The Classic Essential Duffel Coat


Duffel coats are one of the most stylish iconic coats ever invented, they have been worn by Generals, film stars. famous artists even school kids, the reason “why”, they are such a super practical coat to wear in the cold months, its down to it simple design with a toggle fastening, the original duffel coats were worn by sailors on war ships in the first world war, it was chosen because of its thick coarse woollen material, the name comes from Duffel, a town in the province of Antwerp, Belgium, where the material originates, duffel bags were originally made from the same material, it is thought that the Duffel family later changed to Duffell are responsible for the spread of the garment, but this can not be confirmed, the original duffel was not made from the this fabric, it was made from a double-faced boiled woollen cloth with a twill structure.

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Sailors Wearing duffel coats while on convoy patrol

Duffel coats owes it popularity to the Royal Navy , during the first World War they found them self’s patrolling the Atlantic ocean escorting convoy ships, in winter the Atlantic can be a very hostile place to be, so they needed a coat for its sailors it had to be easy to put on also loose-fitting so it could be worn over their uniforms, they were issued with a camel duffel coat, its design was modified slightly due it being to loose-fitting, sailors found it hard to keep warm in the loose-fitting coat so it was modified into a more narrow fit, but it still included a neck strap, three front wooden toggle-fastening with a rope or leather fastenings, two large outside patch pockets, and a bucket hood it was made over sized so sailors could still wear caps, they loved the coats most of all because they didn’t have to take their gloves off to fasten the front of the coat due to its hook type toggle fastening, it got the nick name of the convoy coat, it was used by the navy in the second world war to, it was famously worn by General Montgomery in Africa where is gets really cold during the night, even David Stirling founder of the SAS was a lover of the duffel coat and was photographed wearing it on patrol, in 2002 the SAS opened a memorial to him near Doune, Scotland, it features him wearing his classic duffel coat standing on a rock.

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David Stirling wearing his duffel coat on patrol

After the war young ex-service men went back to college, certain key pieces like desert boots and duffel coats didn’t get handed back into the quartermaster, they found them self’s being worn by college students in Oxford and Cambridge, soon younger students were looking for the same look, due to large stocks of post-war military surplus coats they were able to get their hands on them, they also became a uniform for people who were anti-government, left wing, people like Michael Foot Labour MP wore the famous duffel coat even Tim Sandler, during the 1950s and 1960s the duffel coat reached new heights, soon British students were going to college in the US as exchange students, they took with them their duffel coats, soon American students were wearing cords & duffel coats with big scarfs, after the 1960s duffel coats  didn’t reach those heights again.

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Students wearing duffel coats n 1962

Glovers are one of the makers and suppliers of the original Monty duffel coat, in the 1950s Harold Morris who was a glove maker, got his hands on some surplus duffel fabric and started to make them for the consumer market with great success and glovers to this day make the best duffel coats going, but key to their success is keeping the coat to the original design, but you can now get the coat in any colour you want, the original duffel coats were made very loose-fitting, these days they are made in a more narrow fitting with a straight seam down the front, the other key features of a duffel coat are.

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  • Cord and toggles fastening are probably the most iconic feature of a duffel coat
  • Collar bar the duffel coat has a bar under the collar, which is closed by buttons
  • Shoulder pads that feature a double layer, it helps to repel water and wear and from wearing bags
  • Patch pockets are traditional on a duffel coat newer designs have flaps on the pocket
  • Traditional duffel coats didn’t have a lining newer designs have a checked lining
  • Original duffel coats had a bucket hood newer ones have a pancake one with studs

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Duffle coats are still very stylish it’s all about what you wear with it, think of colours reds and yellows to mix with camel or a navy duffel, they look great with chunky knitwear, chinos and jeans with trainers or boots, adding a chunky or silk scarf to finish the look.

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If your looking for business classic coat then adding a duffel coat to your wardrobe will give you a classic stylish piece for seasons to come.

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  Duffel coats are great for a street style look, adding some straight fit indigo jeans a pair of casual boots then adding a vibrant scarf will give your outfit character and a great layering effect.

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You now can get duffel coats in most colours, so if you’re a snappy stylish dresser and you like to make a big entrance, a duffel coat in a vibrant colour is some thing you need in your wardrobe.

I’ve never been a fan of the duffel but with the new stylish designs you now can get I would be happy to have a duffel in my wardrobe.

By

Bob Redfern

BE BOLD BE PROUD

Get The Shearling Look


Shearling is all over the cat walk’s, from coats to bags its the in for look for 2015, Shearling has a 70`s chic about a nod to the classy wide boy, Shearling is a skin from a recently sheared sheep or lamb that has been tanned and dressed with the wool left on, It has a suede surface on one side and a clipped fur surface on the other. Usually the suede side is worn outward, Shearling can be made from real sheepskin or from synthetic fibers, real Shearling breathes and is more flexible than synthetic Shearling, coats and garment are considered luxurious, the lighter the Shearling is, the higher quality it is considered to be. Shearling was at its height during world war 2, Pilots & bomber crew`s flew at high altitudes so they need clothing to keep them warm, Shearling became a classic which made it way into civvy street, in the 70s Shearling was in fashion with all the major fashion labels, but know its back with a bang.

There are two types of design`s I want to share with you first is the classic Del Boy secondhand car dealer style, the other style is a classic & its my favorite the leather Shearling Coat.

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When the BBC came to dress their Del Boy Character,In Only Fool`s and Horses, they needed to dress him in some proper pucker street wear to keep him warm, they chose to dress in a classic Sheep Skin coat, the one they dressed him in came from the Nursey sheepskin company ( www.nurseysheepskin.co.uk ) their classic sheepskin coat is cut generously, with two side vents, large pockets, additional inside security pocket and four leather buttons, with the lush sheep fur surface on the collar & the inside, this is the most iconic Shearling coat design, it comes in many colors from light tan to deep lush brown.

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In the 1930s a parachutist by the name of Lesley Irvin designed a leather flying Jacket , it had to keep pilots warm during high altitudes, but most of all if they had to bail out they need some thing that didn’t get in the way of putting on their parachute, he came up with the R.A.F sheepskin flying jacket, Made from heavyweight sheepskin, its thick natural wool provided incredible insulation. And, while the sheepskin was considered heavyweight the jacket itself was comparatively light and remarkably comfortable. Irvin insisted on the most supple sheepskin: in a cramped cockpit movement was already restricted and no pilot or crew would want to be constrained further still. The Irvin jacket was a masterpiece of design, maximum warmth and comfort combined with maximum mobility. The jackets had long sleeves zipped to enable gauntlets to be worn. The wide collar could be raised to provide excellent insulation around the neck and lower part of the head and face while a belt at the waist to ensure draughts couldn’t drop the pilot’s body temperature and reduce his level of alertness. The original jackets didn’t have pockets as these were not needed, the most distinguished feature is the rich ginger sheep fur surface on the collar & the inside of the Jacket.

The key to wearing Shearling is wearing it with the right clothes & accessories so lets see how fashionistas are wearing Shearling on the street .

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This super uber cool mustard long double-breasted over coat, with a rich plush dark Shearling sheep fur surface on the collar is a stunning piece, the style is very chic but dapper.

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A classy street style look sporting a light tan roll-neck sweater with a rich chestnut-brown leather jacket with a plush ginger Shearling on the inside then to give a stunning look they have added a darker Shearling to the collar very nice.

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If your looking for a Milan or Paris inspiration get a loaded of this dapper fellow, he chosen a deep chocolate Shearling coat with a stunning outer suede finish, it gives his double-breasted pin stripe suit outfit a stunning finish..

If your after a chic 70s look get some Shearling in your wardrobe for 2015, if you get the right coat you will have classy coat for many winters to come.

By

Bob Redfern

BE BOLD BE PROUD