Like many Bond fans I’ve been looking for the original Skyfall Scotland jacket for the better part of the last year. After searching for and reading about sizes, costs and availability I had resigned myself to not being able to secure the jacket. Then, the Commander B version came out. Most of your followers now know that this version is nearly identical but with new branding and sans detachable hood. Still, same great material and styling. I decided to get it and completed the purchase from End Clothing.

bond commander-b-jacketMany eBay sellers mentioned to “size up.” I normally very comfortably wear a Large, mainly due to upper body and shoulders, and often I deal with a slightly baggy middle. No big deal. After so many similar reviews, I chose to purchase the XL.

First, the good news. The “Sylkoil” finished material, once in person, is really amazing in both look and feel. The tartan lining is very classic. On those blustery fall days, it’s warm and dry. The leather arm patches and collar trim are great examples of masculine style. The poachers’ pockets in the back are, if nothing else, a conversation starter, but functional. Whether you’re interested in screen-accurate clothing or simply a great coat, you can’t go wrong with the Barbour Commander B.

Second, the bad news. The sizing is crazy. While I admittedly don’t have the super-cut and lean profile of Daniel Craig, I have to say the reviews don’t do the odd sizing of the shoulders credit. They are VERY slim cut. As an American on a regular fitness/weight routine, I was shocked to pull on the XL (a size up) only to find out that I could barely move, due to the shoulders. I was very disappointed and even considered trying the XXL! This would’ve been a grave mistake, the middle was already fairly well fitted and another size up would be ridiculous. The sleeves are a bit long on me as well (another common chat room observation). Fortunately, I put the jacket in the front closet, with some fear that I had a terrific jacket that I’d never wear…

But, now the great news. Two months after receiving the Commander, I shifted my exercise and diet routine and began a fat-burning regimen, recognizing that what I really wanted was less bulk and more lean– for both appearance and overall health, and let’s face it: I had that great jacket in the closet and maybe, just maybe, I could eventually fit it! Well, as it turns out I was able to drop 15 lbs over a five week period, AND two weeks ago put the Commander back on, and voila! Ok, still a bit of tightness on the shoulders but really not a problem unless I have layers with a bulky sweater. For reference, I’m 5’9″ and now weigh 180 lbs (10 more to go!)

Finally, the best news! I began wearing the Commander as soon as I could, and have gotten at least half a dozen unsolicited comments about it, all positive and all from friends who wouldn’t normally spontaneously say anything about another guy’s clothing. They want to know the brand, about the material, or simply that “hey, I really like that coat.”

Bottom line: the Barbour Commander B is a great jacket to own. You can’t beat the style, feel and of course the heritage. If you’re used to American sizing and perhaps have a chunkier upper body, beware the sizing. Might want to get comfortable with the prospect of a little post-purchase tailoring if you size up and find a baggy torso or long sleeves. Of course, there is the cost. My free advice, pick your target (Commander jacket), develop a strategy (for me, saved up using eBay proceeds), shop around (End seems to have the best, consistent pricing and shipping) and finally execute your plan. And then, enjoy!

I hope my experience here helps others figure out options for choosing this terrific piece of Bond clothing.

Take care, everyone!