Introducing: The navy Donegal Coat
The cut and contours of this, the PS Donegal Coat, will be familiar to most readers. So I’ll focus on the colour to begin with.
This is our navy iteration, and it is primarily a large, 3x3 herringbone weave that alternates between navy and black. The combination gives the coat the true dark navy colour prized by fans of classic menswear.
But I wouldn’t want it to be just that. Partly because that’s not what a donegal coat is - we’re using authentic donegal yarn, and there have to be flecks a plenty - but also because I didn’t want this to be just a conservative, formal business-type coat.
The thing that pleased me most about last year’s iteration, the large mid-grey herringbone, was that it wasn’t quite what people were expecting. The pattern was larger than a traditional overcoat, and this gave it a contemporary feel.
It surprised some readers, but in the end became the most successful collaboration we’ve ever done. That classic pattern, in a slightly larger size, made it wearable with everything from suits to sweats.
This year’s navy is in the same vein.
It’s dark, but the number of brown, cream and grey flecks in it make the coat much less conservative, and (to me) more interesting.
It’s still classic enough to wear with a charcoal suit, white shirt and black shoes (above). But I think it also looks very stylish - clean and modern - with just a navy knit (below).
In fact, there are three slightly different office outfits here, in perhaps a futile attempt to reflect many levels of formality: flannel suit and shirt; navy knit and shirt; navy knit alone. All worn with black loafers and the occasional navy watch cap.
And then thre’s an outfit with jeans and a sweatshirt (below) to show how the same colours could be used in something that is more casual still.
That’s a grey sweat from The Real McCoy’s, over a PS T-shirt, with Rubato jeans and Alden boots. The coat looks just as good with a light-wash jean, but the dark denim continues the theme.
Oh and there’s also a shot lower down of the coat with a pink oxford shirt, just to remind us of a different colour navy looks great with. Although no one here needs instructions on what looks good with navy.
Milad Abedi and I shot this around Somerset House and another few places in London, on a cold and overcast day - and I was struck by how many compliments the coat got.
It might have been that no one had expected the suddenly cold weather, and were envious of any coat at all. But I think it was at least partly how interesting the pattern is.
Walking in and out of the Somerset House cafe, on different occasions, a man and a woman both said ‘nice coat’ as they passed. Anyone who lives in London will know how rare that is, and I can’t help feeling there’s something about this iteration that draws people in.
It’s not anonymous, like a plain navy; but it doesn’t declare itself loudly either. Milad said it reminded him of the images the James Webb space telescope started sending back earlier this year, and I know what he means. The depth of space, with all the constellations scattered across it.
Anyway, that’s 500 words on why I really like this coat, and chose it for this year’s iteration. It is available now on the Permanent Style shop.
For those that haven’t been following this collaboration for the past few years, here are some of the details.
The PS Donegal Coat was born out of a need for a versatile coat that could be worn with jeans for a walk, or tailoring to the office. Something that could be thrown on, almost without thought, and yet be rigorously designed such that it always flattered the wearer.
To that end, it is a little longer than most (but can be shortened if required) to add a touch of flair, and that’s balanced by a slightly higher collar that effectively frames the face. The collar stays up when put up, due to curved insert on the neck. The standard throat latch is reshaped to sit more elegantly when not in use.
It has both two internal breast pockets, and a large hip pocket in which to keep a hat, book or anything else bulky. The outer hip pockets are lined with cashmere (always my favourite touch).
It has a distinctive yet subtle lining in antique gold; and the buttons are two-hole buffalo horn - a style more commonly seen on Savile Row, and reflecting my love of bespoke.
Just as important as the style, though - in fact probably more so - is the Donegal yarn.
Donegal tweed is so pleasing and unique in its texture. There’s slubbiness in there, an authentic and natural feel, plus great colour variation when you look closely, but compared to other traditional cloths it never feels old-fashioned - unlike a big windowpane check.
The tweed is spun exclusively for us by Donegal Yarns in Ireland, the last remaining mill that makes the yarn - before being woven in Lancashire and manufactured by Private White VC in Manchester.
You can read all about Donegal Yarns in our factory visit - to the Willy Wonka of wool - here.
To start with on alterations, I should also say that the coat can be lengthened as well as shortened, and I’ve done that on a couple of my coats, which I prefer. But then I’m above average height (6 foot) and have a predisposition towards longer coats.
- The coat deliberately has more inlay than most RTW coats, increasing the possibilities for alteration.
- Length can easily be shortened - up to 10cm without interrupting much of the balance. It can also be lengthened slightly, by up to 5cm.
- The sleeves can be lengthened by around 4cm if required.
- And they can be shortened. Shortening by 1.5cm would be easy - more than that would require the wrist strap to be moved.
- The sleeve width can be increased from bicep to cuff up to 2.5cm.
- The body - chest, waist, and hem width - can be increased by up to 4cm in circumference.
- The coats are available at William Crabtree in London for the next couple of weeks, to try on if you would like to. Purchases are then made online.
- The coat costs £825 plus VAT. (The price has gone up slightly, only to reflect increased costs.)
- At the moment it is exclusively available through Permanent Style, on the webshop here.
- There are sizes from XS (chest 46, Private White size 2) up to XXL.
- Have a close look at the measurements below if you're unsure of sizing, and if in doubt compare them to a coat you already own.
- The fit is pretty standard, however, so taking your normal size is usually safe.
- I am six-foot tall and usually wear a size 50-chest jacket. I am wearing a Medium (4).
- As with all PS products, there are free returns should you want to change sizes. Ships from the UK.