When it comes to vintage menswear – of any kind – there’s really nothing quite as iconic as the peacoat. Naval officers of both European and American armies have been receiving them standard issue for over a century, and the earliest reference to the term “peacoat” goes back to at least 1723; it’s believed that the term originates from the kind of clothed traditionally used in constructing the coat, though there are different opinions as to whether it comes from the Dutch word pijjekker or is a derivative of the US Navy’s “pilot-cloth.” Either way, the peacoat is an indisputable staple of cold weather wardrobes, and you’ll be hard pressed to walk down the street in the winter without seeing at least a few.
When shopping for peacoats, you’ll be confronted with dozens if not hundreds of different options. If you’re interested in saving a few bucks and enjoy scavenging, you can head down to your local Army surplus shop or scour Ebay for an authentic one; vintage Navy peacoats can last for decades, and we’ve got one that dates back to at least the 1950’s. But if you’re looking for your own brand new coat and want a little more luxury when it comes to choosing, none stick out at us quite as much as L.L Bean’s.
L.L Bean is iconic for outerwear, especially in New England, where maritime heritage is big. And for this rendition of an iconic jacket, L.L. Bean has teamed up with Sterlingwear of Boston – who has been supplying the United States Navy with peacoats for more than 40 years. To give it some modern touches, they’ve blended 80% Merton wool (one of two traditional peacoat weaves) with 20% nylon for durability, and the result is a thick 24-ounce weight for perfect for winter warmth and guaranteed to last years – if not decades. They’ve also lined it with satin at the yoke and sleeves, to help the coat slide on and off more easily, and given the back a center vent for extra range of motion. Lastly, they give you two options – the traditional Navy blue, and a modern grey.
Other than that, it’s entirely the iconic jacket you’re looking for – double-breasted, the thick collar that pops up when buttoned to keep the wind and rain out, and six heavy-duty buttons emblazoned with iconic anchors. While the wool is not waterproof per se, it’s more than thick enough for all but exposure to extended downpours (it has to be, or it wouldn’t do any good on deck).
So what do you think – ready to upgrade your wardrobe with some classic maritime style that will last you the rest of your life? Now’s the time.