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STYLE AND CULTURE

CULT ITEM: THE HARRINGTON JACKET

By Style Feed Staff, May 11, 2018

First created in Manchester back in the '30s, the Harrington jacket is a timeless cut that boasts an eclectic history. Named after a soap opera character and adopted by everyone from James Dean and Elvis to mods and punks, it is one of those rare staples that never really goes out of style. Right now it is definitely enjoying a revival, with the classic gear reworked in everything from suede to corduroy.

Punks wearing Harrington jackets | ASOS Style Feed

Beginnings

The roots of the Harrington can be traced back to 1937 when it was created by Manchester-based company Baracuta. The G9 jacket, which later became known as the Harrington, was initially adopted by golfers as a practical sports jacket. It wasn’t until the '50s that the Harrington, with its signature check lining, was considered a style item. 

Elvis wearing a Harrington jacket | ASOS Style Feed

Steve McQueen wearing a Harrington jacket | ASOS Style Feed

Cult classic

The first group to embrace the Harrington were Ivy League students in the mid-'50s. They wore it with loafers and chinos as part of their preppy casual style. Elvis wore a Baracuta G9 in the 1958 film King Creole — and from there, its popularity grew. Then, after Steve McQueen wore it ten years later in the Thomas Crown Affair, there was no looking back.

The name Harrington comes from '60s TV show Peyton Place because one of its characters, Rodney Harrington, often wore the jacket in the show. In the '60s, mods adopted the Harrington as part of their casual uniform, and in the late '70s and early '80s the jacket, styled with a Fred Perry polo or a Ben Sherman shirt, became part of the cult uniform for the punk, ska and the northern soul movements.
Model wearing Harrington jacket | ASOS Style Feed

Pictures: Rex

Right now

The Harrington remains a symbol of counterculture — despite its golfing origins. Its diverse background, spanning indie subcultures and classic style icons, makes it one of the few items that easily fits most people’s style. 

 

The boxy cut, with its full-front zip and collar, looks great with work pants or skater jeans and a fresh pair of retro-inspired kicks. Traditionalists should opt for the stone, navy or burgundy versions and wear with a graphic-print T-shirt. Those wanting a modern take should look out for oversized shapes in offbeat fabrics. Think denim, suede or cord, or color-blocked for a '70s vibe.

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