The Peacoat: A European Tradition

April 15, 2015

peacoatThere are few coats capable of withstanding the test of time as well as the peacoat. They’re incredibly versatile jackets worn by men, women and children alike these days and even show up on the runway in fashions shows across the world. They’re the epitome of sophistication and style.

Seemingly Birthed From Nowhere
The origin of the peacoat is somewhat of a mystery, but we know it has its roots in naval warfare. The term “peacoat” originates from the Dutch word “pije” leading most to believe the coat was first developed in Europe for Netherland sailors. The Dutch were a heavy naval power during the early 18th century and there seems to be a clear link between these seafaring men and the appearance of the first peacoat.

Co-Opted By the Brits
Another theory places the credit for the peacoat in the hands of a British merchant named Edgar Camplin.

Camplin opened a store around 1850 where he developed uniforms for the British navy. At the time petty officers were wearing the same uniform as regular sailors, so he created a specialty coat to help set them apart. The coat was known as the Petty Coat, which was often shortened to P. Coat. Thus, the term peacoat was born. At least that’s the story Camplin would have you believe.

Some people believe he’s full of it and trying to steal the glory of the Dutch. We think it’s kind of irrelevant. Everyone owns it now.

Sailing to the U.S.
Eventually the peacoat made its way to the United States by way of the British. That much we can be sure about. With it’s heavy wool design it worked for seamen responsible for climbing sails and staying warm out on the breezy high sea. The British Royal Navy had been using the peacoat for over a century at this point, but the United States began ushering in the peacoat for the Navy early in the 20th century.

Why Peacoats Are Great
Peacoats provide you with a vintage feel and keep you warm in the coldest climates. They’re especially great for slimmer guys as the trimming style of the coat accentuates the chest, making you look a bit bulkier than you actually might be. The ladies love that stuff.

They’re double-breasted providing extra comfort and warmth and also contain hand warmer pockets in the front for guys who can’t stand wearing mittens. There’s nothing manly about mittens.

The waistline of the traditional peacoat extends down past the rear giving you a little added protection against the elements and a classier look. Just because it’s classy, doesn’t mean it’s too formal. You can wear a peacoat to any occasion and the traditional black color pairs well with any outfit, from khaki pants to jeans and cowboy boots. It’s the everyman coat.

Where it came from doesn’t matter—what’s important is where you’ll take it from here. Remington offers a style slightly longer than that of the traditional peacoat so you can stand out in the crowd.



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