Ever had the suspicion that fashion designers, stylists and retailers have not the faintest idea what they're talking about and bandy terms and labels around without stopping to think if they're accurate? Didn't think it was just me.

An example is the Harrington jacket. Now anybody who knows a skinhead from a Greenpeace chugger will know the Harrington has roots deep in that subculture as well as in the Mod and 2-Tone movements. They might also know that Paul Newman wore one and that fashion magazine GQ makes it a point of honour to remind its readers of the fact at least once a year by putting him on the cover wearing a stone-coloured version. As a result, fashion designers love to slap the name Harrington on any old sort of jacket.

But what most people probably don't know is the reason it's known as a Harrington: it's named for Rodney Harrington, the character Ryan O'Neill plays in 1960s American soap opera Peyton Place. He wore one, possibly picking up the trend from Elvis Presley, who wears a "Harrington" in 1958 film King Creole.

Peyton Place was inspired by the success of Coronation Street which, ironically, is set in Manchester streets not too far from the homes of the firms most often associated with the Harrington itself: Baracuta of Stockport, and Grenfell of Burnley. It's Baracuta who still make the G9, the model Presley and Newman wore. Presley's character's surname in King Creole, by the way, is Fisher, which would have confused things even further had it been the name by which the Harrington became known.

If people often think Harrington is a make in its own right it's because another garment associated with the skinhead/Mod subculture – the three-quarter length Crombie overcoat – actually is. J&J Crombie Ltd was founded in Aberdeen in 1805 and is thought to be one of the UK's oldest brands. Now headquartered in Leeds, they'll still sell you a proper Crombie overcoat, though most other manufacturers also refer to their version as Crombies. Mods and skinheads, I imagine, don't care too much, as long as the cut is right and you can still see their DMs/Bass Weejuns.

Crossing the Pond, you might be interested to learn that chinos got their name around the time of the Spanish-American war of 1898. This particular spat took place around Cuba and the Philippines – let's not bother with the whys and wherefores – and resulted in Americans being introduced to a cotton twill fabric manufactured in China, which gives us the garment's etymology. Probably, anyway.

Opinions vary on that one, as they do with Baker Boy caps. I can't imagine many bakers wore these, but taxi drivers and kids selling papers did, so they're sometimes known as Newsboy or Cabbie hats. That makes a little more sense, though Baker Boy seems to be the name which has stuck. If you want to really impress your friends, though, refer to your eight-panelled Baker Boy hat as a Lundberg Stetson, so called because it was popularised by Harry Lundberg. A Norwegian-born seaman and strike leader who became head of the Sailor's Union in San Francisco in the 1930s, he's still venerated in the city today thanks to a memorial bust. And yes, he's wearing his trademark cap.