Reviewed & updated: October 19, 2022 by Jamie Wilson BA
A peacoat is a great item to have in your wardrobe. Check out this guide on all things peacoat and we’ll help you get the knowledge on how it first came about and to how to style it this season.
Peacoats have long been a staple in most men’s wardrobes. They’re casual yet smart, functional yet suave, and have one of those shapes that’s flattering to almost every body type. With a history going back over 300 years, and with a strong place in modern fashion, the peacoat’s classic style has become a staple for men all over the world. There’s plenty of coats out there, but it’s hard to find one that’s as versatile, classic and functional as the peacoat.
Working well for the autumn and winter months, either layered up or worn sparingly, men’s wool peacoats don’t have to fit into one specific look. They can be incorporated into a variety of styles, making them one of the best men’s winter coats out there. We’ll go over some of the key ways you can work this classic coat into your everyday look. Whether you prefer smart or casual styles, we will show you just how versatile this style staple can be.
Despite the peacoats classic style, there actually more than one design around. You might have seen the more recognisable ‘double breasted’ design with the two rows of buttons, giving the coat a statement look, but there’s also a single breasted style as well. This, as you might have guessed, means the coat only has one row of buttons and gives off a more streamlined finish.
What you choose is up to you, however, the double-breasted design has a certain classic look that can add more appeal and interest to your overall outfit. Of course, even something as simple as colour can change up the way your peacoat looks. Depending on what tone you go for you can create a bold finish, or a more muted, versatile outfit. The double-breasted peacoat is smarter than a single-breasted, so bare this in mind if you’re looking to wear one for a formal event.
Men’s Black Peacoat
Let’s start with one of the classic colours for pretty much every winter coat out there. Black is perfectly versatile and flattering, and it doesn’t have the issue of showing specs of dirt and dust. This means you can actually wear it outside for more than 10 minutes, especially in our British weather. There’s an endless amount of combinations you can create with a good black peacoat, and you can easily benefit from its versatility by incorporating splashes of colour into your outfit. Something cool toned like blue can create a clean contrast next to the black, whereas brighter colours like yellow will create a more vibrant one.
A simple outfit that combines a casual style with a tailored finish is to grab a good pair of black slim fit jeans, match it with a darker blue denim shirt, and finish off with some sturdy boots. The black peacoat, whether you go for a short or long design, will work at adding a clean finish to your outfit without overpowering it.
Of course, formal wear is typically dark in colour, and there’s nothing quite like a black coat to bring out the sharp sleekness of an outfit. You can go for a classic look and pair your peacoat with a black suit, white shirt and tie, or add some colour into the mix to keep things tailored yet unique. If you are going with colour, don’t go overboard with it, and stick to dark toned ones like burgundy and navy so that the outfit still looks smart and put together.
Men’s Navy Peacoat
For something that’s a little softer than black, but still has the same versatile tone, a navy peacoat is a good option. It’s perfect if you want something solid and classic but you have a wardrobe that’s filled with lighter colours that might not work with an intense black. Navy can be paired with a range of colours, and it’s good for matching with casual pieces to keep the look light and relaxed.
One look that’s ideal for the autumn is to take a typical spring outfit, such as a simple striped top, jeans and brown boots. To add some much-needed warmth, throw your peacoat over the top. The whole look will have a warm, relaxed vibe, with the peacoat keeping your outfit balanced and stopping you from freezing.
If you want a smarter look there’s no need to go straight back to basic black. You can actually pair navy with navy and, as long as you break it up with a few other colours, your outfit won’t look too oversaturated. Try matching a navy suit with a navy peacoat, taking on the benefits of the coats slim-line, tailored design to keep things looking sharp. Finish off your look with some dark brown shoes to add a subtle, grounded contrast.
History of the Peacoat
The term “peacoat” has been used for almost 300 years. Derived from the Dutch word “pije,” it was used to describe a coat of coarse woollen fabric as long ago as the 16th century. It has since been renowned for its place in the Navy. They were originally designed for sailors who climbed up the riggings of sailing ships, due to its indented waist and flared hips making it easy to move around in.
As well as the fit, another classic feature of the peacoat is the oversized collar. Not only does this dress the coat up, it’s functional. The “convertible” collar was designed to be worn up in order to protect sailors exposed to the cold and open winds at sea, without impairing vision. It could also be closed up or left open to regulate heat. The melton wool of the peacoat is heavy, tight, and durable, again keeping out the cold and wind, and even some rain. A necessity while out at sea.
It’s even thought that the Brits created it, with a Mr Edgard Camplin founding a store in 1850. He sold uniforms to the British navy, which sold particularly well in India, around 1888. After that, Mr Camplin supposedly created a coat for the uniform of petty officers, who had the same uniform as sailors. He designed the Petty Coat, which was also known as a P. Coat, which then popularised into Peacoat for phonetic reasons.
Everything You Need To Know About Peacoats
- Peacoats are a great coat. Now you know how to wear one, you can wear it in both smart and casual settings.
- There are two styles of a peacoat. Go for a double-breasted for a more formal look and a single-breasted for a more casual one.
- Black is a classic. Sticking to the classic is always a good idea, plus a black coat won’t show all the dirt you will have gathered from wearing it.
- Navy makes a great alternative to black. It’s still smart and it gives you a nice splash of colour to your look.
On That Note
The peacoat is one of those coats that manages to be classic, but not too traditional; tailored, yet not overly smart; versatile, yet never boring. Now you know how to wear a peacoat, you can wear it with anything from a suit to jeans and a T-shirt without it overtaking the outfit or blending in too much. If you’re looking for something that’s warm, flattering, doesn’t take a lot of styling, and will complement your look whatever it may be, it might be a good idea to give a peacoat a chance.