Made from Hudson’s Bay point blankets, these striped coats are iconically Canadian. The blanket design was introduced in the late 1700s by the HBC, and the material was soon adapted into coats by fur traders. Point blanket coats remained popular in Canada, first as utilitarian garments, later as fashion. The true Hudson’s Bay blankets were made in England. Some were tailored for and sold by the Bay, others, while they bear the fabric tag showing they were made from Hudson’s Bay blankets, were made into coats by and were retailed by third party companies, as is the case with the red Maine Guide coat pictured below.
Right from the start, there were competitor companies with their own striped trade blankets, like Early’s Witney Point, Horn Brothers, Trapper Point, or Ayers. The list went on, each with their own variation on the basic striped scheme. Many of these also made their way into the production of coats and jackets. The classic 20th century point blanket coat is a double breasted, belted mackinaw style, though the fabric has been tailored into everything from a “perfecto” style motorcycle jacket to a pullover hoodie.
Examples from my collection
1950s Hudson’s Bay: The classic cut and colors. Interesting in that the orientation of the stripes is reversed from the usual
1960s Hudson’s Bay: Men’s shirt style. Also commonly seen in a women’s version.
c.1950s/1960s Mac Mor: Company founded in 1951, based out of North York, Ontario.
c. 1960s Gleneaton. Made of Ayers blanket. Milium insulated
1930s Hudson’s Bay. Very old one, with buttoned belt. Had buttons under collar for a hood
1940s Hudson’s Bay/ Maine Guide. Tailored by Maine Guide from HBC blanket
1960s Lakeland: Designed by Jeffrey Banks. 1949 union label. Same style blanket as the Buckskein, but reversed orientation
1950s Buck skein: Duffle coat style. “Thermalized” lining
The bold patterns and bright colors of these blanket coats put them squarely into the “love it or hate it” category of vintage menswear, and outside of their native Canadian habitat can seem a bit out of context. While they can seem a bit flashy by modern menswear standards, these coats came from a rugged outdoor tradition.
Photo from LIFE magazine photo archive
Men’s striped blanket coats are still available from a variety of makers, but they seem to have shied away from the traditional vibrant colors, opting instead for more subdued earth tones and shades of gray. While the Hudson’s Bay Company still retails their blankets (they now sell between $370 and $580), in an odd twist, their former competitors in the camp blanket market are now working with them. The material used in their current production blanket coats is made by Pendleton Woolen Mills. The blankets are distributed in the US by Woolrich Woolen Mills.
Current and recent offerings:
Whether vintage or modern, find your inner Canuck and give a blanket coat a chance.