For men of a certain age James Bond is an irresistible cultural icon. Whether it’s an early Sean Connery with a beautifully tailored suit and a slightly superior air or a thoroughly up-to-date, world-weary Daniel Craig, we’ve all copied his style from time-to-time.
So when I saw Bond wearing what looked suspiciously like a Barbour jacket in Skyfall I wasted no time in Googling it to find out more. The result was interesting, not least because the one in the shops is, in many ways, more authentic than the one they used in the film…
No plan survives contact with the enemy
The original plan was for 007 to wear a bog-standard, albeit rare, Barbour X To Ki To Beacon Heritage sports jacket . Made from a lightweight 6oz Sylkoil waxed cotton, it was the result of a collaboration between Barbour and the Japanese designer Tokihito Yoshida. Produced in strictly limited numbers, the Beacon came with a detachable hood, which the James Bond people hated so they unbuttoned it - and cut off the zip while they were at it.
The result was a coat that evoked 1960’s gangster cool, which was exactly what Sam Mendes was looking for. It’s also a look I love. So I bought one.
Like Bond: Updated, with a nod to its heritage
Now called the Barbour Beacon Sports Wax Jacket, it comes in a choice of two colours: olive (like the original) or navy blue. It’s missing the chest flap of the original but does have a rather neat – and very discreet - ‘Barbour Dept. B’ badge on one pocket flap as a clear nod to the Commander Bond heritage.
It has two button-down bellows hip pockets on the outside plus a single breast pocket. There are also two internal wallet pockets and vast poachers’ pocket at the back that’s ideal for smuggling sweets into the cinema, which has to be the modern-day equivalent of hiding a dead rabbit from the gamekeeper, surely?
It’s all about the details
It’s trimmed here and there with leather and tweed and has shoulder and elbow patches made of heavier 8oz waxed cotton. It looks fabulous and is as tough and practical as the man that inspired it.
The quality is remembered long after the price is forgotten
It’s not cheap. I paid £400 but it is easily the most awesome piece of clothing I own. It’s smart enough to be worn as a jacket should the situation require one yet is versatile enough to keep out sub-zero temperatures when I’m driving an open car thanks to a surprisingly effective button-up throat flap. As a result, it’s my Go To coat whenever, and wherever, I’m travelling.
So discreet it should be prescribed by Weight Watchers
Only the cognoscenti recognise it for what it is, which is always the mark of an iconic piece of clothing. Best of all, because it’s so slim fitting it also acts as a fashionable brake on my middle-age spread. Every little helps, eh?
 I do seem to remember that deciding to end a long evening with a vodka martini didn’t end quite as well as I was hoping, though.
 Yes, of course I’ve got an eBay alert on just in case an original should come up for sale...