Purists might say that Gloverall is the only true maker of Duffle coats and while there will always be imitators, no one else could ever get it right. I will always nod toward Gloverall as the quintessential Duffle-maker, but Trovata unleashes its own version of the British staple that caught my eye, with a minimalism that speaks to a new culture of fashion seekers who thrive on creating interest out of simple, traditional pieces.
The original Duffle was made in Britain in the late 19th century and was worn by Navy personnel in World Wars I and II. It was not until after World War II that the design became available for the marketplace and soon after its release, it became a wardrobe staple among civilians. Traditionally, the toggles were made of wood and the jacket always had a hood but future designs would include plastic or horn toggles and a collar would replace the hood. Whether you are a purist or not, it is hard to escape the value of a Duffle Coat, because its simplicity provides a canvas that will allow you to experiment with the rest of your ensemble. The original design contains a boxy cut that tends toward more casual attire, while Trovata’s design offers a more form-fitted silhouette that presents more tailored options to consider. As you may have already considered, a tight fitting pant over a boxy traditional Gloverall may make the wearer appear top heavy and in this sense, Trovata provides an alternative.
The plaid lining, toggles and hood all speak to the traditions that are already cemented in the fabric itself. Duffle (a heavy woolen fabric) will always be known for its importance in the construction of the Gloverall coat, but by piecing these traditional aspects and adding a collar and less emphasis on the toggles themselves, Trovata’s coat enters a more modern aesthetic and I am left wondering if it is too much or if it really hits the mark. I am in love with the styling of the outfit and I like the militaristic feel that is achieved with the form fitting pant and laced up combat boot, but I become bewildered by the collar/hood combination. In the above photograph, the military aesthetic is achieved and the model himself looks great in the jacket, but should he put the hood up, I wonder if the jacket would retain its clean, simple and effortless look. My instincts tell me that there would be too much emphasis at the collar and it would take away from the other detailing (toggles, lining) that complete the look.
For these reasons, I feel Trovata’s Duffle needs an edit.
Something to note: Given the Duffle’s overall popularity, it may be pricey to buy new, or even vintage, but I urge you to start looking now, because the best quality vintage Gloverall options get snatched up quite early (it is most definitely a pre-season purchase). I know for a fact that Toronto’s Kensington market has several in the various vintage shops the area has to offer and while some may not be authentic, they are usually almost undetectable. My advice would be to look for quality. By that I mean you should inspect the toggles and insure they are intact (botched toggle sewing could be the difference between a Winter in style and a Winter in your old H and M bubble jacket).