Well that happened quickly. Did you go apple picking? Did you make the most of the two days of sweater weather we had in New York? I hope so, because like it or not, it seems that winter is here. That Polar Vortex we heard so much about last year has already descended on the country. And because those Fall coats we told you about just a few weeks ago will probably leave you shivering, we feel we owe you a winter update. Think of it as another excuse to go shopping.
Like so many pieces of great outerwear, the pea coat has its origins in the military. Best exemplified by the US Navy, a Pea Coat is recognizable by its double breasted design, heavy wool construction (traditionally navy), and those large lapels, perfect for wearing up to protect yourself from the elements. As with other garments of military origin, surplus is an option. If you go the surplus route, be prepared for a decent amount of tailoring, as the body will be boxy. Pea Coats have crossed over into the mainstream conscious and can be found in most of your normal brands’ fall/winter lines. But the G.O.A.T. pea coat likely belongs to Billy Reid. His Bond coat, so named because Daniel Craig wore it onscreen in SkyFall, ticks all the boxes of a traditional pea coat, but adds luxe leather detailing and an immaculate fit. The price is certainly up there, but 007 has always appreciated the finer things in life.
Entry Level: Dock Peacoat from J. Crew
Archetype: Bond Peacoat from Billy Reid (below)
Topcoats are having a real moment right now. Traditionally, a topcoat, or overcoat, was meant to be worn over a suit, mimicking the lines of a suit jacket, keeping the wearer’s buttoned up aesthetic intact despite the harsh weather. As with most garments, however, designers have gotten their hands on this traditional piece and slimmed it down. The result is a jacket that can still be thrown over a blazer or suit when dressed up, but can play equally well over a sweater, jeans, and some rugged boots. The topcoat has become a great piece with which to mix high and low. For a reasonably priced coat, take a stroll over to Club Monaco. Aaron Levine has done a great job transforming the brand since he took over and they carry a broad range of coats this season, from a simple single-breasted number to a more ballsy double breasted jacket. Gray, navy, or camel, a top coat will add a certain panache to your winter.
Wool Topcoat from Club Monaco
The duffle coat, despite its origin as a coat worn during both World Wars by the British Navy, will forever be associated with Paddington Bear. While his floppy hat might be an advanced move for some, his navy duffle coat is an iconic piece of outerwear. Characterized by large fastenings made of wood or horn, the duffle coat is often referred to as a toggle coat. The duffle coat is most famously made by Gloverall, who has been offering the same version since the 1950s. When looking for a duffle there are plenty of options, but the original may still be the best. Channel your inner Paddington and button one up.
Entry Level: Wool Duffle from River Island
Archetype: Duffle Coat from Gloverall (below)
The coats above all have one thing in common; they are traditionally made of wool. And while wool is a great material, staying warm when it gets wet, it still gets wet. When the weather is truly terrible, you’ll need something stronger in your closet. That’s where a parka comes in. Parkas today are made in any number of materials, from more traditional nylon / cotton mixtures to truly tech-y fabrics. Find one with a great lining (down or otherwise) and a large enough hood to hide yourself behind when the snow and wind pick up. It won’t be the sexiest thing you’ve ever bought, but you’ll be glad you have it.
Entry Level: Parka from Penfield
Archetype: Cotton Appalachia Parka from Schott N.Y.C. (below)