The pea coat is standard issue for the brave men and women of the U.S. Navy. These coats have been a staple for the Navy uniforms since the beginning of the Twentieth Century. Navy men designed the coats to endure harsh, cold temperatures that many of the men faced on the seas. And today many civilians can be seen wearing the coats, which really comes as no surprise to me.
Pea coats are always navy blue in color and double-breasted in style. They are made from worsted wool. Worsted wool gets its name because of the way the wool is processed for the coats. It is extremely durable because the fibers in the material are parallel in alignment. You will find few garments that are made better and performed to higher standards than the pea coat.
Another appealing element of the pea coat is its classic style. They really are immediately identifiable because of their distinct look. In addition to the traditional navy blue color and double-breasted construction, the coats are easily spotted by their wide, rounded lapels and their buttons. The buttons fittingly have anchors etched into the buttons.
The name ‘pea coat’ is said to have different origins. One such theory is that they are called pea because of the pea soup like fog that many sailors encounter. Others suggest that the name is derived from ‘pilot’ because the coats were originally made from pilot cloth. Pilot cloth is a heavy twilled cloth that is usually blue in color. Pilot cloth has been used to construct jackets since 1723. The cloth itself was nicknamed ‘p-cloth’ and the term ‘pea coat’ eventually made its evolution from that derivative. Yet others believe that it is actually from a Dutch word which means short.