Duffel coat

From The Dress Code
{{#ifexist: File:Duffel coat.svg | x350px | x350px}}
Class Outerwear
Type Coat
Material Wool, Cotton, Leather, Fur
Length Unknown
Shape Unknown
Alias Unknown

A duffel coat is a type of coat made from duffel cloth with a hooded top and toggle fastenings that ends slightly above or at the knees. The name derives from Duffel, a town in the province of Antwerp in Belgium where the fabric originated.

Features

The signature style of a duffel coat features:

  • Genuine double weave woolen duffel fabric, lined with a woolly tartan pattern, or plain in the military version.
  • Three or, later, four front wooden or horn toggle and leather fastenings.
  • Two large outside patch pockets, with covering flaps on post-war versions.
  • Originally knee length; shorter on later versions.
  • A buttonable neck strap.
  • Bucket hood with press stud adjustment. Later versions feature a neater "pancake" hood.

The toggle-fastenings are made to be easily fastened and unfastened while wearing gloves in cold weather. Current designs often feature imitation plastic buffalo horn. The original hood was oversized to allow room for a Naval cap. Early versions were knee-length but later ones were shorter. In modern usage, the coat is also made from Melton cloth as a cheaper and more durable alternative to duffel cloth.

Origins

The initial influence of what became the duffel coat, may have been the hooded Polish military frock coat, which was developed in the 1820s. It had the unusual features of a toggle closure and an integrated hood, and by 1850, it had spread through Europe. In the 1850s, British outerwear manufacturer John Partridge developed the first version of the duffle coat.

Usage

In the 1890s, the British Admiralty purchased the coat in quantity for the Royal Navy from multiple manufacturers, where it was referred to as the "convoy coat". The navy issued a camel-colored variant during World War I.

The design of the coat was modified slightly and widely issued during World War II. It became known under the nickname "Monty coat".

Large post-war stocks of low-cost military surplus coats turned the duffel into a ubiquitous item of British civilian clothing in the 1950s and 1960s, especially among students. The firm Gloverall purchased large quantities, and in 1954 started producing their own version using leather fastenings and buffalo horn toggles with a double-faced check lining, and many other modern versions copy some or all of those features.

In Italy as well as in Greece, the duffle coat is called a 'Montgomery', after Field Marshal Sir Bernard Montgomery, who often wore one during World War II.