The peacoat is a staple of maritime service as timelessly fashionable as it is warm. If you enlist in the Navy, you can get one from Supply for free; if you’re a civilian, you can head to an Army-Navy surplus store and pick one up for less than $100. Or, if you can only be warmed by unearned rank insignia and wool/cashmere blends made in Italy, there’s this $3,500 pea coat from Ralph Lauren.
While the cut, color, and oversized collar all match that of a traditional peacoat, the Navy-issued version (unfortunately) contains no cashmere. The rank insignia — or “embroidered eagle-and-anchor bullion patch,” according to the brand’s Instagram page — either “enhances the nautical heritage of this classic peacoat” or “gives civilians an opportunity to put on rank that takes years of hard work to earn, like it’s no big deal to substitute money for actual time and sacrifice,” depending on whom you ask. The eagle and fouled anchor are also gold instead of the traditional silver.
The price, though, is the real whale in the harbor here: at $3,495, this peacoat adorned with the rank insignia of a chief petty officer costs more than a chief petty officer makes in a month ($2,944.20 base pay for the year 2018).
But wait! Before you go thinking that this coat is egregiously priced and an insult to the people who wear a lesser version as a necessary uniform piece, check out the left forearm:
Two service stripes! That means this fictional Chief has at least eight years of service, and a Chief with at least eight years service is paid at least $3,845.10 per month in the U.S. Navy, which would give him or her a cool $350 to play with after the cashmere-infused upgrade to their foul-weather gear.
Perhaps that seems like too steep of a price for an enlisted sailor, but that’s what deployments are for. Six months of sea pay can make everything from a sports car to a divorce seem affordable.