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The traditional Saint James pea coat available in Canada

Traditionally cut from a navy blue wool sheet and loved by sailors, the Saint James pea coat is as functional as pleasing to the eye. This short coat is, even today, made by seamstresses in France that are holding the know-how worthy of the brand that Saint James put in with great care in their products.

Photo Saint James pea coat in the rain for men
Image source: Saint James

The origin of the traditional marine pea coat

With its particular characteristics, one could suspect that the pea coat has its origin in the marine world. This short coat would surprisingly hold its origination from coats worn by some Arab pirates from the Maghreb region from the 15th century through the 17th century, which they called at that time qaba.  

It was not until the 19th century that this waterproof wool coat was giving its noble character by becoming a piece of the British Royal Navy uniform. Throughout Europe, several military Marine Corps will later be fitted with this functional coat. The pea coat will even be popularized on American soil in 1881. It will also be adopted by the US Navy and this, until the recent 90s.

Typically made with a wide collar to lift in colder weather, the pea coat also stands out with its buttons that are decorative ornaments as well as a functional one. A more contemporary feel is added to some models of Saint James pea coat. The presence of more distinguished materials, especially at the collar, or the contrasts of seams colour on the coat are just some ways to accomplish it.

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Why is the pea coat double-buttoned?

In the past, the closure of the pea coat required a double buttoning to better withstand the winds. If you pay close attention, it is almost imperatively a buttoning with eight buttons or two rows of four buttons.

Photo Young sailors
Young sailors wearing the pea coat as a coat during the Second World War between 1939 and 1945.

What is the difference between a pea coat and a duffle coat?

Although both are made of thick, waterproof woollen sheets, the duffle coat is longer while the pea coat is shorter. With a few similarities, the fact is that the duffle coat and the pea coat from Saint James are two classic jackets for the French brand. Each of them presented with their unique accessories, buttons and functional characteristics.

The modern pea coat according to Saint James

This iconic coat of the navy still holds, to this day, its distinguished even aristocratic look of the past while being combined with different cuts, fabrics, colours, lengths and weights from one manufacturer to another. The Saint James pea coat is, for its part, respectful of the historical characteristics represented by a traditional sailor pea coat of yesteryear.

Over the years, Saint James has allowed itself to go off the beaten path. Which allowed Saint James to achieve what they know how to do so well: modernize a piece of clothing, traditionally made for sailors, to be part of the wardrobe of men and women, without ever losing sight of its authentic character.

Saint James Men's Peacoat Photo
Image source: Saint James

The Saint James pea coat for women

The pea coat for women took longer to be popularized than the one for men. It was not until 1962 that Yves Saint Laurent revisited this classic for men and redesigned it to insert this piece in one of his collections for women.

Saint James peacoat photo for women
Image source: Saint James

Sometimes embellished with frills here and there (shoulder pads, fine seams of colour, etc.), the Saint James pea coat for women also benefits from the historically noble character that this coat exudes. The Saint James pea coat for women is a very classic marine style coat, but feminine.

A pea coat for women Saint James  X  Isabelle Ballu

A recent collection combining the know-how of Saint James and the creativity of a French designer, Isabelle Ballu, was very well received in the summer of 2020. Armed with her interest in visual art, this renowned Parisian designer knew how to take traditional nautical clothes, always made with care by Saint James, and give them a breath of fresh air. Dress, polo and, of course, the Saint James pea coat is one of the flagship pieces reviewed by Isabelle Ballu.

The Saint James pea coat for men

True to the manufacturing quality of the original pea coat, the Saint James pea coat for men offers a range of coats. Different lengths (always short), cuts and types of collars that sometimes reflect a little less of some criteria requested by sailors of recent centuries, but which are more in line with what the modern man wants.

James Bond picture
James Bond (Daniel Craig) featuring the men's pea coat  (Casio Royale, 2006).

You will notice that the Saint James pea coat are always faithful to navy blue. Even today, this gives justice to the traditional and authentic character of this waterproof wool. Traditionally with a flared cut at the waist to allow a greater range of movement that requires some sailing maneuvers, straighter and fitted cuts are offered now to better suit today’s use.

The advantages of a Saint James wool coat

Saint James is a guarantee of longevity and a product derived from proven know-how since 1889 and can be trusted with your eyes closed. Made with high-quality wool, the Saint James pea coat offers excellent insulation while avoiding retaining moisture and odours. Although the woollen sheet sometimes gives way to other materials (polyester and other fibres), we recommend that the Saint James pea coat be well taken care of for its natural fibre will keep you warm for many years.

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