The Harrington Jacket has a rich history. Learn more and integrate it this summer into your wardrobe for a classic finish.
Words by Justine Smith
Summer means heat, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need a staple jacket for late night adventures. Summer jackets, obviously are lighter and more flexible than the other seasons. They cover up without isolating too much: they have to strike a careful balance between keeping you warm without pushing you into uncomfortable heat flashes. Maybe the greatest and most flexible summer jacket is the Harrington, which has seen a recent resurgence thanks to Daniel Craig and James Bond. Traditionally a waist-length water resistant cotton jacket with a front zipper, two front pockets, a double-button collar and elastic waistband and cuffs.
Baracuta Harrington G9 Jacket - Braun Hamburg
The history of this particular cut of jacket goes back to the 1930s. First introduced in Britain and was produced on a mass scale by British clothing companies situated in the greater Manchester area. In spite of the British pedigree, however, the jacket’s biggest push in popularity came from an American icon. While starring in King Creole, a dark noir about the underbelly of New Orleans, Elvis Presley famously donned the still unnamed Harrington Jacket (it would be officially called Harrington sometime in the 1960s, as it was associated with a character on show Peyton Place).
Its light colour, plaid inlay, and focused details gave The King a loose but polished working class appearance. A bit more ostentatious, James Dean similarly wore a variation of the cut in his most famous screen role Rebel without a Cause. Since then, the jacket has always been associated with an effortless masculine coolness and has been favoured by the likes of Steve McQueen and Jason Statham. While they have now become an essential staple in every men’s wardrobe, there was a period in the 1970s and 1980s that they were emblematic of the counterculture and became associated with rebellion and social upheaval.
Steve McQueen in Harrington Jacket
How do you dress as Harrington jacket? There is an element of practicality to consider. On a particularly cool summer morning after the rain, you might grab straightaway for your trusty Harrington. If you’re planning on spending the day somewhere a little cooler, why not match it with a light scarf? Whether your Harrington is light coloured or bold, you can never go wrong with Aklasu’s Light-Weight Striped French Blue Scarf. Made from lightweight materials, it fits for nearly every season. The right scarf can always add dimension and depth to your outfit, and easily be thrown on or cast off without ruining your look. This jacket is more casual, so a certain amount of simplicity is required.