Home Style Fashion History of the Peacoat

History of the PeacoatWe see them around and they look good on everybody. But do you know the history of the peacoat? Here are interesting facts on the peacoat.

If you have a peacoat, no doubt you love it. A good fit across the back and chest, with a noted waist and end flair allows durability, function and esthetics. Peacoats date back nearly 300 years and were originally designed for sailors, if you can believe that! And the "pea" in peacoat does not refer to the vegetable, but rather comes from the Dutch word "pije," meaning coat with course, woolen fabric.

iStock 000007740152XSmallThe Peacoat

The peacoat dates back as far as the 16th century when the Dutch were "boss" of the naval world, so the name "peacoat" became a regular term. As mentioned earlier, the peacoat was originally designed for the sailors who were (don't laugh), also called "reefers." "Reefers" were the sailors who climbed up the ropes/riggings of the ships. When examining the design of the peacoat, the coat is fitted in the back and chest, dips in at the waist and has a slight flair at the bottom. This allowed the sailors to stay warm, look good and climb the ropes. Because the sailors were called "Reefers," the British to this day call it a "reefer coat."

A notable feature of the peacoat is the oversized collar, which gives the coat a dressy edge. The collar was made for the military and described by Navy regulations as a "convertible" collar. Because it is large, soldiers were able to pull it up during cold, windy weather for protection from the elements. In addition, the peacoat was (and still is) made of wool, a hearty fabric that kept soldiers warm and even dry from rainy days. Deep pockets are also not an accident; for sailors needed a place to warm up their hands.

Because of the peacoat, other coat designs emerged that were similar. The "bridge coat" was also donned by Naval soldiers and was made for standing on the open bridge of the ships. The coat was made for officers and sports a double set of brass buttons on the front and a half belt on the back, in addition to epaulets, which showed the officer's rank. Higher officers had the epaulets on the shoulders and lesser ranks on the sleeves. Out of the peacoat also came the double-breasted blazer worn by many today.

The design of the peacoat, noting the marked waste and flair toward the bottom, looks good on women too. In fact, it is likely that more women than men wear peacoats. It's double-breasted design with the overlapping layers makes it a warmer coat than many winter coats, and the bottom of the coat covers our bottoms as well.

We hope you've enjoyed this historical information on the peacoat. Just think: you can climb ships if you want!

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