The green waxed jacket, normally with a Barbour label somewhere on it, is a staple of the British look. Maybe not so much for the average British chap, but for the those aspiring to the hunting and gentleman farming look of the more elevated gents, the traditional green waxed jacket had a definite place. I have no problem with that at all, I like the look of the typical Barbour jacket. You know, the one they’ve been making forever, that is available under many different model names, but regardless of length and cut always looks like the same jacket.
And therein likes a slight problem. The standard issue green waxed jacket is a bit staid. No small wonder that Barbour got so much attention for their appearance as the jacket of choice for 007 in Skyfall. Suddenly there was a more rugged version of the green waxed jacket in the public eye. And yes, I know Barbour have been putting a number of nice variations over the years, but how often do you see them? Here in Norway everyone wearing a green waxed jacket (I’ll have to start abbreviating this) wears exactly the same jacket. Boring!
Which brings me to the point of todays post: To present a couple of alternatives, and a reasonably priced at that. One is from up and coming British brand Realm & Empire (I wrote about them a while back, in this post) and the other is from British high-street brand Joules. Two quite different companies, two quite different jacket, yet both are variations of the waxed jacket.
First, let’s take a look at the “British Wax Jacket” from Real & Empire. It’s really thought of as an autumn/winter jacket (which is good for us, but I’ll get back to that), though if your Spring has been as variable as mine has, it’s really been quite perfect. It’s made in 100% British Millerain waxed cotton, like a lot of the best jackets of the sort. Fully lined in 100% cotton, with a decent amount of pockets and details.
Realm & Empire have a unique relationship with the Imperial War Museum and this jacket is said to be based on a traditional expedition jacket and the antarctic expeditions of Captain RF Scott. While I don’t often head to the penguin-infested wastelands of the South Pole, I can certainly testify that the jacket does a fine job of keeping the cold wind and driving rain out when walking the dog, especially with the nicely designed hood snugged up tight.
There are decently sized patch pockets on the front, which double up as side-entry hand warming pockets. The chest pocket is also generously sized, and if you need yet another decent pocket, there’s one on the arm as well. Oh, and a zipped pocket on the inside as well. While not in the extreme pocket league, this is a very usable and handy collection of pockets. And the outside ones are all closed with nice chunky wood buttons.
In fact, when mentioning buttons, it is well known that I appreciate buttonage performed in a proper manner, and I think R&E have gone the extra mile on these. The wood buttons are nicely made, with branding included. The brass poppers that close the lower half of the jacket are also branded. While of no real utility value, it does show that this is not a jacket where compromises have not been made to save on cost. The buttons close all 4 outer pockets, the adjustable cuffs, and for good measure there is one as part of the design on the back. And the zip is from YKK as well.
Design, details and construction throughout is very decent, and the Millerain fabric is of course as British as it can get. The jacket has been made in China. I normally use a medium, but went with a large on this, to allow for a layer of wool underneath. This strategy worked out well size-wise. There are draw strings as well for extra adjustment.
I mentioned at the start that this jacket is part of the autumn/winter collection from Realm & Empire and that this somehow is an advantage for us, you say? Well, this means it’s currently in their “Archive” selection and whereas it normally retails at 250 pounds (which seems a pretty reasonable price really), it is now on offer at
150 100 pounds (which strikes me as an incredible bargain). The “British Wax Jacket” is available direct from R&E here.
Now, for our second offering we go to Joules and their “Landsdale” jacket. This is a pretty rugged looking jacket, as waxed jackets go, with a substantial and solid feel to it. Where R&E looked to Millerain for their waxed cotton, Joules have gone North for theirs, to Hally Stevensons in Dundee, Scotland (incidentally where Trakke and Fernweh get theirs from as well). No doubt a quality fabric and a sound choice, and in fact it feels identical to the fabric Barbour uses for this kind of jacket.
Design-wise this one owes more to the Skyfall style of waxed jacket than the traditional gentleman farmer. The quilted gun patch on the right shoulder indicates where inspiration has been found. Other than that though, the design really is more functional and considered. The front patch pockets are generously sized, with corduroy lining under the quilted flap, full lining, and drainage eyelets at the bottom.
The front has a solid zipper, with the addition of a buttoned storm flap. The buttons make for a nicely different piece of design, and it does help keep the wind out, as does the addition of the buttoned throat latch.
The chest pockets are suitably placed for warming of chilled hands on a nippy morning, and again the corduroy lining provides extra comfort. The left arm has a wallet-sized zipped pocket, with 4 cartridge holders (though these are more Biro-sized than 12-gauge!). The collar is generous and lined in corduroy.
The inside is lined in checked cotton and there are two inside pockets with closing tabs.
Although the design and fabric is decidedly British, Joules has made the jacket in Romania. This no doubt has a beneficial effect on the price, but appears to have had no ill-effect on the quality of constriction as the jacket is well put together and should last a long time.
The “Landsdale” retails at 260 pounds and can be found in the selection of jackets here. I went for a large in this one as well, and it’s probably a bit large for me. Not a huge problem though, as since it arrived my son has laid claim on it and absolutely adores it. My time will come though.
Incidentally, the shirt I’m wearing on the above photos is also from Joules, the “Talbertcham” with a delightfull pattern of lighthouses. It appears to be on offer at the moment as is most of their selection of men’s shirts to be found here.
So, there you have it. A couple of waxed jackets that are a bit different, and reasonably priced. Job done, or?