The Harrington Jacket: Everything You Wanted to Know

Posted: 05/06/2023 @ 20:59PM

Men's Harrington Jackets

What is a Harrington Jacket?

A Harrington jacket is a short, lightweight, blouson jacket with a standing collar and elasticated cuff and waist. Over the decades different brands have made variations on the style, but a classic Harrington jacket is based on this design. Usually the Harrington also features a button collar and zip front, 2 slanted side pockets  - sometimes with a flap over fasten - and with a design feature on the back. The Baracuta G9 Harrington has a 5-point ‘umbrella’ vented back, which is unique to the Baracuta design. Other Harringtons will usually have a variation on this vented back, but they cannot replicate it exactly as it is only Baracuta Jackets which can have this trademark feature. 

Why is it called a Harrington Jacket?

Harrington was coined for the character Rodney Harrington in the American TV soap, Peyton Place in the 1960s. Played by Ryan O'Neal, Rodney Harrington appeared wearing a Baracuta G9 jacket so often that the jacket was nicknamed the ‘Harrington’ jacket. John Simons, the owner of the Ivy Shop in London is credited with coining the name - advertising the Baracuta G9 in his shop window as the 'Harrington Jacket'. The name stuck and the style became widely known as a Harrington. 

Is the Harrington a mod jacket?

Yes, and it probably became a mod jacket because of the Rodney Harrington association. The Baracuta G9 fit perfectly with the mod Ivy look, popular in both the USA and UK in the late 50s and 60s, and it quickly became the casual jacket of choice for many mods. 

Later in the 70s and 80s onwards, the Harrington jackets popularity continued with mods, scooterists, mod revivalists and skinheads all adopting the look and making it their own. In the 1990s and Britpop era, the Harrington jacket was adopted by Indie music fans and came back to the forefront of fashion and claiming its place as one of the most enduring mod garments. 


Baracuta G9 Harrington Jacket in black


What is the most famous Harrington Jacket?

The first ever Harrington jacket was the Baracuta G9 jacket, designed and created by brothers John and Issac Miller in 1937. The following year, the Millers were granted permission to use the iconic red Fraser Tartan in the lining of the jacket and the Harrington as we know it began to take shape. The Baracuta jacket is the original Harrington jacket. 

Why is the Harrington Jacket a golfing jacket?

The Baracuta Harrington jacket was designed as a practical jacket which would be suitable for workwear or sportswear. It was waist-length and had design features in the fabrics used and elasticated cuff and waist to protect the wearer against the elements while not restricting movement. The famous 5-point 'Umbrella' vented back ensured rain would run off the jacket without spoiling the look and enabled better movement for the wearer. The G in Baracuta’s G9 stands for Golf and the 9 refers to the 9-hole golf course!


        Baracuta G4 Harrington Jacket in Natural


What’s the difference between a Baracuta G9 and a Baracuta G4?

Second only to the G9, the Baracuta G4 Harrington jacket is almost the same as the G9 in design but significantly features an open welt waist and cuff instead of the G9’s elasticated waist and cuff. The G4 Harrington has side adjuster tabs for fit and offers a looser fit than the G9. 

What’s the difference between a Harrington jacket and a bomber jacket?

Harrington jackets and bomber jackets look quite similar in style but the designs have several differences. Most strikingly the collars are very different. The Harrington has a standing collar which is usually fastened by one or two buttons. The bomber has a flat round collar, either plain or with striped tipping, and known unsurprisingly as the bomber collar. There are also differences in the fabrics with Harrington jackets typically made from cotton or synthetic fabrics and traditional bomber jackets being made from nylon. Harrington jackets typically have a check or tartan lining - most iconically the red Fraser tartan found in the Baracuta G9, whereas bomber jackets usually have a contrasting colour lining, traditionally a bright orange. 


Baracuta Winter Thermal G9 Jacket in Black


Is a Harrington Jacket a summer or winter jacket?

The Harrington is usually classed as a transitional jacket, ideal for wear during spring or autumn. Baracuta jackets feature Coolmax fabric, a polyester fabric designed to wick moisture and allow the passage of heat - making it practical for summer wear too. Additionally, for winter Baracuta design thicker padded and thermal G9 jackets for cold weather (pictured above) - so if you pick your wardrobe carefully you can wear Harrington jackets all year round!


Steve McQueen Harrington Jacket on Life Magazine 1963


Who wears a Harrington Jacket?

Harrington jackets have been worn by many famous faces and celebrities from Elvis Presley through to Liam Gallagher. 

One of the most iconic Harrington wearers is Steve McQueen. He wore a stone or grey coloured Baracuta G9 for a cover of LIFE magazine in 1963, and later a navy blue Baracuta G9 for The Thomas Crown Affair in 1968. William Claxton took the iconic photos of Steve McQueen in a light coloured Baracuta G9, showing off the flash of red Fraser tartan for MGM publicity images in Los Angeles in 1964. This is usually the Steve McQueen Baracuta colour people are searching for - the closest colour in the current range is the Baracuta G9 in mist. 

More well known Harrington wearers include Damon Albarn, Frank Sinatra, Daniel Craig, The Clash (who had customised Baracuta G9 jackets made specially for them in 1980), Christopher Reeve, Paul Weller, Tom Hardy and Jason Statham - demonstrating how versatile an appeal the Harrington has. 

An interesting footnote, James Dean wears a red Harrington jacket in Rebel Without A Cause in 1956. This is sometimes mistakenly identified as a Baracuta G9 too, but is actually a ‘Drizzler’ jacket by a US brand called McGregor. 

Are Harrington Jackets still in style?

A Harrington Jacket is a timeless design that comes back into fashion again and again. It’s a versatile piece of men’s outerwear which suits almost everyone and makes for a menswear classic. A Harrington jacket will never look out of place for any casual occasion. 

Which Harrington jacket should I get?

Today there are many different Harrington jacket variations to suit any style or budget, though buyer. If you want the original and classic Harrington jacket, then look no further than the Baracuta G9. Don’t like the elasticated waist and cuff? Then swap to the Baracuta G4 style which offers the same iconic design with an open, looser waist and fit. 

If your wallet doesn’t quite stretch to a Baracuta jacket, we also offer cheaper - but still premium quality - Harrington jackets from Ben Sherman and Merc. Alternatively Lambretta offers a budget conscious basic mod Harrington Jacket too. Fred Perry also put their unique slant on the Harrington jacket, typically in their Autumn and winter range and Pretty Green offer some fashion lead versions as well. 

Shop our full range of Harrington Jackets here