They’re not flashy and are unlikely to turn women’s heads, but Barbour wax jackets’ popularity among the upper classes helped to make them the unlikeliest of status symbols.
Today Barbour has, thankfully, lost much of its ‘Sloane Ranger’ connotations. While rarely at the height of fashion, their products have remained popular thanks largely to their durability: my grandad, for example, bought his Barbour over thirty years ago and still wears it.
Though Barbour now sells slimmer-fitting jackets, the more traditional models are designed with functionality in mind. This means that a size 40 might actually fit more like a size 42 or 44. Therefore it’s important to try them on, or to at least obtain accurate measurements (sleeve lengths, distances from pit-to-pit, etc).
The Barbour pictured here is the Classic Bedale. Although I usually wear a size 38 in suit jackets I had to size down to a 36, and even then it’s possible to wear it over a suit jacket (though as it’s a bit short I wouldn’t recommend doing so).
The Classic Bedale is made from cotton. The fabric is impregnated with Sylkoil, rather than Thornproof dressing, making it lighter than it looks (it weighs 1.1kg, or 2.4 pounds).
Moleskin lined pockets help to keep hands warm on cold days.
The main front pockets are very spacious. They also have drainage holes – a very welcome feature for pockets designed to hold messy, and possibly bloody, items.
Like Mackintoshes, the Bedale has underarm ventilation holes to stop the wearer from overheating.
The Classic Bedale is lined with Barbour’s traditional check. Note the three royal warrants on the label.
The corduroy collar can be turned up for extra protection against bad weather. A hood can also be attached.
The brass zip fasteners are large, making the jacket easy to zip up with gloves on.
At 80cm (31.5in) from top to bottom, the Bedale is the shortest of classic Barbour’s wax jackets.
The Bedale is too thin to be a proper winter coat, but to help add some warmth during colder months Barbour sell two types of liner for it. This particular liner is the lighter of the two. It can also be worn by itself.
Pit-to-pit – 55cm/21.6in
Length – 80cm/31.5in (from the top of the collar – turned down – to the hem)
Sleeve length – 84cm/33in (from the middle of the collar, across the shoulder to the end of the sleeve)