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A Buyer’s Guide to Barbour Jackets

Holly Thompson
Writer and expert1 year ago
View Holly Thompson's profile
From composition and cleaning to sizing and styles, we've teamed up with the experts at 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 its 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 Internationalis 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.

All-in-ones were 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. Bringing this authentic jacket into the modern-day for an everyday wardrobe.

#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 the 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 outdoor living. Designed to be weatherproof, the wax jacket to the quilted styles has various finishes to align with the conditions for which they have been designed for. (e.g. a Bedale and a quilted Barbour have been made with different conditions in mind) Each of them shares waterproof properties.

#4 Repair, re-loved and re-wax

Barbour is 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 jacket's waterproof and protective properties, it's recommended to re-wax once a year. This will ensure the longevity of the colour, waterproof qualities and overall finish. When Barbour jackets are finished in the South Shields factory, a distinctive premium Barbour wax is used. This wax is key to the brand's success and the composition of the wax is one of the brand's best-kept secrets. Scroll further down our Barbour buyer's guide to watch how to re-wax your jacket. 

#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 and continuing to improve their processes of cotton and wool. They also look after animal welfare and reduce their packaging. Replacing 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 fit. Both men's and women's jackets come in a slim, regular and relaxed fit, with each tailored to create a different silhouette. It's important you're in the know when it comes to purchasing your first jacket, use our Barbour buyer's guide to help you.

Slim Fit

Slim fit Barbour jackets are designed to be flattering. If you are wearing your Barbour for more of a style and fashion-forward fit, this is the style for you.

  • They hug your figure creating a streamlined silhouette.
  • Strong attention to seam detail ensures the sleekest outline possible.

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 for wellies or trainers.

  • Stylish yet comfortable enough for ease of movement.
  • A timeless fit that is versatile enough for every day.

Relaxed Fit

Relaxed-fit Barbour jackets are perfect for when you want to layer underneath for warmth and practicality.

  • The relaxed style is a more generous fit.
  • It embodies the classic style but allows for more movement.
  • Designed to suit all ages and sizes.

#9 Barbour size guide

Mens Jackets

Chest Sizes - Jackets (Barbour International, Lifestyle and Heritage)
UK/USA 36 38 40 42.5 45.5 49 52.5
EURO 40-42 44-46 48-50 52-54 56-58 60-62
Chest Sizes - Jackets (Barbour Sporting, Classic & Countrywear)
K/USA 30-32 34-36 38-40 42-44 46-48 50-52
EURO 40-42 44-46 48-50 52-54 56-58 60-62

Women's Jackets

UK 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22
USA 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18
EURO 34 36 38 40 42 44 46 48 50
GERMANY 32 34 36 38 40 42 44 46 48

#10 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 handcrafts over 3000 wax jackets every week.  Each jacket is subjected to over 36 individual processes by skilled craftsmen and women. It then goes through a rigorous quality control system to make sure it meets the Barbour standard. It is no surprise that the brand holds three Royal Warrants, from the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and the Prince of Wales.


#11 Can quilt Barbour jackets be washed?

Quilted Barbour jackets can be washed. The fabric and materials used to make the jackets are machine washable or can be dry cleaned. Each Barbour quilt jacket will have a care label sewn into the jacket. Always double-check before cleaning for temperature and aftercare advice.

#12 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. You and your mini-me are covered, from signature Barbour International belted jackets to the instantly recognisable Barbour Bedale.

If you find getting the size right online, use the Barbour Kids Size Guide to help you.

Approximate Age 04-May 06-Jul 08-Sep 10-Nov Dec-13 14/15
Height (cm) 110 122 134 146 158 170
Chest (cm) 59 66 70 74 79 83
Hip (cm) 57 60 62 65 69 73

#13 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.


The Different Barbour Collections

A mainstay in every wardrobe, here are all the Barbour collections you should know to help you when buying less but better.

Holly Thompson
Writer and expert
View Holly Thompson's profile