Fastenings of the duffle coat

What characterises the duffle coat? The hood, the pockets, the thick woolen fabric… but the main feature is the fastening. Take four characteristic oblong toggles and loop buttonholes — and you have the well-known coat of the British mariners in front of you. This type of fastening impressed designers so much that there appeared parks, short shirred jackets, raincoats, sheepskin coats and even sweaters equipped with the distinctive features of the duffle coat fastening.

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Mittens are no troble

The duffle coat is fastened with four toggles that resemble tusks in shape. Why do they look like that? During World War I the windproof coat made of the Belgian fabric duffel became the winter uniform of the British navy. Cold winds, frosts, tough weather conditions — of course, the mariners had to wear thick mittens or gloves.

Men’s duffle coat and warm gloves
Men’s duffle coat and warm gloves

The «walrus tusks» (as people began to call the fastenings) carved out of buffalo horn were easy to put through the firmly attached leather loops without being bothered either by the thick mittens or by the numb frozen hands. They could be fastened and unfastened even with one hand!

The husky element

The wooden toggles attached on a jute rope proved themselves no worse that the ones made of bone during the war. Despite their elliptic shape, they’re also commonly called walrus tusks.

This model of the duffle coat with wooden toggles and cordage is called «Monty» after the eminent British field marshal Montgomery, who wasn’t squeamish about wearing a simple coat.

Today producers of the classic duffle coats use wooden toggles much more often than ones made from natural horn, and buffalos are definitely happy.

Horns and cartridges

The duffle coat is really very convenient when it’s cold — you can fasten or unfasten the coat with gloves on. Today the coat is sometimes supplemented with a zip fastener hidden under the toggles in addition to the four «tusks». However, the classic models still cope without it.

So, what does the modern duffle coat fastener look like?

  • Four toggles.
  • Leather or textile cords and firmly attached buttonhole loops.
  • The classic flagship models have «tusks» made from natural horn or wood.
Wooden toggles of the duffle coat
Wooden toggles of the duffle coat Gloverall

Actually, if you have bought a duffle coat and you are content with everything about it except for the toggles, you can always replace them. Internet shops offer a wide range of various toggles: both wooden ones, ones carved from horn, modern plastic ones and various vintage ones, in all shapes and sizes. There are even toggles in the shape of cartridges: manufactured for duffle coats exclusively, the goldish toggles are made from real bullets, which are, of course, absolutely safe by that time. This type of fastener will undoubtedly please the fans of steampunk style and those who like everything original, but it’s better not to sew «cartridges» to the classic duffle coat.

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