Barbour Dept. (B) Commander Jacket Review

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.

Barbour Dept. (B) Commander Jacket Review

 

The Original

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 ClothingCoggles, 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.

Barbour Dept. (B) Commander Jacket Review
Dept. (B) branding on inside top center tag and left bottom pocket flap.

 

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.

Barbour Dept. (B) Commander Jacket Review
Front view of the Barbour jacket showing the pocket types, leather detailing, and shoulder and pocket patches.

 

Barbour Dept. (B) Commander Jacket Review
Rear view of the Barbour jacket displaying the shoulder and elbow patches, rear tube double-zippered pocket, and armpit breather holes.

 

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.

Barbour Dept. (B) Commander Jacket Review
Traditional Sylkoil finish up-close and personal, along with the beautiful Barbour branded buttons and leather pocket detailing.

 

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.

Barbour Dept. (B) Commander Jacket Review
Right and left inside pockets detailing the tartan lining and wool accents.

 

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.

Barbour Dept. (B) Commander Jacket Review
Closeup of the replacement buttons and the bonus gold and green Barbour pin.

 

Barbour Dept. (B) Commander Jacket Review
Swivel hook Barbour hanger provided with jacket.

 

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.

Barbour Dept. (B) Commander Jacket Review
Fit pic of jacket worn unbuttoned.

 

Barbour Dept. (B) Commander Jacket Review
Fit pic of jacket worn fully buttoned and triangular neck cover button-attached. Note how tight the triangular cover piece is on my neck.

 

The Measurements

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 JacketLevi’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.

 

Barbour Dept. (B) Commander Jacket Review
Visual depiction of jacket measurements.

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.

 

Conclusion

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:


Barbour Dept. (B) Commander Jacket Review

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!

11 thoughts on “Barbour Dept. (B) Commander Jacket Review

  • August 29, 2017 at 12:15 pm
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    Very informative piece. I enjoyed reading the article, I want the jacket so much I just don’t know if I can part with £400 for one though.

    Reply
    • August 30, 2017 at 8:03 am
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      I know what you mean Sd. I struggle with this issue when purchasing any expensive Bond clothing memorabilia item. My goal is to ultimately purchase every piece of Bond clothing still available, but that will likely take years, so I focus my efforts on what I can get the most use out of, and what is about to disappear. I purchased my XS Menlo because it was the last of its kind, and it seems like that was a good idea. However, I thought I got the Barbour when it was disappearing, but there seems to have been a resurgence of them as of late, so you probably have some time to decide. I bought my Matchless for the same reason, but it too seems to be readily available, likely for years to come. In the future, I will be waiting to buy these big ticket items until they are truely almost gone, as that helps ensure that I can get every piece on a limited bidget over time. I hope this helps.

      Reply
  • July 16, 2017 at 3:25 pm
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    Great review that helped me drop the hammer on a Barbour Beacon, yes the sizing is ‘ challenging’ but at 6’7 with a 48″ chest the xxl is on the money… not sure how I’ll fare with a anything other than the thinnest of jumpers though. .. great jacket, exceptional quality.. with sleeves long enough for me ( quite a novelty from Barbour) .. to cap it all I dropped lucky, having ordered the beacon, I got one of the original limited edition jackets ( if the labelling is to be believed) unexpected to say the least (I’m still grinning).

    Reply
    • July 17, 2017 at 7:46 am
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      Absolutely fantastic to hear Tim! This is exactly why I write these reviews, to help others make the best selection when purchasing the wonderful Bond memoribelia pieces. Glad to hear you got the right size and got an original! Very cool man!

      Reply
  • April 27, 2017 at 10:00 am
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    perfect review mate…i have the barbour beacon jacket too…you made an extremely accurate review point by point…the fitting indeed is very complicated…i purchased a size L..i´m 1.8 mts and 81 kgs and as you pointed out i get trouble in chest and shoulders…and a little on the back and armpit…the jacket is very tight on the upper side and using a shirt and a sweater makes it more difficult, cause both need to be very thin to get the right fit and not to kill yourself by sofocation LOL…besides that the rest of the jacket is fine and very high quality…a classy and timeless outdoor sporty piece that you can wear only on winter time when is very cold outside…best regards

    Reply
    • July 17, 2017 at 7:43 am
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      Thanks Leonardo. Sorry for the slow response. I’ve had some issues with my Account lately, but all is fixed now. Glad to hear you had a similarly positive experience with the jacket. And, thanks for sharing your experience with sizing and fit, as that really helps people when selecting the size they need. All the best!

      Reply
  • February 22, 2017 at 8:26 am
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    Looking good James, and a brilliant review. Top work

    Reply
    • February 22, 2017 at 8:55 am
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      Thanks Chris! My hope is that reviews of the real deal can serve two functions: 1. They can help people determine if they want to invest in the screen accurate piece and help with sizing concerns, 2. Help those who are looking for alternatives determine what details and fit the screen accurate piece provides via this more in-depth review.

      Reply
  • February 19, 2017 at 10:37 am
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    The ‘storm flap’ was not removed on the original X To Ki To. In most scenes it was tucked away inside, but some of the inside shots show it as clearly visible.

    Reply
    • February 19, 2017 at 12:08 pm
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      Thanks for sharing that information Traveler. Very cool small detail. I always thought the storm flap was removed, but that makes sense that it was just hidden.

      Reply
    • February 19, 2017 at 12:15 pm
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      Definately can see what looks like the storm flap on the inside shots. Post updated. Thanks Traveler!

      Reply

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