A well-worn Barbour jacket is an unassailable grail for a certain sect of menswear enthusiasts. But this fall, the waxed-cotton classic has found itself bested—by Barbour itself.
Gold Standard is a sub-brand that stands as the pinnacle of Barbour’s technical know-how. More than souped-up versions of old favorites, it can be seen as Barbour with no holds barred. “It’s the essence of what we’re about in terms of fabrication, cut, intelligent design,” says Ian Bergin, the brand’s director of menswear, footwear and accessories. “We’re producing super-versions of some of our most well-loved styles.”
In Barbour’s book, utility is the ultimate luxury. While Gold Standard’s materials have a decidedly tonier look—waxed canvas alongside Scottish tweed, oiled leather and corozo buttons—the real difference isn’t immediately apparent. Each of the 10 jackets in the collection begins with a hand-cut pattern, which is tailored on the body and re-cut for a superlative fit. It’s just one of countless thoughtful details—concealed hoods, articulated sleeves, meticulously angled warmer pockets—engineered for comfort and functionality beyond anything Barbour has produced before.
The complex handwork of a Gold Standard jacket requires more than double the amount of time that goes into Barbour’s main collection. But true to the brand’s workwear roots, the upgraded designs, starting from $550, retain a rugged simplicity. “As a brand, we don’t tend to shout,” says Bergin, noting that Gold Standard’s excellence is best revealed through time in the field. “They’re a real voyage of discovery when you wear one.”