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Keep warm and look sophisticated in a classic pea coat. A winter wardrobe staple, pea coats are far more stylish than a jacket and suit any body shape.
What is a pea coat?
A pea coat is distinguishable from other coats by its large collar and double breasted design, often with military style buttons. Made from thick wool, most pea coats do not have a hood attached, although some tacky modern ones do.
As you might suspect from it being double breasted, the garment originated in the navy. You can even obtain navy surplus pea coats if you want your wardrobe to be particularly authentic. There is no reason to snub navy surplus pea coats in favour of high street versions; they tend to be exactly the same with the caveat being that the surplus version only comes in navy blue.
Best colors for pea coats
Go for muted colors on your pea coat – think navy blue, burgundy, tan or charcoal. Black can be too goth looking although it can be carried off if your skin isn’t too pale. Bright colors tend to look over the top and will more commonly be found on women’s pea coats. For a more individual take on the pea coat, try a plaid design. However, restrict it to demure colors- you don’t want to look like your coat can double as a picnic blanket.
It’s not a suit jacket
While a pea coat is a smart casual piece, it’s certainly no blazer. It doesn’t look good with a shirt, much less suit pants. Don’t put it over a suit jacket either. A pea coat’s wool is so heavy that you have no cause to anyway. Wear it over jeans, chinos or cotton slacks. The top you wear under it doesn’t matter much since it can hardly be seen, although wearing a shirt under a pea coat looks quite odd. A plain and casual top will do the trick.
What to avoid
A timeless pea coat, just like the ones sailors were wearing a hundred years ago, is the way to go. There are some design features which high streets shops try to graft onto the pea coat, which look out of place and cause the garment to date quickly. A zip front rather than buttons, fur on the hood or lapels and excessive zip-up pockets are all to be avoided. Also be mindful of the length of your pea coat. It should extend to your thighs, but not be any longer than mid-thigh as it starts to resemble a dress.
Will a pea coat suit me?
The short answer: yes. Pea coats look good on skinny guys as they add bulk, yet suit men with a large and imposing frame. Even if your body shape resembles a lump of dough, you can still look good in a pea coat. The only downside is that a pea coat, with so much shape of its own, will not show off a toned physique.