What is Harrington Jacket?
A Harrington jacket is a lightweight, waist-length jacket made of cotton, polyester, wool or suede. Designs often incorporate traditional Fraser tartan or checkerboard-patterned lining.
The History of this Timeless Jacket
The first Harrington-style jackets were made in the 1930s by several companies in England. James and Isaac Miller produced what would become its most iconic iteration — the Harrington jacket men’s classic vintage retro scooter bomber coat— in 1937 in their garment factories in Manchester, England. The coat got its nickname "Harrington" from a character in the 1960's prime time soap opera, Peyton Place. Rodney Harrington (by Ryan O'neal) is often depicted in a Harrington jacket. Frank Sinatra, Steve McQueen and other popular icons were photographed wearing Harrington-style jackets in their casuals and films.
Francis Albert "Frank" Sinatra was an American singer, actor, and producer who was one of the most popular and influential musical artists of the 20th century
Rodney "Rod" Harrington is a fictional character on the television drama Peyton Place.
The Harrington-style coat was distributed to the U.S in the 1950's and rapidly took off, maybe in light of the fact that it's midsection length, versatile handcuffed style look and dovetailed with another style pattern — that of the plane/flight coats worn by pilots amid WWII and Korean War.
The Harrington jacket was soon used by subculture and pop culture groups(like Mods and Skinheads). They enjoyed a resurgence in the late 1970s and early 1980s with skinhead and mod revivalists, as well as with scooter boys. Within those subcultures, Harringtons are often worn with Fred Perry or Ben Sherman shirts. As an icon of "rebel cool", it appears on the silver screen on the likes of James Dean and Elvis Presley. It was habitually worn by the King of Cool himself, Steve McQueen.
Contrasted with the hippy culture of the day, the jacket was such a conservative throwback, that it radiated its own sort of nonconformist cool. In the 70s and 80s, the Harrington's fan base extended considerably further and it got to be mainstream amongst British punks and skinheads — typically in dark and combined with Doc Martens — as well as numerous artists and rock/pop band individuals.
Today you'll continue to spot the Harrington worn by all of these cultures, and even on world leaders; the POTUS rides around on Air Force One with a blouson-style coat (though with collapsed neckline), complete with the presidential seal on the bosom.
Stay tune for our next post, “Tips for wearing Harrington/Bring out the best of Harrington Jacket”
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