Pea coats are a very classic look that keep you warm during the winter. They are easily recognized by their broad lapels and double breasted front (a wide overlap of the two coat flaps with two parallel columns of buttons). We all want to look fashionable, but how do we know we’re picking the right coat for us? The first time I saw a pea coat on someone who was walking down the street, I thought, “Wow, that looks really stylish, now I want one.” I did manage to purchase one, but over the years I realized the several follies I made with my selection. The coat wasn’t keeping my arms warm enough and it made me look shorter. I made the wrong choice and have realized that when you buy something like a pea coat you’ll be making an investment in a coat that should last for a while. Here are a few things to consider when trying on a pea coat.
1. The fit
While it’s important to be well-structured for fashionable purposes, it’s also important that the waist (this only applies to women) and sleeves are snug enough so that cold air doesn’t rush into your coat to freeze up your body. When I bought my first pea coat I was torn between small and large, with the small being the tiniest bit tight and the medium leaving me a little more wiggle room than I needed. I also failed to remember that although I was trying on the coat in a warm store, I’d be wearing it outside in the freezing cold. If you try on a coat and have the smallest feeling that you might want to take it to the tailor, think twice unless it’s for sale at price that’ll make the trip to said tailor worth it. So pick a coat that is well-fitted and you’ll feel warm and look chic at the same time.
2. The length
Since pea coats can be bulky it is not a good idea to get one that is too long. I am 5’5″ so I wouldn’t exactly call myself short. A year after I bought my pea coat, I went out with my photographer friend so we could eat and he could get some snapshots. To my slight horror, one of the pictures he took of me made me look a good 6 inches shorter. Because the coat ran a little past my knees, it made me look extremely short and stubby. If you’re going to buy a long coat, make sure that it looks slimming on you and doesn’t detract from any of your features. If you’re tall, the chances of you being able to pull this off are a lot more likely.
3. Price vs. quality
Like I mentioned earlier, buying a winter coat is an investment. Buying a pea coat is even more of one because you can wear it for both casual and formal occasions. It is a very timeless style of coat that will hopefully last you a while. While sales are very enticing, really think about the quality of the coat before you buy it. That being said, make sure the stitching is tight. More than once I had pieces of my pea coat come loose. And I don’t just mean the buttons.
There are many variations of a pea coat starting with color. For a 60’s look, go for white, but only if you can trust yourself to not get that coat dirty. It is a beautiful color, but very difficult to maintain. Red is a color that also stands out, but you won’t have to worry so much about keeping it immaculate. Then there are the standard colors of blue, black, and gray, all of which would suit any personality. For women, there is a choice between pea coats that either end at the hips, go straight down to your thighs, or flare out under your waist. The first two are for a more masculine look, while the last will accentuate your waist and enhance your curves. Lastly, if you love the way the pea coat looks on you, chances are it’s a good choice. And please make sure you take a good look in the mirror to make sure that you love the way it looks on you. Don’t just buy the coat because it feels decent enough on you. Remember, this should be something you won’t get sick of years later. If you’re not so great at making decisions, bring along a friend (one that’s neither too aggressive nor passive) to give you a second opinion.