Monday, November 7, 2011

Coat Week: Barbours, Pea Coats, and Toggles

With the weather getting a little colder and this being "Coat Week," I thought I would revisit the idea of the "Go-To-Coat." Here's a look again at the coats of your favorite bloggers in hope that it will give you some inspiration and guidance for the colder months ahead.

As most of you already know, I have a fondness for outerwear; but the truth is (when push comes to shove), I usually grab for my Barbour or my Penfield Vassan when I quickly have to run out of the house. I was a little bit curious about my peer's "Go-To-Coats" so I posed the questions: What was your go to coat this past winter (The one that you always grab last minute) and why?

Here are the results:


Can't believe I'm saying this but a Barbour Bedale has become my Go-To-Coat during the winter... my point of reference for Go-Towas just "what do I grab to head to the pub" type of thing -not to go mountaineering. I say "can't believe it" cause I'd always resisted Barbour; in Britain it is a bit of class-loaded garment. Though nominally worn for work in the countryside / animal farming / equestrian pursuits (the Bedale especially with its twin vents -ingeniously closed from the elements with pleats) it is the uniform of the landowners, i.e. the upper class. And not in a cutesy, Preppy Handbook upper classway... but a "ram you off the road in their LandRover on route to a point-to-point" sort of way.

A few years stateside has shed those images a bit for me so I took a tip from The Trad and grabbed one off British eBay. For 12 pounds. About $20... Not knowing a thing about it, happened to get one of the older models with the 2 top pockets, rather than the handwarmer pockets... like it much better. Not wild on the current Bedale at all .... Anyway, I didn't expect the full waxy smellthat comes with it. Instantly transports you to those scenarios for which the jacket was intended to be used. So good. Also good is the large toothed chunky zipper and nylon weather "skirt" at the lower third that you can see in the internal flat shot. Can't recommend it enough.

For a great reference shot of a flap pocket Bedale see Archival Clothing's flickr, but I tried to get smart and do a few layouts as below. Eveyone arranges clothes on their bathroom floor right?? You wouldn't have read this far unless you wanted to know so just noting that the Lands' End OCBD is thrifted and USA made, ties are standard BrooksBros "346", vest is from Johnson Woolen Mill and jacket is made of Harris Tweed...

1001 Rules For My Unborn Son

Vintage woolrich 60/40 parka

A Headlong Dive

Pardon me for being unoriginal but when overviewing outerwear options nothing in my repertoire outshines the Barbour Beaufort. Living in a subtropical climate, I have minimal need for the insulation of a coat. Though Barbour offers plenty of heat, my Beaufort finds its way into my rotation not for its warmth but for its wax. Living in a geographical region that experiences much precipitation, I often require shielding from a range of rainfall. From light showers to unexpected downpours, my Beaufort stands guard over any elements Mother Nature has up her sleeve. But if I were only looking for protection from a torrent downpour, I could acquire some nylon Gore-Tex shell. I opt for the Barbour Beaufort over other outerwear not only because of its functionality, but also because of appearance.

The waxed elegance that forms beautiful patina overtime develops a personality of its own that can be paired with anything from workwear to more sophisticated attire. Simply put, it goes with everything. This universal ability to partner with a wide range of menswear routinely gives the nod to the Beaufort to enter the line-up. On days that I need more than a blazer, I always elect to wear my Barbour Beaufort."A Time To Get

My "go-to coat"California is my Levis denim. It goes with everything. Living in Southern California, it acts both the part of a sweater and a parka alike. Even during winter, you never need too much more than a nicely wrinkled woven and a denim jacket

A Trip Down South

Barbour Bedale

A Restless Transplant

If I had one coat, I would have a filson mackinaw cruiser in charcoal. It's wearable with all sorts of different outfits, and weather conditions.

A Time To Get

My "go-to coat"California is my Levis denim. It goes with everything. Living in Southern California, it acts both the part of a sweater and a parka alike. Even during winter, you never need too much more than a nicely wrinkled woven and a denim jacketBillyKirk


My brother Kirk gave me the “Hill Climber Jacket” by Taylor Supply. This NY based outfitter is making some seriously well made clothing. Their entire range is quite sensible and comfortable. The jacket is really quite perfect. 7.5 waxed cotton shell, understated design (which I lean towards), has a very nice soft, yarn-dyed plaid interior and wool felt shawl collar. I have worn it sense the 25th pretty much non stop. It starts out pretty stiff but after a month it’s breaking in nicely. Links: Culture Shoq and Selectism

Black and Tanned NY

Considering my nigh-unhealthy obsession with outerwear, this is possibly the hardest wardrobe related question for me to answer. BUT! It'd probably be my Barbour Antique Heritage Bedale at the moment (I know, I know...Barbour...). But it's layerable and it's weatherproof, both of which are absolutely crucial when I'm running out the door. I don't want to worry about whether I'll be caught in the rain, and I don't want to be sitting in a furnace on the subway like I would in a hardcore parka. The super-waxy sylkoil finish and dark sage color set it off just a bit, so it doesn't feel quiteas ubiquitous as the classic versions. Or perhaps I'm just trying to convince myself of that.

Either way, it's a solid coat. Loads of pocket space, too. The front bellows pockets are perfect for stashing gloves (or receipts, or an odd bit of cash), and the hand warmers are lined with fleece.

I got it at their pop-up in Spitalfields back in the Fall, but here's a link to it on Oi Polloi:

Commerce With A Conscience

1) My Epaulet CPO Shirt Jacket.

2 ) The fit is perfect (slim body, high armholes, long but not too long). The construction is top-notch (made in NYC from a beautiful 21 oz. Italian Melton Wool). And it's warm as all get out. Also, because of it's proportions, it makes a great mid-layer as well. So whether moderately cold, or downright freezing, I can still wear it.


1. My go to coat this winter has been an old Brooks Brothers duffle, I picked it up last winter for $40 from a vintage store.. it was just one of those finds.

2. I love my duffle because it's extremely versatile in terms of weather and style. I can dress down with a pair of moccasins or bean boots then switch it up with some brogues. From what I can tell from the tags I would say it's around 50 years old. Regardless of how accurate that is it's exciting wearing something that's been around longer than I have and will likely last me the rest of my life.

C.Benjamin / Dapper Demeanor

My go to coat is actually two items: one of my Gap denim trucker jackets and my Land's End down vest. Whether I'm headed to get groceries in jeans and a white tee or on my way to work with some trousers shirt and a tie, it's the perfect combo. I own two denim jackets: one distressed and the other a dark rinse. Here's a link of me with the distressed jacket/vest combo

It's just such a comfortable combo and I also get to channel my inner Marty McFly. When I wear it to work, it helps balance out my outfit because its very casual outerwear that I can get to work with dress trousers a shirt and tie. It's one of those things that you tell someone and they don't think it'll work, but then they see you in it and it's a totally different ball game.

Crabapple NYC
1) What's your go to coat? The one that you always grab last minute. - An old American Eagle navy peacoat with thick fleece lining.

2) Why - I bought this coat maybe 10 years ago. I've debated replacing it with something more up to date, but that debate always ends with me saying, "what for?" The coat goes with almost everything (I have a nicer coat for wearing over suits, etc), and is the perfect balance of form and function for New York City winters.

My favorite is my Save Khaki United (SKU) canvas field jacket.  It's durable, has plenty of pockets and fits perfectly.  The canvas is just thick enough to keep me warm in San Francisco's forever chilly (but rarely cold) climate, yet the wash makes it nice and soft.  I recently discovered that the bigger pocket can comfortably fit an entire bottle of wine.  Coincidence? There are no coincidences.  David Mullen hit a home run with this one.  I wear it almost daily.

Dreams of Perfection
I would say my go-to coat would be my navy J. Crew peacoat, but this year I've actually been wearing my Lands' End Waxed Cotton Field Coat more often. I've found that this year, I've been layering more, and the insulated peacoat can be a bit much with all the layers for our Tennessee winters. So the field coat has been my go-to coat this winter.

Doesn't appear to be on their website anymore, so here's the link from my blog.

Fresher Than Chris
My tan alfani toggle coat with hood. Its great for day and night or day to night. Its comfortable, warm and was a one of a kind from a sample sale. The runner up? My black leather members only jacket. I can wear for a few seasons and its hella fresh

Gear Patrol (Jon Gaffney)

Warm weather beige Baracuta G9, Canada Goose Lodge Down Jacket when it's cool

It's my dad's Fell Co. pea coat. 30 years old and I really can't tell. It's not the same cut as a traditional Naval Pea Coat- it's nipped in the waist, has higher armholes, and a bigger lapel/collar. I found it buried back in a basement closet in high school when we were moving. I couldn't believe how nonchalant my dad was about the coat. "Oh that? Yeah I bought it in Chicago one time when I was visiting your Grandma. It's a good coat." Dads have a way of downplaying how amazing their stuff is. He got a kick out of how much I wanted it. Being the good dad he is, he let me wear it. It's been with me ever since. I love it. I will always grab it on the way out the door.

Ivy Style
My go-to coat — as in go to the market for more wine — is a quilted jacket by Brooks Brothers. It's navy with brown corduroy trim, so it matches everything. It's also lightweight but warm, thanks to the hi-tech lining. And though I mostly use it for days I'm in jeans or flannel-lined khakis, it's long enough to cover a sportcoat and I'll sometimes wear it into the city over a jacket and tie.

JFK Jean / Modernist Revival


This has been my go to coat for winter. It's a brushed twill navy peacoat I picked up on sale last year actually but it had gotten too hot to wear it then. It's become a regular throw-own during some of the more colder days of the season. Slim fitting with minimal lining, layers really well and goes with just about everything I wear. I'm probably going to change the buttons soon.

Men's Style Pro

My Go to Coat is my London Fog Trench. I picked it up on Ebay a few years ago and I wear it all year long. It has a removable wool lining so when the weather is warm out but still rainy I can just throw it on.

Mr. Mort
I've been living in SF since april so i have quite a few go-to pieces of outerwear. The main jacket would have to be a vintage LEVI'S denim jacket I've had for years. On the last few trips to ny, there was one jacket i was purdy happy i packed; Eddie Bauer Skyliner.

Noah Emrich / Bonnie & Cylde
I wear my APC parka every were lately. It's long and big, so it's very easy to throw it over anything you're wearing. It's super warm too. The coat has more of a traditional fit (aka not slim) than I'm used to, but I got over that pretty quick. It's a great all around coat and I always throw it on before I go out.

I have the red which seems to be sold everywhere, a few places still have the blue... (here and here)

                                                      Jacket:  Mt. Rainer 60/40 Parka

Backstory:  I was looking for a great jacket that would allow me to transition from the dead of winter into the dawn of spring.  I have a Barbour, but that is my fall jacket.  I have a great vintage WW2 peacoat and expedition snorkel that I rock once the snow does start to fly and when it does get warm, I bust out the Barracuda.

All those jackets are great, but do not really allow for a cross-season wearing occasion.  I found the Mt. Rainer 60/40 Parka this year at Present, a great site from across the pond.  It has all the weather protection and warmth one needs to get through the last few moments of winter and past the weeks of grey & rain that come with the dawn of sprint here in Central Ohio.

Por Homme
                                                                          Schott NYC
1) Naval Pea Coat in Navy

2) When nothing else is working with my outfit, I can easily grab this naval pea coat and still be confident with my styling. I dig the versatile navy finish over black and the leather trimmings really enhance the overall aesthete of the piece in a very subtle manner.

My go-to-coat is a navy peacoat made by Hickey a few years out. Fit perfectly off the rack, especially in the arm which is hard to find. Switched out the buttons from silver to gold for a more elegant feel. Works with just about any type of trouser or jacket as well.

Put This On

My favorite is an old pea coat I've had since high school. I bought it at a garage sale in Portland, Oregon when I was 16, and I've worn it every winter since. It was issued sometime just after world war two, but it still looks just as sharp as it did sixty years ago. Until a couple years ago, I lived in San Francisco, where it's always cool at night. Nothing keeps out the wind better than this jacket, but if I wear it without a sweater underneath, it's comfortable to wear when it's 65 and windy. Of course, with a sweater and a scarf, there isn't a time here in California that it isn't enough warmth.

Red Clay Soul
Right now my go-to coat is a brown quilted Cole Haan coat - a duller version of the Barbour Liddesdale. It's big enough to go over sweaters this time of year, and light enough to layer. This will be replaced as by 'go-to' coat this year by a vintage Beaufort - I'm going to find one and have it restored.

Start With Typewriters
I'm not a huge fan of coats so i've always just done a vest over my sportcoat.
60% of the time it works every time

I've had my Barbour Bedale for over ten years. It's due for a fresh wax and is ripped and torn in spots, but it's been with me in every sort of condition there is. I eagerly await 'Barbour weather'. That first day of Fall when the temp dips low enough to warrant pulling this guy out. 
Shawl collar cardigans underneath it all Fall. It over button downs in early Spring. Layered under a Winter coat. Summer, it hangs. Waiting.

Street Etiquette (Josh)
                                                                      3Sixteen Duffle

Go-to-Coat? I would have to say my 3Sixteen Duffle.

The Bengal Stripe / Nickel Cobalt

My go-to coat since I bought it earlier this winter has been my 2G (second generation) ECWCS (Extended Cold Weather Clothing System) parka. While the military is currently on the third generation of the system, I chose the 2G parka for its use of Gore-Tex fabric. You see, the current iteration of this parka uses a newer H2O proof technology that is a lot less breathable than Gore-Tex. The only logical explanation for their move to this technology that I've found in my research is that it is much more affordable so they're willing to sacrifice a little practicality.

When I started my search for the parka, I chose my regular size (small) and opted for the MARPAT (Marine Pattern) digital camouflage pattern. You may be familiar with MARPAT digicam as utilized by Mark McNairy in his 8-pocket cargo pants, or by Epaulet in their blogger favorite double-faced rivet chino. In truth, it is a widely popular design though the parkas (especially in my size) are extremely difficult to come by in new condition. Luckily, I had a saved search on eBay for this exact jacket, and while a few popped up from time to time, they were always around $400. As much as I admired the design, I wasn't about to pay that much. Luckily, just as the frost of winter pierced my bones to a near unbearable point, I happened across a misspelled listing for just under $100. Using a sniping service, I secured a winning bid of around $150. Now, having owned the jacket, I would definitely say it's worth an upwards of $300 if you plan on using it as frequently as I do.

Upon receiving the parka several days later, I realized the sizing was just a little generous, particularly in the waist. I analyzed the parka closely to distinguish the design elements from the distracting digicam pattern, and happened upon drawcords and pockets… lots of pockets.

 Above is a basic diagram of the design of the 2G ECWCS parka. Mine has additional zippers in the armpits, drawcords at the waist, and two vertical slash pockets on the chest along the front placket.

 I found the somewhat generous sizing could be remedied in the waist using the drawstrings. The Gore-Tex is breathable so it doesn't keep too much heat in, especially if you're not generating much. For this reason I usually wear a few layers under my parka when it's cold; a henley under my oxford, and a sweater over it, all of which also helped to fill in the small amount of extra space in the parka.

As for versatility, I'm astonished at how versatile a piece this is. From cords to chinos to denim, and pretty much every shirt I own, there isn't anything I can't wear with it. It's garnered a few stares across the subway car, but with camo in vogue it doesn't look very out of the ordinary. I'm not clean cut or muscular, so I think that helps keep people from mistaking me for a soldier. Of which there are many in New York. Overall, it's just a uniquely American lightweight shell, and I'm looking forward to wearing it year-round.

The Natual Aristocrat
1. Spiewak Duffle Coat. It's charcoal wool just slightly longer than my blazers and jackets with a quilted lining and zip off hood.

2. I use it so much because it goes with everything and works with either black or brown shoes. It's incredibly utilitarian and rugged yet still sharp enough to wear over a suit, which for me makes it the perfect go-to coat.

The Trad

Purchased in Orvis almost 15 years ago, this Rascher overcoat of German manufacture and English wool is missing three buttons but does not miss the Chicago winters it started out in. Half quilted and wool blanket lined, the weave is tight keeping snow and rain out. It ain't pretty but it works. G. Bruce Boyer who even commented on it although I will not share with you what he said."

I am a bit of a hoarder when it comes to outerwear. I have mounds of Barbour's, pea coats, field coats and the like.But, my old faithful, the jacket that travels with me the most and find its way into many wardrobe changes is my 1960'sBelstaff trailmaster. I have owned it for about 12 years and is my first true love ( of outerwear of course).

This jacket is bullet proof. It stands up to all sorts of weather, has a flattering fit , lots of pockets and there is just enough room for a bulky sweater or tweed to fit underneath.

The Windmill Club
My current go-to is my Indigo wool chore jacket from the guys at Apolis. Great to throw on as I'm headed out to grab food or when I'm out and about running errands. Warm enough for my all my LA "weather" needs, plus plenty of pockets for phone, notebook, wallet, etc.

To Take The Train

i bought my barbour bedale 2 years ago and can’t imagine life without it.  it sounds ridiculous to say that about a jacket, but it’s traveled everywhere with me.  it can take a beating by any type of weather and still look good.  you can wear it over layers of clothing or just over a t-shirt and it still fits perfectly.  my wife claims she’s never seen me without it.  that might be true.  if you don’t own anything from barbour, you’re a fool.  save yourself a little extra cash and make the purchase.  you won’t regret it and you won’t leave home without it.

Unabashedly Prep
1) My go-to coat is my Classic 512/C navy Gloverall duffel.

2) Dress it up, dress it down, throw it on over whatever you've got on—it has the innate ability to make you look put together even if you're running out to grab the mail in your sweat-shorts and Bean Boots.

Up North
1. WeSC Duffle Coat
2. I've had this coat for around 4 years. It was my first grownup coat and I bought it during my first year of university. It keeps me warm during cold Canadian winter days. I like the look of the suede elbow patches and herringbone weaved wool. Overall this coat goes well with pretty much all of the clothes I wear, so more often than not, when I walk out the door, I am grabbing this coat.

I don't think you can buy it anymore but here is a link that works: UO

Wooden Sleepers

Summer on Cape Cod can bring some unsuspecting weather. Being a naive New Yorker, I was ill-prepared for my first jaunt to the Cape nearly six years ago. I packed all of the usual items for a weekend in paradise - 1960s beach chairs, Hasselhoff-esque red swim trunks, white canvas Spring Courts, sunblock, rumpled oxford cloth shirts, beach towels, and that was about it.

To my surprise, I arrived on a rainy, windy, and downright cold Outer Cape. "What gives?," I grumbled to my lady. The first order of business was finding some suitable outwear. We walked into town and stumbled upon a thrift store not much larger than my first apartment in Long Island City. We were greeted with a warm smile by an older woman at the front desk. "All clothing 50% off," she announced.

I started rifling through a small rack of menswear and found a promising candidate - an unlined Woolrich 60/40 hooded parka in khaki. "Surely it couldn't be my size," I thought with the skepticism of a seasoned vintage enthusiast who has been forced to let some true gems pass because of an ill fit. Excited to give it a try, I put the jacket on and instantly cracked a smile. It fit perfectly and seemed to even have the sleeves tailored to my liking. The jacket was slim throughout the torso without being tight and landed mid-thigh. The price tag read $4, which meant $2 with the aforementioned discount.

While we may not have made it to the beach much that weekend, I fell in love with the Cape. Years later, this is still my go-to spring/summer jacket. It looks good, fits me well, and has a story. Every time I stick my hand in the pockets, I can feel the ticket stubs from the local cinema, where we spent the next three rainy nights.

Young Man / Old Man

It doesn't really get too cold here in SC, so I don't have any real good cold weather coats. But when it gets cool or wet in the spring, I love to bring out a vintage Foggy London raincoat. It's a great coat that goes with anything (I've even worn it with a khaki suit) and it's a really nice weight that can go anywhere but the coldest of weather. It's also in-between in length, making it very versatile with casual clothes all the way up to full-on suits. Not bad for under five bucks.

From Barbours and Pea Coats to Toggles and Levi's; when pressed for time, we often find ourselves grabbing for what's familiar. The Go-to-Coats of the past are quickly becoming the Go-To-Coats of the present. And smart money is on the fact that these timeless outerwear pieces will be the Go-To-Coats of the future as well.


  1. Barbour first choice, my new OD Patagonia down sweater, or my Camel hair double breasted polo coat.

  2. Though I have a Barbour Beaufort, my go-to coat is a lined, khaki field coat from LL Bean. I've had it since college, so It is probably 28 years old. It a great coat for layering, and has a zip-out "seat" and a game pocket in the back. It even has shell loops in the pockets. It's a great coat.