July 8, 2014 by Ville Raivio
J. Barbour and Sons is Great Britain. It would be pointless to list the company’s three royal warrants, vast selection and many well-designed clothes as all of these are mentioned time and again elsewhere. No, these will not be mentioned at all. I first learned of the maker, founded in 1894, from Herr Roetzel’s style Bibel around a decade ago, but it took quite a while before curiosity got the better of me.
Strong zipper with studded storm fly front and hidden pocket
The Barbour Beaufort is a thigh-length wax cotton coat designed for wear at all times. Now, I could say jacket, but the model is clearly intended for all outdoors instead of smart indoor occasions, and this is the word I will stick with. The coat is still made in England from Barbour’s signature thornproof Sylkoil fabric, a tightly-woven long staple cotton coated with a combination of wax and oil.
“YKK on your zipper”
The cotton itself is rather thin and smooth, but the wax layer protects the wearer from rain, snow, wind, muck and all other elements apart from cold or heat. The design also has Raglan sleeves for comfy wear and rounded look.
…with open rivets
I find the coat itself much too warm for +20°C and much too cold for anything less 0°C, but the model can always be worn unzipped or zipped up with a separate Barbour lining. The coat has a clean metal zipper inside just for the lining, which is not offered gratis. Barbour’s Classic cut is sail-like, and the coat will fit above any usual layer of lard well. The company also offers a year’s guarantee against any defects in make.
Moleskin pocket and riveting armpits
Wind cuffs for warmth and health
This still leaves plenty of room for layering underneath, so the Beaufort can be worn in winter. The coat is not made for dashing looks but versatility and utility. The fabric has a…funky smell and leaks wax when new. Best avoid wearing it with light-coloured clothing and anything that needs dry cleaning for the first months.
Now for the design:
- the 6½ cm high corduroy collar is soft and warm, and can be turned up and closed with a throat latch hidden underneath — it also has studs for a separate Barbour hood
- the brass(?) metal zipper is large, easy to use and has a nice shine
- a studded storm fly front covers the zipper for added protection
- the coat has no breast pockets, but one large moleskin lining pocket under the zipper flap
- two cavernous bellow pockets can be closed with snaps, and both have two open rivets at the bottom so that wet inserted things will drip out
- three open rivets below armpits allow wind to cool the wearer
- two large hand-warmer pockets are made from warm and tough moleskin cotton
- Velcro-fastening wind cuffs seal out draughts
- a humongous game pocket behind the butt has two-way metal zipper entry
- while the locker loop is small, it is strengthened with a heavy-duty one on top
- the green Barbour tartan is woven from thick cotton for lining inside the coat and pockets
- a clean, seamless back repels rain and snow
Then a few stupid points:
- the sleeves have no extra fabric whatsoever for lengthening
- the back has no vent for comfortable wear
- visible logo
- the coat is very long in all sizes
- a small breast pocket and coin pocket would be welcome
- the large stitching is plain rough and ugly
I simply cannot understand why the model has no vent. Adding one would offer great comfort and would be but a slight hindrance to rain cover. Still, the Beaufort is one of the finest readymade coats ever created. It’s an infinitely versatile, protective, timeless-looking and well-thought out addition to any man’s casual dressing. Some rudeboys follow Roetzel’s words and wear theirs with a suit. They shall not be sung of. Barbour will.