If there is a coat emblematic of the maritime environment, it is the pea coat! Worn in the 19th century on the shoulders of the Royal Navy's midshipmen, its origins would be older and would go back to the 15th century. Recognizable among all by its double row of buttons, this detail was originally more practical than aesthetic since it allowed to button this military jacket according to the direction of the wind. Of course, its origins make it an ally of choice that combines perfectly with the marine sweater. Today, we take a look at a fashion icon, from its origins to look ideas:
1. Half a century old origins
A. A military beginning
According to some sources, the origins of the pea coat date back to the 15th century. At that time, European sailors protected themselves from the vagaries of the sea with a thick woolen cloth borrowed from the Barbary sailors. But the caban as we know it would have appeared more around the 1800s.
This long-sleeved, double-breasted wool coat was used to protect the future soldiers of the British Navy. Waterproof and windproof, it allowed them to walk on the deck of a boat without fear of the wind or the spray. It appeared in France in 1845 and was officially adopted by the French Navy in 1848.
B. Appearance of the caban in civilian life
After a long career, the change in army uniforms led the coat to be found in surplus and thrift stores. Stripped of its military insignia and buttons, the pea coat quickly made its way into the closets of the average person. From the 60s, it even landed on the shoulders of artists of the time.
In France, Boris Vian and Jean Cocteau made it their favorite coat. Across the Atlantic, Lou Reed and James Dean made it a must-have in men's dressing rooms. Finally, in 1962, Yves Saint Laurent was the first fashion designer to reinvent it and offer it as a luxury item.
2. Coat and navy sweater: the winning combo
A. The coat, an elegant piece
To put it simply, men's ready-to-wear clothing is divided into two distinct styles: formal/elegant and casual/daily. Sober and timeless, the pea coat is as comfortable in everyday outfits as in elegant ensembles, even associated with a navy sweater!
Obviously chosen in its original navy blue color, we can also choose our navy sweater in the same shade. United, the association of the two will be even more elegant! At the bottom, a nice wool pants, navy blue or charcoal gray, will be appropriate. On the feet, we will then favor simple black derbies or Chelsea type boots in smooth leather to finish the set.
B. The coat, a piece to wear every day
The ready-to-wear for men is relatively large, it is of course possible to transpose the coat, always associated with the navy sweater, in more casual outfits. And there, the choices are multiple! The pea coat being a mid-length coat, it is then possible to vary the pleasures.
We leave the plain navy sweater for the traditional navy sweater with stripes. Underneath, we slip a denim or chambray shirt, which we will voluntarily (and very slightly) exceed the sweater at the collar, cuffs and on the bottom. For the pants several choices are offered to us. For a style a bit rock, the raw jeans are obvious. We accompany it then with a pair of workboots camel or dark brown, in smooth leather or nubuck. As an accessory, the hat is welcome!
Another variation, which can remind its military past, is to replace the jeans by a pair of canvas pants, like a chino. Chosen straight or loose, it will be either beige or khaki. If chosen in this second shade, the navy sweater with stripes can then be replaced by a plain ecru navy sweater. On the feet, a pair of deck shoes will finish this wink to the past maritime hours of the pea coat. As an accessory, a shoulder bag in a thick canvas (ripstop for example) will complete this set in the most beautiful way.