I can’t help but to keep coming back to Barbour every season. This past fall/ winter, I picked up two pieces from their collaboration line with Norton & Sons, both of which have come into regular rotation. There’s this black Shetland sweater, which is wonderfully thick and hardy, and has a tightly knit ribbed hem to help it stay up on the torso. The sweater’s unusual texture adds some important surface interest when it’s layered underneath a simpler jacket. I also bought this waxed cotton field coat, which has two button-tabs at the back to give the coat some shaping, hidden storm cuffs to help keep the wind out, and two big pockets for stowage. I’ve been wearing it with beat up jeans and boots whenever the weather feels cold or wet.
As I’ve mentioned before, the problem with many of these pieces is that they’re hard to appreciate just through photographs. They lack the kind of unusual detailing that makes things popular on blogs or help catch a customer’s eye as he’s scrolling through an online store’s inventory. Instead, they focus more on simple designs and unique materials. The shell on my new field coat, for example, feels more interesting than the coated cottons I’ve handled from Apolis or Filson. Scuffs show-up more easily in the wax, which gives the coat some character, and the velvet collar, I suspect, will wear down beautifully over time.
This season’s latest Barbour x Norton & Sons collection feels much the same – simple and handsome, although not always styled as well as it could be in marketing materials. There’s a long navy raincoat, for example, that’s often photographed with the front buttoned-up, which I think unfairly hides the “lapel” that softly rolls out when the jacket is worn open (above is the one photo I can find that shows this). There’s also a cotton/ linen Guernsey sweater with a subtle dropped shoulder that’s easy to miss. My interest in Guernsey sweaters (a type of fisherman’s knit) was piqued last year when I saw these photos of David Somerset and British fishermen. I might give this one a try this spring.
Barbour has also introduced a new subline – called Spey – as part of their Heritage collection. Spey offers fly-fishing inspired jackets, colorful shirts, and lightweight Fair Isle sweaters. I admit, like Barbour’s Dept. B, some of these feel like cheap derivatives of Tokihito Yoshida’s work, although there’s an interesting fly-fishing take on the classic Bedale. In any case, I’ve included a great fly-fishing movie at the very end of this post, should you want to watch something beautiful and get romanced into liking Spey more than you should.
At the moment, most of the spring line is available for purchase at End. I assume some pieces will also be coming into Oki-Ni, Barney’s, and Unionmade at some point, although nothing new has been put up yet.
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