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, rings true. But what is it that makes the Barbour jacket—a jacket designed for fishing in, no less—so iconic? Perhaps, its illustrious fanbase.
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, 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.
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.
Today, the Barbour jacket is just as likely to be seen in Covent Garden as it is 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 a horse when I was nine, albeit unwillingly. I got my way—I no longer ride horses—but they still wear the very same Barbour jackets.
Take cues out of Alexa Chung and wear yours with everything from leather trousers and skinny jeans to styled over tea dresses and mini skirts. I guarantee you if you treat it well, then, just like my grandparents, you’ll still be wearing your Barbour jacket in 22 years, too.