The iconic duffel coat

duffel coats for men

Here we take a closer look at one of the true classics of menswear, the duffle.

The duffel is an overcoat usually made from wool, with the fabric originally coming from the town of Duffel in Belgium – hence the name. The model now associated with the garment comes from England and is three-quarter length, with a hood and elongated buttons made of horn or wood.

The duffel jacket – a brief history

The duffle is also the only one of the classic outer garments to have a hood. Although similar hooded wool coats have been worn by Christian monks for hundreds of years, the duffle as we know it today dates from the second half of the 19th century.

history duffel coat origin
Shown here are members of the crew of the British Navy’s HMS Sheffield in duffel on the way to the Battle of the North Cape December 1943.

Today, the duffle is quite widely associated with its military origins, as are many of our other classic garments. During the Second World War, it was a garment used in the British Navy to protect sailors from the elements at sea. One of the most famous users of the duffle was Sir Bernard “Monty” Montgomery.

montgomery duffel
Sir Bernard Montgomery in the duffel on the right of the picture.

However, the duffle, with its characteristic wooden pegs as a fastening system, dates back to 1887 when Englishman John Partridge started making a similar jacket. This was slightly shorter and roomier than the duffle we see today.

The inspiration for what would become the first duffel jacket, however, has roots even further back – from the Polish hooded military jacket that began production in the 1820s. It is here that we see one of the very first examples of a jacket using pegs to fasten the jacket.

Gloverall – synonymous with the classic duffel jacket

Today, it is the Gloverall brand that most people think of when they hear the word ‘duffel jacket’. The Gloverall brand was founded in 1950 when Harold and Freda Morris were asked by the armed forces to help them dispose of a surplus of duffles from the Second World War. Already then the couple sold “Gloves” and “Overalls” and this became Gloverall.

best duffel coats for men

Gloverall’s duffles are now seen by many as the original and the range includes the iconic camel coloured Monty duffle in a heavy wool blend. Gloverall’s original duffle has been around since World War II and was inspired by the British commander Field Marshal Sir Bernard Montgomery.

nice stylish duffel coats

Here you will find Gloverall’s iconic original duffle in a dark brown colour with delicious beige details.

Nowadays the duffle is used as a versatile outer garment in many different contexts. Shown here is the Morris model, named after Gloverall’s founding family.

FAQs – Duffel coat

What is a duffle coat?

A duffle coat, sometimes called a duffel coat, is a type of coat made from wool or a wool-blend fabric. It has a hood and often features a toggle closure. The duffle coat became popular in the early 20th century as military apparel, and later gained popularity as a civilian garment.

Where did the duffel coat originate?

Duffle coats are a type of coat that was originally designed for British soldiers in the early 1800s. The coat got its name from the Duffel bag, which is a type of bag that was also originally designed for British soldiers.

What does characterises a duffel coat?

The duffle coat is characterized by its large hood, wide lapels, and toggle closures. It is typically made from heavy woolen fabric, which makes it ideal for keeping warm in cold weather. Over the years, the duffle coat has become a popular choice for both men and women, and it is now available in a variety of styles and colors.

What to wear with a duffle coat?

A duffle coat goes well with jeans, pants, and skirts. You can also wear it over a dress or other outfit. The duffle coat is versatile and can be dressed up or down. For example, you could wear it with dress slacks and dress shoes for work, or with jeans and sneakers for casual outings.

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