Monday, October 12, 2009

How to Pick a Coat

With cold weather already upon us, it's time to invest in an overcoat or topcoat. A ski coat over a suit is sloppy and quickly takes away the sophistication of the suit. A nice coat, by contrast, enhances an already smart looking suit and will make the right impression on anyone who sees you in it.

The overcoat and topcoat are similar. The overcoat extends below the knees, while the topcoat stops short of the knee. When deciding between the two, choose whichever suits your needs and style best. For me, I enjoy the modern look of the topcoat, as well as its versatility for wear with more casual clothing. The overcoat potentially provides more warmth as it covers more of your body, so is possibly more appropriate for very cold climates.

Overcoat vs. Topcoat

Your coat will share some of the same characteristics of your suit jacket. Some of the considerations include the lapels, pockets, buttons (on the coat front as well as the cuffs), and single or double breasted. It should fit well--too big and it looks loose and shapeless, too small and it will be constricting and possibly won't fit around your suit. If you wear a size 42 suit jacket, you should be a 42 in a coat as well. To be sure on the fit, wear a suit jacket while you're picking a coat, or better yet, have it custom made for you. Make sure the coat has good shape. Just because it's long doesn't mean it should be boxy, roomy, or otherwise ill-fitting.

There are lots of styles to choose from. Aside from specifics such as lapels and pockets, which vary from , a few of the general coat styles to be aware of include the trench (belted waist), polo (also belted), military, peacoat, single and double breasted. The materials also vary and include camelhair, tweed, wool, moleskin, mohair, cashmere, and others. Dark colors are usually most versatile and are best for the winter months.

Single-breasted camel hair

Double breasted, Peaked Lapel, Ticket Pocket

Single breasted. Clean and classic

Military Style--Note the cuffs, collar, and shoulders

Single breasted tweed, ticket pocket, working cuff buttons

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