Duffle Coat

AKA: The ‘Monty’, Toggle Coat

How to say it: as it looks

Traditional Features: 

body template

  • 3 or 4 toggles – traditionally wooden or horn
  • 2 large patch pockets on front
  • hood
  • buttonable neck strap
  • double layered shoulders

Origins…

…of the style: The Duffle coat was designed by John Partridge, who was a British designer and seller of outdoor wear, in 1887, although it was a shorter, roomier style of jacket than the Duffle coat we know today. In the 1890s the British Navy commissioned the duffle coat for their troops. The duffle went on to become a staple of naval uniforms and was worn throughout WWI and WWII.

It was during WWII that the Duffle really gained popularity, helped by Field Marshall Montgomery (a famous British officer) who wore it throughout his successful campaigns as a way of identifying himself to his troops.

Once the war was over Army surplus stores sold the excess Duffle coats to the public and they became popular with artists, students and intellectuals. In the 1950s the British company Gloverall bought surplus Duffle coats and in 1954 started manufacturing their own, fashion, Duffle coat with leather fastenings, horn toggles and a checkered lining. Pretty much all modern duffle coats are based in some way on this Gloverall coat.

…of the name: It is thought that the Duffle coat is named for the fabric it was rumoured to be originally made from – duffel, which is a rough woollen fabric made in Duffel, Antwerp. Whether or not the coat was ever actually made from duffel is unsure, but this seems to be the best story behind the origin of the name.

In the UK the Duffle is also sometimes known as the ‘Monty’ which comes from Field Marshall Montgomery’s and efforts in his Duffle coat in WWII.

For a more in depth history of Duffle Coat, try Wikipedia, The Gentlemen’s Gazette or get your hands on the Fairchilds Dictionary of Fashion.

21st Century Duffle Coats

Now days the Duffle Coat is made from all sorts of fabrics in all sorts of colours, and while the hood and patch pockets come and go, the iconic toggle closures will always remain.

06287_GR6999 gloverall duffle topshop duffle buberry duffle

Top row –  J.Crew, Gloverall

Bottom row – Topshop, Burberry

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