Saturday, 22 January 2011

Commission: Dark Blue Triple-Caped Greatcoat

This voluminous coat is made from a dark blue wool-linen blend and is lined in a bright red faux silk. It is double-breasted and triple-caped, with deep red-braiding-trimmed cuffs and brass buttons.

The Designer and I had joked of coats with four shoulder capes, but it does seem that with a wool coat, three is the limit. It is already rather heavy around the shoulders. The capes are also lined in red so as one moves, the flashes of brilliant red can be seen. As the Proprietor put it, it is good to own kit that looks best when a bit messy.

Greatcoats were apparently also known as cape coats or watchcoats, the latter presumably from them being worn on watch, especially in winter. For all it's faults as a book, there's a rather evocative passage about watchcoats in Moby Dick:

To be sure, in cold weather you may carry your house aloft with you, in the shape of a watch-coat; but properly speaking the thickest watch-coat is no more of a house than the unclad body; for as the soul is glued inside of its fleshy tabernacle, and cannot freely move about in it, nor even move out of it, without running great risk of perishing (like an ignorant pilgrim crossing the snowy Alps in winter); so a watch-coat is not so much of a house as it is a mere envelope, or additional skin encasing you. You cannot put a shelf or chest of drawers in your body, and no more can you make a convenience closet of your watch-coat.
Moby Dick, "The Mast-Head", Chapter 35
The dark blue greatcoat is worn with a white linen frilly shirt (£15 from the Mercenary) and a charcoal waistcoat with six pockets and rivet buttons (£35). The felt top hat was from ebay and is rather fine.

To commission a similar watchcoat from the Mercenary would cost in the region of £160.

More photos of the dark blue watchcoat under the cut.

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