The Skyfall Barbour jacket. What does one say about what has literally become one of the most iconic Bond jackets in the history of the franchise? It’s visual status is legendary. We can all recall that image of Daniel Craig standing near his DB5 in his homeland with shotgun in hand on the cover of the Skyfall Bond on Set. The jacket is so British, so Bond.
Of course, the original jacket worn in Skyfall was the Barbour Beacon Heritage X To Ki To Sports Jacket, which was later reintroduced as the Barbour Dept. (B) Commander Jacket. The differences between the two jackets, which have been explored in detail at James Bond Lifestyle, are that the original had a removable zipper hood and a protective flap under the lapel. The Dept. (B) jacket was missing these details. The hood, zipper was removed by the costume department for Skyfall, and the protective “storm flap” is not used and mostly unseen (except for some inside scenes), so the Dept. (B) actually comes with more screen accurate detailing.
The Dept. (B) Commander Jacket
The jacket was then again renamed to the Barbour Beacon Sports Jacket. My jacket is the Dept. (B) Commander model, which is identical to the Barbour Beacon Sports Jacket, except for some Dept. (B) branding. A Google search of any of the above model names will result in sites still selling the jacket, while End Clothing, Coggles, and Aphrodite Clothing seem to have a regular supply of the jacket in most sizes. I should mention that many sites will call this jacket the Barbour Beacon Sports Jacket, but have pictures of the Dept. (B) Commander.
The original can sometimes be found on Ebay, but due to the name similarities, it’s usually the Beacon Sports jacket and not the original X To Ki To. So be certain to look over the details carefully when purchasing. The X To Ki To is also sold on the Bond fan forum AJB007 from time to time.
Material and Finishing
The finishing on this jacket is superb, and is what should be expected at the price point. The primary material of the jacket is cotton. Notable features are the triangular upper left chest pocket, the two lower pockets, the back interconnecting tube double-zipper pocket, the armpit breather holes, and the elbow, pocket, and shoulder patches. There are leather details on the cuffs, bottom pockets, and collar.
The cotton has a coat of wax applied to it to make the jacket waterproof. Barbour has labeled the type of waxed cotton for this jacket as Sylkoil. The Sylkoil technique is characterized by its less glossy, matte appearance due to the use of unshorn cotton straight from the loom.
The inside is lined with cotton tartan lining and what seems to be a strip of wool on each side that merges into an inside pocket accent.
A Few Extras …
The jacket comes with three button replacements, one in each size found on the jacket. A functional plastic Barbour hanger with a swivel hook is also provided. Additionally, mine came with a cool gold and green Barbour pin. I have not figured out if I’m going to use the pin or not, but it’s a nice touch.
In between the inner lining and outer Sylkoil shell resides a plastic liner that helps to ensure the wax does not seep through the jacket and onto the clothes of the wearer. This lining significantly decreases breathability. Many have complained about sweating in the jacket, if the weather is not cold enough. Some have gone as far as removing the inner membrane, but this technique is not suggested, as it will likely allow the wax to seep through and stain your clothing. This issue is discussed in detail in this AJB thread.
I have not found the jacket to cause me to overly sweat (only mild sweating in the armpit), but I do find the jacket to be overly warm for inside use. If I am in a store for more than a quick in and out, I will usually take the jacket off. I find the ideal temperature of use to be nothing above 60 degrees Fahrenheit and can only use the jacket on non-sunny days. It doesn’t have to be raining to wear it, but cloud cover is a must unless it’s below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s great for a work day with cold mornings coming in and a cold night leaving.
The Sizing and Fit
Ah yes, sizing. If only it were as simple as saying true to size, size up or size down. But we know it’s never that easy. And the Barbour jacket is no exception. There doesn’t seem to be much of a difference depending on which one of the the three jackets you get, so that does make it a little bit easier. The primary issue with sizing this jacket is its ultra slim fit in the shoulders and chest. The armholes in particular are very high.
I got my usual size XS. The jacket fits me perfectly everywhere except at the arm holes, which are so high that they ride up into my armpit and make me sweat even if it’s very cold out. It’s not particularly uncomfortable during normal use, but the jacket is rather restrictive during driving. The chest really pinches into my armpits and the shoulders become overly tight when steering.
I couldn’t find a size chart for these jackets, so I don’t have any manufacturers specifications to compare my jacket’s measurements to. What I did instead is compare the measurements of the Barbour to the average of the same measurements of three other XS jackets that I own. The three jackets I used are the Royals Filmwear Quantum Jacket, Levi’s Menlo, and the Ben Sherman Harrington. The average was rounded to the nearest 1/4″. You will notice that I compared a measurement I am calling “Collar-to-Pit”; the purpose of this measurement comparison is to determine how high the arm holes are by referencing their distance from the base of the collar.
The measurements of my jacket are:
Pit-to-Pit: 18″ (19″ Average)
Waist: 17.5″ (16.5″ Average)
Pit-to-Cuff: 19″ (19.25″ Average)
Sleeve length: 25″ (24.5″ Average)
Shoulder: 16″ (17.75″ Average)
Length: 27.5″ (24″ Average)
Collar to Pit: 9.5” (10.75″ Average)
Comparing the measurements to the average, the sleeve length and pit-to-cuff values are about average. On the small side we have the chest (1″ less than average), shoulders (1.75″ less than average!), and the collar-to-pit (1.25″ less than average, proving the armpit design is quite high) measurements. On the large side we have the waist (1″ above the average) and the jacket length at 3.5″ above the average. It should be noted that the jacket length is designed to be longer like a blazer or sports coat and should sit close to or at the end of your rear.
So which size to choose?
Thus, the problem becomes apparent. If you purchase in your size, expect the jacket to fit tight in the chest and shoulders. While the sleeve length is average, it may actually run on the shorter side due to the tight chest and high arm holes. The sleeves fit me perfectly, but I’m not a bulky guy, so results may vary. The waist and jacket length are designed to be larger and longer than the average, so getting your normal size will likely result in these dimensions fitting precisely as intended.
If you purchase a size up, expect the jacket to be just right in the chest and shoulders; this should also fix the high armhole issue. The sleeves may be on the long side or just right depending on your build. However, the waist and jacket length may be overly big and overly long. Tailoring may be required.
It is the above outlined sizing issues that have made many people decide to purchase their regular size and let out the chest area. I do not have any experience with letting out this jacket, so I don’t have any pointers, but maybe someone could add their experience in the comments section.
This iconic jacket is an absolute masterpiece. But the fit is complicated. With a tight chest and shoulders and high arm holes, your regular size may prove to be too tight in the chest area. However, sizing up may result in a jacket with an overly large waist and an overly long length. If you have the opportunity to try the jacket on, by all means, do so. If you can purchase two and return the one that doesn’t fit properly, I would highly recommend that as well.
I know many people have been reluctant to purchase the Skyfall Barbour because of its limited use potential. And, I can understand why. This is not a versatile jacket. It’s a specialty piece, most at home in an outside environment on a cold and rainy day. I’m not going to lie, I live in Florida and only get to use this jacket about 20 days a year, tops. Additionally, out of those 20 days that I do get to wear it, only about 5 of them are truly appropriate for wearing the jacket all day. And I usually have to take it off after about 15 minutes inside regardless. But, those are very special days indeed. One such day just happened when I was writing this article:
Any review is going to be highly subjective. So, if anyone has had an experience or has an opinion that differs from any aspect of my review, please feel free to share in the comments below. The community and I greatly appreciates it. And, head over to Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram if you’d like to see more Bond!