One of my favored Fall/Winter wardrobe items is a recently acquired Topcoat.
But what exactly is a topcoat and how does it differ from an overcoat?
Are there any benefits to owning one?
Those were some of the questions I asked myself while examining this classic piece of outerwear.
As hard as it may be to believe, this coat was actually discovered on one of my usual thrifting expeditions.
This particular men's topcoat caught my eye for various reasons, potentially becoming the first coat I owned that went beyond my waist.
While at the thrift shop, I made use of my internet-equipped smartphone to do a little research on what a Topcoat actually was.
Even with the scarce amount of information on the item, because it is very similar to the overcoat, I was then able to recognize the subtle differences and make the purchase.
I feel a lengthier coat like this is a challenge in general for an emerging man looking to experiment with classic outerwear. It is truly and stand out piece and takes some courage to wear amongst the hoodies and sweatshirts of my environment.
What is a Topcoat?
Because of the journey I have embarked on through menswear over at Venture & Virtue (formerly Expressions Realia) I realized there was quite an extensive history behind coats of length and that alone peaked my interest.
After browsing through many inspirational images of some â€˜men of old' wearing topcoats in that same shop setting, I found confidence that this would be one of my favorite items especially for the upcoming Fall/Winter months.
The Topcoat originated around the same time as the overcoat in 17th century Europe. It was a strictly formal item, worn exclusively over an expensive suit to aid in its protection against the weather.
Topcoats had wide lapels, deep cuffs, and ran mid-thigh, to just above the knee in length. They were most commonly made of a single wool layer, with silk inner lining.
How Can it Be Used Today?
As outerwear, a wool Topcoat can add a layer visually, as well as depth creatively.
Days where you would find yourself outdoors in harsh enough weather to require layering, a Topcoat is a wise choice. Because it's original function was to be worn for protection, it can be adapted just as well to a more casual setting. This coat is much lighter than one would expect, which is an advantage during the Fall season.
Is a Topcoat right for me?
Now when making a purchase, the general idea is to experiment after your obvservations.
Remember those dreaded science projects we all had to do back in grade school? The scientific method can apply here. If you're open to thrifting, make use of your available resources (ie. Internet-enabled Smartphone) to do a little research. When you understand the origin of a garment, you can then use that knowledge to wear it properly and more importantly in your own way.
There are many types of Fall-appropriate clothing, and as we discover them it's vital to examine each individually, learn about it's basic use, and apply it to our situation. In otherwords, “experiment”. What comes afterward is the analysis of how it worked for us.
Does it honestly suit who you are? Do you feel comfortable? From that, you are able to draw your conclusion on whether or not to purchase this item, or in my case, whether or not the purchase the Topcoat.
Final Words On Buying Topcoats
It's more than likely one will need a Fall coat of length and when that time comes these are some points to keep in mind when browsing. Before buying a Topcoat observe, research, experiment, and draw a knowledge-based conclusion that fits your personal tastes.
Or thrift smartly and find one at such a great price you'd be crazy to pass on it even if you lived in the desert:)
This is a guest post by RMRS's friend Unyime over at Venture & Virtue (formerly Expressions Realia). Visit his website for more insight to men's style.