The Classic Duffle Coat by Gloverall
We’re furthering our Anglophilic tendencies this season with the latest arrival at Haberdash: the Gloverall Duffle. Popularized by Gloverall in the 50s and 60s, this dense wool duffle coat is quintessentially British in style and construction, manufactured in England for over seven decades. The toggles make it easy to open and fasten your coat, even with gloves on, and the dense wool will keep you warm through the oncoming assault known as a Chicago winter. We’d recommend going up a size to fit over your suit or sportcoat, or pick up your true size to get a close-to-the-body fit. More on the history of Gloverall, below.
Inside the coat: Gloverall’s distinct double-faced, check fabric
“In 1950 out of sheer necessity, my late husband Mr. Harold Morris and myself went into business as Industrial Clothing Specialist with an already established connection that had been built up over a period of some year previously,” writes one of the founders, Freda Morris, in a letter describing the company’s history. The two started off selling various types of coated chain-mail, industrial gloves, and cotton overalls. It was the combination of those two items—gloves and overalls—that inspired Harold to come up with the name Gloverall. Freda worked on the script for the logo, they registered the brand name, and they were in business.
It was around that time that they also began manufacturing some industrial rainwear and duffle coats, but found themselves faced with a conundrum: “Since by nature and disposition we like a good looking and quality garment, the price was right but the quality was too good and we were left with duffle coats without a market,” writes Freda. “My husband immediately went back to the store trade that he knew so well from pre-war days and we found there was a ready market in the United Kingdom. He substituted leather thongs in place of rope and I discovered the Horn toggles – we were really a team.”
With the help of a surplus of military duffle coats from the UK Ministry of Defense, Gloverall became the first company to bring traditional duffle coats to the masses. From there, the Gloverall Duffle quickly became what Freda calls a “sartorial symbol of social renegades,” favored by the angry young men, art students, beatniks of the era, not to mention a variety of notable celebrities and sportsmen. Think Bing Crosby, Perry Como, John Wayne, Terry Thomas, Dudley Moore, etc.
Gloverall Factory in Corby, mid 1970s
Founder Harold Morris and his son, Roger Morris,
who took over as Managing Director in the early 1970s