Like most menswear creation stories, this is both fanciful and very likely apocryphal. But it certainly fits the zeitgeist. As George ‘Beau’ Brummell was ditching the elaborate embroidery and powdered periwigs for riding boots, blue serge and calvary twill, so gentlemen Europe-wide were looking to the field, mountains and seas for sartorial inspiration.
The peacoat has been keeping seafarers safe from harm both sides of the Atlantic for over three centuries now and has shown remarkably little change in that time. Constructed from heavy, dark blue wool and double breasted for insulation, the coat’s high-buttoning front, tall collar and warm pockets all contribute to its status as the gold standard of foul weather protection. Buttoned tight and with the collar upturned, the peacoat creates such a dramatic silhouette that it is little wonder the Aquarian Age peacocks of the Sixties adopted its form, along with its lower half naval companion the bell bottoms, as de rigeur.