“I used to try and get one new suit a year if possible.” – Article by Daniel Gaster. (Field report 061).
An inspired assortment
With the recent release of several new suits as part of the Anthony Sinclair 60-piece collection that Mason & Sons are releasing for the 60 years of James Bond, I wanted to share my experience with acquiring my three special-order suits.
The suits currently available as part of this collection are recreations inspired from those that Sean Connery wore during his tenure as James Bond. These are all based on the ‘Conduit Cut’ house style**, but all with their own subtleties. There is also a large selection of cloth options to have something more unique made for yourself. The three suits that I own are inspired on suits from Spectre but using the Anthony Sinclair Conduit Cut style.
I’d been aware of the resurgence of Anthony Sinclair for some time before I became a customer in 2017. I’d been saving up for a while for a new suit, but my usual tailors had shut down, so for my birthday I went to 34 Montagu Square for my first visit.
At my first appointment I met with both David and Elliott Mason. When I arrived, I was escorted into the front room of the flat. From memory (as it has been a while since I last visited) on the walls were framed black and white photos past residents, which included John Lennon and Paul McCartney.
Opposite was a bookcase with various cloth books, large sofa and coffee table and a small desk to record the measurements that David took. I have a vague recollection of a mannequin, but I might be mistaken. All of which was exquisitely designed.
It’s all in the details
Following introductions and the offer of a coffee, we started to talk about my requirements of the suit. Now I may have the ordering of some of this a little wrong, as it has been over five years!
Firstly, I tried on some of the suits that were offered as part of their ‘ready to wear’ line. At the time this included a navy, charcoal, and light grey suits available in two-piece or three-piece and slim or regular fits. I was trying on the sizes to see which size was closest to my measurements.
Once selected David started to alter the jacket by taking sections in and then pinning them in place, relaying to Elliott (who was on the computer) what had been altered from the standard jacket.
The same was then done with the trousers, but I don’t recall if anything was done with the waistcoat. As I was definitely going for a waistcoat. We then discussed what I was looking for regarding the cloth. As I mentioned there were three ‘Ready to wear’ suits, but shortly before there had also been a grey pinstripe and grey glen check suit that were available as well.
The grey pinstripe reminded me of the Spectre suit Daniel Craig’s Bond wore in London, where the grey glen check from Skyfall’s meeting with M and Mallory, and I was happy to have either of these two suits with the addition of a waistcoat. I do love a waistcoat!
A minor setback
Unfortunately for me, these two suits were no longer available. My heart sunk a little. However, David started looking through the cloth books and found a similar cloth that he would let me have at the same price as the discontinued suits.
This was incredibly generous, as the standard of cloth I believe was of greater quality, although I didn’t know the details of the cloth, other than it is from Holland & Sherry (On looking at the Holland & Sherry label, it’s from their 100% linen).
Next, we discussed the construction. I went for a half canvas jacket, with a two-button fastening front, straight flapped side pockets, four-button cuffs and unlike the TOM FORD suits in Spectre, I went for a double vent.
For the trousers, I had flat front, ‘buckle and strap’ side adjusters, turn ups and welted back pockets without buttons. Finally, the waistcoat had six-buttons and chest pockets in addition to the side pockets.
Previously, Mason & Sons were offering “007 style for 700 pounds” (or something like that in name) which included one of their ‘ready to wear’ two-piece suits, a shirt of your choice (in white or blue, with either a double, or cocktail cuff), a knitted tie of your choice and a white linen pocket square. They had expanded this into the Special-Order suits in the months before my visit.
Now I was getting my own Special-Order Suit, and a three-piece one too, I knew I didn’t probably qualify for this. However, I still asked. David mentioned that I did qualify for something else, they called the ‘whole nine yards’ which included everything from the 007 offer plus the waistcoat and a pair of Albert Thurston braces.
This was an exceptional start to my experience of Mason & Sons, and to be honest has remained at that level ever since! For the additional items I went with a blue cocktail cuffed shirt, a claret knitted tie and navy moiré Albert Thurston braces.
My first Anthony Sinclair
Two months later I got an email from Elliot saying that my suit was now ready for final fitting. I arranged to return to London and met with David early April.
On my next visit I was greeted once again by David and escorted into the front room. My suit in its carrier was hung up, and ready for me to try on. When I did, with the supplied blue cocktail cuff shirt, it felt incredible and still does. There were no alterations needed. So, I was able to take it away that day. I was thinking that further alterations would be needed, just minor tweaks, but no.
The whole experience of purchasing this suit can be summed up as being friendly. They were never trying to sell me something. It was very relaxed. I didn’t feel awkward in asking questions. It felt like going round to a friend’s house, sitting having coffee and catching up with old mates.
I had a brief chat with David following the repacking of my suit. I asked about the Sean sunglasses, if they were coming back. David looked at my TOM FORD Snowdon sunglasses.
Inspiration for my second suit
Almost a year later and I’m now after something special. I’m now engaged and would be getting married in the summer. I want to get myself a new suit to get married in, but then be able to use afterwards as well.
Looking over a few rental options for the groomsmen I come over an option I like, which is like the look of George Lazenby’s Bond’s ‘Black Lounge’ when he gets married to Tracy in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. He wears a black peak lapelled jacket with dove grey waistcoat and trousers.
Separately, I was also very keen on the Spectre black herringbone three-piece suit for a long time. Daniel Craig’s Bond typically wore the ‘O’Conner’ suit throughout Skyfall, Spectre and No Time to Die. The ‘O’Conner’ being characterised by the notched lapel and three-roll-two button front. Instead for his trip to Rome, Bond went with the ‘Windsor’ model (with wide peak lapels and two buttons at the front).
I decided that I would have a combination of these two looks, using the Spectre suit as the template and then replacing the waistcoat and the trousers with dove grey.
With that in mind I started looking at the sample swatches on the Mason & Sons website, but I wasn’t finding what I was looking for. I contacted Mason & Sons and explained what I was looking for. Elliot replied and sent me a swatch in the post. A Holland & Sherry Super 140’s Worsted black herringbone.
I initially liked the fabric, it looked and felt great, but I did want the herringbone to be a bit larger. Elliot did find another fabric, with a cashmere mix to it. However, this was outside of my budget. He continued searching for me, stating they had over 5000 different fabrics to look through. Sadly, there wasn’t any other black herringbones.
Over the Christmas period I received a rather nice Christmas card from Mason & Sons, which also provided a discount code to be used over the festive period. Thanks to this discount, I was able to upgrade the suit from my previous version to a full canvas. As a layman to this, I did ask what the difference between half canvas and full canvas meant? This was Elliot’s response to the question:
“Half-canvas” construction incorporates a fusible interlining that is attached to the foreparts of the jacket using a heated press. A natural “floating” canvas is then sewn through the chest and lapels in the traditional manner, offering a soft, flexible drape.
Advantages: Cost effective speedy production, remains crisp and clean for a long-lasting flawless finish.
“Full-canvas” construction is the most popular upgrade request for Special Order suits. This skilled and time-consuming process incorporates layers of natural canvas used throughout the fronts of the jacket to provide support and shape.
Advantages: Extremely comfortable to wear and continues to improve with age as the natural materials adapt to the shape of the body over time.
Based on these descriptions I upgraded to full canvas. I then requested the suit jacket to have their widest peak lapels, a ticket pocket and five-button cuff (which wasn’t an option but was allowed), the trousers to have a plain hem rather than turned-up and the waistcoat remained the same as before.
Once the order was raised, I paid almost immediately and then waited. All of this was done without having to go back to London.
Visiting my parents
Around mid-February my parents received my suit, as this was for my wedding. I had the suit sent to my parents and not home so that my future wife wouldn’t see it.
I went with my TOM FORD Rome shirt, TOM FORD Rome tie and TOM FORD Rome pocket square to see how the outfit looked. The result was terrific. The suit fitted me perfectly. I was beginning to worry about the wide peak lapels, as I usually only go for a stranded notched. But I thought it worked well.
It also made me tweak my plans slightly. As I mentioned in the Lazenby outfit he wore a dove grey waistcoat and trousers, this was my plan until I tried on the suit. This waistcoat was too nice not to wear for the wedding. The trousers were as well, but I did need to break it up a little. So, I now opted to get just a pair of morning suit trousers to go with this suit jacket and waistcoat. It would also stand me out a little more as the rest of the groomsmen would still wear the grey waistcoat.
I didn’t wear this suit again, not until the wedding, at least that was the intention. But I was still getting use of my first Anthony Sinclair suit. Over the next few months, I realised I was losing some weight. My first suit jacket was feeling slightly big on me. This would also be the same for my currently unworn second suit. In May I messaged Elliot about alterations, how long did they take to do and the cost of doing them.
I was told that alteration could be made within one or two days, so I decided to hold off at this point as I still had a few months to try and put the weight back on.
After about a month it was clear I’d not be putting the weight back on in time, so I arranged an in-person appointment at 34 Montagu Square for my third visit. I waited to about a month before the wedding so that the suit would be at its best fit for the day. This time it was Elliot who was present.
He measured me, comparing to the original measurements, looked at me in the suit and worked out the alterations that would be needed.
The alterations were minor, but did make a difference, if nothing for my own reassurance. I also took in my first suit to have the same alterations applied. I got the suits back within the week, and both felt as sharp at the first try on. After the wedding I’ve worn the suit out many times at work, and for social occasions that needed a suit.
A small break
It had been a few years since my last special-order suit was made. I used to try and get one new suit a year if possible. The following year after purchasing the black herringbone, I instead got the Navy Serge Blazer (above) and then a pair of mid-grey flannel trousers instead of a suit. During 2019, although I cannot specifically remember when, Anthony Sinclair became a bespoke only service, with the Mason & Sons label replacing the ready-to-wear and special-order suits.
The next year, Pandemic. I was now home bound with little reason to wear a suit. I instead waited to see what if any outcome there maybe to returning to work.
Later, this year I was able to purchase the Massimo Alba ‘Sloop’ suit, this would be my suit purchase for the year.
During the summer of this year Mason & Sons introduced the ‘Neapolitan Cut’, a more relaxed silhouette to the structured ‘Conduit Cut’. One of the things I took notice about on one of these suits, was the three-roll-two button stance on some of the suits being shown. I logged this for potential future suits.
My third, but not final suit
In 2021 I intended on getting a new suit. There were two things I knew.
- It was going to be navy or a dark blue.
- It was going to be a checked suit.
I requested several swatch samples from the website and used them to compare to my original template for this suit, which was the TOM FORD navy Prince of Wales suit from No Time to Die. I also engaged with Elliot again who was good enough to send me a few other samples that they had.
As I mentioned in the report [TOM FORD navy Prince of Wales suit], I was trying to find a swatch to match. However, I couldn’t get a good enough image of the suit to be able to tell what it looked like. Instead, I decided to choose something that was slightly more discreet in its’s check. I went with a Navy-Blue Fine Glen Plaid Four Seasons (130’S) check.
I requested that the suit follow the same style as my first suit, be fully canvased and asked if it could have the three-roll-two button stance on the jacket. All of which were accepted, and the order was placed.
Points make prizes
Something that non-customers might not know is that Mason & Sons have a loyalty programme, for every item you purchase through them you receive points. Once you have enough points you can use them as credit towards a purchase. At this point I’d reached enough points to get £300 worth of credit. I used this and put it towards the cost of the suit.
Six weeks later and my suit arrived in the mail. Once again trying the suit on was like Christmas. It fitted like a glove! As mentioned, with the changes that were made regarding the use of the Anthony Sinclair name, this suit technically isn’t an Anthony Sinclair, instead it has a Mason & Sons label.
This third suit (above left) will now be the base model for any future special-order suits that I might have. The only possible exception being the number of buttons on the jacket’s cuffs or if I get something different, such as an evening suit or the hacking jacket.
With any future purchases that I make, I will tend to always have a waistcoat. I like the flexibility of being able to have a suit as either a two-piece or as a three-piece. Having purchased two TOM FORD suits (TOM FORD navy Prince of Wales suit and the TOM FORD black and grey Prince of Wales suit) and the arrival of my Son, 2022 will most likely be suit-purchase free.
Although I don’t frequent Mason & Sons very often, and only get a suit once every few years, I will be a customer to them for as long as they remain open. The quality of the suits that I own from them is exceptional. The feeling I get from wearing them is incredible.
I have always been a suit person, but not until wearing these suits did I ever really know what suit tailoring really felt like. And these suits aren’t even their bespoke suits. The bespoke suits must be on a totally different level. I wish I could be a bespoke customer to them.
However, I’m more than happy to be a customer who gets special-order suits from them, as I do still get the elements of choice you don’t get from ready-to-wear. They are a sound investment, and I wholeheartedly recommend them to you for any tailoring need that you may have.
60 pieces of gold
Although at the time of me writing this report, not all the items have been released from the collection. There have been 12 suit and jacket releases from the Connery era that are available as special-order under Anthony Sinclair.
There have been a few things that I’d be interested in if I could afford to do so.
- The first is the Midnight Blue Dinner Suit as first seen in Dr No. A ready-to-wear and special-order version was previously available, but this one now has the gauntlet cuffs.
- The second would be the French Navy Mohair suit inspired by You Only Live Twice. I really love the colour of this suit.
- The third would be the pink tie that is shown with the Cream Linen suit from Diamonds Are Forever.
** For a full definition of what makes the Conduit Cut, and to make enquiries on ordering a suit yourself you can visit the Mason & Sons site here.
Article by Daniel Gaster. Be sure to follow Daniel on Instagram. Daniel has sourced images from the blogs BAMF Style & Bond Suits. Bond Suits has also been a tremendous resource for learning about the Conduit Cut.