What is a Barn Jacket?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

A barn jacket is a loose fitting jacket that buttons down the front and hits at about mid hip. In its traditional sense, it really was intended for people performing rugged work outdoors, and still may be used in this manner. Lined jackets can take the chill out of performing outdoor chores, like mucking out stables or feeding animals, in early morning or evening hours.

Barn jackets can be made from twill.
Barn jackets can be made from twill.

In the 19th century, fisherman developed a few techniques that would be indispensable to the barn jacket. By using oils or wax, jackets and coats could be slightly waterproofed, making them more stain resistant and able to withstand a little rain or water spilled onto them. Many manufacturers still use waterproofing or stain resistant techniques to create a more utilitarian coat.

Flannel is a popular material used to make barn jackets.
Flannel is a popular material used to make barn jackets.

The barn jacket can be made in a variety of fabrics, including cotton twill, cotton flannel, wool flannel, and denim, and may be lined or unlined. A few newer styles are made with plush or microfibers. Typical linings include wool fleece, polyester fleece, quilted polyesters, and quilted flannel.

This jacket can be found in a variety of styles, some of which are certainly not intended for heavy-duty all-season work. Soft Italian leather ones with silk lining are popular, for example. One might feature a variety of designs, elaborate buttons, or patterned fabric. The less work-worthy coat still can make for a good extra layer or even a fashion statement for those who don’t perform a great deal of manual labor.

A lined barn jacket provides exceptional warmth, and many wearers also like its slightly longer length. Styles can be found for both men and women, and a few noted manufacturers always feature a few options. In department stores, this product may be harder to find if it is not currently thought in fashion. Many shoppers find that army surplus stores can be a great place to look, though the styles may tend toward the simpler, sturdier fashion.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent wiseGEEK contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

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Discussion Comments


Remember, barn jackets aren't just for barns. A lot of people like to keep a barn jacket around for all their outdoor chores. My mom has had the same red barn jacket for years, and she wears is pretty much constantly throughout the winter, whether she's walking the dog, bringing in firewood, or even just running out to get the mail.

Besides being a good fashion look (if you're into that sort of thing) a barn jacket is just a good investment because of how sturdy and versatile they are. Like you said, many of them are waterproof too, so you can even wear it as a rain jacket when the need arises.

So I'd definitely advise anybody who does any kind of outdoor chores to get a mens or womens barn jacket. It's a good investment in a piece that will serve you a long time.


I love the barn jacket style on women -- I think it's just so rugged and free. Now I'll admit, the closest I ever get to a barn is when I watch the horse shows on TV, but I do love that look.

It's masculine without being overbearing, and is a flattering look on many different kinds of figures.

I always love it when ladies barn jackets come back in fashion, because then they're easier to find, which means more women find out just what a great look this is.

I personally have three barn jackets, and I love all of them. If you're looking for a style to let your inner working woman out, then a barn jacket is definitely a good choice.


I have to say, I have really never understood the whole point behind getting a really nice barn jacket. And both men and women do this -- they'll end up buying a nice suede barn jacket that just gets all dusty and manky because that's how the inside of a barn is, and then they get upset because they paid so much for it.

For me, I've always gotten my barn jackets at the army surplus store. They're sturdy and warm, and most importantly, horses don't care how fashionable you are when you're mucking out their stalls.

So I say, save your money on that 500 dollar quilted barn jacket and just get a nice showing jacket -- that's when fashion really counts.


I recently found my "Dream Jacket". It's a combination Barn Jacket/Hunting Jacket. The color is green and it is made of quilted Leather. Ralph Lauren makes it and the price was originally $695. I got it for $170.

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