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.

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The Key Harrington Jacket Styles

Classic Harrington

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.

Ben Sherman Harrington Jacket / $160 AUD SHOP NOW
Burberry Cotton Gabardine Harrington Jacket / $1,850 AUD SHOP NOW

Burberry Reissued Harrington Jacket / $1,950 AUD SHOP NOW

Suede Harrington

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.

Desa 1972 Harrington Jacket / $956 AUD SHOP NOW
Ami Alexandre Mattiussi Suede Zipped Jacket Harrington Collar / $2,079 AUD SHOP NOW

Red Harrington

As seen on James Dean in Rebel Without A Cause as well as the fact that red is trending, the Red Harrington is the way to look to make a statement. From cherry red to more subtle burgundy tones, there is much to choose from. Pair with simple staples to avoid looking too OTT.

Aspesi Garment-Dyed Cotton-Twill Blouson Jacket / $493 AUD SHOP NOW
Burberry Slim Fit Tropical Gabardine Harrington Jacket / $1,820 AUD SHOP NOW

Patterned Harrington

Despite the check traditionally seen on the lining of the Harrington Jacket, if you’re looking to mix up your seasonal kit, then check is one way to go. If you want to start slow, look at classic houndstooth, stripes and micro-check, this is a great place to start – the further away your are the less bold you will appear.

River Island Brown Check Harrington Jacket / $120 USD SHOP NOW
Prada Checked Cotton Blouson Jacket / $2,152 AUD SHOP NOW

Technical Harrington

Better known as the sports Harrington, this style is best for the Spring season, if you’re the regular jogger. Often shower-proof and light-weight, the Technical Harrington is designed to keep you cool. For more of an everyday pairing, double the jacket with a knit underneath with the zip un-done.

Jill Sander Technical Windbreaker / $2,298 AUD SHOP NOW
Gucci Tiger patch Technical Jersey Jacket / $1,355 AUD SHOP NOW

Cover Image: Via Express Uk