The history of Barbour men's jackets can be traced back over 150 years to the company's founder, John Barbour, who got his start manufacturing and dealing all sorts of items from his shop in South Shields, England. Though Barbour dealt in everything from mousetraps to groceries, the shop was most famous for its high quality oilskin clothing. Oilskin is thick cotton impregnated with linseed oil made from flaxseed paste. This linseed oil makes the cotton nearly waterproof, and as such oilskin was often used to make sails for ships or clothing for sailors.
Barbour first sold oilskin clothing, but oilskin can be very heavy to wear and sometimes it gets hard in extremely cold weather. In order to address these problems, Barbour invented waxed cotton. Waxed cotton is thinner cotton impregnated with wax. Like the oilskin, waxed cotton is nearly waterproof. Unlike the oilskin, however, waxed cotton is lightweight and does not freeze in cold weather. The Barbour family has been making and selling waxed cotton jackets for men and women since the 1930s.
How to Choose a Men's Barbour Jacket
Barbour is known for making jackets for country living. The very first Barbour jackets were made for sailors and fishermen. These jackets were lightweight, waterproof and extremely durable. Over time, Barbour added jackets for hunting, jackets for horseback riding, jackets for motorcycling and jackets for shooting to their line, amongst others. If you consider yourself an avid outdoorsman, Barbour has a jacket for you. Barbour continues to manufacture coats and jackets that are especially cut for specific outdoor sports like hunting or biking. These jackets are usually relatively form fitting, yet allow for a full range of movement. Barbour jackets have been worn by Britain's motorcycling team, competitive riflemen and air force servicemen since the mid twentieth century.
In addition to a variety of cuts, Barbour men's jackets come in a variety of finishes and weights. The company manufactures five different types of waxed cotton, including sylkoil, milled wax, thorn proof, antique wax and weathered wax. These weights and waxes are appropriate for a variety of uses and activities. The heaviest jackets, for example, might be best for you if you live somewhere where it snows heavily or you enjoy sailing. Lighter jackets are more appropriate for motorcycle riding.
Of course, if you do not actually ride horses or hunt pheasant, you can pick out a Barbour jacket based primarily on looks. Barbour jackets, while very practical, are also very stylish and well made. They come in neutral colors like black, tans and hunter green. Most are lined with fleece or Barbour tartan flannel.
How to Buy a Barbour Jacket
You can buy your Barbour jacket at one of the company's many stores, which are located around the world. If you do not happen to live near a Barbour store, though, you can also buy Barbour jackets at most major sporting goods stores. If you buy a Barbour online, make sure you buy it from a store that will allow you to exchange if you order the wrong size. Barbour jackets are an investment. You can expect your jacket to run you upwards of $400. Once you buy it, though, it should last you for years to come.