What makes British fashion so special is its heritage; our past is a rich (incredibly chic) tapestry of skilled makers and designers, with brands born long ago proving to be just as popular today. And one of those brands is Barbour.
Though founded in 1845, Barbour has been creating the timeless wax jackets and outwear for which it is known since 1910, and honestly, very little about the design has changed, which is a good thing. Of course, modern updates have been made, but at their heart, their aesthetic and, as such, appeal ring true. But what is it that makes the Barbour jacket—a jacket designed for fishing in, no less—so iconic? Perhaps it's its illustrious fan base.
Princess Diana wears a longline Barbour jacket.
Anyone who has watched the latest season of The Crown will know that the Barbour jacket was effectively a character in its own right. Much of the series centred around our royal family’s time spent at Balmoral Castle in Scotland, where (and I can say this because I’m Scottish) the weather always calls for waterproof and protective outerwear. No, this wasn’t a subtle attempt at product placement—for one, it was anything but subtle, and two, the royal family really do love their Barbours. The queen has been wearing them for the entirety of her reign, while Princess Diana was photographed in hers on many a rainy day out. The young ones are at it, too, with The Duchess of Cambridge regularly sporting her collection of Barbour jackets for both official and non-official sightings.
Alexa Chung wears a Barbour jacket at Glastonbury festival.
It’s not just royals who have given the practical Barbour jacket their seal of approval. Over the years, we’ve seen fashion darlings Sienna Miller, Olivia Palermo and Holly Willoughby (to name a few) wearing theirs in their downtime. However, no one has shown the Barbour jacket more appreciation than Alexa Chung.
Having worn the traditional designs for years, Alexa Chung has partnered with Barbour to create her own collections as an extension of her brand, AlexaChung. While they might have different silhouettes to their mainline counterparts, the fabrics, techniques and ready-for-anything wearability bring together all that’s best about the Barbour brand.
Paula Sutton of Hill House Vintage wears a Barbour jacket.
Today, the Barbour jacket is just as likely to be seen in Covent Garden as it is in the Cotswolds. Barbour jackets typically carry three-figure price tags, which is by no means cheap, but with Barbour, you get what you pay for. My grandparents have worn Barbour jackets all of my life; I remember they wore their matching green styles as they encouraged me to ride their working Clydesdale horse when I was 9, albeit unwillingly. I got my way—my riding career was over before it even began—but they still wear the very same Barbour jackets.
The Duchess of Cambridge wears a Barbour jacket.
Take cues from Alexa Chung, and wear yours with everything from leather trousers and skinny jeans to tea dresses and miniskirts. I guarantee you if you treat it well, then, just like my grandparents, you’ll still be wearing your Barbour jacket in 23 years, too.
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