To Sylkoil, or not to Sylkoil – that's my question.

Discussion in 'Andy's Trad Forum' started by Pentheos, Jul 10, 2010.

  1. Pentheos

    Pentheos Advanced Member

    United States
    Let me start with an apology for annoying everyone with my Barbour questions. And yes, I've read all the forum posts about the Sylkoil vs. waxed cotton finishes on Barbour jackets.

    But I couldn't find information about the care of Sylkoil jackets. Do these still get waxed? It would seem not, because all Barbour sells is the thornproof dressing which goes on the waxed cotton jackets. Is this correct?

    From what I've read, most prefer the waxed cotton finish, even though the Sylkoil finish is the more 'traditional' one, hence it appearing on the "Classic Beaufort", "Classic Bedale", etc. People seem concerned with the "nap" on the Sylkoil finish, that it wears differently, shows stains, and has a different patina. Although no one seems to mention it, I assume that the Sylkoil finish has an entirely different smell as well.

    Perhaps I'm just too careful, but I want to know everything about the jacket I am going to purchase and have around for a decade or more.

    So, again, do you wax the Sylkoil jackets?

    Are there any disadvantages to the Sylkoil finish besides entirely subjective issues of taste?
  2. TweedyDon

    TweedyDon Connoisseur

    United States
  3. Pentheos

    Pentheos Advanced Member

    United States
  4. The Rambler

    The Rambler Honors Member

    Spent a few minutes on that enjoyable, if slightly maddening site: along w/Tweedys link, the 'people who bought sylkoil jackets also bought...' graphic includes a tin of the standard wax dressing. Can one reasonably infer that the wax dressing is used on the silkoil, or only that the people who ordered it didn't know the answer either?

    Be that as it may, I've never owned or maybe even seen the sylkoil, so of course dont know: but if you wax either model, be sure to follow their advice and hit it with a hairdryer.
  5. Doctor Damage

    Doctor Damage Connoisseur

    Says who? The Barbour marketing department? The Sylkoil thing is a recent addition that mysteriously coincides with Barbour's big push to become a major international fashion brand, and also mysteriously the Sylkoil thing is priced higher than the waxed cotton jackets. It is worth remembering that the Sylkoil thing was not available for at least 25 years, probably longer. Until about a decade ago, the only finish Barbour offered for a looooong time was the waxed cotton. The Sylkoil thing might be a resurrection of an old 'classic' finish, or it might just be marketing bullcrap.
  6. Epaminondas

    Epaminondas Senior Member

    I have both types of Barbour jackets - the smooth wax finish and the sylkoil finish. You use the same thornproof wax to re-proof both styles and, yes, I have done this.

    The sylkoil finish uses fabric that has a slightly napped appearance/feel. When you re-wax it, it might temprorarily "smooth" down some of the fibers and give it a slight sheen, but with a bit of wear that goes away and the matte sylkoil appearance comes back.

    Oh, and to answer your other questions - no I don't notice any difference in odor. I do think the sylkoil finish may be more likely to retain dirt because of its nappy texture. All in all, I prefer the traditional finish and find it more utilitarian. I have four Barbours: two of them are sylkoil finish and two are traditional finish.

    For me the bigger issue is the modern tartan linings on Barbours which I dislike very much. If I found an old stock sylkoil jacket with the old pseudo-Dress Gordon lining, I would take it every time over a tradtional smooth finish jacket with the modern tartan lining.
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2010

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