A few more details on the bespoke pea coat from Gieves & Hawkes, as promised. (By the way, isn’t the pitch of the sleeve above gorgeous? Easier with a heavy cloth of course, but it is a uniquely pleasurable sight.)
So, the last post showed the coat buttoned all the way to the chin. Great that it can do that, and personally I think all coats should be able to, but it also works well with one or two of the top buttons undone. Davide and I were careful to get this shape right at every fitting, and it causes the lapel to flop nicely. Indeed, it flops in stages as the buttons are undone, while staying up at the back. The collars of most RTW coats can’t do this, largely because they don’t have the internal structure used in bespoke.
The cloth, by the way, is a Loden – the same as my green Vergallo top coat. This didn’t click (despite the alpaca content) until Davide mentioned that a Loden agent had spotted it. Apparently they supply the cloth to Smith’s.
It makes perfect sense though: I was looking for a cloth with plenty of body, a tight, stiff material without being too heavy, and that’s exactly what Loden achieves. It’s why the Loden hunting coats can get away with that long A-line and not lose their shape.
Next detail: the pockets. I know from experience how frustrating it can be when pockets don’t function well on an overcoat. You’re likely to use them (internal and external) a lot more than on a jacket, so they have to be right. The welted hip pockets, as you can see above, are both at the right height and the right angle to plunge my hands into.
The same goes for the internal pockets. These are cut with a vertical opening close to the front edge, so that I can slip my right hand in between the second and third buttons and retrieve something.
More subtly, there is also a external pocket hidden under the lapel flap. You can just see it in the image above, and more clearly on last week’s post. This little welted pocket is the perfect size for my phone, and that is what it will usually contain.
On the back there is an inverted box pleat, a laid-on belt, and then a centre vent with black buttons. The centre vent is folded out of a single piece of cloth, rather than cut. It’s unlikely they’ll be undone, but it’s a nice detail.
By contrast, we decided to keep the belt simple, without any buttons or other simulation of function. It’s also nice how the swelled edge of the belt echoes the felled seams down the back of the sleeve. All the seams are felled in this way, for no other reason than pea coats usually are. The effect is particularly noticeable on the shoulder seams.
Above, you can see the top of the box pleat and Claire (Barratt, Hawthorne & Heaney)’s lovely frogging. I think this image also gives the best sense of the cloth itself – the richness and handle of it, as well as the beautifully smooth fit across the back.
The collar is folding slightly as my head tips back, but even when forward the collar only just stays perfectly upright. In a pea coat, I think this is how it should be. The maximum effort is made to shield the wearer from the elements.
Finally, the trousers from Chittleborough & Morgan (in heavy Dugdale’s charcoal twill) and shoes from Edward Green Top Drawer (Oundles in bronze). Joe and I had a few problems with these trousers around getting the flat fronts to lay correctly, and they are on reflection too narrow, but overall they behaved themselves during this shoot.
Photography: Julian Anderson