Last week I posted on the search for classic duffle coats and their extraordinary hybrid history and promised details of a coat that I’d found that was a really great mix of the wooden toggles and sisal fastenings of the Gloverall Montgomery with the more wearable 60s style tartan lined pancake hood models.
Duffle coats are one of those odd things that when you search on Google give you hundreds of false positives, shopping sites and the like; not to mention the hundreds of fashion and women’s fashion versions out there. But search I did, and eventually I found a link to a site called UK Duffle Coats where they had some nicely made tartan lined and horn toggled numbers, but then I noticed they also had a vintage looking model with wood toggles. Knee length and avoiding the current skinny fashion of beardy workwear types, the coat looked pretty spot on. To cap it off it was Made in England and incredibly reasonable at £150.
This nice vintage ad on the Ivy League Look blog showed a coat that was almost identical.
A few days after I found the site I noticed the same company was selling on eBay with free shipping on returns, and eBay being a habit I bought it from there.
The coat arrived the next day, and it was really impressive. Nice detailing and the 40 fit perfectly to size over a jumper (does anyone wears them over a sports jacket these days?) and great proportions. In fact, it looked almost identical in cut to the Baxter clothing ad above from 1962. Then I noticed that the check lining, nice as it was, was different to the image on eBay. Being an irritating perfectionship (bit polite with it) I emailed the seller and got immediate friendly service from their customer dept. A couple of days later, another email to say they found one with the exact tartan I was looking for (a very dark blue and green with red stripe through it, more subdued than the mid-blue below) and they are shipping it off to me as I type.
I’m not certain about the history of the company. They did send me some blurb and it’s safe to say that they have been making duffle coats since the 19th Century at least 60 years before Gloverall claim to have started. I wonder if it was the coat making department of John Partridge that was up for sale some years back by the owners of Thomas Pink and claimed a very similar heritage? (Update: the John Partridge brand is now registered at the same address as The Original Montgomery so that appears to be the case.)
Anyway, great to see an affordable English made classic product that hasn’t abandoned all to the fashion of the last five minutes (Baracuta take note!). I’m sure our Japanese friends have not overlooked this product, but you can bet it costs at least four times more in United Arrows or Beams!
Here’s the blurb Original Montgomery sent me:
“Original Montgomery is the oldest surviving company chosen by the British Admiralty in the early 1890`s to make the first duffle coats. The duffle was designed to keep out the worst of weather whilst not restricting the movement of sailors. This first fabric was the same double faced material we use today,double faced to create a true weatherproof barrier. We made duffles for initially the Royal Navy but these were ‘traded’ between officers from the Army and later the Royal Flying Corps. AS a result during WW1 our duffles were made for all services. The first raiders behind enemy lines, the Long Range Desert Group later to become the SAS, used duffles as cover for the cold nights and seat cushions for the days travelling many hundreds of miles across the deserts of North Africa. Today, as in the 1890`s, we make all of our duffles in England – as far as we know the only company that still does.”