Barbour Makes Outdoor Wear for Everyday
Photo courtesy of Barbour
There was a time when outdoor wear (or sportswear) in America used to mean pretty much only bulky ski parkas and the functional clothing sold at sporting goods stores. But then, two things happened: one, the line between sporty and dressy blurred, and two, men began dressing up a bit more. These two shifts led to many changes in men’s fashion, one of which was less sporty, more polished outdoor wear.
“The days of the North Face fleece are gone,” says Chris Lambert, owner of Christopher James Menswear. “Maybe it’s still popular among college students, but in any other setting, it looks too casual.”
Lambert says a perfect example of outdoor wear that isn’t too casual is Barbour, a British company that makes elegant but sporty clothes for men and women. “It’s casual and comfortable, but you can wear it to work,” he says.
It’s easy to see Lambert’s point. Barbour clothing, while it’s technically called outdoor wear, is actually less “outdoor” and more “countryside.” Barbour deviates from the sportier looks of North Face or Patagonia, which conjure images of summiting Mt. Everest or arctic exploration. Instead, Barbour is reminiscent of horseback riding or pheasant hunting in Sandringham.
“Barbour exudes that English, aristocratic countryside feel,” says Lambert. “But it’s not stuffy or impractical. Their wax-cotton jacket, for instance, is a good example. It’s more elevated than a fleece zip-up but not as formal as an overcoat. It’s a perfect in-between.”
Photos courtesy of Barbour
It’s also very practical. Lambert says the Barbour waxed coat is perfect for Fort Wayne’s crisp, sometimes wet, fall days. “It’s a nice medium weight jacket, and the waxed outer not only makes it moisture resistant, but it has a subtle sheen that makes the jacket dressier,” he says.
Like their jackets, Barbour shirts and sweaters are also preppier than your average knitwear, but again, they’re not pretentious. The muted, earthly colors and clean patterns keep them understated.
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