Fleece coats or puffy jackets may be warm and popular, but they’re not exactly the most stylish winter wardrobe staple. For the fashion-forward men out there, overcoats are what’s in.
The overcoat—a heavy, lengthy, collared outerwear piece—is a classic element to a man’s wardrobe. Not only will it keep you warm, but it will also add a sophisticated and flattering aspect to your aesthetic. It looks good and it feels good.
The overcoat is the one piece of outerwear that can go all the way from a casual night at the bar to a black tie affair. It projects a confident, classy, and courtly demeanor, while simultaneously enhancing your silhouette. As long as you pick the right one, an overcoat can be the only winter outerwear you need.
What defines a quality overcoat?
A quality overcoat is one that is comfortable, warm, and well-fitting. These characteristics depend on a variety of factors, but mostly:
For an overcoat to be warm and long lasting, it’s best to buy one made of 100% wool. While other fabrics, like cashmere or fleece, are soft and cozy, they do not stand up to the elements as well. Remember, this is outerwear. It doesn’t need to be soft and smooth. Search for an overcoat that weighs around 4 pounds; the heavier the coat, the more durable it will be.
A well-fitting overcoat will completely cover suit sleeves and shirt cuffs and fit semi-snug, allowing room for clothing underneath. Most coats fall between just above the knee and ankle length. The shorter the coat, the more it tends to highlight your figure. Full-length coats often complement a wider variety of figures by lengthening the body and draping over problem areas. Those with more trim builds often embrace the shorter fit.
A sewn canvas (rather than a fused canvas) is most durable and breathable. It is pricier than a fused canvas, but will withstand the test of time, whereas a fused canvas interlining can come loose after awhile from wear and tear.
Here is where creativity and personality come into place. Choose the length and fit you find most stylish and complementary of your body type. There are single-breasted or double-breasted, 3-button or 4-button, belted or unbelted overcoats. Double-breasted and 4-button styles sway more on the formal side, while single-breasted and 3-button styles are better for everyday wear. Black, navy blue, and gray tend to be the most versatile colors, and unbelted overcoats offer a sleeker appearance. Aim for something timeless, and you won’t be disappointed.
Most of all, a quality overcoat will feel just right when you put it on.
The overcoat is a wise winter wardrobe investment. You’ll get years of wear out of it and truly step up your style game every time you put it on. Just be sure to read the care instructions attentively and treat it as the intelligent investment it is. Here are a few tips to keep it in pristine condition:
- Hang it on a heavy wood or other sturdy hanger to support its shoulders. Allow it to have some space to lay freely.
- Clean off any stains immediately by blotting with cool water. Do not rub, as it may deepen the stain.
- Dry clean about once a year (or less) at the end of the cold season.
- Brush with a soft lint brush to remove any lint, fuzz, soil, or other matter after wear.