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KNOWLEDGE

THE PEA COAT

Knowledge The pea coat is one of the oldest garments that is still worn in its traditional version. Made from coarse and heavy wool in navy blue, it has been used by sailors on the North Sea since the 1700s.

The original pea coats were designed to protect against the freezing cold on the Atlantic yet allowing enough freedom of movement to work efficiently on the ships. The name comes from the Dutch word ‘pij’, which referred to the weather-resistant fabric used in the original jackets.  

The design is close-fitting, double-breasted with wide lapels, hip-length and slightly flared with an indented waist. Turned up, the distinctive oversized collar functions almost like a hood, and the two vertical slit pockets are lined to keep the hands warm. The coat traditionally fastens with six or eight buttons etched with a fouled anchor symbol. Made from coarse and heavy wool in navy blue, the pea coat has been used by sailors on the North Sea since the 1700s, and it was later adopted as official uniform by both the British and US navies. The jacket became popular in the late 1940s, inspired by the style of American sailors, and were brought into French fashion two decades later when masculine shapes were re-interpreted to form a new and androgynous female look.

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