The Dapper Pea Coat

The unisex denim style from 1976.  Note the wider lapel.

As mentioned in my last post, , wearing the styles of the 1970s allows for creative expression while keeping a professional and stylish look. This emphasis doesn't stop at shirts or pants. The pea coat made its debut as a mass marketed dress coat for any occasion in the early 70s.

Looking at a pea coat it's hard to see why they ever lost their popularity. The attention to detail in terms of stream-lined button fastenings, broad lapels, and huggable curves which accentuate the body made the pea coat a fashion hit. These coats waned in popularity in the early 1980s however, in favour of  multi-coloured windbreaker-style jackets; a tradition that thankfully ended in the late 90s.

A modern pea coat. The shorter length make it comfortable enough to sit and read a book in your home - yet stylish enough to be worn to a job interview!

However, since about 2008 or so, the pea coat has made its triumphant return into the fashion world with very few adjustments. The modern pea coat is shorter than its original counterpart, usually between 25 to 30 inches in length instead of the traditional 38 to 42 inches. The larger lapels have been trimmed to resemble a suit's lapels, as decorative pins aren't as common as they once were. The belt featured in my denim pea coat photo has been done away with as well; instead today's pea coats are "slim fit" in order to preserve the curvy appearance. However, I feel these changes ruin the feel of the original pea coat. The smaller lapels and more business appearance hinder the creativity of the jacket, something that can be good for an interview but loses that special something in everyday wear.

One may opt for a pea coat without lapels. This style is an Asian style - the collar lapels act like a dress shirt, hugging the neck line, and the jacket is done up to below the base of the neck which creates a large problem. As these coats are formfitting and non-adjustable, wearing a scarf on cool days becomes tricky, especially if one wishes to tuck the scarf inside the coat.

The Asian style collar meets the retro style length - 38 inch long.

The pea coat, whether it’s modern or original vintage, is by far the best choice for business or casual wear in fall and winter months. The ginchy feeling that one gets from the original vintage slightly outweighs the modern designs. However, whatever you do this autumn, spend the extra money for the pea coat design! The durability and multipurpose functionality won't disappoint.



Myles is a creative writer whose heart lies in another era. Although he has a degree in broadcast journalism, creative writing is more to his taste. If he had one wish, he would plunge the world back to the psychedelic age of the 1970’s. His eclectic clothing and music tastes influence his writing – taking readers to another place in time.

Follow me at:                            For more retro ideas, check out:

Twitter | Facebook                Retrospace