Wednesday, November 2, 2011

How To Beat The High Cost Of Living...

The ever-resourceful Suburban Bushwacker recently blogged about dumpster-diving for a perfectly fine-looking Burberry jacket that had no doubt been cast off by one of this year's UK nominees for Upper-Class Twit of the Year.

Since SBW and I share not only a mimimalist aesthetic, but the minimalist income stream that usually precipitates said aesthetic, I am appropriately jealous of his score. The closest I can come to matching is my purchase last year of a brand-new Barbour shooting jacket that was sitting on the clearance rack of a local insurance salvage resell store.

I have no idea where it came from or how it got there, but I had always wanted one of those classic waxed-cotton shooting jackets. When I saw this one, in my size even, I snatched it up with visions of being the best-dressed, classiest-looking quail hunter in Oklahoma (something most folks believe to be mutually exclusive...)

While not as expensive as one of those Burberry jobs, it was still a $400 jacket for, IIRC, $79, so I got it. And wore it hunting. Once.

A thick, waxed-cotton coat may be fine for genteel chaps who hunt damp, chilly Britain, standing around with a gun-bearer, in one spot, waiting on driven grouse, but it was about the worst thing this lowborn Okie prole ever wore for walking miles up and down northwest Oklahoma sandhills.

My fashionable, Orvis-endorsed dreams crushed, I went back to the vest and relegated the Barbour to being my general around-town coat, a purpose for which it performs and looks great.

Would I pay $400 for it? Oh, hell no. But I have no regrets paying $79 for it, and I'd dive in a dumpster for one in a heartbeat, headlong, even... 


  1. Haha the waxed cotton jacket is one of those 'classics' that only partially lives up to the sales pitch. The outside keeps you dry, the inside keeps you damp. they cant be washed in anything more cleansing than water or the wax dissolves. On the upside they are tough as old boots: I went beating on a Pheasant shoot a couple of weekends ago - turned up in my ventile smock - my host said 'you cant wear that it'll be shredded' and lent me one of his battered waxed cotton jackets, they survive the thorns and brambles but you boil-in-the-bag. thanks for the mention

  2. This was a brilliant post! The "Upper Class Twit of the Year" link had me rolling on the floor. I've had a similar experience. I brought back proudly acquired second-hand moleskin trousers and Barbour jackets from Scotland, only to find they were terrible for hunting in Oklahoma!

  3. Hi Lauren! Are you back from Scotland?

  4. If I calculate time spent v. return, it is definitely more lucrative than freelancing.

  5. My then girlfriend now wife gave me a Barbour almost 15 years ago and I have tried to beat it up and it holds up. It has held up in field and on cold Cast and Blasts on the Chesapeake Bay for Scoters and Rockfish. If it ever dies, I still may have to wait for a kind woman, as I have too much other gear to buy for that $$..