The word gaberdine or gabardine has been used to refer to a particular item of clothing, a sort of long cassock but often open at the front, since at least the 15th century, in the 16th becoming used for outer garments of the poor, and later signifying a rain cloak or protective smock-frock.
The modern use of the term for a fabric rather than a garment dates to Thomas Burberry, founder of the Burberry fashion house in Basingstoke, Hampshire, England, who invented the fabric and revived the name in 1879, and patented it in 1888. Gabardine made its public appearance in 1879 when it was introduced by Burberry Clothing.[A]
The original fabric was worsted wool, sometimes in combination with cotton, and was waterproofed using lanolin before weaving. The fiber may also be pure cotton, texturised polyester, or a blend.
Burberry clothing of gabardine was worn by polar explorers, including Roald Amundsen, the first man to reach the South Pole, in 1911 and Ernest Shackleton, who led a 1914 expedition to cross Antarctica. A jacket made of this material was worn by George Mallory on his ill-fated attempt on Mount Everest in 1924.
Gabardine was also used widely in the 1950s to produce colourful patterned casual jackets, trousers and suits. Companies like J. C. Penney, Sport Chief, Campus, Four Star and California Trends were all producing short-waisted jackets, sometimes reversible, commonly known as weekender jackets.
Clothing made from gabardine is generally labelled as being suitable for dry cleaning only, as is typical for wool textiles.
- "What makes gabardine unique is the fabric’s ability to be water-resistant and breathable at the same time. It’s also an extremely tough fabric which made it perfect for military use. Not only were officers wearing a trench coat able to stay comparatively dry in the trenches during rain, thanks to the breathability of gabardine, but the coats also did not make them sweat and dehydrate in hot and humid temperatures either."
- Picken 1957, p. 145. sfn error: no target: CITEREFPicken1957 (help)
- Cumming 2010, p. 88. sfn error: no target: CITEREFCumming2010 (help)
- Tung, Christen. "Burberry: What Makes the Luxury Brand So Unique?". Maggwire. Retrieved June 21, 2021.
- Royal Society of Chemistry
- Kadolph (2007), pp. 240, 472
- Cumming 2010, p. 248. sfn error: no target: CITEREFCumming2010 (help)
- "Replica clothes pass Everest test". BBC News
- Jackets, Coats, and Suits from Threads. Threads Magazine. Taunton Press. 1992. p. 29. ISBN 9781561580484.
- Cumming, Valerie, C. W. Cunnington and P. E. Cunnington. The Dictionary of Fashion History, Berg, 2010, ISBN 978-1-84788-533-3.
- Kadolph, Sara J., ed. (2007) Textiles, 10th edition, Pearson Prentice Hall ISBN 0-13-118769-4.
- Picken, Mary Brooks (1973) . The Fashion Dictionary. Funk & Wagnalls. ISBN 0-308-10052-2..