Pea coat

Military surplus coat, produced for the US Navy

A pea coat (or pea jacket, pilot jacket) is an outer coat, generally of a navy-colored heavy wool,[1] originally worn by sailors of American and European navies.[2] Pea coats are characterized by broad lapels, double-breasted fronts, often large wooden or metal buttons, and vertical or slash pockets.[3] References to the pea jacket appear in American newspapers at least as early as the 1720s,[4] and modern renditions still maintain the original design and composition.[1]

A "bridge coat" is a pea coat that extends to the thighs, and is a uniform exclusively for officers and Chief Petty Officers. The "reefer" is for officers only, and is identical to the basic design but usually has gold buttons and epaulettes.[2]


Today the style is considered a classic, and pea coats are now worn by all manner of individuals. The style has evolved to the addition of hoods.

Note that few of the jackets seen on the street are genuine navy surplus; being a classic garment, it is frequently available from retailers, though often with small design changes that reflect the current fashion trends. The standard for historical pea coats was 30 ounces (approx. 850 g) wool, most often made of heavy Melton Cloth through the 1970s in the U.S. Navy. Presently coats are made from 22–32 oz (620–910 g) wool. While pea coats are offered in many colors by retailers, the U.S. Navy-issue pea coat[5] is always Navy Blue (which appears black, to the untrained eye).

The term "pea coat" originated from the Dutch or West Frisian word pijjekker, in which pij referred to the type of cloth used, a coarse kind of twilled blue cloth with a nap on one side.


  1. ^ a b "US Navy-style Pea ("P") Coat". US Wings Inc.. 2008. Retrieved 2007-12-31. 
  2. ^ a b Carl Saylor (2007). "The History and Evolution of the Pea Jacket". ArticleSplash. Retrieved 2007-12-31. 
  3. ^ Stilson, Sam (2007). "The Perfection Of The Pea Coat". The Soko. Retrieved 2007-12-31. 
  4. ^ Boston Gazette, Iss. 22, May 9–16, 1720, p.3
  5. ^ "§5 Article 3501.41 Peacoat (E6 and Below)". U.S. Navy Uniform Regulations. Retrieved 2009-10-16. 

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • pea coat — noun Etymology: pea (as in pea jacket) + coat : pea jacket * * * pea coat, = pea jacket. (Cf. ↑pea jacket) * * * ˈpea coat 8 [pea coat] …   Useful english dictionary

  • pea coat — noun A coat of heavy, navy coloured wool, originally worn by sailors of European navies. Syn: pea jacket …   Wiktionary

  • pea coat — noun another term for pea jacket …   English new terms dictionary

  • pea coat — /pi ˈkoʊt/ (say pee koht) noun → pea jacket (def. 2). Also, peacoat …   Australian English dictionary

  • pea-coat — …   Useful english dictionary

  • pea jacket — noun a sailor s heavy woolen double breasted jacket • Syn: ↑peacoat • Hypernyms: ↑jacket * * * ˈpea coat 8 [pea coat] ( …   Useful english dictionary

  • pea jacket — 1. a short coat of thick wool, usually double breasted and navy in color, worn by seamen, fishermen, etc. 2. a jacket or short coat styled like this, worn by adults and children. Also called peacoat, pea coat. [1715 25, Amer.; pea, var. sp. of… …   Universalium

  • Coat (clothing) — For other uses, see Coat (disambiguation). Not to be confused with Overcoat, a garment meant solely as an outer garment. A coat is a long garment worn by both men and women,[1] for warmth or fashion. Coats typically have long sleeves and are open …   Wikipedia

  • pea jacket — /ˈpi dʒækət/ (say pee jakuht) noun 1. a short coat of thick woollen navy coloured cloth worn especially by sailors. 2. Also, pea coat. a similar garment worn by men and later by women, with broad lapels, double breasted front, large buttons, and… …   Australian English dictionary

  • pea jacket — pea′ jack et n. 1) clo a short, double breasted coat of navy blue wool, worn by seamen 2) clo any jacket or short coat resembling this Also called peacoat Etymology: 1715–25, amer.; pea, var. sp. of pay, pee, pie coat of coarse woolen cloth (late …   From formal English to slang

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