Why you need a Harrington jacket in your wardrobe

Why do you need a Harrington jacket in your wardrobe? Versatility and timeless style. Ever since the Harrington jacket was made popular in the 1950s and throughout the 1960s it’s been a mainstay of mens fashion.

The original Harrington was not called the Harrington at all, in fact it was a jacket called the G9 made by the brand Baracuta although other brands also invented similar styles at the time. Worn by Elvis Presley in the 1958 film King Creole, the jacket also starred in a 1960s prime time soap opera, Peyton Place where it picked up the name “Harrington” after a character in the series, Rodney Harrington (played by Ryan O’Neal), was constantly seen wearing the jacket.

Perhaps more famously, Steve McQueen, James Dean and Frank Sinatra were all photographed wearing Harrington-style jackets both films and off-screen. In 2007, Baracuta released three special edition G9 jackets to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the brand with quotes by Presley, McQueen, and Sinatra printed on the lining. If only Jimmy Dean had one too, it would’ve been a perfect set although his Rebel Without a Cause jacket was appears to be a variation as the collar treatment is slightly different and most likely made by another brand.

McQueen is probably who we associate most with the Harrington jacket as his much publicised and celebrated style is often scrutinised to this day. 

There are countless celebrities and musicians who have worn the jackets either while in performance or real life. Artists such as Daniel Craig, Damian Lewis, Bradley Cooper, Jason Statham, Martin Freeman, and Damon Albarn to name a few.

Grenfell have also staked a claim on the origins of the jacket. Having evolved from their original golf jacket in 1931 to casual wear, the Harrington by Grenfell has all the quality and craftsmanship you’d expect from a company that’s been in existence since 1923.

Image © Grenfell

Over the years just about every menswear brand has had a go at interpreting the Harrington with various cuts and fabrics. There are many different takes on the Harrington but in order for it to be labeled a “Harrington” jacket, it really should maintain some of the key defining features, otherwise it’s just a regular blouson. 

If we are going to have that take on it then we should reference the original Baracuta G9 Harrington as a starting point. The first feature would be the two button standing collar (not a regular collar) which gives the jacket its edginess. Next, the cut needs to have a bit of roominess, preferably with elastic ribbed cuffs and waist. Inside, there should be a tartan design or similar.

The rest, I’d say, is up for grabs. 

The great thing about Harrington is it can be worn with various casual pant styles, a simple t-shirt underneath, or a light layer. It really does transition between cultures and different style communities.

There are all kinds of brands offering Harrington jackets at various prices. You don’t need to pay hundreds of (or well over a thousand) dollars to have one in your wardrobe as evidenced below, but of course you often get what you pay for. 

Here’s a list of Harrington jackets which fits the criteria at various price points.

Uniqlo
$59.90 AUD

Shop the Harrington at Uniqlo

Ben Sherman
$159.95 AUD

Shop the Harrington at Ben Sherman

Superdry
$159.95 AUD

Shop the Harrington at Superdry

Grenfell
$450.50 AUD

Shop the Harrington at Grenfell

Baracuta
$586.30 AUD

Shop the Harrington at Baracuta

Private White V.C.
$‌940.00 AUD

Shop the Harrington at Private White V.C

Burberry
$1,880.00 AUD

Shop the Harrington at Burberry

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