A Buyer’s Guide to Barbour Jackets

From composition and cleaning to sizing and styles, we’ve teamed up with the experts at The Hut for the ultimate buyer’s guide to Barbour. Since its birth 125 years ago, Barbour has continued to put Britain on the map for its outerwear offering, in particular its selection of signature wax jackets. Particularly proud of it’s northern heritage, Barbour’s first shop opened in 1894 in South Shields, North East England. From here the brand has evolved to become the go-to brand for a plethora of occasions, including farming, motorcycling and more recently festival-goers. With recent collaborations with model and fashion designer Alexa Chung and illustrator Josh Parkin, the brand continues to push the brand to explore new audiences and contemporary styles. 


#1 Is Barbour International the same as Barbour?

No, Barbour International is a sub-brand of Barbour created in 1936 when Duncan Barbour, a keen motorcyclist, launched an all in one wax cotton suit called the Barbour International. Designed specifically for motorcyclists racing in the International Six Day Trials, the popularity of the Barbour International suit continued throughout the 1950s-70s where the all-in-one was worn by almost every rider in the trials. Fast forward to the modern-day and the Barbour International collection has stayed true to its motorcycling heritage with designs inspired by the biker look. Classic designs have been replicated in contemporary fabrics including the signature wax cotton to bring this authentic jacket into the modern-day.

#2 What is Barbour Beacon?

Paying homage to their South Shields routes, sub brand Barbour Beacon was named after the beacon lighthouse situated at the mouth of the River Tyne and aims to bring a more contemporary range of Barbour to consumers. With a selection of men’s jackets and ready-to-wear clothing all branded with signature lighthouse logo. The collection continues to offer quality Barbour composition and functionality while integrating more trend led styles.

#3 Are Barbour jackets waterproof?

Yes, Barbour jackets are made for life in the great outdoors and designed to be weatherproof. Each Barbour, from wax to quilted have various finishes to align with the conditions for which the jacket has been designed (e.g. a Bedale and a quilted Barbour have been made with different conditions in mind) but each of them share the waterproof properties.

#4 Repair, re-loved and re-wax

Barbour are committed to extending the life of their garments, not only working for your wardrobe but the environment too. Globally the brand re-waxes and repairs 60,000 jackets. The brand also sells 100,000 tins of Barbour wax each year for people to re-wax their jackets at home. 

#5 Why do I need to re-wax my Barbour?

Barbour jackets are known for their durability, however with any garment over time the quality will diminish. To maintain the jackets waterproof and protective properties, it’s recommended to re-wax once a year to ensure the longevity of colour, waterproof qualities and overall finish. When Barbour jackets are finished in the South Shields factory, a distinctive premium Barbour made wax is used, this wax is key to the brand’s success and the composition of the wax is one of the brands best-kept secrets. 

#6 Are Barbour Sustainable?

100% of Barbour jackets are waxed cotton which is sourced through the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI). The aim is to source 70% of their cotton usage more sustainably by the end of 2021 and by 90% by the end of 2024. 

Their other sustainable focuses are reducing single-use plastic, continuing to improve their processes of cotton and wool, looking after animal welfare and reducing their packaging. They have already replaced their plastic carrier bags with fully recyclable paper bags. 

#7 How to re-wax my Barbour Jacket

#8 Barbour style guide

Barbour jackets come in a variety of styles and fits, so it’s important you’re in the know when it comes to purchasing your first jacket. Both men’s and women’s jackets come in slim, regular and relaxed fit, with each tailored to create a different silhouette.

Slim Fit

Slim fit Barbour jackets are designed to be flattering and figure hugging with more focus on creating a streamlined silhouette. If you are wearing your Barbour for more of a style and fashion forward fit, this is the style for you.

Regular Fit

Regular-fit Barbour jackets are designed to suit every shape and occasion. Whether you’re off on a country walk or nipping to the supermarket, this style is versatile enough to pair with wellies or trainers.

Relaxed Fit

Relaxed-fit Barbour jackets are perfect for when you want to layer underneath. A more generous fit, the relaxed style Barbour embodies the classic style but allows for more movement.

#9 Where are Barbour jackets made?

Barbour has always manufactured its traditional waxed jackets from its homestead factory in South Shields, North East England. Until this day, a mostly female workforce of almost 200 workers handcraft over 3000 wax jackets every week.  Each jacket is subjected to over 36 individual processes by skilled craftsmen and women before going through a rigorous quality control system to make sure they are of the standard for which Barbour has made its name. It is no surprise that the brand holds three Royal Warrants, from the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and the Prince of Wales.


#10 Can quilted Barbour jackets be washed?

Yes, quilted Barbour jackets can be washed easily, as the fabric and materials used to make the jackets are machine washable and can also be dry cleaned. Each Barbour quilt jacket will have a care label sewn into the jacket, so always double check before cleaning for temperature and aftercare advice.

#11 Is there a Barbour children’s range?

Yes, there is. Barbour has a selection of childrenswear for both boys and girls including Barbour jackets and ready-to-wear clothing. From signature Barbour International belted jackets to the instantly recognisable Barbour Bedale, you and your mini-me are covered.

#12 Where can I buy Barbour jackets online?

Find the full collection of Barbour at The Hut, with the kid’s range, Barbour International and recent co-branded collaborations too.


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Written by Emma Bowkett

Emma Bowkett

Emma Bowkett

Writer and expert