Roger Moore’s final tailor Mason & Sons commemorated Roger Moore’s life by releasing a jacket inspired by the many safari jackets that Moore wore as James Bond and beyond. Released under the Bond-connected Anthony Sinclair brand, this safari jacket is not a replica of any of Moore’s safari jackets, but we also wouldn’t want it to be. We are not living in the 1970s or 1980s, and most of us are not going on safaris regularly. David Mason of Mason & Sons came up with a modern take on Moore’s classic piece that is better for the modern man.
The safari jacket has returned strong in the fashion industry this summer thanks to designers like Ralph Lauren, Dior, Valentino and Louis Vuitton, and it’s not all about bringing back 1970s fashion. The safari jacket has been around for over a century, when it was first worn by the military and by explorers, and it has periodically returned to fashion because of what a practical garment it is beyond its cool look. After all, people can always appreciate a lightweight garment with copious large pockets.
The Anthony Sinclair jacket is very lightweight and made of a resilient blend of 86% polyester and 14% polyurethane. This modern material updates the safari jacket over more traditional materials because it is light, water-resistant and does not wrinkle. Because the jacket is made of a synthetic, it does not breathe as well as a natural fibre does. When wearing a short-sleeved shirt underneath, I notice my bare arms sticking to the sleeves. With a long-sleeve shirt underneath I found myself more comfortable. I have not worn the jacket in temperatures over 28°C, and I don’t know if I would be comfortable in it at such temperatures.
The jacket is solidly made in Italy and has an attractive checked lining only over the shoulders, so it retains a lightweight feel. Turning up the collar reveals a the underside trimmed in dark brown alcantara, a hearty suede-like microfibre material. A lack of shoulder straps removes this jacket a bit from the safari tradition and gives it a more modern and thus more wearable look.
Mason & Sons offers this jacket in khaki and in navy. The khaki is muted and is closest to the stone colour of Moore’s safari suit in Moonraker, but it’s darker and might be best described as taupe. This makes it more versatile than the traditional khaki or tan of safari wear.
I chose the safari jacket in navy instead of the more traditional khaki because I wanted something that would fit in where I live in a city. Navy is better suited for the urban jungle, while khaki is better for a real jungle, or even just the suburbs. In navy, this jacket resembles a toned-down version of the navy leisure suit made by Cyril Castle that Moore wears for hang gliding in Live and Let Die, which also lacked shoulder straps, but the Anthony Sinclair jacket lacks structure and feels more like a safari jacket because of that.
The front of the jacket has a zip and with 5 buttons to fasten the fly that covers the zip, so it still has a traditional look. There are four pockets on the front with buttoned-down flaps; there are two reverse-box-pleated pockets on the chest and two bellows pockets on the hips. There is also a zipped pocket on the inside of each side of the chest for even more secure storage. With a total of six large pockets, this is a truly utilitarian piece beyond its fashionable look. The buttons are brown horn-effect, and two buttons on each cuffs allows for adjustment. There is a locker loop inside the back of the jacket that matches the navy shell of the jacket, and there is a brown leather locker loop on the outside of the jacket under the collar.
The jacket has a close fit, and it can be made to fit even closer at the waist with the help of a drawstring that is hidden inside. The drawstring updates the jacket for a fitted and modern look without the traditional belt that Moore always eschewed for his perfectly fitted safari jackets as Bond. Because the jacket fits so closely, I had to size up to a 40 from my usual size of 38. In a size 38 I felt very restricted, but at 40 it has a comfortable but still close fit. The size 40 measures only 20 1/2 inches from armpit-to-armpit, so to have a range of motion as well as the ability to place things in the pockets, sizing up was necessary.
The jacket is easily dressed up or down. Though it cannot take the place of a suit or a sports coat, it can be dressed up with a shirt and tie for those who need to dress as such for the office and want something to wear over their business casual clothes for the journey to and from work. It dresses down nicely with a polo and chinos or a t-shirt and jeans as well. When worn more casually, I like it with the collar up, but even with a shirt and tie the collar can be popped.
Though this jacket has only been available for a week, there are unfortunately not many sizes left, and these will not be restocked until next year.
Overall, the number of pockets, the lightweight, water-resistant, wrinkle-free material and its overall versatility makes this jacket the perfect travel garment for warm weather. You can fold it up in a suitcase or stuff it into a bag, and it will hardly take up any space and come out unwrinkled.
Photos by Janna Levin