Review: Anthony Sinclair Cocktail Cuff Shirt
Anthony Sinclair relaunched four years ago with the help of David Mason, creative director. Mason first got into the clothing business in college, but found that the ready to wear offerings weren't quite what he wanted. Later, he trained under Edward Sexton and learned even more about bespoke clothing and fashion design. Acquiring the name is not mere lip service as he also brought back the skills of Sinclair's apprentice Richard Paine as head cutter for bespoke services. In this way, they can truly continue the tradition of the "Conduit Cut" suit. They are also providing James Bond inspired looks for reasonable prices on the retail side of the business. Sinclair tailored Sean Connery, the original 007, after all. Available are suits, shirts, and ties that roughly approximate the style and look quite fresh today with some modern fashion concessions. So no, they're not exact replicas of what Connery wore, but rather what he feels Anthony Sinclair would be doing today. The look is not complete without a folded linen pocket square, which they naturally sell too. One can even own the authentic Slazenger jumper from Goldfinger, among other branded items the actors have worn throughout the movies.
One of the offerings in this collection is the Cocktail Cuff Shirt. This style is basically as if a barrel cuff and double cuff had a baby, offering the convenience of the former and elegance of the latter. Turnbull & Asser calls it the Two-Button Turnback Cuff, whereas Frank Foster calls it the Cocktail Cuff. It was popularized in the '60s by various celebrities including David Niven and Dick Van Dyke. Both Connery and Moore's Bond were known for wearing turnback cuffs as well, though Daniel Craig donned them on Tom Ford shirts recently in Spectre. For a more thorough discussion and history of the cocktail cuff, see Matt Spaiser's article about it.
Noteworthy was the great customer service upon ordering. I soon received an email stating that my size was currently out of stock and was asked how to proceed. I let Elliot -- who it turns out is David's son and runs the social media aspect of the company -- know that I would wait for the restock. Too often I've had apathetic customer service that did not bother informing me of such things until weeks later, from both big and small businesses alike. Brooks Brothers was notorious for this in the past and I stopped ordering from them altogether after being burned for the third time.
|Straight out of the box. It was shipped with minimal packaging, which I approve.|
The shirt is made from two-fold 100's cotton twill. They are offered in Regular and Slim fit, though like many English shirts only have one sleeve length available per collar size. Fortunately, one can special order a shirt for a bit more and have it exactly as needed. I went with the standard sizing since it corresponds with the sleeve length I usually wear. It would make a bit more sense if they were progressively longer however. Both size 16 and 16.5 have 35.5" sleeves, for example. The tails could also stand to be a increased by a couple of inches. The fit is decently slim, not skin tight thankfully, though I may take in the waist a bit more.
|Untucked showing the tail length.|
The collar is fused as with most shirts made today. Some may argue that it's inferior to completely unfused construction, but it's simply a different school of thought. However, higher end shirtmakers usually face the fused part of the collar band outwards for better comfort, easier cleaning, and less chance of crumpling forward above the button. Doing so would be of great benefit on this shirt. The cuffs are also fused, but the interfacing on those should ideally be soft and sewn, allowing it to roll back smoothly.
|The cuff unfolded. The design is similar to the Turnbull & Asser turnback.|
There is a split yoke in the back as well as gussets at the bottom of the side seams. Both features are controversial among shirtmakers and menswear devotees alike, but I personally prefer them. The split yoke gives a bit more ease in the shoulders when reaching forward and the side gussets serve a similar function when sitting down in a shirt. The Slim Fit has darts in the back, which I prefer on shirts since it better follows the body's contours. Darts can also be easily taken in or let out at the wearer's discretion and involves less work than altering the side seams.
As style details go, they're pretty solid. The semi-cutaway collar is pretty substantial with 3 1/4" long points, 5 1/2" spread width, and 3/8" of tie space. The band is 1 1/8" tall in front. No pocket, just the way I prefer my dress shirts. The cuffs themselves are a bit shorter than real double cuffs, measuring 2 3/4" long when folded. Mother of pearl buttons are to be expected on a shirt of this price and their shape, size, and ease of fastening do not disappoint. The placket has 1/4" stitching, the back is plain, and the cuffs are attached with small pleats near the opening, so it overall looks more Italian than English in style. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but as noted before one should not expect an exact facsimile of the early James Bond shirts.
|Fit with top button closed.|
This is a stylish, unique shirt that I'll be able to wear with a variety of suits and sport coats, so all things considered was a pretty good purchase. (At less than half of Turnbull & Asser's asking price for a similar style.) A few small improvements would make it an even better value. Can we hope for a version available in poplin or other colours?
|Suit by Maxman, knitted tie by The Knottery, pocket square by J. Crew.|
Stay tuned, as I'll be reviewing other clothing by Anthony Sinclair in the coming months.
Nouveau Vintage did not receive any material compensation for this review and the product was bought at full retail price.