Words by Mr Mansel Fletcher
The duffle coat is the only item in the male wardrobe named after a town in Belgium. Duffel, population 16,000, lies 15km to the south of Antwerp, and lent its name to the heavy woollen cloth from which these coats were originally made. The weight of cloth was useful in WWI, when the British Royal Navy issued duffle coats to its sailors. In WWII the coats became indelibly associated with Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery, a British commander, which made their adoption by beatniks and peace protesters in the 1950s rather ironic.
However, this autumn the duffle coat is back on the agenda as part of the appetite for a contemporary and urban take on preppy 1970s style. Here Mr Ed Smith, of literary and talent agency Curtis Brown, models five of our favourites.