Car coat in protective ripstop in sand

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Garment

£440.00

Car coat, made in London, with plain-weave protective ripstop from West Yorkshire, and light horn buttons from the West Midlands.

More of this sort of thing

There's not many of these left, by the looks of it. Still, don't despair. Email info@sehkelly.com and perhaps something can be done about it.

Sizing

The car coat fits true to size — the mannequin here, for instance, is as standard a 38 chest as you will ever meet, and wears size S — but is cut to accommodate, say, a shirt and light jacket underneath. If you're not prone to layering, or prefer a slimmer fit, then best go a size down.

XS S M L XL
To fit chest 36 38 40 42 44
Pit-to-pit 20 21 22 23 24
Sleeve over shoulder 31 31½ 32 32½ 33
Back length 33½ 34 34½ 35 35½
Called "protective" for a reason, this cloth. By 'eck does it protect. Rain beads up and bounces off; wind shall not pass. But, also, it was developed with heat-transfer and breathability in mind. By trapping air and wicking away moisture, it is a high-performance shell on cold days, or on hot and sticky ones, alike.
The car coat is a five-button number, which falls to the upper thigh. It has a fairly large and traditional collar, which is cut to sit proudly when down — nothing limp or concave here — and to really hug the neck when up; to shield the wind and not to flop and fall around. The cutting of collars is taken seriously here.
The buttons are horn — light tortoiseshell in colour and matte in finish. Being as they are an entirely natural thing, each looks a little different, one to the next — varying in tone, hue, and striatic marking. Same goes for the hand-sewn backing buttons (below-left) which anchor their big brothers at the front.
The car coat has a curtain — or flap, if you want to take all the fun out of it — which circles its middle, all the way around. Beneath it, at the front, sit two very large patch-pockets. The curtain serves as a cover for the pockets, to prevent rain — or, in certain locales, light fingers — from getting inside.
Not that you'd know it on first glance, but the pockets at the front may also be accessed sideways. "Warmer pockets", they're sometimes called.
With things so eventful on the outside of the coat, inside, things are clean and simple, with a chest pocket on the left-side as worn.
The car coat has a half-lining of even more protective ripstop. In this way, when also taking into account the facing on the inside-front of the coat, you have a double-layer of cloth on the most weather-exposed parts of the exterior. Elsewhere, meanwhile, the seams are smartly bound with beige cotton.
The front of the cloth is a ripstop weave of aramid fibres; the back is a raised ripstop of more aramid fibres. Weapon-grade strength. And yet the cloth is soft and tactile, doesn't much age, and is supremely hardy vis à vis abrasion. Great for travel, too: light and resistant to creasing.

As worn

The gent here is 6'1", weighs in at 12 stone, and has a chest just north of 38. Here he wears a size S. Nice and relaxed, see, the car coat — but, if he wanted a slimmer fit, then a size down would be a-okay, too.

Makers of

The coat is made in north-east London. It is a very specialised skill, assembling coats from heavy cloth, and every reasonable step — and the odd unreasonable step — is to taken to endure things are built to last, from the cutting of the pattern to the work on the machine, but without the results being stiff or bulky.
The ripstop cloth comes from a mill in the Heavy Woollen District of West Yorkshire, founded in the 1800s. Things have, of course, moved very much with the times, and so the traditions of weaving are allied now to cutting-edge, industry-leading standards in weaving, dyeing, and testing.
The horn buttons were cut, shaped, and polished by the last such factory in Britain (now defunct). It was part of a tradition in the Midlands first linked to the meat industry of the 18th century. "It is no easy task," said William Hutton in 1780, "to enumerate the infinite diversity of buttons here in Birmingham."

So they say

The car coat is great. Probably the best-crafted piece of clothing I've ever held. Thanks for the help with everything.

This gent purchased a grey Ventile car coat in November of 2016.

I can only say things about [...] the car coat that you probably already know: they're really, really wonderful garments. I had imagined saving them for the spring, but realised they are both perfect for the weather that we are having right now in south Hessen. The coat is particularly kuschelig and really is like no other coat I've owned.

So said, kindly, by a man who bought the car coat in Ventile in the back end of 2014.

The fit [of the car coat] is good, like I hoped. My wife could not believe that this was newly made coat and not a vintage one, based on the quality of the stitching and the finishing.

High praise received with gratitude by a Ventile car coat owner in Canada in December 2016.

I love the car coat. Beautifully made. And thank you the accompanying care advice. No doubt I shall buy again.

Comments from a chap who bought the car coat in olive Ventile in July 2016.

Just to let you know I have been putting the car coat through its paces over the past few weeks. Rain or wind, it has performed, as expected — spectacularly. The sizing is just about perfect, with or without a jacket underneath.

Few are the chaps who own the car coat in black military-grade Ventile — but here are the words of one, back in 2014.

The liner arrived in perfect shape yesterday, and is already at my tailors with the two coats to have buttons installed. I have had many button-in liners over the years, and this one is the best. The quality of the materials is amazing — most companies seem to use inferior materials for this sort of thing — and the workmanship is your usual perfection.

Sometimes padded woollen liners are made for the car coat. This chap bought one in February 2018, and seems, by all reports, fairly happy with it.