I've had this old Brooks Brothers duffle coat for a few years now. Originally picked up at a thrift shop (of course) for $12.99, it quickly became a favorite. I wear it a lot with jeans and sweaters, and over preppier jacket and tie combos involving tweeds, blazers, button down oxfords, cords, et cetera. The blanket lining keeps me warm, and the brownish shade of tan works well with anything. The only thing I never liked about it was the leather thong toggles and silly plastic "teeth", but I could live with it. But a real duffle coat ought to have rope and wood toggles.
Fortunately, replacement sets can be ordered from Gloverall, the English manufacturer of these coats, for less than $10. I ordered a set over a month ago, and it arrived in short order. In the package are eight pieces of jute rope and four wooden toggles. I had hesitated about bringing the coat to the tailor to have the new toggles put on, mostly because I didn't want to be without the coat for a week or two in the middle of Winter. Then today we were snowed in, so I decided to have a go at it myself.
The fist thing to do is basically assemble the toggles. Each wood toggle is wrapped in jute rope which I then sewed tightly in place. The remaining four pieces of jute were sewn into loops. When doing this step, make sure to leave the loops wide enough to easily accommodate the wood toggles when fastening them.
Next, after carefully removing the old leather thongs with a seam ripper, I sewed on set on partially to insure that I had the placement correct. In order to keep things neat, I made sure to stitch through the ghost of the stitch marks left by the original thongs. Then I tacked down the other end and trimmed off the excess jute. Repeat with the rest of the toggles.I set the project aside a few times to do other things, but all told the entire process took little more than an hour.
In the end, I find the coat to be vastly improved. It's a small detail, but an important one. No doubt I've gotten my $12.99 worth out of this coat in the last four years, and with these new toggles it will last for many more to come. Sometimes the best new coat is your favorite old coat.