Reviewed & updated: October 19, 2022 by Jamie Wilson BA
So A/W is steadily approaching and the task of purchasing a coat is on the horizon. Picking the right coat is important for any style conscious man, and an overcoat is classic fit that you shouldn’t get wrong.
Choosing the right coat for autumn and winter can be a tricky task. You don’t want a jacket that doesn’t look right on top of your other clothes and that doesn’t fit you either. The same applies for overcoats. An overcoat is a classic piece of menswear that can be worn over suits or for casual attire. Like any piece of clothing, it should fit well to your body and height. If you’re still unsure if an overcoat is for you or not, head over to our key outerwear guide for autumn/ winter 15.
What is an Overcoat
So before we start you might be thinking, what is an overcoat and why do you need one? Well if you often opt for the smart look and want to look suave come the winter months then it’s not rocket science, you need one of these. Overcoats are usually worn over suits in winter, however, they have become more and more popular and are often just worn to bump up your style points – cue the infamous London Fashion Week drape.
What makes and overcoat different from your average coat is the fabric and length it is made in. Traditionally an overcoat is made of a thicker material, like wool and tweed and sits below your knee in length. Not to be confused with a topcoat – which it often is, a topcoat sits above the knee and is usually made of a lighter material.
However, all this being said the length of an overcoat in this day and age is debatable. Not many young professionals want to look like The Penguin with a coat that sits way past their knees, so some of the properties of and overcoat and topcoat have been blending to make a hybrid overcoat – still with me?
Style of Men’s Overcoats
We have the dictionary definition of what an overcoat is down, so now lets get into the styling! There are so many different types of overcoats on the market. Like literally hundreds, different styles, cuts, fabrics and patterns. We aren’t here to overwhelm you with all the different styles, we have carefully hand selected our top picks of style for you to get your head around.
Men’s Wool Overcoat
Like we stated above, overcoats are generally made of thicker materials, and wool is the traditional fabric overcoats are made from. The properties of wool make it the perfect material for a coat as it insulates whilst being durable and resilient. It’s worth looking for an over coat that is 100% wool, this will not only make you feel premium but it will last you a few years as well.
Men’s Camel Overcoat
Not so much a fabric, but definitely a colour to look out for. Camel has become the IT colour for coats for the past few seasons, and has no signs of going out of fashion any time soon. When looking for a camel overcoat consider wool, and wool blends for a nice luxe look, if you want to take one step further in that premium direction then consider looking for a mohair blend.
Are you looking for a more traditional looking overcoat? Then the tweed design might be the one for you. Tweed is a fabric made out of wool but is yarned in a pattern to give the effect. The most famous tweed you can buy is Harris Tweed, which is produced in England, just to keep in mind a Harris Tweed overcoat will set you back a few hundred. Tweed like wool is insulated and extremely durable, though it tends to have a more coarse look to it.
Double Breasted Overcoat
A double breasted overcoat is the perfect homage to traditional attire. The double breasted coat sits under the military umbrella and was first work by soldiers in the Victorian era. Though now the whole double breasted look can be dressed down as being a bit more smart casual, especially paired with your trusty chinos.
Similar to tweed we have the Herringbone style, this is another traditional fabric for those of use that like the classic look. Herringbone is a twill fabric with a distinctive v-shape pattern. This pattern is named so as it resembles the skeleton of a Herring fish.
Men’s Black Overcoat
Following on the traditional route, these is nothing more simple and sleek than a black coat. The black overcoat is great for those of us that want versatility with our outerwear. If you want a coat that cant transition from work to casual then this is the best pick for you.
The grey overcoat (like a brown overcoat) works well for when you want to brighten up those autumn months. Don’t be afraid to wear you overcoat with slightly more casual accessories – try a beanie for instance.
Slim Fit Overcoat
Now if you have a slightly more petite frame then it’s work investing in a slim fit overcoat. There are loads on the market for you to choose from it just takes some looking to find the right fit for you. I would recommend trying them on before you buy to make sure the fit is right for you, as purchasing an overcoat that is too large for your frame will end up drowning you.
Length is important. An overcoat should reach below your waist but not too far below the knee. Too long then the overall aesthetic and look will be thrown off. Aim for it to be just a couple of inches above your knee. This way it will match whatever you have on your bottom half, exposing your trousers and not covering around two thirds of them.
If you’re worried that you are too short for an overcoat, then let the length flow down a bit more, but not too much as this may make you look even shorter. Any shorter than just below the waist and above the knee will resort in an overcoat turning into a pea coat.
The Shoulders and Arms
The overcoat shouldn’t restrict your arm movements. It should rest nicely on your shoulders, with the seam connecting the shoulder and the arm sitting just on the edge of your shoulder blade. When trying an overcoat on or any jacket, lift your arms out in front of you if they feel restricted and if you feel a pull from under your shoulders then chances are it’s too small.
Depending on what you wear underneath, will alter how an overcoat fits. It shouldn’t be too loose around your waist or too tight. You should be able to fasten it up, without it feeling too tight or stretching the fabric.
Getting the colour right with an overcoat is important. Camel is an on trend colour, however you perhaps want to avoid looking like Dellboy, unless you’re aiming for the geezer look. As it’s a classic piece of menswear then keep it simple with opting for one in either grey, black or navy.
Depending on what you wear with an overcoat depends on what colour you opt for. For example, if you want an overcoat for work or business, then keep it black or grey. Yet if it is for more causal attire opt for either camel or black.
Your Quick Guide to Overcoats
- Remember when choosing an overcoat shop around and find the style that best speaks to you
- If you are looking for a tradition coat then consider tweed and herrigbone patterns
- Navy, camel and grey overcoats are very fashion forward, whilst a black on is super versatile
- An overcoat doesn’t just have to be for formal looks, you can dress them down with different accessories and jeans
- Make sure your overcoat fits! You don’t want to look like a child wearing your dads coat.
On That Note…
So I hope you are down with all things overcoat, we have gone through styling, fits and potential outfits. When the winter months come along you will have to invest in a jacket to keep you warm (especially if you live in England), and overcoat can become a wardrobe essential overnight.