Item: Barbour Vintage Duralinen Force Parka
Appearance: Bells of Saint John, Hide
Original Retail Price: around £200
Material: 100% linen, polyurethane coating
The Barbour Vintage Duralinen Force Parka comes in two colours: Sandstone and Faded Black. Even though Faded Black is the SA one that Clara Oswald wears in Bells of Saint John and Hide, it is also the rarer of the two colours and I haven’t come across a single cosplayer who actually owns it and haven’t seen any online. The Sandstone coloured one is still extremely rare, but it isn’t impossible to find. Apart from myself, I know of two Clara cosplayers who own it.
To find this item, you will need a lot of patience and likely also a bigger wallet. I know that one cosplayer got very lucky with her Barbour Parka and found it for £25 on eBay, but this seems like a rather rare occurrence because Barbour is an expensive brand. I myself paid £100 including shipping on Vinted and received mine new with tags which is more than a fair price for a new Barbour parka and I consider myself extremely lucky (especially because the seller was so lovely to reserve it for me until payday). I’ve been watching all kinds of Barbour parkas and coats and jackets ever since I started collecting Clara’s clothes and the price they sell for can vary a lot. I’ve seen the same kind of jacket sell for £40 as well as £300, so all I can tell you is to watch the various websites. On my German websites, around 20-30 different Barbour jackets get added every day, but I’ve only ever seen the SA jacket once in three years (on my German websites, I’ve seen one overpriced UK16 on eBay once). That should give you a good impression of how rare the item is. The closest alt to this jacket that I’ve seen is called the Barbour Winter Force Parka and it has the same cut, but the inside is lined with a warm winter material. You can check all known websites and apps for this one because Barbour, as mentioned before, is a very popular brand internationally.
A word of warning: Since Barbour is a well-known and popular brand, there are multiple websites that allegedly sell the Duralinen Force Parka in both colours, all sizes and for a very good price, but they’re all scam websites. Please, be careful where you buy from! I know it can be tempting to risk it for such a rare jacket, but I’m 100% certain they will take your money and not give you anything in return. Because it’s such a high profile brand, there is also the possibility that people might try to scam you on eBay. If the seller is only using the product photo, ask for other pictures before buying. I’ve seen this happen with All Saints items, so it wouldn’t surprise me if anyone tried it with certain Barbour jackets as well. It’s best to buy this (and other items) from a seller who is using original pictures and has good ratings.
Now, to the parka itself! I only received it today, but I was impatient and instantly wore it while I walked my dog and when I came home, I didn’t want to take it off. It’s made of 100% linen with a polyurethane coating and therefore very light and machine washable. It won’t keep you dry in a downpour, but I’m sure it can take a few raindrops before everything seeps through. It also has a hood to keep said raindrops off your head. Since the jacket is so light, it’s very comfortable to wear. The material seems sturdy and is probably quite hard to damage. Since I received my Barbour Parka new with tags, I had a chance to read them and saw that they give their products a one-year warranty, so I’m assuming they put quite some trust in the quality of their jackets. I’ve never actually seen a company that outright offers this kind of warranty (even though many shops will let you return items within a year of purchase if the damage wasn’t caused by you purposefully).
What I always find incredibly practical about most Clara jackets are the spacious pockets. The Barbour Vintage Duralinen Force Parka has a couple of those: two big ones on each side that are secured with two buttons and right on top of those is another pocket with a zip. There are also various smaller pockets, but I don’t think you could actually put anything in those except for maybe some money. The waist area can be adjusted in size with straps, so it can be worn loose or fitted.
Speaking of the fit – this jacket runs very small. First of all, I found their size conversion to be quite odd. My jacket is a UK12 and they translated that to a EU38 even though 95% of all other shops would convert the EU38 to a UK10. I’d say this UK12 Barbour Parka is more of a regular UK8 / EU36. It’s loose on me because I’m a regular UK6/8 in coats, but because of the adjustable straps, it fits quite well. Whenever I saw UK14 or UK16 sized Barbour coats of any kind online, I wondered why the larger sizes were so much more common, but I’m assuming that they all run a couple of sizes smaller than normal parkas, so a UK16 would actually be more of a regular UK12.
Even though the Sandstone Barbour Vintage Duralinen Force Parka isn’t 100% SA, I personally prefer this colour to the SA Faded Black one. Why? I own a couple of dark jackets and just prefer the hippie / bohemian style of the Sandstone colour. This really is a jacket I can see myself wearing out and about a lot this spring because of all the wonderful benefits: sturdiness, slightly water-repellant, big pockets and a hood. It’s a very practical and cool-looking jacket for any kind of wardrobe, not just Clara’s – even though, of course, it completes two outfits for me.
If you’re looking for this parka like many cosplayers do, just keep your eyes peeled, but bear in mind that many cosplayers searched for years before finding one, so don’t give up immediately. Barbour is an extremely popular brand, so one will pop up eventually. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you!