Duffel Coats

Gloverall Duffles
In the late 1950s/early 1960s, traditional duffel or duffle coats - of the type worn by merchant sailors and the like - suddenly became very popular in an emerging youth culture. They conjured an aura of exotic mystery, travel and slight seediness...indeed, at the time, many bourgeois parents thought the duffel coat "subversive" and refused to buy them for their teenage sons and daughters.

The old-style duffel coat is made form a thick, coarse and very warm, woollen fibre that originated in the town of Duffel, in Belgium. Traditional colours include tan, black or navy blue- the coat has a hood, is lined in cosy tartan or check and has "walrus teeth' buttons - ie; oval shaped toggle style buttons made from wood or horn and attached with rope or leather cords. For convenience, duffel coats always have two deep, front pockets with cover flaps.

Farah Vintage Duffel. From asos
The style first became popular with sea-faring folk via the British Navy who issued a camel coloured duffel coat during WW1. Although often associated with the Beatniks, the association of duffel coats as a fashion statement with the youth of the late 50s/early 60s can be linked to the very early mod movement.

Part of the mod fashion philosophy was to customize iconic, traditional style elements, such as the union jack, pinstripe suits, the bulls-eye emblem etc and reinvent them as a kind of ironic, hip, rebellious fashion statement. As a classic symbol of the Navy, the duffel coat was ripe for a style snatch. The coats also had an androgynous element and were worn by both sexes.

Gloverall "Monty" duffel coat. The same as those issued by the Royal Navy duringWW1
Merrill duffel coat