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Let’s find out who makes a high quality pea coat for men

November 14, 2018

Whether its classic Navy design outerwear you’re after, or something with hand warmer pockets you are looking for, we’ll tell you who makes a high quality pea coat.

The classic pea coat is made from 100 percent wool, and is ideal for winter workwear. But these timeless winter coats are equally “out there” in terms of their fashion significance. So, who makes a high quality pea coat? Let’s find out, shall we?

Sailors in P coats on deck aboard the U.S. 7th Fleet command ship USS Blue Ridge

Sailors in P coats on deck aboard the U.S. 7th Fleet command ship USS Blue Ridge

Who makes a high quality pea coat Essentials

One piece of classic navy outerwear became headline news a couple of years ago. The U.S. Navy announced that its regulation-issued pea coat, the double breasted one, with one with hand warmer pockets and signature embossed buttons, would be no more, starting in 2018. Instead, black synthetic parkas would become standard issue. The classically designed pea coat would still be permitted after 2020 – but sailors would need to pay for the iconic knee length outerwear themselves.

 

So, where might one source this originally designed classic, and who makes a high quality pea coat that sailors and civilians alike might buy? Well, before we dive into the deep end of this conversation, lets go over some pea coat essentials.

portrait photo of a man in ww1 military uniform and a trench coat.

portrait photo of a man in ww1 military uniform and a trench coat.

 

Unlike its land-soldier counterpart, the Trench Coat, the sea-soldier Pea coat has a bit of an ambiguous history.  Although there are accounts of the Dutch sailors wearing 100 % wool or twill coats in the 16th century, characteristically, this piece of iconic double breasted outerwear was initially designed as standard wear for the British Royal Navy back in the 18th century. The U.S. Navy followed suit and adopted it for its rank and file navy men in the late 19th century, giving the pea coat even more credibility as a piece of tough, masculine outerwear.

Design

When asking who makes a high quality pea coat, we can’t ignore WHAT makes a high quality pea coat design. Typically, peacoats feature a knee length design, and are made of either pure woollen fabric, or wool blend material. While today, you can get trendy hip length versions, this warm weather garment usually comes in knee length, or sometimes longer, variations. The signature embossed buttons of this garment truly make it stand out as a classic winter-wear accessory.

 

Because they are meant to keep the wearer warm, they are usually double breasted, which provides reinforced protection against cold winds and low temperatures, and feature lined pockets.  And because they were originally designed for high-sea wear, they included special features, like hand warmer pockets, that kept sailors and longshoremen snug during particularly harsh wintry climate.

Michael of Kent in military regalia

Michael of Kent in military regalia

Pea coat Evolution: From Dartmouth to High street!

Keeping with its intended use, as part of a naval outfit, the originally designed pea jacket or coat was dark navy blue in colour.  However, as High Street designers got on board with making the pea coat more accessible to the masses, a lot of that changed. The transition from military to civilian wear meant that many an original peacoats feature evolved:

 

Mens 1940s Grey Herringbone Pea Coat

Mens 1940s Grey Herringbone Pea Coat

 

  • Material

Pictures from old magazine articles as far back as 1869 show a thick outercoat made from 100 percent wool. While the relatively coarse woollen finish was good enough for the seafaring men naval officers of the Royal Navy, it wasn’t well and good for the civilian populace. That meant that anyone who makes a high quality pea coat had to rethink the fabric. That’s when High Street designers and manufacturers started using wool blend materials to sell the iconic piece of winter wear for civilian use!

 

Mens 1960s Green Pea Coat

Mens 1960s Green Pea Coat

 

  • Colour:

In keeping with tradition of the Royal Navy’s officer’s uniform code, the classic navy version of this vintage outdoor coat was fashioned out of dark navy blue material. However, to make the garment more appealing to the civilian mases, High Street entrepreneurs created winter coats of other shades of blue, grey and black. The essence of the classic navy look was preserved but, because of the variants of coloured coats now available, it has now become much easier to mix/match, and colour combine your pea coat with other items in your existing wardrobe.

WW1 webbing buttons and medals souvenir Belt

WW1 webbing buttons and medals souvenir Belt

 

  • Buttons:

Throughout the 18th century, and for a long time thereafter, one of the peacoats feature – its buttons – was what distinguished it from other double breasted coats and jackets available at the time. More specifically, originally designed coats came with naval insignia and coat of arms embossed on the buttons. But those stamped/raised patterns of the pea coat button wouldn’t necessarily endear it to the masses. Therefore, anyone who makes a high quality pea coat had to rethink the buttons. High Street came up with a novel solution.

You can now get embossed buttons with many civilian themes. It’s even possible for you to source originally designed pieces with plain buttons. And to make this timeless knee length or hip length garment even more versatile, the plain or embossed buttons are available in either gold or silver colour. And that’s yet another evolutionary step that the classic navy uniform has taken on its march into civilian life.

 

  • Length:

Any contemporary designer or manufacturer, who makes a high quality pea coat today, must also be cognisant of the fact that style preferences have changed since the 1860s. If they wished to attract today’s fashion-conscious male, the length of the outerwear piece had to evolve. While hip length was the preferred cut for the classic pea coat, today’s designers have introduced knee length (and even longer) versions of these iconic winter coats.

The peacoats feature list, that evolved over time, is much more pronounced than the four listed above.  For instance, the garment’s lined pockets were designed with heavier lining material – like Thinsulate, which make the pea coat more appealing to today’s consumer.  The more attractive shawl collar is yet another deviation from the classic pea coat.

Mens Brown 1940s Pea-coat

Mens Brown 1940s Pea-coat

Sourcing High-quality Peacoats

So, who makes a high quality pea coat today, and where might you source one? Well, lets explore some places that you could get the ideal peacoat of your choice:

 

  • END Clothing

The Fidelity USN Wool Pea coat available at End Clothing is probably one of the best that you’ll find online. However, if you are a bricks-and-mortar shopper, you could pop into their store in Newcastle or Glasgow and check out your favourite peacoats feature list in-person too!

Since 1941, Fidelity has created a name for itself as a manufacturer par-excellence of men’s outerwear. This particular 20% Nylon, 80% wool blend version of their signature pea coat comes with many of the features that have made peacoats so iconic – including its signature double breasted design.

This version of the Fidelity peacoats feature includes two hand warmer pockets on either side of the front, and is designed with a vent to the back. It also features an internal pocket, which makes it even more “functional”. Unlike the classic version, this one features engraved anchor buttons, instead of embossed buttons.

Anyone who makes a high quality pea coat today, has to be especially conscious about the finish of the garment, and Fidelity has kept that in mind. The quilted lining finishing is one of this peacoats feature, which makes it an even more appropriate choice for especially colder climates.

 

  • Kenneth Cole

If you are looking for something “flashier”, then the Wool Pea Coat with Leather Shoulder Details from Kenneth Cole is one to consider.

A slightly more contemporary version of the traditional peacoat is also on offer at Kenneth Cole. The Wool Car Coat with Peak Lapels isn’t exactly a copy of the classic navy version of the pea coat. However, the peak lapels and single-breasted constructions makes for easier movement – especially when driving.

Kenneth Cole also offers a Men’s Pea Coat with Bib. This hip length version of the classic navy uniform jacket features a double breasted design, and is made from a Poly, Rayon, Wool blend fabric (32%:8%:60%). At the throat, there’s a knit zip panel to ensure additional warmth. Instead of the traditional bulky hand warmer pockets, this one features two sleekly-cut side entry pockets.

For someone who makes a high quality pea coat like this one, the zippered removeable inner collar design is ingenious.  It makes this an easy to maintain (wash) or mix/match (remove the collar to fit multiple pieces) with existing pieces in your wardrobe.

Men's 1970s Pea-Coat

Men’s 1970s Pea-Coat

 

Of course, if you ask us who makes a high quality pea coat, these two would be top of our list from where you might source a high-quality pea coat. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t other reputable manufacturers or retailers of these classic winter coats to go to.

One other option to look into is the Schott NYC 31 24 oz Melton Wool Slim Fitted Pea coat.  Unlike the engraved approach used by some designers, one of this peacoats feature is the anchor embossed buttons, which makes it more aligned to the classic naval uniform outer coat from the 1860s.

Links [i] [ii] [iii] [iv] [v] [vi] [vii] [viii]

 

[i] https://www.artofmanliness.com/articles/mans-guide-pea-coat/

 

[ii] https://www.gentlemansgazette.com/peacoat-guide-history-sizing-buy/

 

[iii] https://www.jcrew.com/ca/p/mens_category/outerwear/duffle/shawlcollar-peacoat-with-thinsulate/C9513

 

[iv] https://www.endclothing.com/gb/fidelity-usn-wool-pea-coat-74409-r-gy.html

 

[v] https://www.kennethcole.com/merchandising-cats/excluded-sale-styles/wool-pea-coat-with-leather-shoulder-details-RMF5BWO08.html

 

[vi] https://www.kennethcole.com/men/clothing/jackets-and-coats/wool-car-coat-with-peak-lapels-446KM676.html?dwvar_446KM676_size=50880&dwvar_446KM676_color=001

 

[vii] https://www.amazon.com/dp/B008CD5NT0

 

[viii] https://www.amazon.co.uk/Schott-NYC-Melton-Fitted-Peacoat/dp/B00ILCHUS4

 

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