Lifestyle

Why I Hate Something You Love: The Barbour Jacket

Published On 04/07/2015 Published On 04/07/2015
Why I Hate Barbour Jackets
Barbour

I own two Barbour jackets—one a Cowan Commando from 2008 and the other a waxed Bedale in navy. Unfortunately, I can’t go more than two city blocks without running into some other guy wearing the exact same Bedale. In fact as I was leaving a meeting at Grand Central Station just yesterday, two businessmen wearing identical Bedale jackets walked towards me from opposite directions, and it was like a collision of honkies with popped corduroy collars.
 

Barbour People

It’s not so much that I hate the brand or the jacket itself—the Bedale is a good jacket, although even with a liner it can’t do dick in the dead of winter. I just hate the fact that you own one, and your sister owns one, and that frat brother who was also the coxswain on the crew team at whatever NESCAC school you went to owns one, and this guy owns one, and Jason Statham owns one, and that bearded graphic designer who lives in Bed-Stuy who bought a bespoke axe from Best Made Co. in 2012 (and has yet to use it) owns one. Also, all these guys own one.

Originally designed for “equestrian practicalities” (I doubt the Far Hills Race counts), the Barbour jacket is now something that’s instantly identifiable, making it also kind of lame.

In other words, a Barbour jacket is just as ubiquitous as a black North Face fleece, and that bites the horse b*ner.

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I am sure that you, too, would feel deflated to come across me or any other member of the Barbour brigade wearing the same jacket as yours. If you were a veteran of the Falklands War and saw me on the street in my Cowan Commando (“modeled after a historic British Army pattern,” according to Orvis, and “the jacket of choice” for those fighting in the Falklands War, according to Got Glam), you would run after me like my name was Admiral Jorge Anaya.

Then again, this is why it is so easy to buy and wear a Barbour: We don’t have to be royals, equestrians, or SAS veterans to have one. All you need is a credit card and an internet connection and you can buy one on Jcrew.com. The Barbour jacket is a false uniform and it has made impostors of us all.

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What I hate most is this illusion that the purchase of a Barbour coat—or any other luxury item—is an assured act of individuality, when really all it gives us are uncomfortable moments in which we stumble upon some other schmo wearing the same exact thing. When we see another person sporting a Barbour, we don’t stop and reminisce about the Falklands; we avoid eye contact.

Maybe this was Barbour's secret brand mission all this time: to give us the impression that we are buying into English sophistication as they simultaneously push their product through mass retailers like J. Crew, Orvis and Club Monaco?

I don't know. But I’ll be damned if it’s not one good-looking jacket.


Daniel Edward Rosen is a writer who is right now wearing a comfortable and unassuming spring jacket that isn't a Barbour. He would prefer not to disclose the name of the store he got the jacket from. You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

It’s not so much that I hate the brand or the jacket itself—the Bedale is a good jacket, although even with a liner it can’t do dick in the dead of winter. I just hate the fact that you own one, and your sister owns one, and that frat brother who was also the coxswain on the crew team at whatever NESCAC school you went to owns one, and this guy owns one, and Jason Statham owns one, and that bearded graphic designer who lives in Bed-Stuy who bought a bespoke axe from Best Made Co. in 2012 (and has yet to use it) owns one. Also, all these guys own one.

Originally designed for “equestrian practicalities” (I doubt the Far Hills Race counts), the Barbour jacket is now something that’s instantly identifiable, making it also kind of lame.

In other words, a Barbour jacket is just as ubiquitous as a black North Face fleece, and that bites the horse b*ner.

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