o much of contemporary men's fashion draws inspiration from the 1930's through the 1960's, considered the golden age of tasteful dressing. Instead of wearing an inspiration, a FashionMISTER (fashionMR.) should sometimes seek out the genuine article, something that remains unchanged from those days of yesteryear. Enter the Harrington jacket, a classic piece of lightweight outerwear that had its heyday in the 50's and 60's but has never really gone out of style; likely, it never will.
The Harrington is a light jacket that comes to waist-length, where it is held in place by a ribbed band of elastic; it closes with a zipper, and it has a high collar that often buttons at the top. It's typically made of cotton or polyester, though there are variations made of suede or even wool. On the outside, Harringtons usually come in a solid color. Basic jackets are found in navy blue and khaki; more adventurous dressers can wear jackets in yellow, red, green or any number of colors. Classically, it's the interior of the Harrington jacket that speaks the loudest: it is traditionally lined in a vibrant plaid pattern, most often the Fraser tartan.
The Harrington jacket stands well enough on its own, but in the 1950's and 60's it got several high-profile endorsements that sent its popularity into the stratosphere. Elvis Presley wore it in the movie King Creole. Steve McQueen wore it on the cover of Life magazine. Frank Sinatra could be seen cadding about in it. Even the name we know it by was granted by a famous wearer: Ryan O'Neal sported it so frequently in the soap opera Peyton Place that people began to call the jacket after his character, Rodney Harrington.
This jacket has stood the test of time and continues to look great on any man. There are plenty of companies that make Harrington jackets, but if you want the genuine article, go straight to the source: the Harrington jacket's inventor, British clothier Baracuta. Baracuta still makes the original Harrington jacket, the model they call the G9, unchanged since 1937. Wear
it over anything short of suit when the weather is cool but not cold. If it's only slightly chilly, you can unzip it halfway, giving passersby a glimpse of the tartan lining. It's a subtle, elegant statement of good taste, everything a FashionMR. should desire.