Barbour International Guide: History, Care & How To Style

What Is Barbour International?

Barbour International was born in 1936 when Barbour family-member and keen motorcyclist, Duncan Barbour, introduced a one-piece wax cotton suit into the range. Duncan’s suit was created specifically for the IDST (International Six Day Trials) event in 1936 and the range quickly skyrocketed into the mainstream.

Steve Mcqueen wearing barbour international

Image Courtesy of the brand

The brand became the uniform for at least 97% of the riders on the IDST circuit throughout the 1950s through to the 1970s – including actor Steve McQueen.

Barbour International is now a stand-alone brand, which sits separate from Barbour. Popular due to its long and rich heritage and expert quality and materials – the brand’s clothing spans across both men’s and women’s apparel.

In 1980, the iconic black and gold Barbour International badge first appeared on the jackets, introducing a whole new generation to its style. Since then, and after a long list of successful collaborations and fashion week showcases – the brand is now globally recognised, particularly for its broad selection of premium quality waxed jackets.

Staying true to its waxed cotton roots, the Barbour International Wax Jacket is the hero piece – often spotted on actors, celebrities and influencers globally. A brand whose appeal is straight and simple, Barbour International’s reputation speaks for itself.

But how does a style that’s been in fashion for 85+ years stand the test of time? We asked 2x of The Hut’s favourite creators how they style their Barbour International pieces…

Barbour International Jacket

How To Style Barbour International

influencer wearing barbour international polo


The Brand:

What I love the most about the brand is the quality of all of their pieces. There’s always that peace of mind that it’s going to fit and feel amazing on.

The Piece: 

One of my favourite Barbour International pieces would have to be the Worker Overshirt. For me, you can’t beat an Overshirt because of its versatility! They can be worn fully buttoned up or open with a tee underneath. If it’s a plain tee, I like to layer it with a necklace just to add a little bit more to the look. The polo shirts are also super smart and easy to layer.

The Location:

For me, the Overshirts can be worn in any environment with a little varied styling, which is so easily done. If you’re meeting up with the lads to go and watch the game or chilling with friends outside, you can easily layer it over a hoody. When going for a nice meal and drinks, pair it with a turtleneck and chelsea boots and you’ve got the perfect smart casual combo.

influencer wearing barbour international wax jacket


The Brand:

I like the diversity in the collections with Barbour International, I find that there’s something to suit all of life’s activities!

The Piece: 

It would have to be the  Casual Sandwell Jacket. I like to keep it simple and layer it with a long sleeve jumper and a good quality pair of black jeans and clean white sneakers. The Polo Shirts are also my go-to, which I style with a bomber jacket to get that smart casual look.

The Location:

The Polo’s are perfect for those casual evening drinks in the summer months and outdoor dining in warmer weather. I usually wear the waxed cotton jackets on long walks – and they’re perfect for those weekend getaways when you need a smart but versatile light jacket!

How To Re-Wax A Barbour International Wax Jacket

Barbour International waxed cotton is designed with quality in mind and will certainly endure the elements. It’s super important to take care of any waxed cotton pieces to make sure they go the extra mile. Barbour recommends giving your jacket a re-wax once yearly – take a look at our Buyer’s Guide To Barbour Jackets for the best tips and tricks on how to clean and rewax your waxed cotton!


Words by Ciara Martin

Ciara Martin

Ciara Martin

Writer and expert

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