One You Can Buy: Original Montgomery Duffle Coat

| 15 Aug ’11 | 14 Comments

Last week I posted on the search for classic duffle coats and their extraordinary hybrid history and promised details of a coat that I’d found that was a really great mix of the wooden toggles and sisal fastenings of the Gloverall Montgomery with the more wearable 60s style tartan lined pancake hood models.

Duffle coats are one of those odd things that when you search on Google give you hundreds of false positives, shopping sites and the like; not to mention the hundreds of fashion and women’s fashion versions out there. But search I did, and eventually I found a link to a site called UK Duffle Coats where they had some nicely made tartan lined and horn toggled numbers, but then I noticed they also had a vintage looking model with wood toggles. Knee length and avoiding the current skinny fashion of beardy workwear types, the coat looked pretty spot on. To cap it off it was Made in England and incredibly reasonable at £150.

Pretty identical to the model below save for the US version's button in wool liner

This nice vintage ad on the Ivy League Look blog showed a coat that was almost identical.

This was the kind of model I was looking for...

A few days after I found the site I noticed the same company was selling on eBay with free shipping on returns, and eBay being a habit I bought it from there.

The coat arrived the next day, and it was really impressive. Nice detailing and the 40 fit perfectly to size over a jumper (does anyone wears them over a sports jacket these days?) and great proportions. In fact, it looked almost identical in cut to the Baxter clothing ad above from 1962. Then I noticed that the check lining, nice as it was, was different to the image on eBay. Being an irritating perfectionship (bit polite with it) I emailed the seller and got immediate friendly service from their customer dept. A couple of days later, another email to say they found one with the exact tartan I was looking for (a very dark blue and green with red stripe through it, more subdued than the mid-blue below) and they are shipping it off to me as I type.

Wooden Toggles and Sisal Rope Frogging - 4 closures

I’m not certain about the history of the company. They did send me some blurb and it’s safe to say that they have been making duffle coats since the 19th Century at least 60 years before Gloverall claim to have started. I wonder if it was the coat making department of John Partridge that was up for sale some years back by the owners of Thomas Pink and claimed a very similar heritage? (Update: the John Partridge brand is now registered at the same address as The Original Montgomery so that appears to be the case.)

Pancake Hood

Anyway, great to see an affordable English made classic product that hasn’t abandoned all to the fashion of the last five minutes (Baracuta take note!). I’m sure our Japanese friends have not overlooked this product, but you can bet it costs at least four times more in United Arrows or Beams!

Tartan check faced Melton cloth from Italy

Here’s the blurb Original Montgomery sent me:

“Original Montgomery is the oldest surviving company chosen by the British Admiralty in the early 1890`s to make the first duffle coats. The duffle was designed to keep out the worst of weather whilst not restricting the movement of sailors. This first fabric was the same double faced material we use today,double faced to create a true weatherproof barrier. We made duffles for initially the Royal Navy but these were ‘traded’ between officers from the Army and later the Royal Flying Corps. AS a result during WW1 our duffles were made for all services. The first raiders behind enemy lines, the Long Range Desert Group later to become the SAS, used duffles as cover for the cold nights and seat cushions for the days travelling many hundreds of miles across the deserts of North Africa. Today, as in the 1890`s, we make all of our duffles in England – as far as we know the only company that still does.”
I can’t recommend them highly enough. Oh and there’s no blogger freebies involved here either, just a satisfied customer!
You can find their products here at UK Duffle Coats or if you prefer to buy from Ebay their shop can be found here: Coats UK

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Category: Americana, Campus Ivy, For Sale, Ivy League, Ivy Look, Ivy Style, jackets, vintage, vintage advertisements

Comments (14)

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  1. The Look says:

    Splendid looking coat!

    • The Weejun says:

      Thanks The Look. The Ivy League Look blog was supposed to be linked on there too. Fixed now.

  2. Peter Kinnaird says:

    Also nice to have the four toggles instead of the Monty’s three. The Monty always seemed a little sparse on the old toggle front.

  3. Michael says:

    Great version. It was Italian tourists in Edinburgh that turned me back on to the duffle coats, driving out bad childhood memories. I thought how great these old boys looked with their silvery hair, light brown duffle coats, tartan scarves and corduroys.Back then, I could only find duffle coats to buy in newspaper small adds.
    On the subject of stuff you can buy, there’s a women selling Shetland wool sweaters on ebay. for Primark prices. Saddle shoulders and made in Scotland. I have a couple. Equally as good as the BB Shetland I have, though not as good as my Isles Knit Shetlands.

    • The Weejun says:

      Ah, great minds search alike. I also have a couple from that seller – I found the sizing to be very wide so I got the sewing machine out and stitched the inside into a trim fit, cut off the excess and voila, a 1960s skinny fit style, great over madras and highwater white levis.
      Peter who also commented on here mentioned that Present are selling Shaggy Dog shetlands but not many sizes left.
      I have been planning a post on a round up of Shetlands, will try to get around to it soon.

  4. Michael says:

    Look forward to it. I know a very trad knitwear shop that sometimes has Shetland made Shetlands. The owner told me last week , that she had some gents’ pieces on back order but she didn’t know when she’d get them. The factory that used to employ over 100 people, now only works in the summer months as they can’t afford the heating in the winter. Very sad.

    • The Weejun says:

      That just about sums up a lot of traditional British product, Michael. Very sad, indeed. Twenty years ago I used to order special colours of Westaway & Westaway’s own brand knitwear and they’d make any colour or slight changes to a model at no extra cost. Days long gone.

  5. stefano says:

    Original Montgomery was actually previously known as the Tibett company, one of the last historical brands still alive, with Partridge, which can proud themselves with providing the real stuff since WWI. Congrats

    • The Weejun says:

      That’s right Stefano, I discovered that shortly after writing the post. I think the present owners just bought the name and like the other duffle makers all use the same couple of reamining English factories to produce them.

  6. mr. o says:

    I’ll buy one of this not so long ago (chocolate brown w/ horn toggles). I was very disapointed, when found after 3 month, that first toggle leather hook break off. I have wear my coat very carefully. May be it’s just horn toggles version, i don’t know. I look to their site again, wooden toggles version looks much better in details.

  7. Edward A. Schimmelpfennig says:

    The problem with both the UK Duffle Coat site, which includes Original Montgomery coats, and the site connected to Original Montgomery is this: they provide almost NO sizing information. This is an area that should be revisited and made more useful for domestic and foreign prospects. Nonetheless, the length of their coats is particularly impressive, and I would like to find a good price on the boiled wool version that is very authentic and appealing. Any leads !? Thank you from Chicago — where it is so hot that NO one should be shopping for a winter coat !

    • The Weejun says:

      Edward, not helped by the fact that the two coats I ordered from them were made in different factories and one was at least a full alpha size bigger than the other!

  8. Nick says:

    Just wondering what the fit is like?

  9. To all comments,
    I currently work at Original Montgomery, where we also run the duffle coats UK website, I would just like to say thank you all for the comments, we are very passionate about the coats we produce which are all still made in the UK and it’s great to hear the positive feedback, I would be happy to answer any queries you may have, or any future viewers of this blog may.

    Regards Jacob

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