What Is the Difference Between Peacoat and Trench Coat?

Trench coats and peacoats are timeless pieces in men’s fashion, originally designed for military use. Over the past few years, they have also gained significant popularity in women’s fashion, particularly during the colder seasons. What distinguishes trench coats from peacoats?

The two are very different from one another. Trench coats are usually heavy-duty and waterproof, while peacoats are shorter and made of wool. It is also possible to distinguish between the two based on other style features.

Can you tell me which one you should choose? To make an informed decision, carefully examine each coat type before choosing. I will explain each coat type in detail in this article, including its physical characteristics and style.

Key Takeaways

  • Trench Coat Origins and Features:
    • Originally developed for British and European army officers, highlighting rank and privilege.
    • Made initially from rubber, now commonly crafted from gabardine—a breathable, waterproof cotton twill.
    • Known for being durable, lighter than peacoats, and better suited for precipitation. Features include a double-breasted design, broad lapels, buttoned pockets, a waist belt, and wrist straps.
  • Trench Coat Pros and Cons:
    • Pros: Slimming design, waterproof, durable, light, and easy to layer.
    • Cons: It provides little insulation, and belts/straps can be cumbersome.
  • Peacoat Origins and Features:
    • The system originated with the Dutch navy and was adopted and popularized by the British Navy. It was aimed at keeping sailors dry and warm.
    • Traditionally made from wool for warmth and bulk, it is available in navy blue but now in various colors.
    • Characterized by a double-breasted design with broad lapels and vertical or slash pockets.
  • Peacoat Pros and Cons:
    • Pros: Warm, stylish, traditionally hip-length without unnecessary extras.
    • The cons are that it is not waterproof, can be too warm for fall weather, and lacks a shaping belt.
  • Differences Between Trench Coats and Peacoats:
    • Material: Peacoats are made from wool for warmth; trench coats from gabardine for durability and water resistance.
    • Length: Peacoats are hip-length; trench coats are traditionally longer for full-body protection.
    • Design: Both are timeless, with subtle modern variations in fit, length, and color. Trench coats have larger pockets and sleeve straps; peacoats do not traditionally have belts.
  • Care and Maintenance:
    • Due to their wool fabric, peacoats require careful maintenance, including dry cleaning. Trench coats, being more robust, may be machine washable, depending on the material.
  • Styling Tips:
    • Fit is crucial for trench coats and peacoats, with attention to shoulders, sleeves, and torso.
    • Trench coats are suited for transitional seasons and lighter winter days, adaptable from formal to smart-casual looks.
    • Peacoats are ideal for winter, blending seamlessly into casual and formal settings but unsuitable over bulky layers like suits.

The Key Differences Between Peacoat vs. Trench Coat

It is important to choose a coat that is both stylish and protects us from the elements. We want to take into account certain characteristics. It can be easier to decide if you know more about these characteristics. I created this chart to help you understand the differences between trench coats and peacoats.

PeacoatTrench Coat
DesignDouble-breasted, 6 buttons, large collar, stylishDouble-breasted, 10 buttons, large collar, practical
FabricWool or wool/synthetic fiber blendTraditionally navy, but comes in other colors as well
WarmthWarmer than a trench coat, better for winter/snowNot as warm, better for rainy or windy days
LengthHits at the hips to mid-thighHits at the knees or below
FittingTapered fit, more shape-definingLooser fit to accommodate bulky clothes/layers
ColorHand wash or wash on a gentle cycle lay flat to dry, and wash the lining separately.Traditionally khaki, but come in other colors as well
BeltNoYes
Water ResistanceHighVery High
CostDepends on the fabric and designerDepends on the fabric and designer
CareDry-clean or hand wash, lay flat to dryTraditionally navy, but it comes in other colors as well
When to WearCasual and formal occasions in late fall, winter, and early springCasual and formal occasions in fall and spring, mild winters
When Not to WearSummerSummer and cold winters

What Is a Peacoat?

What Is a Peacoat?

Navy sailors traditionally wore peacoats, although there are differing stories about where and when they were first worn. Because of this, peacoats were originally made of navy blue fabric.

Despite their popularity, navy blue peacoats can also be found in neutral colors. You can even find peacoats in patterned fabrics and brighter colors for women’s fashion.

Peacoats have evolved in color selection, but their design has remained unchanged. The buttons on a traditional peacoat were one of its most distinguishing features.

About being worn as part of a navy uniform, the buttons had anchor designs on them. Despite the popularity of plastic buttons, some peacoats still have metal buttons.

What Is a Trenchcoat?

What Is a Trenchcoat?

While trench coats were worn well before World War I, they got their name from soldiers who fought in the trenches during that conflict. Traditional trench coat colors were khaki and olive green, meant to be more discreet. In addition to protecting soldiers from wind and rain, they were designed to be more heavy-duty.

In the years following World War I, trench coats became less associated with the military but retained some key characteristics. Like peacoats, trench coats for men today tend to be neutral in color, while trench coats for women come in a wide range of colors.

Originally, trench coats were more practical clothing than fashion statements. Today, they are possible to wear for both dressy and casual occasions, but they aren’t necessarily suited to dressy occasions. Their heavy-duty materials and lack of embellishments are to blame for this.

How Do Trench Coats and Peacoats Differ?

Now that we have more information on their origin, background, and general purpose, let’s look at some details of peacoats and trench coats. Comparing them will help you better understand each one’s general purpose and style.

Design

trench coats and peacoats design

The general design of peacoats hasn’t changed much over the years, making them a classic and timeless item of clothing. Peacoats today are designed to be stylish rather than associated with the military. There is a wider range of colors, fits, and fabrics available today. In addition to the large collar, buttons, pockets, and double-breasted silhouette, the design has not changed.

Peacoats and trench coats share the feature of being double-breasted and having buttons on the front. Although their design features reflect their practical nature, they have always been more stylish. The sleeve straps, for example, can keep rain and wind out by tightening the sleeves around the cuffs.

They also have large pockets with buttons to keep your stuff more secure. You can access the pockets from the inside or outside. Moreover, gloves or other small items can be secured with epaulets (shoulder tabs). Even though trench coats are still worn today, they can also be stylish because they come in various colors.

Fabric

Because of its thickness, warmth, and water resistance, wool has always been the material of choice for peacoats. Although they may not be 100% wool, peacoats are still mainly made from wool today. Polyester, cotton, and nylon may also be used in some peacoats. However, the quality of peacoats offered by these materials isn’t as good as that of wool, even though they are cheaper.

Rubber was traditionally used to make trench coats in the nineteenth century. Despite rubber’s excellent rain protection, it soon became apparent that it was not the best material.

With Thomas Burberry’s help, trench coats began to be made from heavy-duty cotton called gabardine. The Gabardine fabric proved to be the ideal choice: lightweight, durable, and waterproof at the same time. Despite its age, trench coats are still made from it, as well as synthetic materials like polyester.

Warmth

Woolen peacoats keep you warm because they are designed to keep you warm. You won’t just stay warm by wearing wool fabric. A peacoat’s design also plays an important role. The coat fits closer to the body due to its snug front buttons. By doing so, cold air and wind will not be able to get underneath the fabric. To keep the cold air off your neck, turn up the large collar in the back and button it in the front.

You will also stay warm in trench coats, but not as much as in pea coats. Trench coats, made of cotton gabardine rather than wool, keep you warm and dry. A trench coat, however, has a large collar that can be turned up to keep your neck warm. You can also tighten the sleeves and cuffs. Peacoats, however, have the advantage when it comes to warmth.

Length

The peacoat is longer than most other types of jackets since it was designed to be worn over a uniform.

Generally, peacoats reach the midpoint of the thigh or are slightly lower. They are slightly longer than men’s shirt hemlines, making them ideal for women to wear over blouses and dresses.

There is a difference in length between trench coats and peacoats. In most cases, they strike at or even below the knees.

The long sleeves protect against wind and rain because they cover more of the body. The reason the military preferred them is that they are not so long that they are challenging to move around or easy to trip over.

Fitting

To make movement easier, the bottom of the peacoat flared to provide a straight cut. The fit of the peacoats has now been tapered. Wearers gain a more defined shape thanks to the tapered fit. Additionally, the double-breasted shape has more room at the shoulders, which aids in better upper body movement.

In addition to being straight-cut, trench coats have a looser fit than casual coats. Military uniforms were loosely fitted to accommodate their bulk. A looser-fitting trench coat, however, allows for layers to be worn underneath to increase warmth since trench coats aren’t as warm as jackets. Double-breasted trench coats allow for more shoulder movement as well.

Color

Navy blue was the original color of peacoats, indicating that naval soldiers wore them. Today, peacoats come in various colors, including gray, black, and brown, as well as red, green, and even plaid patterns.

For camouflage, trench coats typically came in khaki, sand, and olive green. It is still possible to find trench coats in these traditional colors, but they also come in various colors. Yellow, red, and blue trench coats are not uncommon in women’s fashion, especially in yellow, red, and blue.

Belt

Trench coat belt

There is usually no belt attached to peacoats. Even though some modern designers may add belts to their peacoat designs, the more fitted nature of peacoats means they don’t require belts to be defined.

It is common for trench coats to have belts. This belt, part of the original design, could secure a sword or other equipment.

For practical reasons, today’s trench coats do not have belts. In contrast, trench coats tend to be looser-fitting, so they can be tightened to shape the coat.

Water Resistance

Woolen peacoats are extremely water-resistant. The wool fibers aren’t 100% water-proof but can absorb as much as 30% of their weight before becoming saturated and soaking through. Consequently, peacoats are warm and can keep you dry if you don’t allow them to become saturated.

In addition to not being 100% waterproof, trench coats are not completely water-resistant. Heavy-duty fabric contributes to this. The trench coat will keep you dry in wet weather, even if it is not particularly cold outside.

Cost

Ultimately, peacoats and trenchcoats differ in price based on the type of fabric they are made of. A garment made of wool will cost more than one made from another fabric because wool is rarer.

Additionally, trench coats typically have a belt and a longer length, so you need to consider that when comparing trench coats to blazers. The use of more fabric could increase the cost. Both trench coats and peacoats from high-end designers can be expensive, so it’s essential to consider the coating designer.

Care

Wool peacoats require specialized care since they are usually made from wool. Due to the easy damage that can be done to wool fibers, it is usually recommended to dry-clean only wool. The wool can also be hand-washed, but it should be washed in cold water and with a gentle soap. Drying wool in a dryer, whether peacoats or anything else, is never a good idea. Avoid direct sunlight and heat by laying it flat to dry.

A cotton trench coat or another heavy-duty material is easier to maintain than a synthetic one. Trench coats with removable linings should be washed separately if they have one. Gentle cycles are best because they cause the least amount of agitation. The fabric should also be washed in cool water to prevent shrinkage. Heat can also damage the fibers of the coat, so avoid drying it in the dryer. Instead of hanging it to dry, lay it flat.

A Guide to Wearing and Not Wearing Coats

Winter is the season for wearing peacoats when the weather is colder. You may also need a peacoat if you live in a region where fall and spring days are chilly. However, you should avoid wearing a peacoat only in the spring and summer due to rising temperatures. When it’s hot out, wool can feel stuffy and hot.

Peacoats are suitable for casual and formal wear. It doesn’t matter how you dress them. If you wear them with jeans and a nice blouse, they are appropriate for work or a fancy dinner.

Trench Coats

Trench coats are best worn during mild temperatures in spring and fall, especially on rainy days. Trench coats keep you warm, but they may not keep you warm enough during winter. Summer can also be when trench coats become too warm to wear.

Trench coats can be worn casually or professionally with jeans or for a day at the office. However, trench coats can also be worn formally depending on their general style. Modern trench coats can be worn for any occasion despite their traditional design elements.

Pros and Cons of Peacoat

Now that we’ve covered all the details let’s summarize the pros and cons of peacoats.

Pros

  • It can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion
  • Winter, fall, and spring are the best times to wear it
  • The perfect combination of comfort and style
  • It is made of wool, which keeps you warm.

Cons

  • Care must be taken when caring for wool
  • Wool can cause allergic reactions in some people
  • Water-repellent, but not as good as trench coats.

Pros and Cons of Trench Coat

Let’s also examine the pros and cons of trench coats for a summary and comparison.

Pros

  • Covers a greater area of your body due to its length
  • An improved water resistance over peacoats
  • You don’t have to take as much care of them
  • Suitable for both formal and casual occasions.

Cons

  • Warmer than a peacoat but not as warm
  • They aren’t as versatile – they aren’t suitable for winter
  • There is a lot of fabric- some people may find it too heavy.

Different Peacoat Styles

While all peacoats have the same basic design features, the styles have minor differences.

  • Classic Peacoat – a double-breasted coat with a large collar and hip flare.
  • Bridge Peacoat – long, double-breasted, large collar, a long length that reaches midthigh.
  • Single-Breasted Peacoat – a peacoat with a large collar but a single breast instead of a double breast; a more casual style.

How Do You Choose Between Peacoats and Trench Coats?

Now that you have all the information, how do you decide which one to choose now? Consider several factors before making a decision. Climate and how much protection you need from the elements are probably the most important factors to consider.

If you live in cold or snowy winters, you might choose a peacoat instead of a trench coat. It will keep you warm and protect you from the cold. Please wear a peacoat. It might be a better idea to wear a trench coat if you live in a milder climate or if it is rainy. You will remain dry even though it is not as warm.

Your lifestyle should also determine the one that suits your style. Trench coats look professional and are great for more formal events, while peacoats can be dressed up or down. It is also possible to wear both casually.

Furthermore, it would be best to consider how easy each coat type is to maintain. A wool peacoat usually needs to be dry-cleaned or hand-washed if it is made of wool. Alternatively, trench coats can be machine-washed, requiring separate washing for the lining. Take a moment to consider how much time and patience you need to take care of your coat.

Women’s Peacoat

Women’s Peacoat

A double-breasted peacoat from Anne Klein is for women in navy and XS. It is available in 11 neutral, vibrant, and leopard prints.

A blend of wool and polyester fabric makes it dry-clean only, and it comes in five sizes. This peacoat is stylish and flattering thanks to its flared bottom that hits just below the hip.

Whether running errands, going to work, or even going on a dinner date, you can wear it all winter long and stay warm and dry.

Men’s Peacoat

Men’s Peacoat

A men’s peacoat in 3 neutral colors, black, charcoal gray, and navy, is available from Nautica in a small size.

The fabric blends wool, polyester, and other fibers, which can only be dry-cleaned. There is an extra layer of warmth provided by the quilted lining.

Despite its classic style, this peacoat has all the details that make it a classic. The jacket has long sleeves and slanted vertical pockets. It is double-breasted. Additionally, gloves and other necessities can be stored in pockets in the interior lining.

Women’s Trench Coat

Women’s Trench Coat

The trench coat is made of 100% polyester, which is windproof and water-resistant. It can be machine-washed, so it is easy to maintain. It is suitable for both men and women, with or without the removable belt. It is available in 10 different colors and six different styles, and the pockets are deep, so you can carry everything you need.

The trench coat will keep you dry on rainy days whether you are wearing jeans or a suit.

London Fog Men’s Iconic Trench Coat

London Fog Men’s Iconic Trench Coat

With all the traditional elements of trench coats, the London Fog trench coat for men has a classic look. It is available in khaki, navy blue, and green color schemes. This trench coat is made from nylon and polyester and will protect you against wind and rain.

Trench coats were originally double-breasted, had 10 buttons on the front, and had sleeve straps. The wool blend collar of this trench coat is detachable for easy cleaning and is one of its unique features.

Peacoat vs. Trench Coat FAQs

What factors should I consider when choosing a men’s coat for winter?

When selecting a men’s coat for winter, consider the material, style, and functionality. Wool is a popular choice for warmth and durability. Decide between classic styles like overcoats, pea coats, and trench coats based on your style and the level of formality needed. Additionally, evaluate the coat’s length and whether it is single or double-breasted, as these features impact warmth and appearance.

What is the difference between a topcoat and an overcoat?

The primary difference between a topcoat and an overcoat is their weight and length. Topcoats are lighter and typically wool, designed to be worn over suits without adding much bulk. They are ideal for less harsh winter conditions or formal events. Overcoats, on the other hand, are heavier and longer, providing more warmth and coverage. They suit colder weather and can be styled for formal and casual looks.

Can you explain the unique features of a pea and trench coats?

A pea coat is a sturdy, double-breasted wool outerwear piece known for its shorter cut and versatile style that complements both casual and formal outfits. It offers warmth and is ideal for cold winter days. A trench coat, traditionally made from cotton gabardine and now also available in wool, features a longer cut with a belt. It is lighter than a pea coat and suitable for milder weather. The trench coat’s style is iconic for its sophisticated and timeless appeal.

How can I ensure my coat selection is both stylish and functional for winter?

Focus on the material, lining, and design to ensure your coat is stylish and functional for winter. Choose a wool or wool blend for optimal warmth. Consider coats with quilted or padded linings for extra insulation. Pay attention to the coat’s cut and silhouette to match your style preferences. Also, look for functional features like deep pockets, adjustable cuffs, and hoods for added practicality in cold weather.

What are the options for coat linings, and how do they impact warmth and style?

Coat linings significantly impact both warmth and style. Quilted or padded linings offer additional insulation, ideal for colder temperatures. They also add structure to the coat, enhancing its appearance for formal settings. Unlined coats, in contrast, are lighter and more suitable for milder weather. They are less structured, offering a more casual look, and allow the skin to breathe, reducing overheating. The choice of lining should be based on the climate and your personal style needs.

Where is the best place to purchase a winter coat, and can I customize it?

The best place to purchase a winter coat is often online, where you can access various styles, materials, and sizes. Many online retailers offer customization options, allowing you to select your coat’s fabric, cut, color, and lining. Customization ensures a perfect fit and a coat that aligns with your style. Additionally, you can benefit from customer reviews and detailed product descriptions when shopping online.

Conclusion

After reading this guide, you should know better tell the difference between a trench coat and a peacoat. Both originated in the military, but men’s and women’s styles have adopted them. Trench coats are longer and more water-resistant than peacoats, which are shorter and warmer. Dress them up or down according to your mood.

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