Men's Overcoat Overview
The article, A Man's Guide to Overcoats at The Art of Manliness links to him multiple times, but he went into great detail on the different types of overcoats.
How to Purchase an Overcoat
The reason is if you're wearing a parka or you're wearing a big, bright yellow Columbia or — I have a Helly Hansen jacket. I'll just tell you my story.
I went to Ukraine back in 2001 and one of the things my wife really remembers about me when she first met me was, “Yeah, you look like you're about to go climb a mountain or something.” I had like mountaineering gear on. I don't know what it is about us in the United States, we seem to all like to dress like we're going on an expedition gear.
The thing is that's fine if you're in Colorado and you're going to go hiking, but day to day going to work in a business or city environment, a place where you want to dress sharp to impress in a business environment, you need an overcoat when it's cold. You need also scarves and hats. I've created other articles and other videos for that, but you need to have a good quality overcoat.
An overcoat, if it fits you properly, can make you look taller, leaner. It builds up your shoulders.
It just creates a streamlined profile and it makes you look healthy and attractive, which is a good plus in business. People want to work with other healthy people.
Details of the Overcoat
- A topcoat is usually much lighter weight.
- A greatcoat is going to be a heavyweight. Greatcoats came from the wars, World War I and World War II when basically guys were living in trenches and they were wearing those jackets 24/7 for months at a time, trench warfare. Just look up some old World War I photos and you'll see the greatcoats.
Proper Fit of the Overcoat
The thing that I really love about my overcoat is that I can button it up all the way. When choosing an overcoat is make sure that you are wearing the clothing that you're going to wear underneath it because if it fits you really well and you're just wearing a t-shirt underneath, you need to make sure it's roomy enough that it's not going to crush up your jacket, your shirt.
I want to make sure it fits me and it buttons up fine. The great part is that even though it buttons up and I'm wearing clothing underneath, I've still got a slim profile. I take care of it myself. I've measured it with a tape measure, about a 34-inch waist.
That turns into jeans at about 32 or 31. My chest is about 40 to 41 inches and my shoulder is about — I think I like it to be 18.5 to 19 inches across.
My overcoat usually is probably going to be about an inch to an inch and a half larger than that. I like it to have about a half inch to an inch larger than my jacket, shoulders as well, so it fits right on there as an additional layer.
Make sure the sleeves fully cover everything, a protection layer. You don't want to show a little bit of your jacket cuff or anything like that. You want it to fully cover although you don't want it going all the way down to cover your knuckles or anything like that.
My overcoat just goes about three inches below my knee. I like my overcoats a little bit longer, but three inches below the knee for a classic overcoat works out.
What I'm really going to try to do is make sure that you're paying attention to making sure that your overcoat fits as good off the rack as possible, or if you go find it in a thrift store. The reason being overcoats are more expensive than normal jackets to alter because they use a thicker, heavier fabric.
You want to look for 100% wool, maybe a wool-cashmere mix. It's usually going to knock the price up unless you can find it for a great deal in a thrift store. If you're going to have one custom-made though, you want it to fit as close to perfect as possible.
The tailor who made it, he can probably make some magic happen because he's got the tools to do that, but most seamstresses basically need to have a heavier duty sewing machine to be able to work with thicker fabrics like this.
If I'm going to choose a fabric, to go a little bit more heavier weight if I can find it. Usually, that's going to last longer, be more durable.
There are too many different styles. I think single-breasted is one of the most versatile, and double-breasted would be where it overlaps and it's got two buttons right next to each other.
I had my overcoat custom-made because I'm a custom clothier and what I love about it t is I can button at the very top of it. I'm in Wisconsin. It gets like negative 35 degrees Fahrenheit below zero.
I like mine to be very functional. I'll throw a scarf on. I'll put on a type of hat, and I'm usually good to go like this because it's made from wool, but wool is really nice in a sense of it can actually absorb about 30% of its weight in water before it even starts to feel wet.
In addition, wool just have some great properties for not only retaining its shape, but creating an insulating layer and keeping you warm, so it keeps animals warm and it's been used for thousands of years.
Buying an Overcoat
Hopefully, this is going to help you make a smart decision when you go out there to purchase an overcoat. Three options to purchase an overcoat. You can find one used at thrift stores. You can go buy one off the rack. I would go to higher end men's wear stores.
Brands for Buying Overcoats
- Brooks Brothers
- Paul Stuart
- Men's Wearhouse
- Jos A. Banks
- Raja, over at Monte Carlo Tailors in Bangkok.
- W.W. Chan in Hong Kong
- Noble House in Hong Kong.
- Savile Row in London
If you need more information about men's style, don't forget I've got a link to my free ebooks. You're on my newsletter. I'll send you out helpful tips. Go find an overcoat and wear it in style.