It’s tough to find a humble, hardworking barn coat that you can wear out on the town, unless you start with the leather. L.L. Bean’s Original Field Coat, which really established the style, was made of heavy duty canvas and was first designed in 1924 for the brand’s hunting catalog. It was roomy and warm, hip length, and made to fit over a sweater. The pockets were practical and the design let you move, but it was mostly a tough work coat.
And although they’re essentially the same, the subtle difference between “barn coat” and “field jacket” is right in the name: The former was typically made for working in a cold, drafty farmhouse. The latter was generally for wearing outside: warmer, with a heavier lining, and a more weather resistant shell. As the military adopted the practical style, “field jacket” was the term they preferred. No one marches to battle from a barn. So call them what you will, but both styles of leather jackets are good for a hard day’s work or an evening out.
Theodore Roosevelt Leather Coat
As Ken Burns once again captivated us with The Roosevelts, the image of Teddy in a field jacket conjures this piece from Orvis. Built much like a classic barn coat, with large ample pockets and a generous fit, the soft but durable cowhide won’t shy away from outdoor work. At the same time, it looks great hung over a white oxford. Rustic stitching and antler buttons add a timelessness that gets better with age. [$595; Orvis.com]
Mount Lincoln Barn Jacket
At 14,291 feet, Mount Lincoln is one of the highest peaks in the rugged Rockies of Colorado, and the namesake for Timberland’s dressed up barn jacket. The nubuck leather, lined in flannel and detailed with tough quad-stitch construction, makes this great looking hip length coat at home in town or the country. From Timberland’s Earthkeepers collection, the leather is produced at a tannery rated gold for its environmental practices. [$798; Timberland.com]
Lone Pine Denver Leather Jacket
The Denver Jacket from Lone Pine is made in the USA and built in the spirit of a true working barn coat. Made of lambskin with full-grain leather trim, it’s equal parts sleek and rugged. The wool-blend houndstooth lining adds warmth, and the full-zip front with a snapping storm flap seals you in. With plenty of pockets and a by-swing back allowing ample movement, it’s the nicest coat you will ever do chores in — or the toughest coat you’ll wear to dinner. [$1950; Orvis.com]
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