The colder months are on the horizon. It’s that time of year when you have to find the perfect coat to keep you warm. The trouble is: knowing which one to go for and how to wear it well. To help, we’ve put together this duffle coat buying guide to tell you how to wear a duffle coat this coming season.
With so many different styles of coat to choose from, it’s hard to decide which one to get. You want to look great and—if you're splashing out—you need to get it right.
Cue the duffle jacket: a mainstay of winter fashion. For the style-conscious individual, duffle coats bring an otherwise plain outfit to life. For a formal and informal get-up, this cornerstone of practicality and style works brilliantly for both men and women.
If worn right, your duffle jacket will impress and make you stand out. If worn wrong, it will look oversized and goofy. So, if you want to know how to pull off a duffle coat outfit, follow the advice in this article and you can’t go wrong.
How a duffle coat should fit
A crucial part of nailing the duffle coat get-up is ensuring it fits well. Take note: for a duffle coat to keep you warm enough in winter, it has to fit snugly.
Badly fitting duffle coats are a big faux pas. They make you look like an oversized seven-year-old, playing dress-up with Dad’s wardrobe, or—even worse—a counterculture hipster who’s trying way too hard.
So, how do you strike the right balance and look effortlessly dapper-casual? Simple. When it comes to duffle coats, don’t oversize. Go for modern cuts to avoid any unnecessary puffiness. Remember, they are naturally larger, so getting the right size is vital; you don’t want it to drown you.
First of all, determine when and on what sort of occasions you are most likely to be wearing your coat.
If you are opting for a casual look, then go for a coat that is as close to your real size as possible, ensuring that the shoulder seam aligns with where your shoulder naturally ends. This will pair well with any casual outfit from a t-shirt and skinny jeans for men (complete with brown leather boots), to boyfriend jeans and black leather lace-up flat boots for women.
However, if you are looking to wear your duffle coat as a formal outfit, go for a size bigger so that it fits over smart jackets. This ensures there’s enough room to accommodate for the extra fabric underneath. That way, your stunning duffle coat can be worn with a shirt and tie, a smart jacket and skirt, or a shirt and jumper combo for the colder spells.
When it gets really brisk out there, pair your duffle with a tartan scarf for the ultimate contrasting look that works well in both formal and informal settings. Or, for the same look, consider a duffle coat with a contrasting tartan hood.
Camel duffle coat
This winter, transform an ordinary t-shirt and skinny jeans combination with a camel duffle coat.
Every fashion devotee knows that camel tones are on-trend this year. This lighter shade of brown is an absolute classic when it comes to winter coats for men and women.
To bring an ordinary outfit to life, pair a camel toggle jacket with dark blue or black skinny jeans for a suave but casual look. Complement this look with black or brown flat leather boots. (Works for men and women.)
For ladies, a camel duffle coat also pairs well with distressed white skinny jeans. Black suede booties add a touch of finesse to this otherwise low-key look.
Black duffle coat
Of all the duffle coat styles, the black ones are probably the most adaptable because they go with almost anything.
Ladies, stay stylish on busy days with a black summer toggle coat, grey sweater and black leggings. Or, for a more sophisticated appearance, wear a women’s black swing duffle (pictured below), a white blouse and a smart pencil skirt—complete the look with glamorous heels for added wow-factor.
For the dudes, the black duffle is the most versatile of them all; it’s likely to pair well with almost all of your outfits. An all-black look is always a winner and a pretty effortless style to go for. Also, try combining with different shades of grey.
Navy duffle coat
For both men and women, the navy duffle coat works best as a smart-casual outfit. Wear dark jeans and a navy toggle coat for a dapper casual get-up. Combine it with a dark blue scarf to really make the outfit sing.
However, for men, a navy duffle can also be paired with a full suit and tie for a more formal look. And for women, a navy duffle over a formal dress adds some inventiveness to your daily work attire.
Girls, consider pairing a navy duffle with dark slim jeans; black suede booties bring a classy aesthetic to the ensemble.
Boys, go for a navy duffle and grey sports jacket for a smart—but not too smart—attire that will show off your sartorial savviness.
Brief history of the duffle coat
An essential item in any devoted fashionista’s winter wardrobe, the duffle coat is a perennially stylish option for the chillier months. Characterised by its traditional toggle fastenings, a spacious cut and roomy hood, this garment is an icon of British style.
Rooted in the British Royal Navy, this polished piece of outerwear is the ideal accompaniment to a relaxed, informal look. It also works well as a formal get-up, demonstrating the versatility of this timeless classic.
Although it is strongly associated with British fashion, the duffle coat’s name comes from the Belgian town of Duffel—where a coarse, heavy wool of the same name was used to create bags. A similar material was adopted by the British Royal Navy, who used it to craft overcoats.
After the Second World War, a surplus of duffle coats saw them grow in popularity among civilians. The coats were distributed by Gloverall: the ‘Gloves and Overalls’ wholesalers. (That’s us!)
In response to its growing demand, Gloverall modernised the traditional duffle, transforming it into a casual-wear staple. (Something we still do today; jackets like our Short Monty display how innovation and reinvention continue to define our brand.) Since then, the word ‘duffle’ became synonymous with Gloverall.
In the 50s and 60s, duffle coats became the choice for intellectuals and students. The duffle coat was soon worn by mods in the UK and beatniks in the US. Then, from David Bowie to Oasis, musicians have further cemented the duffle coat into 20th-century popular culture.
Speaking of duffle coats in popular culture, who could forget a certain Peruvian bear named Paddington? The lovable children's character first appeared in his iconic blue duffle coat in Michael Bond’s A Bear Called Paddington, published in 1958.