For the Ultimate Combination of Style and Substance, Look for the Peacoat, N1, and Duffel

Our long fascination with the sea might very well pre-date our mastery of fire. Even our shaggy ancestors, when standing stooped on the shore, must have wondered what lay beyond the horizon. 

For some, this seaward pull proved irresistible. In rough-hewn crafts, they cast off from the safety of dry land. They were our first sailors and, ever since, they have held a special place in our collective imagination. 

Windblown and effortlessly stylish, the sailor has been a prime target for imitation and inspiration. We never seem to tire of borrowing from his kit. From jeans to watch caps (and nearly everything between), the rugged wardrobe was born at sea.

This is especially true of our foul-weather pieces. The peacoat, the N1 deck jacket, and the duffel coat all saw extensive seaborne service before they made landfall in civilian style.

Starting in the nineteenth century and accelerating after the war, naval outerwear has moved inland. Today, from sea to shining sea, the peacoat, N1, and duffel together form the sturdy backbone of casual outerwear.

The peacoat, N1, and duffel are all featured in The Rebel’s Wardrobe. To learn more about their origins and iconic cultural moments, buy (and read) the book.

Up Periscope!

If you have one (or two or three) of the classic naval coats on your list, your ship has come in! For each of the three iconic naval coats, we’ve listed five of our favourites below.

You’ll find pieces from vintage reproduction specialists Buzz Rickson’s and The Real McCoy’s, heritage brands Schott and Gloverall, and Japanese heavyweights Iron Heart and Addict.

Many of the pieces represent a considerable investment, so we’ve tried to provide at least one budget option for each category.

Jackets from makers like &SONS and Kind Supply offer a ton of value for money, but, crucially, they still clear a very high bar in terms of quality and design. Let’s get our feet wet with our favourite peacoats.

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Peacoats

The peacoat has been a staple aboard seagoing vessels since at least the eighteenth century, when Dutch sailors pioneered the double-breasted design.

A true style chameleon, the midnight blue heavyweight can move effortlessly through a broad range of styles, adding a muscular touch to any outfit when worn with confidence.


Buzz Rickson’s 1910 Peacoat

We’re leading off with Buzz Rickson’s faithful tribute to the WWI peacoat, featuring slightly more length and flap hip pockets than the WWII versions. Made from 36 oz. Melton wool and lined with wool flannel, this is definitely not a jacket for sunny climes.

Though they’ve got competition, Buzz Rickson’s lead the pack in this category. They also have a stunning Pre-WWII Version with less length and no hip pockets.


Real McCoy’s WWII Peacoat

A stylish titan made from double Melton wool, Real McCoy’s version of the WWII peacoat might be a touch softer than Buzz Rickson’s version, but it’ll torpedo everything else out of the water. Arguably, the best-looking wool coat that’s ever sailed the seven seas.

Real McCoy’s also has a 1913 WWI Version of the peacoat, featuring the hip pockets and a striking blue lining.

Real McCoy’s is available at these retailers: Lost & Found (CA) and Clutch Café (UK)


Cockpit USA Admiral USN Peacoat

Made from 80% wool and 20% nylon, this 32 oz. version of the WWII peacoat has been updated by the tailors at Cockpit USA. The result is a sleeker silhouette that makes it a more adaptable wardrobe staple. The purists might bristle at the modern cut, but, for everybody else, this is a great option.

Cockpit USA offer a range of peacoats that include leather versions and one extremely inexpensive option.


Schott Melton Wool Peacoat

Though Schott are best known for their leather motorcycle jackets, their version of the peacoat is a mid-tier masterpiece. Schott take a few liberties with the coat, but their 26 oz. Melton peacoat remains true to the spirit of the original.

Schott offer a range of peacoats in different colours and weights. It’s our advice to stick with the classic midnight blue.


&SONS Boardwalk Peacoat

Introduced as part of the brand’s first Kickstarter collection, the Boardwalk Peacoat is the most seaworthy piece at its price point. Made from 22 oz. Melton wool, it’s been designed with damp and cold English winters in mind.

The polkadot lining and recycled metal buttons might not be period correct, but they make the coat unmistakable (and, for us, unsinkable).

The Boardwalk is the only peacoat that &SONS make, but they also have the Surplus Army Jacket, their take on the classic M65.


N1 Deck Jackets

The youngest piece on this list, the N1 deck jacket was developed for cold-weather sailors during WWII.

Following the war, it became an attractive alternative to the leather jacket for motorcycle enthusiasts. It is rough around the edges, but that (and its incredible warmth) are what we love about it.


Iron Heart Whipcord N1

Iron Heart’s version of the N1 has become intensely popular, and for very good reason. Designed for motorcycle riders, it pairs perfectly with heavy denim and leather boots.

The latest version (in a stunning 14 oz. oiled whipcord) has replaced the patch pockets with slash pockets (a huge improvement if you ask me).

Iron Heart has a wide range of N1 deck jackets. They sell out quickly in popular sizes, but they’re worth waiting for.

Buy Iron Heart from these select retailers: Iron Heart International, Franklin & Poe (US), Division Road (US), Corlection (AU), Brooklyn Clothing (CA).


Buzz Rickson’s Khaki N1

If, when you think of khaki, you think of uninteresting shades of beige that blend in with the environment, think again.

Buzz Rickson’s vivid khaki leaps out at you and grabs you by the lapels. If the colour doesn’t speak to you, the meticulous design and sewing perfection will.


Dehen1920 N1 Deck Jacket

The only N1 on this list without the period-correct alpaca lining, this jacket uses mouton (sheepskin that has been cut and dyed to resemble beaver fur) for both the lining and the collar. It’s a soft and luxurious touch that makes this jacket an immediate winner for nearly everybody who tries it on.

Dehen’s version of the N-1 is also available in Dark Tan, Black Kodiak, Loden, Navy, and Black. Most versions sell out extremely quickly.


Addict Olive Ulster Jacket

Japan’s Addict don’t call their jacket an N1, but they’ve clearly drawn inspiration from the classic deck jacket. If you want to carve your own path and stand apart from the N1-loving crowd, you can’t do much better than this jacket, which crossbreeds English motorcycle and naval heritage.


Kind Supply USN Reproduction N1

Vietnam’s Kind Supply have been building up a following with their careful reproductions of military classics. Their N1, a strong stand-out in their line-up, has got all of the hallmarks of the genuine article, including the jungle cloth exterior and the alpaca-lined interior and collar.

Kind Supply also offer their N-1 Deck Jacket in Olive.


Duffel Coats

Whether you spell it duffel or duffle (we prefer the former), the perpetually modern duffel is perfect in its simplicity.

No bells or whistles, just a heavy wool coat with toggles and a spacious hood that falls in a straight line down from the shoulders. When the breakers roar, the duffel will be your fail-proof foul-weather friend.


Gloverall Original Monty Duffel

The English glove maker turned into one of England’s most respected names in outerwear when they started manufacturing duffel coats in 1951.

In the ensuing decades, Gloverall’s duffels became associated with a host of youth-led subcultures that came to define the English scene. Still made in England, the Gloverall Duffel is as timeless as ever.

Gloverall has a wide Range of Duffels. We’re partial to the camel and navy versions.


Allevol “Pat” Navy Duffel

This Allevol duffel was modelled on a version of the coat that was provided for English postmen in the 1960s.

Made from 32 oz. Melton wool woven in Japan, this duffel has a truly unbeatable hand feel. It might just be the duffel perfected.

Allevol’s duffel is also available in Olive.


3sixteen x Gloverall Monty Duffel

Gloverall choose their collaborative partners extremely carefully. This seaworthy collaboration between 3sixteen and Gloverall features a heavy Italian wool and subtly contrasting accents. 3sixteen clearly understand that the classic form isn’t in need of a dramatic update–just a tweak here and there.

If you’re looking for something a little wilder, Gloverall has also collaborated with Engineered Garments.


Private White Deluxe Duffel

Rugged pieces aren’t really Private White’s stock and trade, but their versions of iconic English classics like the peacoat, harrington, and duffel are some of the best you can find anywhere.

Made from 18 oz. lambswool, their Deluxe Duffel (especially in British Racing Green) is as streamlined and watertight as a submarine.


Real McCoy’s Mouton Duffel

We’re closing out the list with a fitting showstopper. Vintage specialists Real McCoy’s have pulled out all the stops with this glorious sheepskin duffel. As warm as an arctic parka and easily three times as heavy, the Mouton Duffel isn’t in its element until you take it outside.

The Real McCoy’s also has a beautiful Camel Duffel.


Drop Anchor in Maritime Style

The duffel, peacoat, and N1 deck jacket all look their best when paired with pieces that share a naval lineage. If you’re looking for the perfect piece to complement your naval outerwear, the best place to start is with a well-made sweater. You can find our recommendations here.

Author

This article was written by Bryan Szabo, author of The Rebel’s Wardrobe and Founder of the Indigo Invitational Fade Competition. Bryan's on a mission to educate newcomers to the world of raw denim on some of the finer points of buying, wearing, and fading denim.