06 February 2011

Worth Every Penny : A Brand New Barbour (with a twist)

One of the most important rules of dressing well is to wear clothing that fits properly. As one ages, this may come to mean admitting that one is, ahem, not the skinny gent he once may have been. So, some things get sent to the tailor for a tweak, while others require replacement.
On the left, my old Barbour Moorland jacket, battle scarred, patched and faded, like the warhorse that it is. Alas, one size smaller than its owner fits into these days. Purchased with tags still on at a thrift store for just $9.99, it remains one of the top bargains of my life as a cheapskate. On the right, a brand new Beaufort, the Moorlands lighter and more popular cousin. Purchased brand new at the Barbour outlet store in Kittery, Maine. Plenty of room inside to wear over a quilted vest, just like I used to wear the old one. The first order of business is to wear this thing,a lot, so as to knock the "new" off of it.
$150 is as expensive as anything gets in the outlet shop. Being a cheapskate and spoiled by the quality of goods available in Boston's thrift stores,  I spent the better part of two months talking myself into this purchase. However, given how much I wore my old one and how much I plan to wear this one, that's pretty short change, and worth every penny.

The Barbour outlet in Kittery is worth the trip, but as with any outlet, you've got to pay close attention to labels and quality to make sure you're not getting the outlet store only junk. Just up the road is a Brooks Brothers outlet not even worth a visit, all of it being non-iron weird fitting Malaysian crap. A lot of what's in this Barbour store is outsourced, of dubious quality and unreliably sized. But if you're diligent, you will find some real deal made in England pieces, such as this one. I'll go so far as to say that a Barbour not made in England isn't a Barbour anyway.
I'm none too thrilled that Barbour now bears a logo on the outside, but at least this is relatively discreet.

But you won't catch me dead wearing that silly pin that came with it.

So I'm happy with this coat, and I must admit to having really enjoyed the rare feeling of a brand new purchase. The corker?

This thing is lined with  this outrageous fishing scene. Honestly, how could I say no to this? I wish I could wear it inside out. Apparently, this coat was a sample from the new line, but won't be available in the USA, only England and Europe. Stop drooling for a minute and tell me that isn't fantastic.
p.s.

should you happen to be in the position of forcing two small kids to make an hour long car trip to go out and buy such a thing, at the far end of the strip is this little place:

Narrow aisles packed floor to ceiling (literally) with more candy than you can possibly conceive. I'm not above bribing my children, and those dark chocolate cashew turtles I bought "for the grown ups" were pretty damn good too. Of course, if it weren't for my sweet tooth, I wouldn't have needed a bigger jacket in the first place. Circle of life, and all that jazz I guess.

31 comments:

Kionon said...

Exceptional find. It is unfortunate I live nowhere near the northeast and have made very few substantial finds, when you seem to do so daily...

Rebecca said...

Ah....the sweet circle of life! Clearly you are (deservedly) enjoying your brand new Barbour!

JB said...

Love the part about bribing the kids with candy. As the proud owner of a 5 year old and 4 year old, I too have bribed them with cookies and candy while I combed the racks of my fave shops.

Joseph said...

Love the lining of that jacket! It's like having a wild lining in a conservative business suit. Only the wearer knows about it unless he or she decides to reveal their little sartorial extravagance.

Roger said...

This is going to sound negative, but I don't understand the fascination people have for Barbour jackets. My dad wore one around our small farm because it made sense, it's a rain/work coat. They're certainly not part of a 'display' wardrobe. And I certainly wouldn't wear one to dress "well".
I understand they skyrocketed in the U.S. after Helen Mirren in the film The Queen.
Outside of work they're a nasty, waxy rather ugly garment.

james at 10engines said...

insane lining. completely worth it. my trick is buying from british ebay (pre-broken...).

Dustin O. said...

Thats an excellent lining!

having grown up in kittery, i can say that the outlet only issue is a rough one. however, kittery's selection has some great storefronts, such as the hickey freeman outlet i just recently discovered. glad you got to visit and managed to keep your new purchases cheap.

Schorsch said...

1. What size is your old one?
and
2. Are you considering selling it? I'll give you double what you paid for it.

ThomasNielsenNielsen said...

Congrats on the Beaufort... I found mine in the back of the store where I work. Had been there for 7-8 years, still new with tags. It's such a nice feeling to find something of that caliber for such a small price.
The lining is incredible. Is it green cotton at the bottom?

trm said...

Can I buy your old jacket?

Greg D. said...

Oh man, that is a major score! Love the lining.

trip said...

It seems a bit ironic that they lined the Beaufort, which, with its game pocket, is more designed for bird hunting, with a fishing design. I guess you could put any fish you caught in the pocket...

Aggie K said...

Buying larger clothes? Don't go down that path! Not only is it expensive, but your doctor will probably make you lose weight in 10 or 15 years anyway.

Jim said...

In a barely-related query, have you any recommendations (or does anyone who chances across this comment) about where to get alterations done in Portland (ME, naturally) or nearby? I have some basic stuff (hems, shirts) but also some much more complex problems (trying to save a poorly fitting suit; a couple of sport-coats that need adjusting). Any thoughts on who could handle this?

For those who know, I spoke with Peter Reny, and he didn't seem keen on it.

Love the site, Giuseppe. Absolutely a knock-out.

Faulkner said...

What will become of the old one? And what size is now too small for some (but perhaps just right for others)?

Northmoon said...

I love that lining!!!

unitedstyle said...

Count me in on bribing kids. I have spent many an outing standing within 5 feet of the Thomas the Train Engine display table at local toy stores in exchange for some daddy time at Brooks or J. Crew.

Anonymous said...

Nice find. Not to criticize, but I have been finding second-hand Barbours for insanely low prices as of late. Just got an as-new Bedale (with no visible logo!), plus an Irish fisherman's sweater from Andover Shop for $160 shipped (the jacket alone had an asking price of $135). Both the sweater and the jacket were on the market for more than two weeks before I couldn't stand it anymore and bought both.

Saw another fine-looking Bedale on SF today for $100. I also recently acquired an old-school International style for $150, which included a brand-new snap-in pile liner--I will use it as a motorcycling coat.

The prices on the secondary market seem much lower than a year or two ago, for what reason, I can't tell. But it does seem to be a buyer's market.

Lastly, I humbly disagree with those who question Barbours. When it comes to fashion, to each his/her own, that's a given. But these coats are so well made, so well designed, so comfortable in inclement weather and so adaptable with detachable liners--they just scream practical. While a good Gore-Tex jacket is lighter and more versatile, it is not nearly, in my judgment, as stylish as a Barbour.

Anonymous said...

It's funny the lining looks better in a picture, being able to see it from afar. Renee

Anonymous said...

Roger;

To you they may be "nasty, waxy and rather ugly" but somewhat essential in our New England climate. Us city kids do have small patches of dirt to garden in and large expanses of field and fauna to explore near by. A Barbour jacket paired with some waterproof bean boots is far more attractive and classy than hiking boots and a North Face jacket, in my opinion. I guess I am somewhat bias though. Ms. G.

Sophie said...

Nice find and perfect for New England weather. The traditional Barbour range is excellent as rainwear in cities or the countryside. My father has a jacket that he has owned for over thirty years; its wearing very well and is very much fit for purpose (as is he!).

My only note of caution is regarding some of the trendier Barbour styles of late - these are mostly made in Asia and lack the workmanship of the traditional models that are still made in the North East of England.

Roger said...

Ms.G.
You can, of course, wear what you like. My point was simply that Barbour jackets are really just quality outdoor work-wear and nothing really to do with sartorial elegance.They're more a fashion fad and a nod to the popular image of the shooting set, that some people seem to think one has to emulate to reach the pinnacle of timeless style. Which I'm sure does Barbour no harm financially.
There are numerous articles of clothing that are well-made and comfortable and perfect against cold-climates (like mine) and are not a waxed jacket.

I have nothing against a waxed coat, I own one (though it's not Barbour it's a Hoggs and it only cost 35 pounds in England) but I'd never consider part of my tool-kit for "dressing well".

Giuseppe said...

Roger,

Don't forget that one of the earmarks of American style is the blending of dress and casual clothing in just such a way. I plan to wear this over a jacket and tie, with Bean boots, and around here, I wouldn't be alone in that

Anonymous said...

Roger,

I would second, heartily, what Giuseppe says here. You are absolutely right: A Barbour would never be considered high fashion.
That said, a Barbour is, I think, fashionable. There is a difference.

A Gore Tex jacket will outperform a Barbour, but will not, in my opinion, look as good. That's a non sequitur unless you are backpacking or mountain climbing or bicycle touring or otherwise doing something that demands light weight and breathability.

For knocking about town, the Barbour is far preferable from an aesthetic standpoint, in my opinion. It pairs well with a tweed driving cap. Or a schoolboy muffler such as made by Luke Eyres. Or wide wale corduroy trousers. Or all of the above at once. That's off the top of my head. Can't do that nearly as easily with a North Face Gore Tex rain parka (my God, how I have grown to hate that ubiquitous logo), but you can wear the same jeans and t-shirt that the North Face guy is wearing with a Barbour and it will look fine.

For my money, the Barbour is, strictly from a sartorial sense, the more versatile garment. That it will last darn near forever makes it an essential, at least for me.

I have no experience with Hoggs, so I cannot say anything in that regard.

Anonymous said...

Hoggs of Fife are a coarser fabric than Barbour jackets but they are generally well made and go for a song compared to a Barbour.

Roger said...

I suppose it's a matter of difference we're dealing with. I just can't treat a waxed coat as a top-coat over a jacket and tie; not in a rural or my semi-rural place.
Over a thick, wool crew or roll-neck sweater more like. And I'd probably be cleaning the garden, or fishing or tootling about on a bike, or maybe going for a walk.

Each to their own and I have no qualms with that.

brendan said...

The liner looks like cover of the 1956 Barbour catalog painted by commercial artist Coller. Enjoy your new jacket!

lynne said...

You are so lucky. I bought my Barbour Bedale jacket about seven years ago at retail price. It hurt, but I have worn that jacket faithfully all those years here in the gray NW. The jackets are lightweight but warm, and perfect for NW drizzle. I often wonder why hardly anybody wears Barbour jackets around these parts. The jackets are perfect for the gray eight months of the year here.

bleach said...

The Barbour pin..hmm, I put mine away,then one day I found it and decided to stick it on the jacket. I figured it came with the jacket, so it's like a partnership I guess.

Joey said...

How can you tell the difference between a Made in England and an outlet version?

Stephen said...

Reading this, I dug out my Barbour Beaufort,made in England, which I once loved for its look, not fashion but style. Alas, cuff and sleeve (left) are ripped and ragged from driving. Bought in an Orvis outlet, I'm considering return to same. These coats are fine but terribly vulnerable. Any ideas?