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What should I do to convert my Dad's US Navy Bridge Coat (cf. https://www.usnavypeacoat.com/Bridge_Coat_p/bridge.htm or ) for civilian wear? Think of it as a full-length pea coat. It'd make a handsome overcoat.

I would cut off the straps that hold an officer's hard shoulder boards. In the replicas, I see they often put soft wool epaulets through the straps.

How about the buttons? They are the gold, metal buttons: eight on the front and two on the back (on the half belt). I'm thinking they're a bit "flashy" and I'd replace them with the black, plastic, anchor buttons (as used on the pea coat).

What would you do? Thanks!
 

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Wow! My first reaction was "I wouldn't do anything to it!" but I guess if you wont wear it "as is" it would need to go to a tailor and I guess at that point I would have the shoulder board straps removed and I would swap the metal buttons for black and then KEEP the original buttons but maybe just removing the shoulder board holder thingies would be enough. Personally I dont know if I would convert it at all, but if I did I would make as few changes as possible. After you do the shoulders and buttons, if the sleeve length is ok there isn't much left to do. See if a tailor can do the work in a way that would be reversible if asked.
 

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Those 'shoulder board straps' are called epaulets, an accessory on many fine coats. Remove the insignia, keep the epaulets. I would avoid the anchor butons. You are removing one symbol of rank and replacing it with another. You're a civilian: If you don't want this to look like a surplus amalgam find some nice civilian buttons.
 

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I generally do not favor this type of thing. It is like putting a Chevy v-8 in a Lotus 19 (if there were any left). It may go faster, but the value is less...
 

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I have mixed feelings on this. If you are going to wear it, switch all buttons and remove the shoulder board holders. It will always look like a uniform item to those familiar with US Navy uniforms. But I will say that it is without a doubt the best looking uniform item in our navy's inventory.
 
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