Winter Style Suggestion: The U.S. Navy Peacoat

One of the great things about menswear is that so many outfits start with simple, classic pieces. These are likely already items you might have hanging around your own closet, and if not, there are definitely affordable ways to make it happen. Something that you would feasibly wear everyday is a good place to start in terms of classic looks, and in the dead of winter, a strong, substantial peacoat won’t leave you out in the cold.

The right peacoat can pass any muster test, particularly when it comes to standing up against snow or rain (and if you’re in peacoat country, those are probably the two types of weather you’re apt to run into most). We’ve seen a trend of dressing up outerwear — and that outerwear actually functioning as a stylish upper layer — but if you’re looking for classic function over form, there’s hardly a better place to start looking than a U.S. navy peacoat. In fact, substantial evidence suggests that these coats are probably out there in droves at surplus stores and Goodwill-type places, making it a downright steal for a coat that’s thick, warm and highly durable.

A classic. The U.S. Navy Peacoat — as authentic as it gets.
A classic. The U.S. Navy Peacoat — as authentic as it gets.

The Siblings With Style Michigan hub was lucky enough to score a substantial upgrade from a beaten-to-shreds Express peacoat (something like this minus the colorblocking), to a coat that’s authentic and incredibly historical. Now, this item wasn’t tracked down at a surplus store, but this time around, it’s the real deal. Worn by my great-grandfather during his time serving in World War II, it has an unbelievable history of being passed down through multiple relatives, and it’s held up incredibly well for a jacket about seven decades old.

Interesting details on the jacket's front buttons.
Interesting details on the jacket’s front buttons.

That certainly means it’s somewhat delicate, and will probably be mixed in with other outerwear options as opposed to extreme degrees of everyday wear. However, the fit is spot-on. It actually fits trim but not tight, leaving room for layering. The buttons are heavy and substantial, the collar is thick enough to stand up to Michigan winters, and the coat has  kept its rich navy color, making it easy to pair with about anything.

Certainly, it’s an item that has more historical value than a typical peacoat found at a surplus store, but it falls in the same ballpark quality and looks-wise. It’s a jacket that’ll do just fine in the Michigan winter and then some. And, although this one was a family-related upgrade, chances are fantastic that a similar option is out there at a surplus store (or thrift shop?) near you. Happy hunting.

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