When it comes to duffle coats Gloverall is where it to most intents and purposes started. No, Gloverall didn’t invent them, far from it, but when the British armed forces decided they had more than they could possibly use, what with it being peacetime and all, it was Gloverall that brought them to the public. And when the surplus duffles ran out, they started making their own. And have kept at it for almost 60 years now.
For me Gloverall really are the only name to consider for a duffle. Sure, look around today and everyone is making one. Pretty much all the same, as well. You don’t want to mess too much with an iconic design like this. And for a design that must be over 70 year old now, and intended for use on boats in freezing conditions out in the North Sea, it still holds up. Then again, standing on the platform this morning waiting for the train couldn’t have been much less freezing than the North Sea.
Sure, it moves in and out of fashion, but to be honest, it’s such stone cold classic that you’ll never be made fun of for wearing one. Well, unless you run into the sort of funsters that will mock you for dressing like your dad. Around here we don’t have a problem with dressing like your dad though.
To get the base facts out of the way though, the duffle is made of a decent weight blend of wool/polyamid. To me it feels warm, strong and resistant to pilling, so it should stay nice for a long time. It’s unlined, though my use so far hasn’t indicated this is a problem. It closes using the classic wooden toggles and jute rope fastenings, with the addition of a press button between toggles 1 and 2 from the top.
The fit of this jacket is worth special mention. These days the styling of most clothes tends towards the fitted and tailored look. The duffle cocks a snook at all that frippery and goes for the truly lose fit. Granted though, look back at the size of Monty’s duffle and todays version looks positively slimline. I don’t know how many wooly jumpers Monty liked to wear, but even my thickest sweaters have room in my jacket. This allows for some quality layering, gents! Also, this one is available in two lengths, long like mine and a shorter version.
The hood is worthy of a mention on it’s own, as it’s made to the same design as the original as shown on the photo of Monty. It’s fixed, and large, and it has those great racing stripes lining it. I did initially wonder why brass press buttons were used, but once I noticed the design of the original, it made sense. The hood is generously dimensioned, so there is room for a good knitted hat inside. Keeps that wind chill off your noggin!
Gloverall proudly make their jackets in England and from what I can tell the craftsmanship is flawless. There is strengthening where necessary, especially for the pockets, buttons and toggles. Visible strengthening is done using the racing stripes, so there are cool details around.
What most people immediately notice, and this is a genuine love or hate aspect, is the decoration on the jacket. As a nod to the mods that embraced the jacket there are a selection of embroidered badges and pins in place. I come firmly down on the side that thinks this is really great, and the result is a jacket that makes me smile. Warm, comfortable, great-looking, and it makes me smile, how can that possibly be wrong?
I’ve really only got one wish: I’d really appreciate an inner pocket, preferably with some closing mechanism. The huge side pockets have lots of volume and are great for stuffing your hands into, but it would be nice to have somewhere to stuff a phone, wallet and train tickets.
Oh, and if you notice stray dog hairs on the jacket, that’s part of living with Rupert the Corgi, the only dog that sheds 24 hours a day, all year round. And he’s proud of it. Sticky rollers are a must.
And oh, again, I guess the twist to this wooly tale is that my dad does in fact have a duffle. A Gloverall. And I’ve been wondering how to free it from his care for ages. Your duffle is safe now, dad, it was easier for me to get my own!
I just noticed Gloverall have 30% off this jacket right now, in case you were considering one. I recommend it.