30 December 2013
The pea coat is an overcoat that is double-breasted, hip-length, has broad lapels, and is made of wool. It is nappy on the outside with slash pockets, and never has zippers. The buttons signify the Navy sailor and are often adorned with insignia such as an anchor wrapped in rope. The coat is a classic and the design style has not changed much since its beginning. The pea coat is worth the investment because of the classic style, versatility, and durability. It is not something you throw on the couch and let your dog sleep on.
Today, the coat comes in all colors and is worn by both men and women. It was originally worn by sailors of European navies in the 19th century. The U.S. Navy began wearing the overcoat in the early 20th century, and the color was only dark blue or black. It was designed for sailors climbing up and down ropes. Coats that are authentic and produced by the U.S. Navy contract are special family heirlooms and get passed down from generation to generation.
The pea coat name comes from the word “pij” for the type of cloth it is made from. It was known as the “P-Coat” because of the type of cloth of the jacket that many pilots wore. Britain called the garment a reefer jacket and it was only worn by officers. This coat is a perfect choice in rain, wind, and snow. Pull up the wide lapels around your neck to stay dry and warm in bad weather.
Pea coats come in all price points. Most of the pea coats you see on the streets now are manufactured, however, if you can find one in a thrift store, snag it. The originals were well made. I am wearing the modern officer’s version of the coat because of the epaulets on the shoulders. The modern hem line is rounded whereas the originals are more boxy and straight. It sells for $158. At Belk Ralph Lauren’s for men it is on sale for $350.
When choosing a pea coat to purchase, the fit is important. The coat is designed to wear buttoned. It should fit snug but not tight. The length of the coat is very important because of its boxy shape. If you are on the short side, then don’t make the mistake of buying it too long. This will only make you look more petite and heavier in weight.
The pea coat makes a perfect gift for those who are active, stylish, and those who need to stay warm in the cold winter months. They are the most affordable if you can find them in thrift stores. They are still worth a bigger investment because it is a coat that never goes out of style and can be worn for years and years. The nostalgia and history of the design makes the pea coat even more special. This present under the tree is sure to please.
Annette Daly –Your Wardrobe Wizard is a Fluvanna County image consultant, speaker, and columnist specializing in teaching women of influence fashion and wardrobe skills that convey confidence and authentic style.