For more than 20 years—ever since it got mustered out of the Navy at the end of World War II—the toggled duffle coat has been a country and campus favorite. The original duffle was designed for British officers as a watch coat on North Sea patrols and named after the rough, coarse fabric from which it was made, a fabric that originated in Duffel, Belgium in the 17th century.
But this fall things have happened to the duffle that would leave a U-boat skipper clutching at his periscope. Don Simonelli, designer for Modelia, got the idea of styling up the coat after seeing a friend wear his old school duffle all over New York, and now Modelia is making duffles in all sorts of colors and fabrics, with fur-lined hoods and even with rhinestone toggles. To Modelia's surprise, 3,400 styled-up duffle coats already have been sold. Women find them the perfect answer to what goes best over the season's popular pants outfits for day and evening sporting events.
Shirleen Tucker (left), talking with Phil Jackson and Walt Frazier of the New York Knicks, wears a melton duffle coat with those rhinestone toggles ($160, Joseph Home, Pittsburgh). Ann Turkel's duffle (above left) is of gray wool lined with raccoon ($250, Lord & Taylor, New York). For a Wednesday night fight at the Garden's Felt Forum, Babette Russell, with Jean-Pierre Durante, wears a white wool coachman's cloth duffle with silk toggles and a fox-bordered hood ($200, Hutzler's, Baltimore) and Ann Turkel one of rust-colored mohair and wool, toggled in suede ($160, Saks Fifth Avenue, New York).
Duffle coats are obviously the answer for girls; for news on how men will wrap up this season, turn the page.