In some ways Duffle Coats are now classics that in theory anyone should be able to wear at any time. However unless you buy a smart one you run two risks. 1 You might end up looking a little too much like Paddington Bear. 2 Cheap ones can look a bit scruffy and won’t do for anything approaching a formal occasion.
However for long winter walks with dog, fidgeting on cold seats at football grounds or just posing by the South Bank they are ideal. In the gallery there is a section of five rather cool Duffle coats, but before we get there here are a few things you may or may not know about them.
1 They date from WW2 where they were standard issue to much of the Navy mainly in tan rather than black.
2 Their popularity in the 1950s largely stems from the huge number of coats that were bought from military surplus stores.
3 Gloverall, a firm originally set up to sell the army surplus coats, started making their own in the late 50s and what we know today as a Duffle Coat – think leather fastenings and Buffalo horn toggles with a double faced checkback fabric – stems from their original designs.
4 They were ubiquitous on the CND marches of the 50s and early 60s worn largely by students and teamed up with French cigarettes and trad jazz records. I am sure Ian Carmichael wears one in the film Lucky Jim, but I can’t find the pic to prove it.
5 Although they have always been available they have had brief period of being very fashionable in the 80s check out the priceless pic of Harriet Harman wearing one) and the 90s (mainly thanks to the Gallagher Brothers).
6 These days they are often associated with Scottish bands – think Belle & Sebastian and Franz Ferdinand.
Duffle in the wild
British athlete Roger Bannister, center, collapses into the arms of race officials after becoming the first man to break the four minute mile on May 6, 1954 in Oxford, England. Bannister's time was 3:59.4. In the first 40 years after Bannister broke 4 minutes on a drab afternoon in May. One of thoe officials is wearing a splendid Duffle (PA pic)
By Ashley | December 12th, 2012