It's a winter staple and a seriously stylish piece to have in your arsenal, but can also be a tricky one to style. We’re talking about the peacoat in this week’s How To feature, covering all colours, styles and care tips you may need help with. We’ve even broken down the key elements to look out for in a peacoat, just in case you’re after the most authentic number on the market.
What is a Peacoat?
First off, how can you identify a peacoat when you see one? Dating back to the 1800s, the peacoat was originally created for naval sailors to wear on duty. They were, and still are, made of a thick wool to help protect the sailors from the harsh sea winds. Since then they've become an icon in menswear and perfectly bridge the gap between smart and casual.
Key features include:
- A fitted silhouette
- An ulster collar
- Double breasted
All of these features have practical thinking behind them, with insulation dominating the reasoning, which is why the peacoat is such a favoured style in the winter months. But how should you be styling it? Well you can grab some very quick inspiration below and on our outerwear guide for starters.
What to wear with a Peacoat
When it comes to choosing what to wear with your peacoat, you’ll be happy to hear there are no particular rules, although peacoats do tend to feature in smarter outfits. We’re going to run through the different colours, offering a different outfit choice for each. Any of these outfits will work with any colour peacoat, you just need to think about colour matching, but they should give you a good indication of this classic piece’s versatility.
How to Style a Navy Peacoat
This is the most original and authentic colour for a peacoat and would’ve been the shade you’d find the men of the navy wearing. This is a great piece to layer over the top of some grey tailoring. Opt for a light grey suit, white shirt, pair with some brown brogues, derbies or monk straps and you’re good to go. Ideal office attire but easy to transition to the pub afterwards.
Different Peacoat Colours
As with any other piece, the peacoat has had many modern adaptations through the years and can now be found in an array of colours. Here we’ll run through some of the most popular and obscure ones and offer up an outfit for each. These outfits can easily be applied to the more traditional colours, it’s just to give you an idea of the coat’s versatility.
PhotoCredit: [Lookbook] Gustav B, Stay C, Gustav B
How to Wear a Black Peacoat
For this look we’ll show you how you can slightly dress the peacoat down with a smart-casual ensemble. Opt for slim fit chinos, a plain white oxford shirt and finish with your black peacoat. This is ideal for a night out in town or a dinner date with your better half. Monochrome is always going to be a strong look and it really comes into its own when you go for a smarter finish.
What to Wear with a Grey Peacoat
When it comes to styling your grey peacoat, you’ll have no worries about colour clashing so you can really go all-out. We’re going to keep it quite classic and authentic with a light blue denim shirt, some black skinny or slim fit jeans, brown Chelsea boots and finished off with a simple round-faced watch. A simple but stylish look favoured by the likes of Mr Beckham.
Styling a Camel Peacoat
A far more fashion-forward colourway to opt for, the camel peacoat is a great example of this classic piece being adapted for the modern age. In recent years we’ve seen traditionally more formal pieces being paired with much more casual elements, which is a look we’ll go for here. Layer your camel peacoat over a grey hoodie with a longline tee underneath, chuck on a pair of light wash jeans and either some hi-top trainers or casual boots. A Yeezy-inspired look but one that’s more than achievable.
Photo Credit: [Lookbook] Leon D
How to Wear a Long Peacoat
Another great example of a modern take on the traditional peacoat, longer versions can be a little tricky to find but very easy to style. For this we’ll play with the fact it’s a modern take and go for a contemporary outfit. Take a pair of tailored joggers and match with a roll neck. Finish off with some plain white trainers and you’re good to go. Oliver Cheshire is an advocate of this exact look so you can be rest assured you’ll attract all the right attention.
What to Wear with a Peacoat with a Hood
Although they’re best-in-class for insulation and warmth, one down fall to the more traditional peacoat styles is the lack of a hood. If you’re in damper climates, a hood can be a necessity and luckily there are styles out there. If you can’t find one, though, just layer a hoodie underneath. When it comes to styling your hooded peacoat, you can utilise any of the above outfits.
To show you further versatility, though, let’s go for a nautical look as a nod to the peacoat’s history. Get yourself a Breton stripe jumper to wear under the peacoat, throw on a pair of chinos and either opt for thicker military boots or, for a slightly smarter finish, try a pair of boat shoes.
Difference Between Single & Double Breasted Peacoats
Confused about the difference between single and double breasted? Don’t worry, it’s very simple to tell the difference. It all comes down to the amount of buttons on the coat. Double breasted coats have two rows of buttons whereas single have one. The double breasted coat will have more material so it can wrap around, meaning it can provide far better protection from the elements. Double breasted peacoats are the more authentic though, if you're after a more traditional look.
Photo Credit: [Lookbook] Leon D and [Pinterest] Prepaganda
How to Wear a Scarf with a Peacoat
A lot of people struggle with the idea of wearing a scarf with a peacoat, and for good reason. The peacoat has such large collars, adding a chunky knitted scarf to the equation may seem a little excessive. It can be done though. For this, we’d choose a scarf that compliments or matches the colour of your peacoat e.g. a grey scarf with a navy or black peacoat. You then want to make use of a Parisian knot – a knot that will work whether the coat is undone or buttoned up.
How to Wash a Peacoat
You have to be careful when washing a peacoat. Wool can shrink and lose shape really easily so you’ll need to use cold water, mild detergent and don’t use a long spin. You have three options:
1) Take it to a professional
2) Soak in cold water with minimal detergent
3) Put it on a short cold wash – don’t spin for too long though!
These techniques will lower the risk of shrinking or damaging your peacoat. Obviously soaking and washing by hand will be a lot more time consuming and taking it to professionals will cost moer money but they have the lowest risk of damage.
How to Button a Peacoat
In short, keep it buttoned up whenever possible. Peacoats are traditionally made to button up – they were built to withstand the harsh winds on the high seas after all. With that in mind, you shouldn’t be afraid to keep yours done up, the fit will also mean this will work well over tailoring.
Photo Credit: [Pinterest, Lookbook, Pinterest] Feedly, Edgar V, Bloglovin