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Pea coat: Wikis


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Military surplus coat, produced for the US Navy

A pea coat (or pea jacket, pilot jacket) is an outer coat, generally of a navy-colored heavy wool,[1] originally worn by sailors of European navies.[2] Pea coats are characterized by broad lapels, double-breasted fronts, often large wooden or metal buttons, and vertical or slash pockets.[3] Although it first appeared in the early 19th century, modern renditions still maintain the original design and composition.[1]

The joke from Mel Brooks goes: "...yes, it's a pea coat, they use to call them urine jackets but they didn't sell".

A "bridge coat" is a pea coat that extends to the thighs, and is a uniform exclusively for officers and Chief Petty Officers. The "reefer" is for officers only, and is identical to the basic design but usually has gold buttons and epaulettes.[2]


Today the style is considered a classic, and pea coats are now worn by all manner of individuals, not just professional sailors. When it is worn by a woman, it is often referred to as a Jackie O Jacket. This jacket is very similar, but not the same as a trench coat.[citation needed]

Note that few of the jackets seen on the street are genuine navy surplus; being a classic garment, it is frequently available from retailers, though often with small design changes that reflect the current fashion trends. The standard for historical pea coats was 30 oz. wool, most often made of heavy Melton Cloth through the 1970's in the U.S. Navy. Presently coats are made from 22-32 oz. wool. While pea coats are offered in many colors by retailers, the U.S. Navy-issue pea coat[4] is always dark blue or black.

The term "pea coat" originated from the Dutch or West Frisian word pijjekker, in which pij referred to the type of cloth used, which was called "Pilot cloth", a coarse kind of twilled blue cloth with a nap on one side. The cloth was sometimes called P-cloth for the initial letter of the word and the garment made from it was called a p-jacket - later a pea coat.[citation needed]




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