Garmology video: Buying a vintage Barbour

In this Garmology video, I talk about buying a vintage Barbour, specifically a Border or Northumbria. Most of the features and differences are covered, as well as how to clean and rewax the waxed cotton.

Read more about rewaxing a waxed jacket here.

If you’d like to have your waxed jacket waxed or repaired, I recommend Ryan at Mallin & Son (you can also hear Ryan on Garmology episode 25 of season 1).




  • Mitchell 19/02/2021 at 17:45

    My favourite Barbour also. Interestingly, I currently have one labelled as a Northumbria which has the heavier outer fabric but the non-wool lining. Works well with heavy sweaters here on rainy southern Vancouver Island. The inner game pockets nicely fit a bottle of scotch…

  • Mr Twill 17/03/2021 at 20:16

    Nick, thanks so much for this video, and all your other work which I’ve enjoyed. This one finally pushed me over the line to buy my first ever vintage garment, a ‘93 Northumbria in great condition.

    The man made liner is awful, I think you were being generous in your description of it as a product of its time. To be honest, I never wear Barbour liners because they don’t cover the arms, would rather wear a fleece underneath.

    You’re also spot on with your sizing comments, go one under unless you’re packing a big belly. I’m slim and bought my true size which hangs off me. I was also surprised how long mine wears compare to yours, not far off the knee. I wonder if the Northumbria design ever had its length adjusted?

    I also note that it seems to flare out at the bottom in the same way that a lot of country and hunting jackets do, rather than being straight all the way down. I have a Musto Gore tex shooting jacket and the silhouette is very similar.

    I agree on the quality and construction, it’s a big solid thing and the lining is much better than on my current non vintage Beaufort.

    And the smell? Well it’s bearable and I’ll get used to it!

    • nick 18/03/2021 at 08:54

      I’m pleased you found it of some value! I won’t disagree on how awful the acrylic liner is, though they appear surprisingly popular. That synthetic crackle of static electricity seals the deal for me and I’ll admit I can’t recall ever wearing the liner outside (this is a more general issue, when the ratio of jackets to wear vs actual opportunities to wear is to great, so not only a case of crummy liners!). I’ve no idea if the length of these jackets ever changed, though it could well be the case.

    • Mr Twill 23/12/2021 at 17:37

      Hi, an update for anyone who reads this comment on Nick’s guide. I eventually gave up on the oversized version (my true size) sold it and went one down. Of course the problem with Barbour one size down is always going to be the short sleeve length.

      The replacement jacket was an ‘88, perfect fit, much better length, but a bit more, shall we say, “weathered” than the ‘93 so it was really cheap on eBay. This made me feel justified in sending it to Barbour for a full overhaul including sleeve lengthening, patching, cleaning, relaxing and piping the hems.

      I now have a perfectly fitting characterful restored vintage jacket for less than the price of a new one.

      All that’s left is to persuade the family to go out with me wearing “that dead man’s coat.”


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