The pea coat is more of a jacket but has been a winter favourite since the 18th Century when it became the outerwear uniform of the British and Dutch Navies.
It is thought the name came from the Dutch word ‘pij‘ which is the name of the coarse cloth the jacket was most commonly made from. In the 20th century the US Navy took a liking to it and also started issuing them as uniform.
The original pea coat style has stood the test of time and has not changed much in design or from the navy colour. The double-breast style was for added warmth; the collar and lapels were broad and the sailors would pull them up to protect themselves from the cold sea wind; buttons were large and made of wood or brass and often decorated with anchors; and the style of the pockets were of the slash variety.
Main picture: J. Crew Bayswater dark navy pea coat has kept close to the original boxy style with its wide lapels, double-breasted front, slash pockets and naval anchor design on the buttons.
Fabric: 100% wool. Body lining: 100% cotton. Sleeve lining 100% polyester. Thin padding of 65% olefin and 35% polyester.
Price: £275 available from www.mrporter.com
The navy blue Woolrich Woolen Mills pea coat is padded for extra warmth and has four front pockets: two large patch pockets and two slit pockets higher up – an ideal place to keep your betting slips handy.
Fabric: 85% wool, 15% nylon. Padding 100% polyester.
Price: £620 Available from www.mrporter.com
Last year, Topman collaborated with a few talented young designers to give the pea coat a modern makeover. These new contemporary styles were launched in selected Topman stores and independent boutiques globally.
American menswear designer Tim Hamilton created a shorter version in black with mirrored buttons and a detachable faux leather quilted zip through waistcoat giving an overall chunkier look. The waistcoat provides added warmth on the colder days whilst being detachable, making this jacket more flexible for the warmer days.
Fabric: 57% wool, 30% polyester, 5% viscose, 4% nylon, 4% acrylic.
Price: Was £180 now in the sale at £60. Available online www.topman.com
Burberry Prorsum have added their own sartorial edge with a leather trim, epaulettes and button tabs at the cuffs and waist. Plus they’ve swapped the conservative navy and black for a bold statement red and black plaid. You’re sure to be seen in the crowds.
Fabric: 38% polyester, 23% acrylic, 13% wool, 10% mohair, 10% nylon, 6% rayon.
Price: Was £1,955, now in the sale with 50% off at £997.50. Available from www.mrporter.com
Luxury menswear designer Brian Clarke is taking no chances with the cold weather and has used faux fur for his pea coat.
Price £800 and available from his flagship store at 26 Paddington Street, Marylebone, London W1U 5QY, or online at www.brianclarkemenswear.com