The Brown Barleycorn Tweed Hacking Jacket in Goldfinger and Thunderball

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For country pursuits there is nothing better than a tweed hacking jacket and heavy twill trousers. The perfect setting and modern take on the traditional English country outfit makes this one of Sean Connery’s most iconic outfits as James Bond. The hacking jacket from Goldfinger is made by Connery’s usual tailor Anthony Sinclair in a brown barleycorn tweed woven in a unique weave. The barleycorn weave is a variation on the twill and hopsack weaves, which forms a pattern of upward-pointing arrows. This tweed is heavy by today’s standards, in a weight approximately between 14 and 18 ounces. Though Connery often wore lightweight suits in his Bond films, this is one of his heavier garments. The simple pattern and colour scheme makes this jacket look more modern than other tweeds might look.

Brown-Barleycorn
The brown barleycorn tweed weave and pattern

The button two hacking jacket in Goldfinger is made in Anthony Sinclair’s usual style for Sean Connery with narrow lapels, a low button stance, soft shoulders, roped sleeve heads, a slightly draped chest and a gently suppressed waist. This jacket is a hacking jacket because of two important details: slanted pockets—which are also known as “hacking pockets”—and a deep single vent. These two details were designed to make the jacket wear better on horseback. Slanted pockets are easier to access than straight pockets when on horseback, and pocket flaps keep items inside the pockets. A long single vent helps the jacket’s skirt to drape neatly on either side of a horse. This jacket is also detailed with a welt breast pocket, a ticket pocket and four cuff buttons. The button are made of medium brown horn to match the colour of the jacket.

Bond wears his hacking jacket with narrow-cut, darted-front, fawn wool cavalry twill trousers with frogmouth pockets and plain hemmed bottoms with a steep guardsman slant. Frogmouth pockets are accessed from the top rather than the sides, which makes them easier to access when on horseback. Cavalry twill is a heavy cloth that is characterised by its unique double rib. It is very hard-wearing, and Connery’s trousers are likely between a 14 oz and 18 oz weight, similar to the jacket. With such heavy clothes, he is comfortable outdoors in the cool and windy mountains.

A cavalry twill weave (there are other variations)

Though the trousers are just one shade lighter than his jacket, the smooth texture of the trousers significantly contrasts the rough tweed texture of the jacket, making them an excellent pair. Ordinarily with such similar colours, a jacket and trousers will clash. The tone-on-tone outfit modernises the English country look so Connery does not look old-fashioned in his tweed.

On his feet is the quintessential country footwear: brown two-eyelet suede shoes. These are derby shoes, very similar to chukka boots in a style John Lobb Ltd. calls “hilo” shoes. They look just like chukka boots in the front, but they are cut lower like derby shoes. In essence, they are chukka shoes. The shoes have rubber soles for better wear in the country.

In Thunderball when James Bond is in the English countryside at Shrublands health clinic, he wears the same jacket and trousers. Just as much as in the Swiss Alps, the tweed jacket and cavalry twill trousers are at home at Shrublands. Connery wears the same shoes in Thunderball that he wears with the jacket and trousers in Goldfinger.

The hacking jacket in Thunderball

Connery wears different shirts and ties with the jacket and trousers in the two James Bond films. In Goldfinger he wears an ecru shirt from Frank Foster that has faint, broken grey Dobby stripes and is made with a a spread collar, front placket and double cuffs. The tie in Goldfinger is a light brown knit tie. In Thunderball Bond switches the striped shirt out for a solid ecru shirt from Turnbull & Asser with a spread collar, front placket and two-button cocktail cuffs. The tie in Thunderball is a dark brown grenadine tie from Turnbull & Asser for a more refined look.

The hacking jacket with a cocktail cuff shirt in Thunderball

Before Sean Connery wore the hacking jacket and cavalry twill trousers as James Bond, he wore it in Woman of Straw, with the same waistcoat he wears with his brown houndstooth suit at the office in Goldfinger. Though it’s rare for the same a garment to return to a second Bond film, this may be the only garment that Sean Connery wears in three films.

22 COMMENTS

  1. First off, very good blog. I am glad someone did it! I admire the clothes in the early Bond films and had thought of doing a similar analysis, however your knowledge excels my own. I will be following this with interest : )

    Good observation with the re-used wardrobe. I was watching Thunderball a few weeks ago and noticed that they used the same brown blazer and trousers. I'm glad – the films were released one year apart and it would be an awful waste of beautiful clothes. It makes sense that the character would keep some of the same suits. I think there was another suit carried across between Goldfinger and Thunderball – was his dark grey 3 piece at the end scene of Goldfinger the same as the one seen in the opening of Thunderball?

    David C

  2. The dark grey flannel suits at the end of Goldfinger and beginning of Thunderball are very similar though different suits. The jackets are just about identical. The trousers in Thunderball have turn-ups whilst the trousers in Goldfinger don't. The biggest difference is in the waistcoats. The Goldfinger waistcoat is a normal 6 button with 5 to button, whereas the Thunderball waistcoat has a full 6-button front and is cut straight across the bottom.

  3. Matt,

    I believe these are not boots, but suede oxfords (or derbys, cannot tell). One can see this best in the scene were Bond briefly sits on the trunk of Tilly Masterson's car after she has run off of the road in Switzerland.

    S

  4. S, you are correct. They are derby shoes, though they are very much in the spirit of chukka boots. These shoes have typically been called chukka boots, even in Dressed to Kill: James Bond the Suited Hero. I've changed the article to reflect this.

  5. A favorite of mine. A nice example of how to dress rather casual but still very elegant.

    I prefer this style over the suit-without-a-tie look and the quite popular combination jeans and suit jacket.

    This outfit still works perfectly 50 years later.

    • I couldn’t agree more! This outfit beats the suit-without-tie attempt at dressy casual hands down!

    • It’s hard to tell from the film, but these cufflink probably look the same on both sides. Cufflinks back then were typically two pieces linked together with a chain, so no toggle. A cufflink of this type is easy to slide in and out of the holes. I have a very similar pair of cufflinks to these.

  6. When re-watching Thunderball, I had to stop and look again at the (single) rear vent’s length – which has a depth that approaches that of many ’70s suits.

    Then I remembered it is a jacket for riding, after all. Wonder what the excuse was for when deep vents became the norm?

    -Kurt

    • You’re right that the colour is off. They look too light, though in the close-up photos the colour looks a little better. The side-adjusters on those trousers are not seen in either Goldfinger or Thunderball, so we don’t know what kind they are. They are most likely the same Daks tops as the suit trousers, but David Mason took the liberty of using a slide-buckle side-adjusters. I find that the slide buckle-type adjusters are more effective than Daks tops, which may have been the reason why they were used.

  7. I just re-watched the scenes in Goldfinger in which Bond wears this hacking jacket – it’s pure perfection! The outfit is casually elegant, and the structured, ever-so-slightly military cut of the jacket emphasizes the youthful Connery’s athletic build. For the life of me I can’t figure out why anybody would find hacking jackets “old-mannish”!

  8. It’s not a regular tweed jacket? It does indeed have slanted pockets, a ticket pocket and a long single vent, but I always thought a true hacking jacket had a 3 button front and a short lapel?

    • The original hacking jackets had three or four buttons, but so did the original lounge suits. If a lounge suit can have two buttons, so can a hacking jacket.

  9. Hi Matt,

    Big fan, excellent website.

    This outfit is one of many favourites of mine. Sean in his 007 role is a big inspiration for my style.

    I’m trying to get a jacket of mine that is as similar to this as possible. I’ve been searching around for suitable barleycorn tweed cloths in order to have one made.

    Can you advise what sort of weight I should be looking at to match Sean’s?

    Cheers,

    NavyGrenadine

  10. Hello Matt,

    I recently discovered this site and am using it to help me build on my own wardrobe. Thank you for sharing so much of your research and knowledge!

    I guess this is more of a general fashion question, but I’ve always been told not to pair a jacket and trousers that are very similar in color but different, as it would look mismatched. Is this advise correct or is the above wardrobe choice acceptable because of the same pattern between the two?

    Thanks so much,

    Rob

    • Hi Rob,

      The key is to avoid the look of a mismatched suit between your jacket and trousers. High contrast in colour is an easier way to avoid that mismatched look, but in Connery’s outfit he is able to pair together two items that are similar in colour for two reasons:

      1. The patterns of the jacket and trousers are very different. The jacket is a barleycorn pattern while the trousers are solid.
      2. The textures of the jacket and trousers are very different. The jacket is a fuzzy, rough and dull tweed while the trousers are a smooth ribbed twill with a bit of sheen.

      What are the same are the colour family and the weights of the two items. Items in the same colour family can create harmony as well as a more formal look. Even if the colours are similar, for the reasons above there is not a mismatch. The jacket and trousers need to be similar in weight otherwise you have a different kind of mismatch.

  11. Although different in details (vents and pockets), I thought the Rock pulled off a fairly Bondian look in Skyscraper with his brown tweed jacket. Arnold also wore a very similar jacket in kindergarten cop, from memory. So this jacket has a good action hero pedigree in my opinion…

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