Curious Case of Buttons on Pea coats

As a piece of clothing Pea coat is a woolen double-breasted short overcoat. This outwear appeared in the British naval forces in the middle of the 19th century. Two decades later Pea coat became an indispensable accessory of American sailors’ military outfit.

Buttons on classic Pea coat

Classic version of a Pea coat had eight buttons, four on each side. The American version had an anchor and thirteen stars symbolizing the first American colonies. And in the Russian navy jackets had only anchors, as Russia never had colonies.

American sailor in a Pea coat

The buttons were made of wood or light metal. They were big and round. Their peculiarity was that they were flat in order to prevent them from getting stuck in ship’s rigging: the many ropes, the details of superstructures.

After the 2nd World War the number of buttons decreased to become six.

At first, Pea coat was used as comfortable working clothing, no pretending whatsoever to be stylish and fashionable. It was easy and comfortable to work in it on the ship. Wide collar protected safely from severe sea winds.

Pea coat buttons
Buttons of a modern Pea coat

The collar could be buttoned completely with the upper button. The thing about Pea coat was that all of its buttons were functional. Both breasts could be buttoned depending on the direction of wind. That’s why the second row of buttons was sewn not for beauty of symmetry, but in order to make the naval outwear more comfortable and functional.

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At certain fleets buttons of Pea coat had not only the picture of an anchor, but of an anchor with ropes wrapped around. The picture was applied through stamping. In modern jackets the buttons are made of different metals, including gold, and anchors are engraved.

Button as an important style element

Buttons for the modern fashion followers is a special thing to take pride in. They may be bespoke, of different sizes and designs. Nowadays they serve not only to button up multifunctional stylish clothes, but are also a designer decoration.

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