As a timeless style icon, very few people live up to Steve McQueen. Steve’s subtle ruggedness in Bullitt comes to mind. He was often spotted wearing a Baracuta G4 or a Barbour International, both of which were marketing gold for the brands. As a Barbour reviewer, I’ve always wanted to own a Barbour International jacket, so when this brand new Steve McQueen “Joshua” jacket from Barbour International came on my radar through a classifieds ad, I made the hour-long drive out to buy it.
Barbour’s website states that its “iconic motorcycle jacket, the International, was created in 1936 and became the biker jacket of choice through the 50s, 60s and 70s.” Unlike the standard Barbour International wax jacket, which features an 8 oz Sylkoil cotton, the Barbour Steve McQueen “Joshua” jacket is cut from a lightweight 4 oz waxed cotton. In a similar design to the original, the jacket features four pockets, a belt at the waist, and comes with a detachable “pile like” liner. In an homage to Steve’s jacket worn at the International Six Days Trial competition in 1964, this jacket has an American Flag crest patch saying, “Barbour Team S.McQueen 1964”. The jacket comes in both olive and dark sand colours, and as I didn’t have much choice on the colour, dark sand was the one I purchased. The jacket oozes Steve McQueen cool and after seeing photos, it just makes you want to drive a Triumph Motorcycle.
My initial thoughts of the jacket were drawn to its masculine frame, that moves away from the diversity of Barbour unisex quality of the Bedale and Beaufort. What I like about the Barbour jackets is their natural ability to fit with anyone and anything you wear. What this jacket does not have is the subtle class and natural wearability of my Beaufort, for example. This does not detract from my love for this Barbour International jacket, but it does limit my interest in keeping it in my standard rotation. However, I must acknowledge that Barbour International is a sub-brand to Barbour that focuses on motorcycle styles and therefore fit very differently from Barbour Heritage jackets.
The jacket is a size medium with a chest width of 20”, a length of 28”. Although I’m a 42 chest, the jacket has a generous fit without the pile liner. Unfortunately, with the liner the jacket is quite snug and does not zip with much ease. It’s possible to zip but not overly comfortable. When the jacket was available and in-stock, it retailed at £379.00 or approximately $609.82 CAD. At this price, I would not recommend buying this jacket at retail considering, in Canada, you can buy a Barbour Beaufort, Bedale, or even the “Original” Barbour Black International jacket at comparable and cheaper prices. If you prefer the cut and style of a motorcycle jacket and need to have a Steve McQueen branded jacket, the Barbour International “Joshua” wax jacket is definitely a viable option.
I have a natural hesitation with buying the “signature” model of an item and although this jacket is very interesting, I feel its lack of subtlety as an homage to Steve McQueen is overbearing for me. This is my own feeling concerning a “signature” model of anything, rather than Barbour jackets specifically. If you aren’t fazed by the embroidered signature, large patch in the liner of Steve McQueen, a smaller patch on the liner, American flag painted button with “Barbour Steve McQueen” pressed into it, and finally the American flag crest patch with his name on it, you’ll have no problem being noticed as a Steve McQueen fan. I feel this jacket is more of a collector’s item rather than a daily wearer. However, I would prefer purchasing the Black Barbour International Wax jacket that features the heritage beige Barbour lining and minimal patches. This version looks to have a very similar cut and style of the “Joshua” put keeps a refined sense and ironically, reminds me more of the jacket actually worn by Steve McQueen. This is a personal preference. An alternative option to this jacket is to buy the Barbour International Wax Jacket in black and if you want to honour Steve McQueen, find an enamel pin or purchase some Persol sunglasses.
Overall, the Barbour International “Joshua” Steve McQueen signature jacket is very cool but not my ideal choice of jacket. It’s a great collector’s item that you can wear if you want to add an extra flair to your Barbour look. For a fellow “Barbour Buff” it may just be the jacket you’re looking for. Would I recommend this as the first Barbour jacket to wear? Definitely not. If you’d like an answer for that, read From Bedale to Beaufort for my suggestions. I would recommend this jacket to a Barbour collector or someone who wants to add something special to their outfit. This jacket is very special.
Do I like this jacket? Absolutely. Will I keep this jacket? Probably not, so feel free to make an offer!