Gieves pea coat side

 
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.
  

Gieves pea coat front

 
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.
  

Gieves and Hawkes pea coat

 
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.
 

Gieves and Hawkes embroidery hawthorne and heaney

 
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. 
 

Edward Green Top Drawer shoes  
Photography: Julian Anderson

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Anon

Simon – Unfortunately the extra detail of the buttons and the frogging put this far too deep into the realm of ostentatious. I think if you lost the OTT aspects of this coat it would be a real winner. The value of doing the the basics very well is also where bespoke really shines. The art of subtlety. I think if I saw somebody wearing this I would think they were a lost member of the Libertines.

Rob

I agree that it’s very ostentatious. Out of interest why would you go with black horn and not brown horn?

Rob

Does anyone know where brown horn buttons for an overcoat can be sourced? I was recently in Button Queen in Marylebone and they seem to have problems in sourcing now and therefore zero stock

J

I love the brass buttons.
The frogging / embroidery – its quite dandyish, but clothing should be about what you’re comfortable wearing in any case.

Mac

Fantastic workmanship! The embroidery and brass buttons, for me, work well in both personalising the coat and yet keeping it closer to its military origins. I would probably have horn buttons myself but would not criticise Simon for choosing them. It’s churlish to criticise such a wonderfully executed bit of bespoke tailoring. Show me better.

Rabster

Its a beautiful coat. I’m a big fan of pea coats given the warm and protection the collar and lapel give and on yours the collar and lapel are particularly good at this .
I love the shape .
Only questionable aspect is the buttons.
Personally I would leave the top 2 and maybe have them in silver.

Dave P.

Have to agree about the buttons. Maybe if they tarnish the look will be toned down a bit.

JD

A beautiful coat – but not a pea coat. A pea coat should be a working item, worn by seaman out at sea. Whereas this is a parade ground piece for an officer.

Mac

Hi JD, show me the absolute written definition of a Pea Coat. It doesn’t exist! Any garment that you care to name will have been made in endless variations since their inception (and will therefor evolve over time). Show me the one definition of a spaghetti bolognese!

Even in Savile Row, just try and get two tailors to agree on the correct way to cut and make anything. There is no ancient scroll that decrees the one and only way. A ‘general ‘ opinion maybe. That’s the best thing and the worst thing about garments! Simon is not breaking any rules.

Rob

Simon, a question for you – I recently collected a bespoke blue Donegal sports jacket from my tailor in Naples. What type and colour shirts would best work with this in your opinion? As well as dress shorts I also have some winter polos from S5 in Naples (royal blue and charcoal grey) – would these work or is the polo texture too close to the Donegal?

Federico

Hi Simon
I’m considering buying a bespoke blazer from my tailor here in Italy.
I’m considering a blue unstructured blazer with soft shoulders for the summer ( here the summer is very hot). I’m very dubious about what material should I get.
Linen: crease too easily. Cotton: I don’t like it, it’s too casual of a material in my opinion. My tailor talked about some tropical wool and he says it has all the benefits of wool but it is very light, suited for the summer. What do you think?
I want a very classic looking blazer with flap pockets ( I don’t like patch pockets), but I’m “worried” the blazer will look like a suit jacket.. How can I avoid this look?

Federico

I like hopsack. Thank you. Using hopsack i will avoid the “orphaned suit jacket” look?

Federico

I have the last question about this subject:
I have a navy jacket with flap pockets and buttons of the same color. The fabric is also very smooth and the lenght is classic ( not shorter).I bought it a while ago and I suspect it is a suit jacket but the shop sold it as a blazer ( I was pretty naive). The jacket fits quite well. How can I make it look more like a blazer and less like a orphaned suit jacket?

Graham

I was skeptical at first, but this does look great. I’ll echo other’s comments and say that the frogging coupled with the brass buttons is a bit much. I would go for matte brown horn myself.

Anonymous

Hello Simon
Nice jacket, I wouldn’t wear it personally but i do like it the attention to detail is lovely the frogging the vent (I’m not sure of its correct name? And the buttons as seen in the 3td picture
1 question though what do you mean when you talk about “pitch”

stephen

Simon, thanks for the detailed shots. There seems to be some confusion re. buttons and look. It was normal for Officers coats (vs. regular sailors) to have brass buttons and sometimes epaulettes as a variation. So the base style is the Pea Coat, Officer`s coats were known as Bridge Coats. Both were working coats but brass buttons were not unusual. Today many examples are drawn from the US naval jacket hence the plain blue buttons. The original was, however, Dutch in origin though many Navies took on the design (even Royal Navy). A variant was also known as a Reefer though we now assume this to be a double breasted style Blazer. In think you should keep the brass buttons, your instinct was correct, black or blue would reduce both the appeal and the historical reference.

stephen

That should read “I think”…not “In think”…

Masa

Simon- You pulled this off beautifully here! I love the brass buttons and I personally would have done them also on the back belt and down the pleats (may be just with one button). I would have used Loro Piana Top China overcoating cloth but then again, it is just a matter of personal preference. It might have been more versatile if you had added an inch to a couple of to survive the harsher winter in a place like NYC. That few inches makes a huge difference! The side seams of Joe’s trousers go so perfectly with the coat. The only thing that really bothers me is that you did not wear a pair of G&G shoes for the photograph!

BespokeNYC

I loved the dramatic look of the jacket buttoned all the way up in your previous post but I think I like it even more having seen it with the top two buttons open. The proportions of the lapel and collar are just perfect.

BespokeNYC

PS FWIW I totally disagree with the commenters who say the brass buttons and frogging are ostentatious. Sure the buttons stand out and make the piece look very distinctive but they are still classic details for a pea coat and don’t look at all out of place. Same with the frogging, which in matching color material, is still fairly subtle.

andrew

I totally agree…I think the frogging and brass give contextually correct character.

Christo

When I see this I see affection for the militaria that’s a huge part of the row. It’s nice to see a civvy translation of what is otherwise out-of-bounds, avoiding mid-nineties Michael Jackson. I’d personally have gone for less extravagant buttons but think these are in keeping with the context. The frogging is subtle but a joy.

Anonymous

Hi Simon,

It would be great to see a post on those Chittleborough & Morgan trousers. Have you considered doing one? Also are those trousers and your previously reported on suit the only items which you have commissioned from C&M or have there been others?

Ahmed Kadow

Hello Simon, I am an avid reader and admirer of your blog. I am working on a project for our school, Baghdad College, and I need to order blazer buttons, cufflinks, for said project. Can you help locating a source?
Thanks…

Bradley

Dear Simon
I have just had a pea coat made (awaiting delivery) but am nervous about the weight of cloth. Living in central London, one obviously needs a slightly lighter cloth but, what is a sensible weight cloth to wear over a jacket/jumper? My cloth, a Porter and Harding HARTWIST is 18oz. Do you think this is sufficient for a coat?
Regards
Bradley

Fred

amazing Peacoat…serious congrats Simon, it’s beautiful.

Ben

This is the best semi-formal short coat I’ve ever seen. I’ve some questions with regard to its production.

1. Was the front edge your suggestion or a G&H specialty?
2. What’s the canvassing situation? How many layers of canvass were used and how important is the quilt stitching for achieving the structure?
3. Do you use objective metrics (e.g. weight) when determining if a fabric will have the properties desired (e.g. drape, “lapel” roll, etc.)? If not, are there indicators that I can use when browsing through a swatch book?

Anonymous

why the lack of functional double breast?

Oliver

Simon – I was considering having a pea coat made and had some questions on certain elements of this coat – would be very interested in your thoughts:
i) what difference, in practice, does the inverted box pleat make?
ii) is the non-adjustable belt purely aesthetic, or does it serve any structural purpose? By the same token, how do you think an adjustable belt (perhaps like that on your Loden top coat) would have worked?
iii) Is there much practical benefit to the centre-vent being folded/buttoned (which I notice you also chose with your Loden top coat) as opposed to just a regular center vent? Or is this largely an aesthetic addition?

Best, Oliver

Oliver

Much obliged!

O

WilliamBek

Thanks a lot for the post.Really thank you! Want more.

NA

Hi Simon. Thank you for this post.

I’m looking to buy a good pea coat. Would you recommend that I specifically go for G&H bespoke? Are there any other alternative tailors (or perhaps RTW shops) that you would recommend? I would prefer to pay a little less than you did, but if it would reduce the quality significantly then I’d be happy to pay up.

facebook_Kevin Boyle.10157626248355074

Hi Simon…

What weight cloth was used here. I have just ordered a MTM coat that is not dissimilar in 760 wool… I’m getting a little edgy that I might end up with a duffle coat. Still time to modify order – would appreciate your input!

Marc

Dear Simon

Since the coat season is definitely over, now the temperature is rising above 20 degrees, I am taking care of reparations and alterations of my winter clothes. I own an elegant and very good fitting peacoat in navy wool, with a simple single vent in the middle of the back hem. No unfolding, no buttons, just a normal single vent. Yet, I find it a little too short and would like to make it slightly longer. Is there a general rule for the length of such a vent? Maybe in relation to the back length of the coat or in relation to the seat or hips?

Kind regards,
Marc

Hamza

Hey Simon,

May I ask what purpose do the buttons serve at the back on the vent?

Frank Klimas

Simon, great coat. I understand your choice of buttons and why they are an important feature of any fashionable coat. I have a US Navy pea coat and a bridge coat, but I’d like to change the buttons to something less USN-like. I was thinking either a black horn or a leather football button. I could use the same style for both coats or use different. The original buttons on each is 40L gold eagle and anchor for the bridge coat and 45L black plastic fouled anchor for the peacoat. I have read what others have done on other pages but could use your advice, if you don’t mind. People often leave them but I think the bridge coat is too much like a uniform as it is and I wanted to enjoy the benefits of the coat without discussions of serving in the navy or detracting from the positive benefits of the coat (like the style and all-weather warmth). What would be the smart choice? Thanks.

Frank Klimas

Thanks for your advice. I’m going to do that and stop comparing pictures of buttons. I think I’ll get more use out of the coat doing this since I feel a little self-conscious with the official uniform buttons. Also, I just read the update on this coat and saw you changed the gold buttons to dark brown. Looks great against the color of the fabric and I appreciate your revelations about this, as well as, about fabric weight and pocket placement. It’s priceless to get time-honed experience.