Fall TrendsThis Fall, The Peacoat Is Better Than Ever
Not that it ever went anywhere, but the outerwear item has never felt fresher.
Fall just started, so you may not have given much thought which outerwear piece you want to pick up for the season ahead. But there's no better time than right now—when seasonal inventories are dropping in your favorite stores—to pick up the one piece that will anchor your cold-weather wardrobe. And this fall, the designers who want to sell you that would-be favorite coat have have a specific silhouette in mind: the peacoat.
The peacoat has been a touchpoint for menswear designers ever since it was co-opted from military surplus stores in the '60s. Though lately, the US Navy's cold-weather coat of choice had been languishing at the bottom of the hamster wheel of menswear tropes. For the past few years both brands and menswear aficionados had stored them away in favor of parkas, puffers, and topcoats. But nearly any designer will tell you that the peacoat is about to be as popular again as it was in 2008, when noted cultural arbiter Kanye West name-checked it in Estelle's hit song "American Boy."
"A peacoat makes you feel good because everyone knows it," said Frank Muytjens, head of menswear design at J.Crew. "You grew up on one, and I think every guy has them. It's nice to be able to do different iterations of them."
J.Crew's version, a luxurious and slightly louche peak lapel peacoat made from camel hair, will be available in stores and online in November for $1,250. But you can find takes on the metaphor from designers like Gucci, Burberry, Tommy Hilfiger, and Dries Van Noten right now.
Part of this particular outerwear piece's resurgence has to do with the increasing popularity of its closest cousin, the double breasted suit jacket. As more designers offer up iterations on the classic tailoring piece, more guys have had the option to wear it, adopting it as a style-forward alternative to the standard two-button. So it follows that they'd be more open to swapping out their single-breasted outerwear, too.
And while the current class of designer peacoats is radically different from the standard issue options (Margiela makes one from a quilted nylon, and Comme des Garcons Shirt's all-black offering blends twill and corduroy textures), there's something undeniably attractive about more classic versions, too. Billy Reid's Bond peacoat, which Daniel Craig wore first as a private citizen and then on the big screen as James Bond in the 2012 movie Skyfall, has been one of the brand's top sellers for almost 20 years.
"I originally made it because it was something I wanted for myself," Reid said of the coat, which is cut from a dense boiled wool that stands up to the wind, and features horn buttons, leather accents, and a sharp peak lapel. (Worth noting: the coat is named for the brand's New York flagship store address, which is on Bond Street.) It sold well before Skyfall came out, but afterward it premiered it was difficult to keep up with demand. "People are still calling for that coat from the movie."
And that, if anything, is a testament to the coat's appeal, and to its malleability. Depending on the season, Reid offers the coat in heavier or lighter materials, so his customers can wear it three seasons out of the year.
"The shape is there, you can tweak it a little bit, but then by changing fabrications, it makes it relevant again," he said.