Photo by Salt Water New England

Sunday, October 31, 2021

Review: Noah X Barbour

Photos by Salt Water New England

What could be better that a slightly oversized Barbour Beaufort in a vibrant pink wool?  Enter Noah X Barbour.  

It is the result of a highly anticipated collaboration between Barbour and Noah, released to the public on Thursday which sold out in minutes.  Here is a review of one of the pieces in that collaboration that Noah sent to me.


Barbour, as many know, is a traditional maker of waxed cotton jackets.  In the early 1980s, Dame Margaret Barbour designed three styles that became their tent pole products:

  • The shorter Bedale (in 1980) for equestrian purposes; 
  • The medium-length Beaufort (in 1983) for shooting; and 
  • The longer Border for extended walks, in often inclement weather, across uneven terrain including deep undergrowth.

In one of my earliest blog posts over a decade ago, I put Barbour Waxed Jackets at the top of my list of great clothing items.  However, they are not for everyone.  They do require rewaxing and some find them a bit heavy.   Nevertheless, they remain well used in my household, very comfortable, utilitarian, and flattering.  Barbours belong in the club of iconic clothes.

Which is also the problem.  For those that (admit they) care about such things, arguably Barbours have been a bit over exposed recently.  

This puts Barbour in the same camp as many other clothing companies.  And like other clothing companies, Barbour has partnered with edgy designers.

Those who follow the industry may be forgiven for groaning a bit at this point.  Looking at the empirical data, it has been very tough for classic clothing companies to make their sacred cows edgy.  Burberry may or may not have been successful by putting their lining on the outside.  As random examples, L.L. Bean and J. Press both tried to make their brands less inert by loudly partnering with trendy urban designers, L. L. Bean with the flimsy Signature line and J. Press with their equally embarrassing York Street line.   At the end of the day, they couldn’t even give the stuff away.  L.L. Bean X Todd Snyder looks no better.

Enter Barbour’s partnership with Noah.  

Noah was recently called by Vogue “New York’s Coolest Menswear Shop.”  With stores in London, Tokyo, and LA, their flagship store in SoHo is known for its super friendly atmosphere.  Their approach comes from “the movement merging the rebellious vitality of skate, surf, and music cultures with an innovative appreciation of classic menswear.”

So when, on Thursday, Noah and Barbour released their third collaboration with six new jackets, I reacted with a cautious cautiousness. 

So how did they do?  

First, this is Noah’s best collaboration with Barbour.  They offer two styles, the Bedale in a dry wax and the Beaufort in wool, each in three colors.  In making my choice between which one to get, it was difficult, as all were tempting.  Finally, I chose the pink wool Barbour because, well, it was a pink wool Barbour.

Appropriately, the stars of this jacket are indeed a wonderful pink wool with the fabulous Barbour cut.

The pink is not, thankfully, ironic.  (One regrettable legacy of Seinfeld and Sex in the City in the clothing world was that everything had to be worn sarcastically and eclectically, and the cardinal sin for many Gen Xers was to be earnest.)   

The substantial pink wool instead comes from Abraham Moon & Sons, a British firm established in 1837, and the effect is deep and nuanced.   The fibers take their cues from nature.  And wool is appropriate as a Barbour shell, so much that it should be more of a standard offering.  It is lower maintenance and breathes, which mitigates some of the lasting complaints against Barbour.


And the cut is also the best of Barbour.  This jacket has all of the familiar Beaufort features with a bit more length (three inches down the back when comparing a size 40 to this size Medium) and nylon at the inside hem, more akin to the Bedale and the Border.  It has raglan sleeves, a game pocket, a zippered chest pocket, bellows pockets and deep soft hand warmer pockets.  The 100% cotton lining is one of Barbour’s best tartans, and is used not just on the inside of the jacket but the chest and bellows pockets as well. 

 



The only negatives would be that compared to the great hardware of the some of the best sporting coats, the snaps are a bit loud and thin, consistent with the other jackets made in Barbour’s Bulgaria factory. 


This product shows how such partnerships can and should work.  Hopefully a new generation will appreciate Barbour’s cut and the beautiful British wool.  This jacket will be a first choice for many occasions, from social situations to less social walks.  

It makes sense, which is something that has been missing from far too many collaborative efforts over the years.

Rating:  4.25 stars out of 5

 

10 comments:

  1. Oh, it's lovely but too flashy for me.
    Only classic waxed Bedale for me, mo matter how "over exposed" they are. Sage or olive the best. Recently considering Ashby in navy, if not me, my teenage son will wear it. Regards!

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  2. My wife and I just got our Beauforts back from their waxing at Barbour. Barbour and autumn are a pairing as classic as there is, and the pink simply rocks on you!

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  3. A wonderful color on that jacket! And, coincidentally, I have been toying with the idea of purchasing a deerstalker for inclement weather this winter. My late maternal grandmother had and wore one too.

    Kind Regards,

    Heinz-Ulrich

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  4. Love the color! But am really commenting to ask if you would please re-post your pie recipes soon? Thanks and Happy Halloween!

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  5. Love the pink! My T-Rex arms make menswear literally out of reach, lol! But, what a gorgeous jacket!

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  6. What a beauty! Looks lovely on you! Thanks so very much!

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  7. You introduce to your readers an instant classic. Thank you. As you know this is not Barbour’s first foray into wool. For a decade, at least, I’ve been wearing a heavyweight Barbour wool winter coat. (Beaufort length I believe). Mine is charcoal gray, with a waterproof lining. There’s a hard freeze in the forecast this week. I look forward to pulling it out of storage and to five months forthcoming wearing this toasty garment.

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    1. I too have a Barbour wool winter coat - a sturdy hooded red duffle coat with brown plaid lining - a warm favourite for many years.

      I don't think the heathery pink exterior of this "Noah" coat goes with its olive/brown/gold/red plaid lining. This bothers me. I wonder why they didn't design a more compatible colourway for the plaid.

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  8. Had a look at these when they were released in the UK. £500 seems just a tad expensive when you think the standard Barbour tweed/wool jackets are about £279. You're basically paying over £200 for the colour and the Noah logo.

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  9. i think Barbour has tried to broaden their product lines. Our son, a few years out of college, wears a 'shoveler jacket,' quilted but not waxed, regularly in NYC.

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