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Outerwear for Petty Officers (and You): Meet the Peacoat

The Dutch invented it, Brits popularized it, and now everybody owns one. (Or at least they should.)

pea coats
Gear Patrol

The peacoat's kind of weird, right? It's like someone sawed the bottom half off a topcoat and called it a day. But when you consider the peacoat's original function, it kind of makes sense: They were first made for Dutch navymen, and they were called "pijjekkers," or "pijes" for short. (If you know how the Dutch pronounce "J," you know where the pea comes from.)

The coarse wool coats worked well on the windy, wet decks and docks, which is why they quickly maneuvered through the Dutch, British, and American militaries. And, as most garments do, they reached the general public post-war. The features that were added specifically for sailors — the double-breasted front for buttoning up all the way, the side slits for easy access to internal pockets or belts, the tightly wound wool exterior, the wider hips for easy mobility — were instant hits with the general public, who were happy with its gentlemanly qualities and its obvious abilities to keep you warm, dry, and dapper.

And although I'd argue the style is less popular now than it was, say, 10 years ago, it's still plenty stylish: an option someone should splurge on if the right one crosses their plate. Find a few of our favorites below.

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Best Overall Peacoat
Wool-Blend Melton Peacoat
Ralph Lauren

This is the best representation of the style, in my opinion. Ralph Lauren turns in a wool-blend Melton Peacoat in a  naval-inspired navy color, complete with the high, double-breasted front, pronounced collar, and a hem that hangs just below the hips. 

Best Upgrade Peacoat
Manchester Wool Cashmere Peacoat
Todd Snyder

I'd certainly call any coat made from wool and cashmere an upgrade.Private White V.C.'s Manchester-made, Todd Snyder-exclusive peacoat trades the usual wool or twill for the aforementioned soft blend. It's lined with viscose, has two RiRi zip pockets on the inside, and features real horn buttons on the front.   

Best Affordable Peacoat
Wool Peacoat
Brooks Brothers

Brooks Brothers' wool-blend peacoat's proportions are akin to a blazer, meaning it doesn't sit as far down as others on this list. Its shoulders are less robust, but the collar is plenty tall. Are you following? It blends the best of a less significant jacket and something you could wear well into winter. 

Wool Blend Peacoat
Schott NYC

Schott's version somehow buttons even higher than most peacoats. It has an eight button, double-breasted front, a trim body, and tailored shoulders. Oh, and it's made from wool. 

Light Brown Peacoat

This one's a little bit too long to be called a peacoat, in my opinion. But, it's also a little too short to be deemed a topcoat. Suitsupply's turned their peacoat into a hybrid of the two, meaning it's got a bunch of buttons, it's double breasted, and it sits somewhere right at, above, or below the hips. 

Double-Breasted Melton Wool Peacoat
Private White V.C.

This is another stunner from Private White V.C., but it's not the Todd Snyder exclusive. That means this one's made just from wool, comes without the flap pockets, and is only available in one color, black.  

Double-Breasted Virgin Wool-Blend Peacoat

This is a good-looking option with structured shoulders and a traditional shape made by a company from the country that popularized this style, Belstaff from Britain. 

Wool Peacoat
Armor Lux

Armor Lux's peacoat is lighter than others on this list, and lined with polyester instead of viscose or silk. That makes it cheaper, but plenty of a splurge — it's still $410 dollars. 

U.S. Navy Peacoat
The Real McCoy's

The Real McCoy's hits the nail right on the nose: This peacoat, appropriately called the U.S. Navy Peacoat, looks just like the ones issued to navymen back in the day. It's a deep blue color with tonal buttons; it has a big, protective collar; it's double-breasted but tailored through the body.  

Warren Peacoat
AG Jeans

This is a rather simple rendition by AG Jeans. It's presented in a color called "After Dark," finished with six front buttons, and looks more casual than other coats like this.

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