Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Quest for the Ultimate Winter Coat - The Beaufort

I didn't mean for it to take so long before my second post on great winter jackets. Fall is upon many of us, or at least it feels like it most days. Hopefully we can still manage to get some good weather before snow starts falling and you really need a good, warm jacket.

When I started thinking about this post, I initially thought about making waxed jackets the subject, but that would have been too great a subject and too many good jackets wouldn't have gotten the attention they deserve. So today I figured that I would write about the Beaufort jacket that has been made by Barbour in England for years.

The Beaufort is probably the most iconic jacket in Barbours assortment, and you really understand this, when you think of the details. Hardwearing Oilskin outer, soft tartan lining, functional pockets, throat lash, storm flap, hidden wallet pocket, moleskin lined hand warmer pockets, big game pocket on the back and lastly the opportunity to add a hoody and a liner (quilted or fleece) for extra warmth and protection against the elements. And did I mention the amazing smell of oilskin (which some people can't stand)?

Anyways, this jacket is good, but it's not for all. Though they have updated versions of it, you want the original. And the original is big to give room for extra layers and possibly a Harris Tweed blazer and the sleeves are short - especially if you have monkey arms.
So I have come to terms with the fact that I'll probably never be sporting the Beaufort myself, my arms are simply to long, unless I upsize 2 or 3 sizes. But if you look good in the Beaufort, then you are in luck and you'll be wearing this jacket for a long time. So is your girlfriend by the way, as this jacket is great on girls as well.

According to a good friend, who knows a thing or two about Barbour, Barbour has changed the fabric, and not for the better. The new fabric doesn't fade as well as the old fabric, and it attracts more dust. On a good side the waxes and oils doesn't rub off on other clothing anymore, but that was one of the distinct and fun features of the old fabric. So if you want to, find a vintage Beufort on a travel to England or just go on eBay - you may even find a deadstock one, if not then just buy some Thornproof Dressing.

Finally, oilskin and other waxed fabrics require maintenance. This is a good thing, as you want to preserve the jacket. If I may, I would just like to is very meditative caring for your clothing, leather accessories, furniture or whatever you surround yourself with. You only buy quality once, but you have to continuously be mending stuff when needed.
In the old days Barbour knew this and they even offered a nice little repair kit with all the stuff you needed to properly mend your Barbour jacket. But remember you need the Thornproof Dressing the most.

Lastly, while doing some additional research on the Beaufort I came across this hidden Flickr gem. Please take a look at some serious Barbour addiction on Thornproof's account.

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