Were we asked to design the perfect winter coat for someone in our line of work – that’s a person who travels, writing notes and taking photos as they go – it would be as follows.
- Made of warm, natural fabric.
- A loose construction, allowing easy movement and layering underneath.
- Fastenings that are easily buttoned by cold-numbed or gloved hands.
- Large, flapped pockets for easy access and the storage of notebooks, guides, pencils, phone.
- Hooded, preferably one that’s detachable.
- Equally suitable for a walk through woods and a stroll across town.
Fortunately for us just such an item exists, namely the duffle coat. Adopted by the Royal Navy in World War One, it was much later part of the unofficial uniform of early anti-nuclear protestors, along with desert boots, another item with a military past, and another favourite of ours. Perhaps these days the duffle coat’s most famous wearer is a small bear from deepest, darkest Peru. All of which is testament to its versatility, and endorsement enough for us.
It’s heartening to report that Gloverall, the company most associated with this classic item, are still manufacturing in the UK. Adults have a huge variety of duffles and their variants to choose from, although we suggest you stick with the classics. It’s a little snug for us, but we would be remiss in failing to point out the Paddington Trail duffle coat (suitable for ages 4-7), which costs £99, with £50 from each sale donated to the NSPCC.
Anyone wishing to learn more about the history of the duffle coat should pay a visit to our learned friend The Weejun.