When it comes to articles of clothing not to skimp on, outerwear is at the top of the list. I cannot stress this enough. With a high price point, it becomes easy to fall in line with the cheapest available option. I’ve done this myself and immediately regretted it, as a replacement was needed within two years. When it comes to purchases like this, it’s important to look at the return on investment over the lifespan of the piece. It’s often the case that purchasing the more expensive jacket saves you money in the long run.
Say you purchase a jacket that lasts two years for $150. Over a two year period, you’re paying (150/2) $75 per year for the jacket.
On the other hand, you buy a $300 jacket that lasts 5 years. Over the lifespan of the jacket, you’ll pay (300/5), 60$ per year.
Now onto the waxed cotton jacket. When I graduated my go-to outerwear was always a pea coat. It’s classic, versatile, and did its job during those variable Northeastern winters. However, I wanted an alternative. Something not as formal. Something that can not only be suitable for the bitter months of winter but also the cooler months of spring and fall.
I found an alternative in the waxed cotton jacket. These jackets were standard issue to British soldiers during World War II and have been worn by the likes of McQueen and Bond throughout the years. They remain a classic in any wardrobe and are not likely to lose their appeal, making it an ideal investment. That’s the cardinal rule of an investment piece, choose ones that will never out of style. So basically choose the exact opposite of this.
The best feature of the waxed cotton jacket is its versatility between fall and spring. You can layer it up with a sweater for those cold winter months, or layer it down during early spring or late fall with a t-shirt. It looks great with anything. And like most good investment pieces, these jackets look better with age and will last decades. On that note, here are our picks…
Picks Last Updated: April 2018
Disclaimer: In the spirit of transparency those items marked with an * indicate we receive a commission on purchases from the mentioned retailer to help us keep this site going.
1) Southern Tide Maritime Jacket - $295*
Southern Tide is more of a prep-forward brand, but they also offer some rugged items among their line. This maritime jacket is made from wax cotton mixed with nylon, making it lighter weight than the other on this list. It comes in a dark blue and a dark green that looks perfect in both the Spring and Fall.
2) Barbour Sapper Waxed Jacket - $429
I actually own this jacket and it’s become my regular outerwear choice. It’s a reliable jacket that features added insulation, making it ideal for winter. A bit pricier than the standard Bedale, it’s also slimmer. Comes in navy, olive, or black.
3) Orvis Heritage Field Coat - $249*
I could’ve filled up this whole page with Barbour stuff, but here’s something different. The cheapest of the options presented, but Orvis makes some reputable stuff. It has a similar weight to the Bedale and would be a fine alternative to the former. Shouldn’t have a problem pairing this jacket for any occasion.
4) Brooks Brothers Waxed Field Jacket - $498*
For the BB die hards, this is for you. Brooks Brothers offers a standard waxed cotton field coat that is loaded with pockets and lined with plaid. It comes in two colors; mustard and dark brown so if you need a brighter tan jacket, this is your pick.
5) Filson - Mile Marker Coat - $435
The final candidate is the Filson. A little different from the British waxed cotton jackets above, but made right here in America. The jacket has a very similar weight to the Barbour's Bedale, but comes with drawcords to allow for a more tailored look.
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