Alright think for a moment: how many skinheads, mods or suedeheads do you know that don’t own a harrington? Not a lot right? And if you do, can you really trust that cat? Probably not. They’re practically part of the starter kit for any self respecting mod or skinhead. It’s because a harrington jacket is one of the most versatile and stylish jackets one can own. It’s the reason everyone from Warrior to Burberry make them. But who makes the best? Well luckily for you we’re here for that.
Much like the beginning to our last Essentials guide we have to start with a bit of a disclaimer: Baracuta makes the absolute best harrington money can buy. It’s really not even a competition. They stand head and shoulders above all the rest. It’s helped that they created the thing. Stand up collar, knitted cuffs, raglan sleeves and slanted front pockets and there you have it a legend is born. You quite simply will not find a better fitting, more durable or more stylish option. That said they also will run you a small fortune. Such is what you pay for that kind of quality, and if you really want the best we advise you to save your pennies and get yourself one. You won’t regret it. Too many people nowadays fuss over the cost of things as a direct result of our “buy now” culture. No one wants to put the time in and save a bit to buy something you’ll truly cherish. This is worth it.
But not everyone is comfortable with parting with that kind of cash for a jacket. We understand, it was years before we bought a Baracuta and even that was second hand. Still in great condition mind, but vintage nonetheless. So what are your other options? We only speak from personal experience so we’re going to run down the options from Combat, Ben Sherman, Warrior and Jump The Gun.
Let’s start out with what most people nowadays first harrington purchase is likely to be: Warrior. Yes they’re cheap. Yes they’re easy to come across. But you know that old adage “you get what you pay for”? It’s true. Their jackets are far from an abomination, don’t get us wrong, but that said they also aren’t anywhere near the best. The fit is off with them as well as the quality being a bit iffy on some of the coats. We’ve heard tell of numerous problems with zippers for instance. They do offer a wide range of colors, including a tonic option, but in the end the jackets just don’t look right. And The Look is everything, now isn’t it?
Ben Sherman make a nice harrington. Perhaps the only thing they’re still doing right, outside of the odd shirt? The fit is generally right and one thing the company has never gotten rid of is the durability of their garments. You can wear this one daily with no issues. Being Ben Sherman though it will also run you perhaps a bit more than you’d want to pay when a Baracuta is the best option for a bit more. But you can’t go wrong with them and they made a lovely Price of Wales harrington a few years back. If you come across it, pick it up. We were lucky enough to get one and wear it out as a smart coat option from time to time.
Combat is a brand which we’ve heard a lot about, and you may have heard mentioned before. They’ve been making harringtons for what seems like forever and numerous English skinheads and mods will tell you their very first harrington was a Combat. That said we’re curious if sizing changed at some point because in our experiences, as well as friends, the jackets seemed way too big for the sizes. That said, they’re supposed to last for ages. We haven’t worn ours all that much so we can’t speak for that but we’ve heard enough reliable sources vouch for durability. Another cheap option but a better one than Warrior.
Finally we come to Jump the Gun‘s offering in the harrington sweepstakes. It’s good. Very good. The fit is more of a classic one than what you’d perhaps expect for a Baracuta so if it’s the slimfit look you want we advise going a size down. It’s a bit odd to say the Baracuta fit isn’t classic, but we think it’s been slimmed down as time has gone one. Seeing as it was oft used as a golfing jacket, the fit was a bit looser originally. That’s exactly how Jump The Gun designed theirs. You can often tell quality once you put it on, and you feel it when you slip in the JTG jacket and they sell theirs at a decent price for what you’re getting.
So that’s it in a nutshell. Best choice? Baracuta. After that it’s Jump The Gun. We certainly don’t recommend Warrior as a first choice and Combat is a decent choice if you really need a cheap harrington right away. The actual construction of the jacket is very hard to mess up so one luckily doesn’t run into the problem which plague people searching out proper sta prest. If you can’t get a harrington right there’s something wrong with your company. But as in all things, the devil is in the details and jackets begin to stand out based on fit and the little things you notice. Quality cannot be faked, and The Look makes you stand out. When you get it wrong you stick out like a sore thumb. When you get it right, the result is sublime.