Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Now that’s Sharpe! Pea Coats and Modern Wear

Hello and welcome again ardent fashion friends to Metro Method. If you caught the Bernard Cornwell reference, +1 nerd points. Today’s post will address one of the most flexible pieces in any temperate weather wardrobe – the pea coat. As my significant other once appropriately stated “you could dress a horse in a pea coat and someone would make a pass at it in a bar” (to this day I wonder if I was that horse).

As usual, before we go any further, another history lesson! The pea coat in American dates back to at least as early as the 1720s. Nautical officers would wear differing length coats, dependent upon their rank. Bridge coats, which extended down past the thigh, were exclusively reserved for officers and chief petty officers. The term pea coat originated from the Dutch or West Frisian word pijjekker, in which pij referred to the type of cloth used, a coarse kind of twilled blue cloth with a nap on one side.

Today, pea coats are generally still made of wool (though heavier) and come in a variety of colors. The most traditional of which, of course, remains navy.

The pea coat is peculiar in the degree of flexibility it affords with most styles. Throw on a pair of jeans with a simple collared shirt under it with a tie or scarf for a splash of color or contrast and you’re set to go.

Prefer a more traditional play on the nautical background of the coat while maintaining a modern edge? Try a pair of slacks with a dress shoe or loafers depending upon your choice of pants (loafers are a good pick with lighter colors as you see below, with pencil grey and darker, you’ll generally want to go with a dress shoe).

Or hell, make an irreverent quip with the style by throwing a thin hoodie on under it that flashes your favorite sports brand across the chest and pair with jeans and all-star converse sneakers. The choices are near endless.

There are however, some things I suggest do NOT work well with pea-coats. They are as follows:

      1. Do not wear baggy jeans with a pea coat. With the exception of loose fit linen slacks, pea coats do not lend themselves well to baggy looks. While other styles can work, your best and safest bet is to stick with a straight or skinny jean.

      2. Beware of excess patterns with what you put under your pea coat. I like to peacock as much as the next metro man, but with the pea coat, what you’re really looking to highlight are the lines of your outfit as opposed to color blends per say, which is why you don’t see a huge variety in pea coat patterns. 

Otherwise, you've free reign on creating a look out of this wonderful outerwear that works best for you. As always, I wish you all the best in your fashion pursuits and in your other pursuits as well.

This is Cade signing out.

Editor’s Note:

Hi All,

Yesterday I received an e-mail from a friend pertaining to this topic and I thought I’d address it in this post, just in case others had similar questions. His question goes as follows –

‘Where I see a lot of skinny guys wearing pea coats, I don’t see a lot of heavier set guys wearing them. I tried one on myself with a dress shirt like you recommended and I could see why, it looked terrible. Are pea coats just not something bigger guys should try wearing?’

This is a serious question and as such I take it very seriously.  First and foremost, my golden rule of fashion needs to be restated here – never belittle yourself just because a look doesn't work out the first time. The fact that you tried something new is to be commended and you should be proud in having done so.
That said, there are things that you can add to your outfit to better fit your physique. My recommendation here is a dark vest that’s slightly looser fitting.

^ something like this but in a darker shade.

This will help draw more attention to your outerwear, rather than your dress attire. I do however recommend also adding a tie with this just to add a splash of fun and color to the look. It will help open your look up and make it seem less like your trying to hide behind your cloths, but rather, are more comfortable in looking your best.

I hope this is helpful to others and again please feel free to e-mail me if you've any other questions you’d like answered on this blog!