Coined as “The King of Cool”, the American actor Steve McQueen has lived on with his title intact, most known for his effortless style. Making a name for himself at the height of ’60’s counterculture, the style icon is now known for his love of the Harrington Jacket.
Seen during the American ’50s and the ’70s British city life, the Harrington Jacket was also backed by famous faces such as James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause, Elvis Presley in King Creole and A Little Less Conversation and Ryan O’Neal in Peyton’s Place after McQueen took it to the global stage.
Today, the Harrington Jacket is sported by preppy style icons with the like of David Beckham, Justin Timberlake and Ryan Reynolds, proving Steve McQueen’s influence on todays world is stronger than ever.
“It’s actually the fact that the Harrington – as opposed to, say, a bomber jacket – can be worn by anyone that’s so great about it. It’s a staple,” says the designer Oliver Spencer. “It looks as good over a shirt as a T-shirt. It’s very easy to wear – which makes it great for travelling with. And, from my perspective, it carries fabric really well, so you can wear it in a more adventurous fabric without feeling self-conscious about it.”
Every tip to get the “King of Cool” look is below.
Tips to style the Harrington Jacket
- Embrace the preppy style that the Harrington Jacket is no known for. Team with a button-down, tailored trousers and penny loafers for a classic look.
- While the Harrington Jacket will always look good in a block colour, if you’re wanting to mix it up there is no rule against trying a bold pattern – look to checks, geometrics and even camouflage.
- It’s not suitable for pairing over a suit, but if you’re going for a ‘smart casual’ look, then it is an essential paired with a tie and dress shoes.
- The best thing about the Harrington Jacket is its multi-seasonal use. Try going one size bigger and try your hand at layering.
- Despite it’s preppy style, it is super easy to dress down. Add jeans and sneakers for a go-to uniform.
Do’s and Dont’s
- Do stick to classic colour blocking if you’re not one for prints.
- Don’t go over the top with the ’60s dressing. To avoid looking like you’re wearing a costume, team with modern staples like the white sneaker and graphic t-shirt.
- Do pick the right fabric for your lifestyle. While cotton is the standard go-to, if you’re looking for something warmer try wool blends or corduroy.
- Don’t stick the collar up. Again, to avoid looking like you’re wearing a costume or trying too hard keep it down – unless of course it is raining.
- Do find the right shape for your body. The Harrington Jacket is naturally a bit looser but make sure it sits around the same height as your belt.
- Don’t wear tight pants. As the jacket has a slightly more relaxed shape you want to make sure the proportions look similar from top to bottom.
The Key Harrington Jacket Styles
Characterised by the classic stone or navy colour, the classic style includes the original tartan lining for depth as well as front zip and front pockets. If you have the money to splash, go Burberry for the best classic style. Alternatively, Ben Sherman is a great high-street pick.
A luxurious and stylish take on the classic Harrington, the Suede rendition is a popular choice and with quality fabric it will continue to be a kit essential. Look to darker colour tones to avoid visible marking and it will turn out to be a year-round staple.