There’s Nothing More Classic Than A Pea Coat
I bought my pea coat at a yard sale in Portland. I was in high school - maybe 15 or 16. A nice woman was selling some of her late grandfather’s things. He’d been a navy man in his day, and she was excited that the coat fit me. I think I paid $25.
That pea coat saw me through some drizzle-soaked outdoor makeout sessions my junior and senior years of high school in San Francisco. It came with me to UC Santa Cruz, where it protected me from the winter chill and from soft thinking. It’s still in my closet today, and while the collar and cuffs are a little more worn than they were back then, I still wear it whenever it’s cold.
The pea coat is probably the military garment which has made the smoothest transition into civilian life. Without insignia or rank patches, it can be (and has been) worn by everyone from former military to peace protesters to preppy lacross player types. It’s also been knocked off by every fashion designer ever. But nothing beats the real thing.
Luckily, buying a real US Navy pea coat is the cheapest way to cover yourself in melton wool, and not just the most authentic. Few are the vintage stores that don’t have a rack of decommissioned coats. You can also find them on eBay, and on sites like this one. This guide on Fedora Lounge will help you date yours - the golden age runs from WWII through about 1970.
When buying, expect to pay $50 to $100, depending on condition. Buttons can be sourced and replaced pretty easily, but if there are moth holes or excessive cuff wear, those are much harder to manage.

There’s Nothing More Classic Than A Pea Coat

I bought my pea coat at a yard sale in Portland. I was in high school - maybe 15 or 16. A nice woman was selling some of her late grandfather’s things. He’d been a navy man in his day, and she was excited that the coat fit me. I think I paid $25.

That pea coat saw me through some drizzle-soaked outdoor makeout sessions my junior and senior years of high school in San Francisco. It came with me to UC Santa Cruz, where it protected me from the winter chill and from soft thinking. It’s still in my closet today, and while the collar and cuffs are a little more worn than they were back then, I still wear it whenever it’s cold.

The pea coat is probably the military garment which has made the smoothest transition into civilian life. Without insignia or rank patches, it can be (and has been) worn by everyone from former military to peace protesters to preppy lacross player types. It’s also been knocked off by every fashion designer ever. But nothing beats the real thing.

Luckily, buying a real US Navy pea coat is the cheapest way to cover yourself in melton wool, and not just the most authentic. Few are the vintage stores that don’t have a rack of decommissioned coats. You can also find them on eBay, and on sites like this one. This guide on Fedora Lounge will help you date yours - the golden age runs from WWII through about 1970.

When buying, expect to pay $50 to $100, depending on condition. Buttons can be sourced and replaced pretty easily, but if there are moth holes or excessive cuff wear, those are much harder to manage.

thisfits:

FOUR FINDS FOR FALL

#4: Vintage Peacoat

This find was serendipitous. While I was interested in a pea coat, and there are plenty to be found on eBay, I was actually looking for a “military coat” when I stumbled on a listing for a “Vintage Naval Clothing Factory Mens Coat Military NAVY.”

The picture sure looked like a pea coat, so I did a search for “Naval Clothing Factory” and found this thread, which identified the pea coat as genuine World War II military-issue in near-pristine condition. I jumped on that quickly, and won it for a remarkable $22 shipped.

Unlike the pea coats we’re most familiar with today, WWII-era pea coats have a slim fit (the author of that thread notes they’re the slimmest-fitting of any he owned). The color is a midnight blue, almost black (substantially darker than it appears in my pictures), and the pockets are lined with corduroy. This is hands down my best eBay find yet, and I’ve been waiting six months for the weather to get cold enough to wear it.

I’ve had my peacoat, which is, as best as I can tell, from the period between WWII and Korea, since high school.  I bought it at a garage sale in Portland - I think I paid twenty dollars for it.  It still looks as great as it did when I bought it.  I’ve worn it every winter.  There’s no need to buy a second-rate knock-off, just get the real thing.

(Source: thisfits)