Peacoats vs duffle coats: which classic coat should you choose?

With the colder months stretching ahead of us, there’s no better time to invest in a winter coat

With so many styles out there from duffle coats to peacoats, trenches to parkas, finding the best winter coats can be a little overwhelming. As well as keeping us warm, a decent winter coat needs to be stylish, versatile and last from one winter to the next, especially if we’re splashing the cash.

Two classic coats that have stood the test of time – and are the warmest winter coats – are the peacoat and duffle coat. Stylish and practical, they crop up every year in many different varieties.

If you’re thinking of snapping up one of these snug styles, read on to find out which one is best for you.

Peacoats vs Duffle coats: Which style is best?

What is a peacoat?

The most distinguishing feature of the peacoat is that it is double-breasted. Originally worn by sailors, it now comes in an array of styles, from trend-led tweed to colour-popping hues. It’s often quite short in length, but longer fits have started to emerge. Its tailored style means it can instantly smarten up any winter look.

Are peacoats easy to style?

In short, yes! Peacoats work just as well with jeans as they do with dresses. If you’re looking for a piece of outerwear that will go with the majority of your existing wardrobe, go for classic colours, such as a camel coat or navy. But if you want to make more of a statement, choose cool checks and primary hues.

“I like a peacoat as it’s naturally short in length, so it works well for petites,” says Paula Moore, fashion director at Woman & Home.

“Oversized, boxy styles can sometimes drown my figure, whereas a peacoat has more of a tailored fit, so it is a lot more flattering. Look for details such as gold-embossed buttons for an extra-luxe touch and always check the wool percentage if you want to stay cosy.”

While the style is classic, there’s something super stylish about a traditionally tailored peacoat in an eye-catching bright colour to make a statement.

The age-old fashion trick is to tuck your scarf into your peacoat for a stylish, polished finish. This will, of course, also help you stay warm in winter.

What is a duffle coat?

There’s no more famous duffle-coat wearer than Paddington Bear in his iconic blue number. The signature toggle fastenings on duffle coats were made to make it easy to fasten and unfasten when wearing gloves, while the name “duffle” refers to the material – the thick, woollen fabric originated from a town called Duffel in Belgium. Nowadays, the duffle coat is often made with a softer wool fabric.

If you’re after warmth, check the wool percentage; the more wool, the warmer the coat. Duffle coats are often knee-length or shorter and they have a hood, making them super practical in unpredictable weather.

Are duffle coats easy to style?

Just like a peacoat, the duffle looks stylish with everything, from trousers to skirts, but its hood and boxy style means it’s not quite as smart. Chunky knitwear is a dream match for the cosy duffle; it’s ideal for outdoor weekend adventures and keeps you cosy, but it’s more practical than polished.

A duffle coat can be an eye-catching outfit choice, but to look stylish the fit has to be right. Plus, from a practical perspective, in winter the coat needs to fit snugly in order for it to keep you warm.

For that reason, we’d say consider a size down from your usual coat size; the oversized look will only look a little dishevelled in this instance. For a quick check on sizing, ensure that the shoulder seam aligns with where your shoulder naturally ends.

Peacoats vs duffle coats: which one is best?

You can never have enough coats, right? And we’d be inclined to bag both of these. Duffle coats have the added bonus of a hood, so are ideal if you get caught in a downpour during a country walk.

However, if you’re looking for something a bit smarter, the peacoat is more versatile when it comes to dressing up for the evening. Hey, we never said buying coats was easy!

Charlie Bell

Charlie is the Deputy Fashion Editor at Future plc across multiple women’s magazines including Woman & Home, Woman and Woman's Own.

She bagged her first magazine job in 2009 and has previously written for titles including Stylist, Closer and Dare. Over the years Charlie has embraced anything that was thrown at her from styling celebrities to testing out the best jeans on the high street to writing about must-have beauty buys.

With a weakness for a printed midi dress, Charlie is on a mission to shop more sustainably and loves finding new ethical brands and second-hand buys.