Classics get their rep because they do a job well. Hence the proliferation of military garms on civvy streets, since functional construction and hard-wearing fabrics are just as appreciated on the fashion frontlines.
The pea coat became a staple for two reasons: its oversized wool collar, originally designed to fight sea spray but equally adept at tackling winter commutes; and that the just-beyond-your-buttocks hem, which is versatile enough for work and play if the fit’s snug. It’s time to enlist.
Gloverall Reefer Pea Coat
The pea coat’s history means it weathers trends as readily as it does the elements. So you can afford to invest.
When you’re looking for one to last, pick dark navy or black, says Marios Ioannou, Creative Director at Gloverall: “It works as a key piece for so many looks in a wardrobe.”
Naval-embossed buttons and a rigid collar – the better for deflecting that nor’easter – help anchor this pea coat in that nautical heritage.
Available at END Clothing, priced £309.
Mango Cotton-Cashmere Blend Coat
The longer your pea coat, the more office-ready it is. Especially if it’s built from a wool-cashmere blend more suited to the city than shipping lanes.
Mango’s camel pea coat is bang on-trend for AW15 and details like a ticket pocket buttoned cuffs help shift your style further away from the water. It works with a suit, but can also be press ganged by a beanie and cable knit roll neck.
Available at Mango, priced £179.99.
Alexander McQueen Shearling-Trimmed Wool-Blend Pea Coat
Wear shearling-lined alpaca wool on board a deep sea trawler and you’ll soon find yourself intimately acquainted with the catch of the day.
Which is why the collar on this Alexander McQueen pea coat pops off, helping mute your statement outerwear. Although we’d still advise reserving it for your shore leave looks.
Available at Mr Porter, priced £1,595.
Reiss Destiny Quilted Pea Coat
Since the pea coat silhouette is so iconic, you can play with its materials. Traditional versions are light and need layers below, but Reiss’ Destiny pea coat packs in air-trapping duck down, to conserve body heat without adding bulk.
This technical build dials down the formality on an already borderline coat, so team with jeans rather than your three-piece.
Available at Reiss, priced £275.
ASOS Wool Pea Coat
Blending in is your best bet under fire, but out of the ranks, don’t retreat from outerwear that stands out.
Muted hues are a better bet than brights in winter and burgundy is particularly on-point this season, deployed by everyone from Burberry to Matthew Miller. Just dial down what’s around it to avoid going man overboard on the 1970s thing.
Available at ASOS, priced £70.
Selected Homme Wool Pea Coat
A hip-length pea coat can replace a tailored jacket, if you keep things neutral. Just know that popping the collar doesn’t look quite so suave over a shirt and tie.
But heavy wool will contrast perfectly with your nine-to-five tailoring, injecting that all-important texture you’re looking for when the skies are equally grey.
Available at ASOS, priced £115.
Hammond & Co. by Patrick Grant Wool-Blend Pea Coat
Taking cues from suits, not sailors, E. Tautz boss Patrick Grant has designed this pea coat without military detailing – au revoir epaulettes, salut patch pockets and a bright lining.
That slimline shape and longer body means you can slip it over a suit, or jeans and chunky boots, without feeling like you’re enlisting.
Available at Debenhams, priced £135.
Burton Black Wool-Blend Pea Coat
There are few things a black pea coat won’t work with. This wool-blend example from high street stalwart Burton can be used to top off monochrome outfits, or as an anchoring backdrop for splashes of colour – think scarves, ties or even those checked trousers you’ve not broken out yet.
Available at Burton, priced £80.
Suitsupply Blue Pea Coat
If in doubt, steer classic. “Navy is always a safe choice that works with any kind of outfit,” says Luca Levi, CEO at outerwear brand Baracuta.
But heritage shades don’t preclude modern styling. Suitsupply’s cinched waist outflanks the frigate-sized torsos bestowed by winter layering and the extended hem ensures your boss is all-aboard.
Available at Suitsupply, priced £259.
AllSaints Wythe Shearling Pea Coat
If you’ve ever been caught in the rain in sheepskin then you’ll recoil at the idea of wearing AllSaints’ shearling pea coat on deck.
Best to keep it for dry land, paired with distressed denim and a white button-down, for a less John Motson take on this season’s biggest fabric trend.
Available at All Saints, priced £998.