Some women avoid double-breasted styles, but seeing the pea coats on several voluptuous friends, I noticed the double row of buttons actually elongates, when the entire coat fits well.
Options are numerous as Christmas trees on a city lot, and today's windows are overflowing with peas!
J. Crew's Majesty Pea (regularly about $325, but on sale if you hit the right day) comes in a turquoise that thumbs its naval nose at winter darks.
Holy flippin' Admiral! Michael Kors makes one in leopard; on sale via House of Fraser, £200:
Lauren (Ralph Lauren) have re-imagined the coat as a down puffer. At first I thought this might deliver the best of both worlds, but it doesn't cover the hips. I do like that it's washable. Price, about $250.
Classics, in degrees of warmth
Land's End "luxe" pea comes in colours like plum and red, but if camel is your palette, consider the vicuna. Price about $200; again, LE run frequent promotions and free shipping offers.
They also carry the coat lined with Thinsulate, but only in neutrals, and a "luxe edition", in regent blue with dark-brown buttons, now on sale (limited sizes) for about $110. (Reading the reviews, I see some women changed the buttons, one of my favourite tricks.)
The French pea coat (caban), in classic navy, from a Breton vendor whom I recommend, Chal Loisir is like dropping anchor in a calm port after those wilder options.
The "Isabelle Hiver" comes in sizes up to a French 52 (see chest measurements on site), and has a soft matelassé lining as well as the requisite and reassuring details. Price, €242 which includes a free lambswool tartan scarf.
A lighter-weight model, simply called "Isabelle" is also on the site, as well as the uber-preppy "St. Briac" from the temple of French BCBG, St. James.
The Brits have staked their own claim to peas.
I admire Brora's Linton tweed pea coat (£425), which looks like a double-breasted coat to me. Made in an evocative tweed (Linton also supply Chanel), with Liberty-print lining, this is one classy topper nonetheless.
Brora also offer a serene Delft blue textured tweed, another Linton fabric, which they also call a "pea coat". The price reflects that provenance (£425), but does not really give us a pea coat, now does it?
Boden edge closer to the classic with the Ledbury Pea Coat, tarted up in orange, as well as navy, with vice-versa flashes of those colours under the collar. (Like all the peas I've shown, it is wool with a small percentage of synthetic for wear.) Price, £159.
You can find an all-wool version at L.L. Bean, and it too is offered in some upbeat hues, with various sale pricing to sweeten the pea. At time of writing, their jacket, shown in Molten Red, was $199, with 10% off till today.
In fact, it's hard to find a coat vendor who does not offer a pea coat, because once out of the temperate zones, everyone needs cozy outerwear. I have a shopping list headed "midweight jacket, not black and I really mean it" and by March will be eager to shed the ultra-warm (yep, black) puffer.
Maybe, just maybe, I could bring in one pea?