The men's duster coat originated in Australia when an
entrepreneurial sailor used old boat sails to make coats for the
sailors. He soaked the sails in linseed oil to waterproof them and sewed
them into long capes that would withstand the toughest weather.
Eventually the sailors left to the Australian outback to become drovers
and the garments became known as drover coats.
sailors and their move to the outback came the Texas Rangers, who wore
the men's dusters. The design was made to accommodate the horseback
rider. It had a slit in the back that was held together with buttons to
keep it from opening. The garment was long and the fabric used to make
it was either linen or canvas. It was treated as oil cloth which made it
With the appearance of the open motor car in the
1920's the men's duster coat had its resurgence. Because the car,
predecessor of our convertible, was open it gathered dust and other
irritants which forced the driver to wear a protective uniform. The
objective was to cover as much of the body as possible, which this full
length garment did.
The garb quickly made its way into films and
books. In films the good and bad guys both wore it to make them look
strong and adventurous. In books the garment was worn by spies,
villains, vampires and other worldly visitors. Stephen King's book
series The Dark Tower had the villains wearing long yellow dusters.
modern man wears the men's duster coat to make a fashion statement and
to possibly change his image, but whatever the reason he still cuts an
elegant figure when wearing one.