Two winters ago, I saw this great deal on a new coat through an online retailer. I was in the market for a new winter coat that didn't come with a big corporate logo on it - i.e. that came from the company I worked for. Instead of paying the 'listed' price of $300 USD for it, I had a great e-coupon that let me purchase it for about $130. Score!
Thus began my enjoyment of what Mrs. Spit smilingly calls my "Paddington Bear Coat". Yes, it's true, I'm being compared to a character famous for his appearance in children's literature.
The coat in question is an English Duffle Coat, authentically made by the fine folks at Gloverall of England. It's made of thick wool, with buffalo horn toggles, covers me to my knees, and truly makes for an excellent winter jacket. I can wear it with jeans or with a suit with equal comfort and suitability.
Today I was thinking about my coat, as I had worn it to work for the first time this winter. Mrs. Spit was home feeling under the weather (she's much better now, she's not dead yet!) and I needed to take the light rail to work. As winter has returned with force and it was a balmy -23C this morning, it was going to be a bit of a brisk walk to the station. With no more layering than wearing a light fleece shirt, I was comfortable.
According to the all-knowing folks at Wikipedia, the duffle coat was first brought about in 1890. That would explain why it has two pockets, and the fleece jacket by Scott eVest of modern design has about 24 pockets, including pockets for my iPhone. Sadly, no such ammenities in the duffle coat. However, given the choice, I'll take warmth over convenience and pocket storage.
I can certainly see how, given some thick sweaters and such, the duffle coat was the standard issue for the Royal Navy during both World Wars. It's a warm piece of kit!
While my coat might lack modern fabrics, might be heavy, might not be completely wind proof at the opening - I'll take it over the modern winter coat any day. It's got panache. And more to the point, it's warm, which is a quality much regarded in the dark, cold winter that we're soldiering through at the moment.