Overcoats

If you want to be taken seriously at work then jackets from The North Face will simply not cut it. They might be great for hiking and other outdoor activities but sartorially they will make you look like an amateur.

During the winter the only acceptable outerwear with a suit is an overcoat. Simply put an overcoat is a heavy coat worn by men over a suit for work or special occasions.

Finding a good looking overcoat can be difficult due to the wide range of options available. Should you opt for wool or cashmere fabric? What about the length; full-length or knee-length? By understanding the various options available you will avoid any disappointment, especially if purchasing an overcoat online.

When it comes to tailor-made clothing men tend to think strictly in term of suits and shirts. Having a tailor-made overcoat is usually overlooked. If you can afford to, I fully recommend paying a trip to a tailor. You are guaranteed a perfect fit and the use of luxurious fabrics. However, it is important to note that it is still possible to purchase an amazing overcoat straight off the rack. You just have to know what to look for. Here is a clear set of guidelines which will help you understand the various types of overcoats.

Length

Traditionally, overcoats extended almost all of the way to the ankles. These are able to accommodate a wide range of body shapes, including those who are slightly fuller figured. Full-length overcoats tend to be warmer than the shorter knee-length variety. This makes them ideal for those colder winter months. It is worth noting that they may get dirtier than knee-length overcoats due to their close proximity to the ground.

Recently, there has been a growing trend towards overcoats which extend as far as the knee. These are ideal for men with slimmer builds and who like their their coats to mold to their body. Knee-length overcoats are definitely the more fashionable choice.

Charles Tyrwhitt, Navy wool cashmere overcoat, £199.00
Charles Tyrwhitt, Navy wool cashmere overcoat, £199.00

Fabric

If you plan on wearing your overcoat for several years then you will need to make sure you purchase a coat which is made of 100% wool. The heavier the coat the longer it should last due to the fabric being more durable.

Cashmere is the most popular fabric used for overcoats as it is extremely warm and soft. It is worth noting that overcoats made from cashmere will eventually show wear on the cuffs and collar. A good compromise is a wool cashmere blend. This will be considerably cheaper than a full cashmere coat with little difference in warmth or appearance.

Style

It is entirely up to you whether you chose a single-breasted or double-breasted overcoat. The single-breasted overcoat is less formal and can be worn open, not always requiring to be buttoned up. It also gives the wearer a slimmer looking appearance. Double-breasted overcoats are slightly more formal and are warmer in winter due to the two layers of fabric over your chest.

Suitsupply double breasted
Suitsupply, Double Breasted Blue Coat, £399
Zara Checked Overcoat
Zara, Checked overcoat with faux leather detail, £159

Fit

Make sure that your overcoat fits squarely around your shoulders. Depending on your body shape, you will either want it to cut in around the waist for slimmer figures whilst fitting squarely for the larger gent. Avoid shoulder pads unless you want to look like an American football player. A common mistake that some make is to get their overcoats too large. When trying on your overcoat, it is worth wearing a suit or a jacket to ensure that the overcoat accommodates these extra layers whilst still compliments your normal size.

REISS Chaplin overcoat
REISS, Chaplin Long Epsom Coat Navy, £265
John Lewis Epsom Herringbone Coat
John Lewis, Charcol Epsom Herringbone Coat, £250

Final Thoughts

You should treat your overcoat as a smart investment which will last for many years to come. Do not be afraid to spend more on yours, it will be facing the harsh winter weather so having some durable is a must. Fit is essential and it is always worth considering visiting a tailor to ensure the fit is perfect. As this is such a significant investment, you may be put off purchasing online, rather wanting to see and try on your autumn/winter companion for the foreseeable future. Montague Jeffery based in St Giles Street in Northampton specialise in menswear and also offer a tailoring service. For those at the beginning of their sartorial journey, it may be worth a visit to learn more about what fit and style compliments your body shape before purchasing online. Remember, every time you throw on your overcoat you will be upping your style game.