Like so many members of the men’s fashion family, the Men’s Duffle Coat has its roots in military fashion. A popular theory is that the military frock coat, which has been used by the militaries of many different countries pre-20th Century, is the basis for the Duffle coat. What’s very well known is that the British Royal Navy began issuing the duffle coat to its sailors in the late 1800s. (And before we go any further, let’s just dispense with the spelling issue right here. It can be spelled either d-u-f-f-e-l or d-u-f-f-l-e.) The coats used by the Royal Navy were made by Original Montgomery, an apparel company in England that still makes the coats today. This is why the duffle coat — which is the only wool fashion coat to sport a hood — is so associated with England.
Other than the hood, perhaps the most notable feature of the men’s duffle coat is the toggles that are used for the front closure. The toggle is, traditionally, made of buffalo horn while the strap (which is looped over the toggle) is traditionally leather. This type of closure was created because it was easier for seamen to open and close their coats with gloves on. The closure itself is so associated with the duffle coat that it’s also commonly known as a toggle coat.
Whatever you call it, this particular fashion certainly isn’t limited to England, as it’s very popular just about anywhere. We did note, in preparing this post, that not everyone knows that the coat is named duffle. Here’s a quick video that will make you say, “Ahhhh. Right. I know what a duffle coat is.”
Something to keep in mind about the video: the chap correctly recommends wearing the coat with a suit or some very nice clothing. What he doesn’t mention is that the duffle coat can most definitely be worn with more of a street look. Heck , you could pair it with jeans and something from our list of the Top 10 Best Men’s Dress Sneakers 2017. In other words, this is a coat you can rep with any style.
Most traditionally, the coat is made of boiled wool. This is simply a process of agitating the wool in water in order to tighten the fabric and make it more weather resistant. Since the duffle coat branched out from military wear and became an everyday favorite of people everywhere, it’s been made with many different fabrics other than wool. Some of them are repped here.
1. Original Montgomery Men’s Duffle Coat
From the original makers of the men’s duffle coat. This made in England beauty is the epitome of the men’s duffle coat, as it is just about as traditional as you can get. We’re showing it here in navy, but it’s also available in charcoal and camel. This specimen is made of 70 percent Italian wool and features a tartan lining. Of course, it comes with the traditional leather straps and buffalo horn toggles. Like the traditional duffle coat, this one is somewhat long: about mid-to-lower thigh. If you’re interested in something shorter, take a look at this Original Montgomery, which features three toggle closures as opposed to four. Unlike several of the pieces in this list, the Original Montgomery — in this model — does not have a detachable hood. We don’t see that as a downside, but we do think it would be great if the coat had side hand warmer pockets, in addition to the flapless pockets. Super minor point, though, because we think this coat scores a 100.
- Tartan lining
- Italian wool
- Buffalo horn toggles
- No side hand warmer pockets
2. Cole Haan Duffle Coat
A very beautiful edition of the men’s duffle coat. This Cole Haan piece is 65 percent wool and features a rib knit collar and quilted lining, a couple of elements that will help a lot if you’re out in the elements. In addition to the snap closures for the hood, which is removable, there are also white drawstrings (another feature to help in rough weather) that contrast brightly with the navy color. This model does have side hand warmer pockets, as well as the front flap pockets. Cole Haan does offer another type of duffle coat — or, at least, what they’re calling a duffle coat. As you can see in this Melton, a couple of key duffle features are missing: no hood and no toggle closures. It’s a nice looking coat, but it ain’t a duffle coat. This second entry on our list most definitely is a men’s duffle coat, and it’s a beauty.
Price: $416.89-$629.99 (depending on size selected)
- Hand warmer pockets
- Quilted lining
- Rib knit collar
- One color only
3. BGSD Benjamin Duffle Coat
Another very traditional men’s duffle coat. This camel colored version features four toggle closures with the additional zipper closure. It’s got the snaps up at the collar, which is great for tough weather. The hood is detachable (via zipper) and the piece is lined and filled with insulating polyester. Several of the reviews (almost 90 percent of which are five and four stars) mention the warmth of this coat. If you have to find something to possibly take the teeny-tiniest bit of exception to, let it be the flapped pockets. The original duffles used by the military didn’t have flaps, but they became often seen in civilian models.
Price: $169.99 (15 percent off MSRP)
- Four toggles
- Detachable hood
- Flap pockets
4. Infinity Sheepskin Duffle Coat
With this entry, the list moves away from the traditional wool. This unit is all sheepskin, with both the outer shell and the lining. Whether or not you’re after the classic men’s duffle coat, it’s undeniable that this is a fantastic looking coat. It really is well put together for any rough weather, as it features double collar buttons as well as a button closure for the hood flap. The hood, also lined with sheepskin, also features a drawstring closure, adding to the weather proofing quotient. The maker, Infinity, calls the sheepskin duffle coat “the ultimate winter luxury.” They’re pretty much on the mark, as this entry is one of the most expensive on the list.
- Collar buttons
- Detachable hood
- Rain resistant
- Non-traditional material
5. Simons Leather Duffle Coat
Another non-traditional material, this one in cow leather. More precisely, it’s Nappa leather, which is a leather that’s been produced to be particularly soft. The 3/4 length here is traditional and it does have four toggle closures, in addition to a zipper closure. The hood is detachable and the flapped front pockets feature snap closures. This model comes with an open cuff design which might allow a bit of wind in, if you’re out in the elements. The maker, Simons Leather, is based in the Bournemouth-Poole area of England.
- Detachable hood
- Toggle and zipper closure
- Non-traditional material
- Open cuff design
6. Original Montgomery Mayfair Knitted Duffle
Another entry from the original makers of the men’s duffle coat. This version by Original Montgomery is a bit more affordable, and a lot different than our first entry on the list. Here, the outer fabric is knitted (in Italy) and presented in a unique olive color. The inside fabric is waterproof. The coat features four very contrasting toggle closures, rope hasps and two flap pockets. Hood is removable. Coat is also available in indigo, fawn, orange, charcoal and red.
- Olive color and five other color options
- Shorter length
7. Gloverall Duffle Coat
In terms of the tradition behind the men’s duffle coat, Gloverall just about marches in lock-step with Original Montgomery. That is, while OM created the version worn by the Royal British Navy, it was Gloverall that brought the style to the masses. At the end of World War II, Harold and Freda Morris purchased all the excess duffle coats from the British military. They sold out pretty quickly and the savvy couple decided to start manufacturing the coats themselves. As for this tan version, it is very traditional in just about every respect. The flapped pockets are reflective of the civilian mode that emerged post-war. The toggles are traditional buffalo horn with the leather loop fasteners and the inside is in a traditional tartan pattern. This model includes what the company calls an “added collar,” which will be very handy in inclement weather and will give the coat a great look should you decided to removed the detachable hood.
- Snap collar closure
- Detachable hood
- No zip closure
8. Hart Schaffner Marx Navy Moffett Coat
This is in the longer length range of duffle coats. The fabric 60 percent wool, 30 percent poly, 10 percent other. It is a solid navy on the outside while the inside is plaid. The four toggles feature leather trimming and there is a covered zipper closure. The two flap pockets also have side entry pockets and there are multiple interior pockets with this coat.
Price: $65.86-$298 (depending on size selected)
- Long cut
- Ample interior pockets
- Only available in navy
9. Helly Hansen Canvas ASK Duffel Coat
Our ninth entry to the list also resides outside the lanes of tradition. The Helly Hansen is a waterproof, breathable canvas coat, but it does feature toggle closures. These aren’t buffalo horn: the toggles are made of aluminum and the straps are dynema rope. Helly Hansen says the toggles on this model are “a custom design tribute to the modern racing yacht.” The coat’s length is a bit shorter than the traditional 3/4 length. Comes in either red or navy and, traditional or not, it’s a good looking joint.
Price: $299.99-$650 (depending on size/color selected)
- Contemporary look
- Non-detachable hood
10. Marc New York Kyle Duffle Coat
Longtime New York City designer Andrew Marc finishes up the list with this charcoal version. This piece is 63 percent wool (22 percent poly, seven percent Rayon and three percent acrylic) and features three toggle closures with non-leather bands. Additionally, there’s a front zipper closure and collar snaps. The hood is detachable and the coat takes on a significantly different look without the hood.
Price: $85.32-$230 (depending on size selected)
- Detachable hood
- Zipper closure
- Non-leather toggles