For over a century, Barbour has been the first and last name in waxed canvas jackets. Today, its most popular styles define the genre, favored by just about anyone who’s ever cursed the onset of a sudden drizzle—along with plenty of extremely online fellas who crib outfit inspiration from menswear royalty like Steve McQueen (or for that matter, actual royalty like King Charles). Over the last few years, collaborations with insider-y labels like And Wander, Noah, and Supreme have placed Barbour squarely in the fashion conversation, but now the UK operation is drumming up some buzz all on its own. In celebration of the Lunar New Year, Barbour is reviving a cult-loved, often overlooked jacket from its archives—and making a strong case for its renewed relevance in 2023.
The distinct look of Barbour’s Spey jacket is rooted in functionality; in the ‘80s, its cropped, boxy silhouette was prized by fly fisherman looking to avoid drenching their coats in waist-deep water. Recently, though, it’s become fodder for a slew of collaborations in its own right. In 2019, Margaret Howell added a detachable hood to the mix, and just last year the Danish womenswear brand Ganni outfitted the silhouette with an oversized Peter Pan collar.
Save for a single red snap button, the newfangled Barbour Spey jacket skews remarkably close to the source material. It still boasts all of the details you’ve come to expect from the South Shields weather specialists—the corduroy collar, plaid lining, and waxed cotton exterior—but the shorter length makes popping a squat on a park bench a little more comfortable and, most important, syncs up even better with the high-waisted pants GQ’s been championing.
Plenty of Barbour jackets have earned their reputation as first-ballot menswear HOFers, but the Spey is particularly appealing precisely because it’s the one your most style-obsessed pals don’t know about. There’s no reason to assume that Barbour will keep releasing it beyond the occasional limited-edition run, so this might be your best chance yet to scoop one for yourself—and school your less savvy buddies the next time it rains, too.