“The best clothing for the worst weather”, were the words of an old advertising slogan for Barbour, the famous waxed jacket that has become a symbol of casual wear all over the world.
Wherever you are, in fact – in the countryside for a walk or a hunting expedition, at the seaside or fishing at the lake or in the city doing shopping – if you’re wearing a Barbour you’ll always be judged to be people of good taste, attentive to style and respectful of traditions.
We don’t know the name of the inventor of this ingenious garment, but the first news available to us refers to John Barbour, who founded “J. Barbour & Sons, Tailors and Drapers” in 1894 in South Shields, a town in the North-east of England, to produce rainproof coats and jackets suitable for protecting the fishermen and sailors of the area from the harsh British climate.
More than a century later, the firm founded by John Barbour remains firmly in the hands of the Barbour family and is one of the few British clothing manufacturers to have obtained three times the Royal Warrant, awarded by the Queen for the most exclusive suppliers to the British Royal Household. Unsurprisingly, there is no member of the Windsor family who has not appeared in public wearing a Barbour.
What makes a Barbour unique?
First of all, the THORNPROOF FABRIC, an insulating, rainproof material that keeps out the rain and the cold and is particularly resistant to ripping and the wear and tear of time. It is available in three different qualities: superlight, light and heavy. To produce this material they use long-staple Egyptian cotton, spun in different thicknesses and then specially treated with wax. In the first few weeks of use, at least, a Barbour jacket may be found to be a little oily – a completely normal phenomenon due to the loss of some of its wax finish, but which disappears over time.
Then there’s its SIMPLICITY OF LINE, which makes it extremely practical and comfortable to wear. There are several styles available: the Beaufort, by far the most popular, the longer Border with its large external pockets, the Bedale, also produced in small sizes and much appreciated by horse-riders, the heavy Moorland, created only in olive green, and the Northumbria, heavy and long, and not lined with the typical Barbour Scottish tartan, but with a warmer wool-and-polyester lining in the Hunting McKinnon tartan.
Finally – as always – it’s the details that make the difference.
These are the particular characteristics that have made Barbour a timeless garment – one that ignores the dictates of fashion and is liked by men and woman of any age.
- corduroy collar: it’s warm, soft and, especially, tough.
- corrosion-proof zip fastener (the large teeth and the pull-tab are made of brass). It opens and closes without sticking and can be easily grasped even with gloves.
- pockets: the external ones are bellows pockets of varying sizes, and have rounded corners to avoid wear and tear and possible ripping, while the internal ones are protected by zips and are really very capacious.
- brass press-studs, with oxidised finish that makes them totally rustproof and corrosion-proof. They will not become detached even after prolonged use and will continue to close properly just as they did on the first day, year after year.
- thermal quilted lining in high-class fabric, to be added on very cold days.