Sunday, November 10, 2013

Winter 2013: Men's Pea Coats Round-up

Traditional or classic styles are among the most cost effective options when it comes to clothing. Why? Because they last across seasons, it's better to over than underdress meaning they can be worn more often, and everyone makes them. The last point is important because it probably means that numerous retailers, both expensive and cheap, make similar looking items.
Banana Republic Pea Coat from 2009. Front-side.
Case in point: Pea Coats
I love my pea coat. For a few years, I told myself that I would never get one -- thought they were pretentious or ugly. Things obviously changed and my first and still current pea coat is a Banana Republic model (feels odd calling it that) from the winter of 2009. It's still my go-to and most worn winter coat four years later.

Moving back a bit: what's so good about it? The pea coat is a "classic" and carries the perks that I already alluded to some of the points earlier. Somehow, it can be worn with jeans, khakis, hoodies, and even blazers. I seem to recall the last point being a faux-pas among fashionistas -- blazers and suits go with top coats, not pea coats. And did I mention it is pretty warm? Being double-breasted and long enough to cover one's behind, the garment provides plenty of shielding.

The only complaints I have about my specific pea coat are that it could fit a bit slimmer, and the wool doesn't completely block wind on the coldest of winter days. A lack of wind protection became apparent waiting for a bus when it hit -15 C outside a few days in a row. Burrrr...

What's available this year?
Here is a quick round-up of pea coats available from my usual go-to retailers. There's a big range in costs. To put things into perspective, I paid about CAD$ 210 after tax during a post-Christmas sale at Banana Republic. Think it was a 30-40% off sale. I'd say wait until then, but 30-40% coupons are extremely common at Banana Republic and other Gap Co. stores. One final detail: my pea coat is 77% wool, 23% nylon. You'll notice that things have changed a bit since 2009...

Details are according to the online stores and I may skimp on details like colour, so do your own checking.
Banana Republic Pea Coat. Back-side.

Old Navy Men's Wool-Blend Pea Coat: US$ 79.94
This is one of the cheapest ones available at under $100. With a coupon code, it can be had even cheaper. It is 60% polyester and 40% wool with "S" to "XL" sizes, and both black and blue versions are available according to the website. The cut is that of a pea coat, but the material quality is noticeable in my experience.

Gap Men's Wool Pea Coat: US$ 148.00
In the middle is the Gap version at 60% wool, 40% other, and it's available in grey, navy, and olive according to the website. Sizes range from "XS" to "XXXL". This is the one I'd go for if I were on the more price conscious side. Gap usually fits slimmer for me. There's no black version, unfortunately.

Land's End Regular Wool Pea Coat: US$ 189
Price is sitting in the mid-range. I have never shopped at Land's End, aside from checking out the online store, so I'm not really familiar with the brand. The 2013 model is 50% wool, 45% polyester, and 5% other. Wool content is lower than Gap's version while the price is higher. Colors available are slate heather, dark charcoal heather, and true navy. Sizes are "S" to "XL". Interesting tidbit in the description is the temperature rating: -10 C and up.

Banana Republic Pea Coat: US$ 250.00
Top-ish of the line, depending on whom you ask, is the Banana Republic version that is 62% wool, 33% polyester, and 5% other as per the website. Sizes range from "XS" to "XXL" and I can only find a black version online. Mines is also black. I seem to recall a Monogram version in grey years ago.

J.Crew Dock Pea Coat: US$ 268.00 (and up)
I would put Banana Republic and J.Crew, in general, at around the same level. J.Crew's version starts at US$ 288 for the regular version with Thinsulate and US$ 268 for the non-Thinsulate version. No clue how big a difference the Thinsulate insulation makes. There's also a "tall" Thinsulate version for US$ 288. It's available in "XS" to "XL" for the regular size, and colours include charcoal, olive, and navy. Material is simply labeled as "wool" on the website.

J.Crew Regent Pea Coat: US$ 1450
Why is it $1450? Cashmere and whatever other reasons you can come up with. Product description says that it comes in navy, runs from 36-44 chest sizes, and cashmere! Too rich for my blood.

BGSD Men's Wool Pea Coat: US$ 119.99 (random pick)
A simple search for men's pea coats on shows that there are quite a few options available for around US$ 100. This is what showed up near the top when I ranked by average customer reviews. It's from a brand that I haven't heard of, but the site says that the shell is 80% wool and 20% polyester -- even better than the Banana Republic model. It comes in charcoal, black, and navy. Sizes range from "S" to "XXL". For the price, it may be worth a shot.

Winter Jackets: Fjallraven Fjell, Oban, Cantwell, Greenland Mini-Reviews
J.Crew Abingdon Laptop Bag Review
J.Crew Abingdon Messenger Bag Overview
J.Crew Cotton Cashmere Hoodie Review

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