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Alex Kapranos from Franz Ferdinand wearing a duffle coat.

A duffle coat, or duffel coat, is a coat made from duffle, a coarse, thick, woollen material. The name derives from Duffel, a town in the province of Antwerp in Belgium where the material originates. Duffle bags were originally made from the same material.

Duffle coats are a traditional British garment, dating from 1890 when John Partridge, a manufacturer of outdoor clothing, started to market coats made from duffle fabric.

There are many varying styles to the duffle coat, although the most common British style would be composed of the following features:

  • Made of genuine Duffel, lined with a woolly tartan pattern.
  • A hood and buttonable neck strap
  • Four front wooden or horn toggle-fastenings (known as "walrus teeth") with four rope or leather loops to attach them to.
  • Two large outside pockets with covering flaps.
  • It should be three-quarter length.

The wooden toggle-fastenings were made to be easily fastened and unfastened while wearing gloves in cold weather at sea. Current designs have toggles made of buffalo horn, wood or plastic. The oversized hood offered enough room to wear over a Naval cap. After rain, a duffle coat has a characteristic smoky smell.


The duffle coat owes its popularity to the British Royal Navy, who issued a camel-coloured variant of it as an item of warm clothing during World War I. The design of the coat was modified slightly and widely issued during World War II. In the Navy, it was refered to as a "convoy coat"[1]. Field Marshal Montgomery was a famous wearer of the coat[2], as a means of identifying himself with his troops, leading to another nickname, "Monty coat". Large stocks of post-war military surplus coats available at reasonable prices to the general public meant that these coats became a ubiquitous and popular item of clothing in the 1950s and 1960s. The British firm Gloverall purchased surplus military supply of coats after World War II and in 1954 started producing their own version of the duffle coat and continue to do so today. Another Navy design coat that gained popularity among the general public is the Pea coat.

They were seen in the popular press as a form of uniform for stereotyped supporters of the left wing, as characterised by Labour leader Michael Foot. Other famous duffle coat wearers include members of Scottish band Belle and Sebastian, Tim Sadler, actor Dudley Moore, television character Jonathan Creek, members of the band Camera Obscura, children's book and television character Paddington Bear and members of the Australian band Architecture in Helsinki.

External links


  1. ^ Taylor, Theodore, 2007. Battle in the Arctic Sea, Sterling.
  2. ^ Glossary entry for Duffle Coat

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