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The Pea Coat’s History and Why It’s a Wardrobe Must-Have

by Alexis Ansley

young woman wearing a pea coat in the park


It’s that time of year again! Time to store away your sundresses and swap them for sweaters. Although the cooler months have forced us to cover up, it’s still possible to achieve chic, head-turning looks. Want to ensure your winter wardrobe is forever stylish? Add a Pea coat to your collection of outerwear essentials. Most stylists and fashionistas agree that the Pea coat is a classic garment that’s equally functional and fabulous, but why is that? What sets it apart from other winter jackets?


The Pea Coat’s Origins

Six U.S. Army Greely Arctic Expedition survivors and their U.S. Navy rescuers in Upernavik, Greenland, 1889, wearing pea coats to brave the cold

Source: www.history.navy.mil


The Pea coat is a cold weather staple generally navy-colored and made of wool. According to Wax Wane, it began as a European coat in the 18th century, originally called Pilot Cloth. The name was shortened to P-Cloth, then eventually to P-Coat. Wax Wane further explains that U.S. Navy finally adopted the coats in the 20th century. Thanks to their practicality in fending off the bitter cold, they eventually became a civilian style staple as well.

The modern Pea coat’s short length is similar to that of the sailors’ coats, making it a suitable piece for male and female wardrobes. It’s characterized by a double-breasted front, large lapels and high collar, and large vertical buttons. Despite fashion’s constant evolution, the Pea coat’s design remains consistent, and remains the go-to outerwear piece for women on the go because of its classic lines and versatility.

The perfect women’s Pea coat is slightly tailored at the waist and stops just above the hips. Wool Pea coats are especially flattering because the fabric is flexible enough to define the body while open, yet still flatter the mid-section when buttoned.


The Best Way to Rock Your Pea Coat

When wearing your Pea coat this season, maintain a simple look and let the coat be the statement piece. The Pea coat speaks volumes in elegance and style. Knee length skirts, dresses, and well fitted trousers are perfect pairs for your coat.

Below are a few Pea coats ranging in price and style. What’s great about the pea coat’s evolution is that while its design remains, it now comes in different colors and fabrics to fit anyone’s taste.


Merona womens pea coat in red

Target.com $54.99



ASOS pea coat with faux fur lapels

ASOS.com $569.54



TopShop yellow teddy fur pea coat

topshop.com $158.00




Image Sources:
1. Sunset Pea coat photo courtesy of Fashionate Desires.com

2. Sailor group photo: www.history.navy.mil

3. Red Merona womens Pea coat: Target

4. Black ASOS Pea coat with faux fur: ASOS

5. Yellow TopShop teddy fur Pea coat: TopShop via Lyst.com



Alexis AnsleyAbout the Author:
Alexis Ansley is a Central Florida fashion blogger, fashion consultant and co-founder of Lex&Pooch Styling Co. An avid enthusiast for all things vintage, Alexis has made a name for herself by uniquely combining vintage and contemporary styles within her personal fashion choices and while styling clients. Alexis is a member of the Independent Fashion Bloggers (IFB) community and work towards bringing fresh and unique fashions to the forefront of all her style ventures.



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