has an entry-level tailoring brand called Pope & Bradley, which is another heritage brand. The original company was about offering great ‘bang for your buck’ in civil and military tailoring. Pope & Bradley also offers made-to-order and made-to-measure tailoring, but those clothes are made to lower standards than Anthony Sinclair clothes. It has half-canvas construction and little handwork. Mason & Sons used to sell their entry-level tailoring under their own name, but the Pope & Bradley brand has replaced the Mason & Sons-branded tailoring line.
Anthony Sinclair suits cost more than Pope & Bradley because they use full-canvas construction as well as handwork details in the buttonholes, button attachment, lapel buttonhole, the collar front and bottom, the bottom lining and facings and the boutonniere loop. There’s also an additional ‘Hand Finished’ option available that allows for more handwork. Compared with Pope & Bradley, Anthony Sinclair offers many more options in the styles and details for their clothes.
Anthony Sinclair bespoke costs approximately three times as much as made-to-measure, and it involves drafting a unique individual pattern for the client. It also takes advantage of more client fittings to perfect the fit. Bespoke has more handwork, a superior construction and a greater attention to detail in every area. The design is also not limited like it is in made-to-measure. Made-to-measure, however, does indeed feature a tremendous number of options.
Mason & Sons have other brands for tailoring as well. Mr Fish is a more fashion-forward brand and an icon of the peacock revolution. Those suits have full-canvas construction. They also have the Motoluxe brand, where they do unconstructed tailoring.
The Anthony Sinclair Made-to-Measure Ordering Process
With my previous made-to-measure and bespoke clothes from Anthony Sinclair and their parent company Mason & Sons, I worked with David Mason. This time I worked with their Houston, Texas-based director Ryan Chua. Ryan focuses on the American market and travels all over the United States to meet with customers (David Mason still sees customers in the United States too), so he met with me in New York City to measure me. While I wore my blue made-to-measure suit they made for me in 2016 to the fitting for reference, Ryan wanted to start fresh when measuring me for this suit.
I asked Ryan to give my suit a cut as much like Connery’s as possible, and he did a great job within the confinements of the made-to-measure system. The Anthony Sinclair made-to-order and made-to-measure suits have a little chest fullness and drape worked into the standard pattern because it’s a key aspect Anthony Sinclair’s original Conduit Cut. However, the amount of fullness and shape in Connery’s suits is only possible with bespoke. While the chest of my jacket is cut with some fullness, it’s not nearly as full as Connery’s. Because I’m much smaller than Connery was, a suit can’t look exactly the same on both of us. There is also some drape at the back behind the sleeves to aid in movement. Ryan said that for most customers he lessens the chest fullness because they prefer a trimmer cut.
They typically take 26 measurements for a made-to-measure suit. They sometimes use try-on fitting garments for made-to-measure to assist in getting the fit right at the collar and neck, where the fit is most important. Try-on garments can also help the client express their fit and style preferences, such as how slim and how long they like the jacket to be, where the button stance is, and how much shoulder padding they like. Since I already own a few of their garments, this mainly wasn’t necessary, but I tried on Ryan’s own waistcoat for fit purposes.
Almost every aspect of the suit can be altered with their made-to-measure system. Basic made-to-measure suits can adjust body length, girth, sleeve length and shoulder width. Anthony Sinclair can adjust the front and back of the chest, waist and seat individually to account for where each person needs the most fullness and suppression. They can adjust for posture, such as an erect or stooped posture. The collar height can be adjusted. Shoulder slope can be changed per shoulder, and shoulder position can be accounted for. Armhole depth can be changed for higher armholes, sleeve pitch can be adjusted and the sleeve opening size can be changed. They can adjust the front-back balance to ensure the jacket sits properly on the body. They can change stylistic details like the button stance, the chest pocket height and the vent length.
They have different lapel choices for their standard high-gorge (notch position and shape) and their lower-gorge lapel, which is still quite high. My lapel is their lower-gorge version, which has a steeper gorge like Sean Connery’s suits in Dr. No have. The gorge is still high, and I hope they offer a medium-height gorge in the future. Their standard notched lapel is available in 1-cm increments from 6 to 11 cm, with 8 cm being their standard width. Their peaked lapels are available in 1-cm increments from 7 to 11 cm. Their lower gorge lapels start at 8.2 cm wide and increase by 1 cm for larger widths. Bespoke is needed for those who desire more variation.
They also offer different kinds of shoulder padding. I have their regular shoulder pad, which is fairly thin. They can increase it by .5 cm or 1 cm for a thicker pad.
For trousers they can change the trouser rise and adjust the front and back individually. They can also adjust the crotch. They can alter the width of the leg and the leg opening.
When Ryan adjusted the pattern to fit me, he started with a 38R block. Made to measure means that adjustments are made from a standard size, as opposed to bespoke where a pattern is created from scratch for each client. Ryan made adjustments almost everywhere for my fit, shrinking it in some places and enlarging it in others.
He kept the chest size standard for size 38 so it would have the fullness I wanted, but if I wanted a slimmer cut he could have reduced the size of the chest. He added a lapel dart for a cleaner fit in the chest. He reduced the collar for a closer fit based on my neck measurement relative to coat size. He raised the armhole 1.5 cm. He lowered the button stance and increased the vent length. Ryan also raised the trouser rise and reduced the leg opening 1 cm at the full circumference.
After the measuring is when I would have selected a cloth for the suit, but I had decided on this cloth a few months earlier when I accompanied David Mason to Holland & Sherry’s New York office to help him choose cloths for the Anthony Sinclair 60-piece collection in celebration of Dr. No’s 60th anniversary. However, I had wanted a suit in a cloth like this for years.
Ryan returned to New York when my suit was ready for a fitting. A fitting is able to bring the made-to-measure process one step closer to bespoke. Ryan likes to do a fitting for every made-to-measure suit because fabrics can vary with how they tailor.
The made-to-measure fitting is not like a basted or forward fitting in bespoke; it’s much closer to a completed suit. At the fitting my jacket was made without buttonholes cut on the front and sleeves to ensure the waist button could be properly positioned and the sleeve length could be perfected. Ryan made a few minor alterations at the fitting, which he recorded to my pattern for future suits.
While the original Thunderball waistcoat is cut fairly straight across the bottom, the made-to-measure waistcoat pattern curves down in the front. The curve isn’t noticeable with the jacket on—it even looks straight with the jacket unbuttoned—so it looks fairly screen accurate. They cannot make a straighter hem in made to measure—that’s for bespoke.
At the fitting, I found the waistcoat to be too long, both in relation to the length of my torso and in relation to the trouser waistband. However, this was able to be corrected. The bottom button was placed about 5 cm from the hem, and Connery’s bottom button is about 2 cm from the hem. Ryan was able to cut about 2.5 cm off the bottom of the waistcoat with no ill effects, and it now fits me considerably better. I wish the waistcoat were still slightly shorter, and it could have been made shorter because the trousers have quite a high rise, but it’s not too long either.
I love how this suit turned out. The suit has the look of the Thunderball suits, but it’s updated for an even more timeless silhouette. It’s an extremely comfortable suit thanks to a soft and lightweight construction, but it doesn’t feel delicate. The comfort means that I can put the suit on and forget that I’m wearing it. However, I also can’t help but admire it as I’m wearing it.
The fit is excellent, but it isn’t a bespoke fit. There’s room for improvement, and the fit can be improved with the next suit I get. A made-to-measure suit does not have a basted fitting like a bespoke suit does, where the suit is loosely stitched together and tried on for major changes to be made afterwards. This is one reason why a bespoke suit costs so much more than made-to-measure. A made-to-measure suit arrives from the factory almost completed, and minor alterations may be done at this point. I can’t expect a bespoke fit with a made-to-measure suit, but overall I’m happy with the fit. Some of the issues may be due to mohair not being the most forgiving cloth due to how stiff it is. It doesn’t have the soft drape of pure wool and doesn’t tailor as well.
I have both made-to-measure and bespoke suits from Anthony Sinclair. I am impressed with what they can do in made-to-measure, and I believe it is a fantastic value, but it is not bespoke. The fit and feel of a bespoke suit is not possible in made-to-measure, hence why they make bespoke suits. However, for most people the made-to-measure suit is a superb garment. Anthony Sinclair made-to-measure is able to provide me with exactly what I want in my clothes in a much more accessible way compared to bespoke.
In the photos by Mitchell Vito, I am wearing a mid blue Zendaline shirt from Frank Foster, a black grenadine tie from Anthony Sinclair and black derby shoes from John Lobb (Paris) in the ‘Tamar’ model. I’m also wearing braces from Albert Thurston under my waistcoat, which I find indispensable with a three-piece suit. Like Sean Connery in Thunderball, I also left out the pocket square.