You might know the feeling: walking up the stairs from the subway, nearing the top, and feeling the cold air approach. This is the kind of cold that makes you reach to your neckline to fold the collar of your pea coat up against your neck. The corduroy-lined pockets keep your glove-less hands warm against weather that eats limbs. In this moment, you gain a stronger appreciation for the small details. A pea coat really is the perfect protection against unexpected weather.
It also happens to be the perfect holiday gift for the man in your life. Since you won’t want your boyfriend or Dad to get cold this winter, treat him to something that he will not only love, but something that will serve a functional purpose in his daily life. Everytime he opens up the closet to put it on, he’ll be reminded of you–plus, you can impress him with a little history lesson about its origins that we’ve so kindly provided below.
Authentic Pea Coat
The name “pea coat” is derived from the dutch term, pijnacker. European sailors and merchant marines first wore the pea coat in the 18th century. In the beginning of the 19th century, the United States Navy determined their national colors as navy and gold. Soon to follow was the introduction of the pea coat into the sailor’s wardrobe.
In The Navy
There are three different styles of pea coats that were used by the Navy. A reefer coat, adorned with gold buttons and epaulets, was usually worn by officers. A bridge coat was thigh-length and worn by chief petty officers, and all enlisted men wore the standard navy pea coat with blue buttons.
Original pea coats are made from pilot cloth and are typically adorned with eight buttons. An authentic pea coat can be identified by a tag stating the sailor’s name and authority on the inside lining. Most pea coats are double-breasted with broad lapels and vertical slash pockets.
Today, most designers seem to have their own variety of the iconic coat. Ralph Lauren offers a version inspired by the original made of lightweight wool for $425.Kenneth Cole offers a wool and polyester blend for $90, and the authentic coat that protected me from the elements was found at a surplus store for $45.
Ralph Lauren Pea Coat
In order to really appreciate what a pea coat can do for you, an authentic coat is the only way to go. The heavier weight and finer details were created for function rather than fashion. Granted, an authentic pea coat is much heavier than designer; its the Navy’s need for warmth that will protect you in the cold.
Follow J. Elquist’s mission to breathe new life into the old establishments of mens fashion and redefine the modern man on his blog jelquist.com.