Photo by Muffy Aldrich
The Modern Guide to The Thing Before Preppy

Monday, January 18, 2021

Barbour: Classic Sylkoil vs Traditional Waxed - Where, When, and Why?

 Two Reader Questions:

Anyone have thoughts as to the classic Sylkoil vs traditional waxed? (Question taken from comments.)


Hi Muffy,

I was wondering what the opinions were of your readers regarding Barbour jackets and finish.  Is there an advantage to the Sylkoil finish over the regular wax finish?  Specifically I was wondering if you have to re-wax the Sylkoil like you do the regular.   If not, that seems like that would really be an advantage.

Thank you!


  1. Original waxed has never failed me, around the world and back. I see no reason to change! Thank you so much!

  2. Both fabrics are the same wax. The only difference is the way the cotton is finished before the wax is applied. Sylkoil is unshorn cotton, whereas traditional (thornproof) cotton is smoothed first.

  3. I looked at both a number of years ago when I purchased the Beaufort I now wear. The primary difference was in appearance rather than function, from what I could tell. Sylkoil is still waxed cotton and differs from traditional waxed cotton by having a slightly softer/napped feel and more of a matte appearance. I'm confident both get re-proofed with the same dressing and that both have reasonably similar wear patterns and, over time, need to be re-waxed to remain waterproof.

  4. I own and wear both, and both get re-waxed exactly the same way, using the same wax (Barbour's "original formula wax thornproof dressing"). The only difference, as mentioned above, is the slight variation in appearance from way the cotton is prepared before initial waxing at the factory.

  5. Sylkoil is also available in lighter 4oz (e.g. summer Ashby) and heavier 8oz (e.g. Northumbria) cloths. The 8oz cloth is naturally stronger, wears better (less creasing) and looks like new after re-waxing.

  6. I just got my first Barbour trad waxed cotton; I love it so much!! How often will it need rewaxing, with regular wear? Also, is it normal to want to wear it all the time, even while inside making dinner? ;) Also, Muffy, wanted to tell you that I had coveted your Dubarry boots and finally made the plunge this year and bought a pair. Literally the best article of footwear I have ever had the pleasure of owning. Thanks for championing their business. I'm likewise spreading the word!


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