Winter is approaching and it will be the overcoat on sartorial display. A good winter coat should last you for years and if you’re thinking of purchasing just one then it has not only to be warm, but versatile for all occasions and also it has to look good on you. So invest in one wisely.
When buying a good winter coat you need to make sure it fits properly and allows movement. Generally you should go for one size larger than you suit jacket as you’re probably going to wear it or a thick jumper underneath. Take the jacket or jumper with you when buying a coat so you can try the coat with them on and get the right size. Then make sure you can move easily by mimicking the actions you’ll probably make whilst wearing it: can you tie your shoelaces easily? Can you raise your arms to flag down a taxi?
For warmth you can’t beat wool and top of the list is cashmere. It’s also soft to the touch which is a good way to keep that lady on your arm. However cashmere is very expensive and not very durable
So choose less expensive wool.
You should consider your own colouring when choosing. Look in the mirror and ask whether the colour is complementing your complexion or is it draining you? Does your skin look sallow or healthy? But don’t get hung up about it too much especially if you have found the perfect fit but it only comes in black – you can always wear a scarf in a colour that is the right shade for you.
The style of the coat is most important – it has to suit your build and height.
In general shorter guys look best in shorter length coats i.e. either ¾ length or just on the knee.
Taller guys suit longer coats i.e. on the knee or below.
Tailored cuts look best on slim or athletic builds, straighter cuts on the more rounded figure.
Raglan sleeves and the fuller coat are also good for the fuller figures, whilst double breasted and belted coats will add bulk so better for the slimmer figure.
A Covert coat is light weight and warm so ideal for a day at the races. Originally used for riding, it has 4 rows of stitching at the skirt and sleeve cuffs to stop them from fraying prematurely. It also has a ticket pocket and is single breasted. Cordings were the originators of the covert coat and apparently tan was the original colour so that horse hair didn’t show up on it. The traditional covert coat style has a velvet collar, but now you can get covert coats without. Black velvet collars go way back to the French Revolution when the English nobility wore them as a mark of mourning for the Aristocracy in the French Revolution. Cordings covert coats are around £425 with an additional cost of £35 for the velvet collar.
The Chesterfield coat is the classic formal coat, heavier in weight and can be tailored in a variety of cloths. This was one of the first straight alternative styles to the tight waist frock coats popular in the Regency period. It comes in double or single breasted (fly fronted) and again does not have to have a velvet collar.
The Crombie is a classic city coat and is usually single breasted and made in navy or black wool. Crombie do have a great slim fit double breasted military coat (very on trend this season) which was inspired by an original Crombie RAF coat from the 1960’s.
The Raglan Coat is so called because of its raglan sleeves, and has a less structured silhouette, therefore less formal than the Chesterfield or Crombie. Great style for the fuller figure, it is usually made of tweed and is a good country coat.
For cheaper quality alternatives go vintage – check out: http://www.savvyrow.co.uk/collections/types?q=Overcoats
Coats with a designer twist
Vivienne Westwood Man – now ignore the model’s tee shirt and fireman style trousers, just focus on the coat. It’s less outrageous than you think. The colour is dark burgundy with a lighter pin stripe and a black velvet collar. The single breasted style has 3 buttons with the Westwood logo design and the back is a 2 vent style. All for a reasonable designer price of £800
Brian Clarke -When you mention the word "sheepskin" people immediately think of Delboy the used car salesman. Brian Clarke has reinvented the sheepskin coat; it has a slimmer fit, giving a tailor made look with unfinished edges to retain the rugged outdoor feel. It is a double breasted 3/4 length coat with an optional hood which can be worn separately. It’s the perfect marriage of fashion and functionality. The coat is available in tan or black with white fur, Cost £1800 with separate hood at £300. Available online at www.brianclarkeclothing.com
And now you’ve bought your coat, don’t forget to accessorise with hats, gloves and scarves. Homburg and Fedoras look good with the tailored coats, it has to be leather for gloves and cashmere scarves are much cheaper than cashmere coats.