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How a Harrington jacket should fit

How a Harrington jacket should fit

Don't fight the appeal of a Harrington jacket. Yes, it's about as ubiquitous a menswear staple as you can get, but for good reason. With roots in a number of transatlantic subcultures, its decades-long history as a favourite of fashion icons means it’s well worthy of a place in every man’s wardrobe. Originally known as an American golfer style, the Harrington was named for Rodney Harrington, a character in the 60s TV show “Peyton Place”, who popularised it. But the Harrington jacket has been equally as beloved by folks on the other side of the pond, too. 

“The British Harrington jacket was originally made by Baracuta,” says stylist Luke McDonald. “The funnel neck with two buttons is an important feature that sets a Harrington apart from any other zip-up jackets, and it comes in two key styles: the classic G9 with a ribbed hem, and the G4 with a plain hem.”

While the Harrington underwent a stint as a mainstay in mod culture, where it was mixed and matched with Italian, British, and American casual wear, the jacket’s cool, classic appeal made it a hit in mainstream fashion too. For this, we can thank the likes of Steve McQueen and Paul Newman, who paired them with Levi’s and button-down Oxford shirts. In the 50 years that followed, Harrington jackets have become a wardrobe staple for everyone, from your dad to Daniel Craig. But get the fit right, and you’ll look more like the latter.


A Harrington shouldn’t pull across the chest, but it also shouldn’t be oversized and baggy. It should be loose enough to layer over a jumper, fitting trim along the sides and waistline. The ribbed hem style can billow out and look like a beer belly, so if this is a concern, stick to the straight hem version.


The hem should sit in line with your fly. Any longer, and it will look more like a car coat, which isn’t as flattering. Avoid hooded versions, too. Luke says, “A hood on a cropped shirt jacket is ultimately redundant. For the rain, buy a long jacket and save your Harrington for dry weather.”


You want the sleeves to fit like a shirt around the cuff, whilst the arms should be comfortable to move in and not too tight. “The Harrington is a sportswear jacket, so it should be comfy and practical. Styles that are too slim or attempting to be formal don’t tend to work,” says Luke.


The shoulder of your Harrington should sit neatly and not drop down your arm. With this in mind, the traditional Baracuta jackets are Italian made and go by European sizing, which comes up small in comparison with UK sizing, which typically runs larger to allow for layering. If you’re opting for a classic Baracuta, step up two sizes for the perfect fit.

Words: Ella White
Photography: Lola & Pani
Styling: Luke McDonald