Bespoke DB overcoat

  
One of these days I’ll put together an editorial calendar. It always comes as a surprise when people start asking for advice on overcoats as the weather turns cold, but it shouldn’t. The same people ask for tips on luggage and swimming trunks in June.

So. Spurred by those requests, here are my tips on investing in a good winter overcoat.

Going by the questions posted in recent weeks on items like my Cifonelli cashmere coat and my Vergallo top coat, there is an even split between those looking for bespoke and those for ready-to-wear. The former will be more interested in unusual design details and cloths. But both should consider things like length, colour and material.

1. Get it long

Most overcoats are cut too short. A top coat should finish just above the knee, while a full overcoat should be a couple of inches below it. This is not just an old-fashioned rule. It’s both practical and stylish.

A shorter coat – most modern ones are around mid-thigh – does nothing to protect the legs from cold or rain. It simply fails to fulfil its function. And it has no style. It has no skirt, no swish, no movement as you walk. It just sits there, like a slightly awkward long jacket.

E.g.: Dunhill has a nice cashmere duffle coat this season. An overcoat should be at least this length.

2. Get it altered

One reason guys are afraid of longer coats is they are afraid of being drowned in a big piece of heavy material. Somehow being shorter means being fitted as well.

There is an easy solution – get it altered. It bewilders me that even men I have convinced to have their RTW suits altered don’t think to do so for their overcoats. A coat can fit well; it shouldn’t fit as close as a suit jacket, but it can be a great fit nonetheless. The only exception is deliberately roomy coats, eg a Loden.

E.g.: Cordings has some lovely Lodens in London, and reasonably priced.

3. Get it classic (in style)

There’s a reason most brands come out with variations on classic designs every year: great coats, covert coats, pea coats, duffle coats. They suit most functions and levels of formality a man requires, and they have a refined style that only comes with time.

Don’t feel bad about getting a standard coat. And if you’re going bespoke, start with a classic design and only make small changes.

E.g.: This is a classic from Ralph Lauren. It’s also a top coat; note the length.

4. Get it conservative (in colour)

Unless you plan on getting three or more good, investment overcoats, it’s worth being conservative with colour. Navy is number one, by some way. If it’s a formal coat, charcoal is probably second. Paler greys as you get more casual.

But don’t make the mistake many people make with fashion overcoats – and many first-time bespoke customers make with bespoke – and get an unusual colour. Your overcoat has to go with everything else. Including unusual suits, jackets and shoes.

E.g.: The only slightly unusual coat I have is my green coat from Vergallo, and that’s a very dark colour. I wouldn’t wear it with anything very unusual underneath, but then I have five overcoats…
  

5. Get it DB

Double-breasted overcoats look great, if they fit well. See ‘Get it altered’ above. If you’ve always shied away from a DB in a suit, try it in an overcoat. It’s also warmer.

Four of my five overcoats (Cifonelli, Gieves, Graham Browne, Stile Latino) are double breasted. Only one is not (Vergallo).

E.g.: See the bespoke Gieves & Hawkes pea coat for the beautiful line of a DB front edge.

6. Get it bespoke

No one seems to believe me when I say how wonderful a bespoke overcoat is. How it’s just like the fantastic fit of a bespoke jacket – but bigger, more dramatic, more of that lovely cloth, more versatile (you’ll wear it every day, unlike your bespoke suits).

A structured, hand-padded chest wrapped around you. A structured collar that will go up and stay up. Most of all, the sculpting of the whole silhouette. Your overcoat does fit, but only in the same way a ready-made suit can fit adequately well.

I’m going to shut up now.

E.g.: Of all the coats I’ve had made, the Graham Browne herringbone was probably the best in this regard. But a new Edward Sexton looks very exciting….

Also:

  • Be classic, but experiment with little things (belts, cuffs)
  • Go for a heavy wool, not synthetic. And heavy cashmere if you ever can. It’s amazing.
  • Avoid a raglan sleeve unless you really like the style. It’s usually pretty shapeless (although it does make it easier to fit over both a suit jacket and knitwear)
  • Think about how you will wear the coat. Really wear it. Open mostly, or closed? Collar up or down? Scarf? 


Pictured top and below: Cifonelli double-breasted cashmere overcoat. One of the few things that actually feels amazing every single time I put it on. And I put it on a few times a day – every day – at the moment. 

I also love the design of the back (it’s worn with just a sweater below, so there’s a touch of excess cloth below the shoulders that is pulled up with a jacket). Cashmere from Harrison’s. 
  

Cifonelli bespoke overcoat back

 

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suffolk

So many coats, so little variation.

I’m amazed that amongst all of those you haven’t tried a nice heavy vintage tweed Raglan coat.

One of those is getting close to the top of my wish-list. Especially useful for a less formal dresser like me.

Tom

Great article thanks Simon. Predictably I’m looking at a new overcoat as we come into the winter months. I work in a smart/casual office and already have a DB navy for times when I need to be smarter. I am now considering a RTW camel hair coat. From reading your blog I know that you had one made many years ago. My question is how much wear does/did this coat get compared to your other coloured overcoats? (given they were perhaps more conservative in colour). Thanks, Tom.

Tom

I wondered if that might be case. I seem to wear alot of grey in my jackets & knitwear so a grey probably wouldn’t work. My navy DB seems too disconnected to my usual office attire of chinos or dark denim. I’m hoping that the camel coat can bridge the formality gap, due to the colour and the texture.

Jamie McP

What about a Polo coat? I’m bias though having just had one made in navy

Nick Inkster

A bit of a GB herringbone-fest going on at the moment; today I am wearing a Smith herringbone which Russell made for me about 6 years ago. Points to mention are that it still fits perfectly(remarkable!) and despite a lot of wear it still looks brand new.

Jamie McP

Thanks, versatility was one of the main considerations, and I did take some influence from your Cifonelli overcoat. I don’t dress super formally all the time so wanted something that worked with jeans and chinos as well as a suit which I don’t think a longer over coat does so well. Saying that my next coat will almost certainly be a grey DB overcoat. But that is a couple of projects down the line.

I like your idea on a calendar, but with bespoke lead times, you have to be thinking a season if not a season and a half a head. It is rather strange looking at heavy flannels in the heights of summer!

Rob

Phew! A not so timely article as I’ve already started my coat, for once I am starting to get my timing right. I think this is more to do with how much of a wardrobe people have already. If you have a good basis of a wardrobe you focus more on replacing and refining than building

I seem to have ticked all of your boxes, although I am still undecided on length, I’m just not sure where all the extra material is going to go if I am sitting on the tube for example? Well it’s being cut long on the basis you can always cut it shorter.

We’ve still got a lot of details to sort though, getting the collar right to wear up and down, the pockets and how to have the pleats.

Would you recommend post box pockets like you Cifonelli?

Rob

Thanks Simon, we’ll decide on the length at the first fitting (it is a DB). I still can’t decide if it is an overcoat or topcoat that I need for London weather and commuting. I was moving toward a topcoat but maybe an overcoat would be better.

Anonymous

Hi Simon,
If I am going to wear a scarf with my overcoat, how should the design change?
Thanks

Scott

Simon, I really like the idea of a true Loden coat. Would you please address a bit more about the quality, model, and length of the Cordings Loden coat? It looks like the color of the Cordings Loden is that very deep,dark green which is essential.

Scott

Thank you sir! In your opinion Simon what is the appropriate length for for a proper Loden coat? Normally I like my overcoat to be long which for me is mid calf at a minimum.

Mariannhill

How do you choose the fabric weight for a coat?

I am looking to get a dark brown single breasted coat made and from a colour perspective (sorry, but I am a girl) by far the best is a 520g wool from Scabal but as someone who feels the cold I am concerned that this isnt substantial enough for a UK winter. I note that others on your peacoat thread mentioned much heavier fabrics but when looking through the bunches (Scabal, W Bills and 2 others) there wasnt much above 20oz

Mac

Haven’t you asked your tailor? He ought to be able to find one for you. That’s what he’s there for!

Julian

What do you think about ordering a coat as first bespoke item? (Assuming a closet full of RTW clothes without the need for basics)

Rik

Simon, really interesting piece. I wonder if you could expand a bit on raglan sleeves? I’ve always found them very practical (for instance on my raincoat and Barbour) because they’re flexible enough to work with both a suit or knitwear or just a shirt. Are they not typically used on overcoats?

Anonymous

Simon, as with Tom I remember the camel polo coat (2009), you didn’t include it in the list – a shame as I quite liked it. Do you still have it, it seems just the thing for winter country walks. Taking a long overview of the blog it seems that you have moved from classical, English inspired pieces to a more contemporary, stylish (and perhaps more Italian) look – would you agree? Also (third time lucky) would you consider a Covert coat to be more of a top coat (despite its ancestory), therefore above the knee in length? One last point, coats can take a beating in winter; what care do you recommend for yours?

Anonymous

Hello Simon, I had a quick question regarding the weight of your polo coat. You said that it was super heavy, however, as I recall, the fabric was only 20oz which is lighter than your Cifonelli cashmere. Do you think camelhair should be lighter to work better? The reason I ask is that I just ordered one to be made the fabric I chose is a 21oz Harrisons. Thanks.

Richard

Love my Cordings covert coat. Have had it for nearly ten years. It’s not warm enough, however, to wear over a suit in between November and February. It’s really only a shoulder season coat, sadly. I’ve a Brooks Brothers cashmere overcoat, which I also love. It’s so good it’s stopped me getting a new bespoke overcoat these past three winters. Grrrr!!! Nice article, Simon.

Hazwan

Hi Simon, I noticed that the RL top coat has shorter sleeves which shows the cuffs. What do you think of this? Aren’t coat sleeves suppose to be longer to actually protect the shirt/jacket and you from the cold and dirt?

Anders

Thanks for a great piece with excellent points. I am wondering, slightly OT perhaps, why you have never written about trench coats? Aren’t those worth having made bespoke? Or have I missed a piece on that?

Anonymous

Hi Simon

I’ve commissioned a peacoat with the original intention being to have the ability to button all the way up. I’ve been advised that it would be better if it was made up so that it was not buttoned to the top, so that the top would always be open. What are your views on this? I’d always thought peacoats were suppose to button to the top and , if I’m not mistaken, you have a preferences for both jackets and coats to have the ability to be buttoned fully.

Anonymous

No reasons apart from it would look better. The cloth I’ve chosen will work in a casual context, it’s a Holland and Sherry boiled wool 20oz in a dark green. Given that it will always be worn casually, my initial preference was to have the ability to button all the way up. I think I’ll ask for this to be the case, it was only ordered this morning. I asked for a shirt shoulder , which I’ve seen on the tailors jackets and was very impressed. In fact, he let me try on one of the jackets he had and I have to say, I was blown away. Incredibly comfortable.

The north

How much does the cashmere alone cost for this coat? It looks really great and I am wondering if I could afford something similar.

BespokeNYC

What are your thoughts on fur or quilted linings in overcoats? I have a lovely cashmere DB overcoat from Eidos, but it’s just not warm enough for the New York winter (especially in recent years when the term “polar vortex” entered the lexicon.)

I’ve been debating commissioning something in a very thick Harris tweed but it’s probably going to be too heavy and still not as warm as a parka.

It feels like an admission of defeat to wear a parka over tailored clothing, so I’m wondering about getting a removable liner made for an overcoat. Do you think this could work, or will it just add too much bulk?

Anonymous

What kind of lining do you have on this coat and your cashmere sportsjacket? Maybe this is fully lined and the sportsjacket is half lined?

Anonymous

Hi Simon

Are you aware of any differences in an Italian peacoat (cabano) and an English one? I’m still trying to figure out why it has been suggested to me that the peacoat shouldn’t button up to the collar. Perhaps a difference in approach between England and Italy.

Anonymous

Worth mentioning the exceptional range of coats (even if only for style inspiration) of your advertiser PAUW Mannen. Great examples of current, beautifully tailored outerwear (I have no connection to them). Simon, I also followed the link to A&S Haberdashery and am intrigued by their cashmere hanks/pocket squares; have you tried them if so how do they contrast/compare to other materials in texture and folding form? Additionally I wanted to commend the growing depth of the site and the ability to cross-research different subjects (subject boxes at bottom of article). Excellent piece of web design!

John

Hi Simon,
This is an excellent post! Thanks for the very useful and sartorial tips.
John

Keith Taylor

This may not really appeal to the relatively affluent PS audience, but I’ve always found it’s worth looking to the vintage market for overcoats – especially if you want several in rotation and don’t relish the thought of investing your life savings in a single season piece.

The winters get down to a chilly -40 here in Ulaanbaatar, and they last from October to May, so overcoats are a big deal for we fools who choose to live here. We dropped below zero for the first time this week, which sent me on an eBay binge that resulted in the purchase of a near mint Loden from Lodenfrey Munich and a Barbour Border with a couple of decades of character pounded into it. The total bill was less than $100, which might be just enough to pay for a single sleeve of a bespoke winter coat 🙂 Vintage isn’t for everyone, but it’s worth thinking about if you’re on a budget.

Lubos

Dear Simon,
following your posts on this website is always a pleasure and a great possibility to learn new things – thanks for sharing your knowledge, opinions and suggestions. There is one question which comes again and again to my mind, each and every time the topic of “versatile colors” is mentioned in your posts.

I’ve got the freedom not to be bound by any dress code rules – free to wear anything I like. You are (for obvious reasons) frequently referring to navy, grey and other “cold” colors. The problem is that these colors rather make me (or anybody with a bit warmer skin tone) look “sick”.

Is it in your opinion possible to build up a wardrobe (in particular a conservative one) based on “warm” colors (dark greens, browns, burgundy, tan, …) avoiding the black/grey/blue/white altogether? Or do you consider such colors too “casual” (as they also frequently come with rather rustical cloths)?

A pity I am not in the army. Olive green seems to be the perfect color.

Thanks in advance for any insights…

Lubos

Thanks Simon, indeed it makes sense. An extended post on the topic would of course be highly appreciated, should you find time for it someday in the future…

Malcolm

You mention navy as a first choice colour for a coat. Is that due to versatility? What colour suit underneath would be a poor match for a navy coat.? I guess black for starters ….

Brendan

Not really on the subject but I was admiring your glasses.
What is the make and model?

TOstyle

I’ve got another question on proper weight for overcoats. I’ve got brave Canadian/ mid-west American winters, so I’m looking for heavy enough overcoat.

Trouble is I see a lot of suiting fabrics in the winter weight range of 350-500 gr that would be really nice if they were an overcoat, but I’m not sure they would be warm enough. When I look at the 500+ range, there tend to be a lot of more boring solids – so is there anything I could do to better winterize the lower weight fabrics? Extra linings or anything?

So what mills would you recommend for nice heavier weights and/or what else can I do to make the lighter fabrics workable?

auska garrett

what is the price for the purple coat and the price

justin

Simon, In winter I tend to wear a lot of v or crew neck jumpers over a button down with smart denim and chukka boots. I’d really like a Cordings covert coat. Do you think it would work with what I usually wear ?

justin

Thanks for the reply. I already have a nice Donegal tweed peacoat. Should I stick to items like that ?

Prabu

Hi,

I like the idea of getting a nice navy overcoat for the London winter. I’ve set my budget around £800.

Can you give me some recommendations in that price range?

I’m considering this Burberry one: https://uk.burberry.com/wool-cashmere-melton-coat-with-warmer-p39414991

Thoughts?

Jay

Hello Simon,

This is an addictive site for me! Keep up the great work!

My question is concerning my overcoat, for which the shoulders are a bit too wide. Mindful that shoulder alterations for coats are rather tricky when narrowing, may I ask please if there are any alterations specialists that you can recommend for narrowing the shoulders of my overcoat?

I have read this establishment, but I am not entirely sure: http://www.alterationsboutique.co.uk

Many thanks in advance

Brendan

The best alteration tailor in London is Tosca in Lower Sloane Street

Edward Bragg

Hi Simon, as an avid reader of this site, I regularly look to you as the source of inspiration and to provide guidance in my purchasing decisions. For example I am now a regular customer of Meermin, and regularly revert to some principles you talk about. As you may have guessed, (Mermin over Edward Green or Gaziano) unfortunately I am rather constrained by my budget at the moment having recently purchased an apartment. My wardrobe is therefore full of RTW Tyrwhitt suits and TM Lewin shirts which have been altered to provide a “good” fit, albeit a significant compromise to the ideal. I am looking to take my first foray into overcoats having used the more crossover look previously of Barbour’s and so forth. Whilst I would love to take tip 6, I have a budget constraint of £400-£500 and was hoping you could provide some guidance for this price bracket as I am struggling to find one at the moment which is not too short, poorly cut etc. Thanks in advance for your help, Edward

Peter

Simon, is a covert coat an overcoat or topcoat? If it is true that the traditonal covert coat colour exists (I’m unsure what name is accurate), do you judge it too light, since you favour navy, gray, etc.? I have a covert coat as well as a whipcord raglan coat
from N&L. The covert coat pocket lining and pocket flaps need repair, the whipcord soon showed problems. Would you consider Benson & Clegg RTW covert coat at £500 preferably at sale price reduction a good investment?

Gerald Oliver Jr

Great article. I purchased a few vintage overcoats and took before and after photos. Your advice to alter the overcoats helped me so much. I never considered it until I read your article. I posted the photos on Instagram, please check it out and let me know what you think if possible. My Instagram is @cigarsandsuits

I would greatly appreciate any and all feedback

Gerald Oliver Jr

Anyways, happy holidays.

Gerald

For the sleeve length, should it be a bit longer than a tailored jacket, or should it be about the same? This has always been tricky for me as I don’t want the sleeves too long or too short. I’m thinking the sleeves should stop where the wrist and hand connect but I’m not sure. Any help would be much appreciated.

Anonymous

Hi Simon,
Apologies for going off-topic here – just wondering what your experience of the green loden SB coat has been? Does the colour really work with a suit?
Cheers,
Anon

Anonymous

Thanks Simon. Works better with grey suit than navy suit I guess?

Matthew

I realise this is a bit late of a comment so apologies, but I would appreciate the advice. I was given a DB overcoat the other day. It’s about my size but a little large in the body – I’m quite skinny. Do you think a tailor would be able to add a vent like the one on your Cifonelli coat? If not do you have any thoughts on the best way to reduce the volume of the coat other than the usual taking-in? The only reason is I have a preference for something a bit unique and I thought this might offer me an opportunity.

Wes wp

Hi Simon –
Is 46 inches a good length for an overcoat? Or is that traditionally too short?

I’m six feet tall

M

Dear Simon – I am sure there is reference to this somewhere on your site, but I am having no luck finding it. A while ago, I read about a very particular Italian wool used for overcoats which had the appearance of boiled wool, but which wasn’t. I think it came from northern Italy somewhere and I seem to recall got its distinctive ‘bobbly’ look by being rubbed by stones or beaten on rocks, or something similar. I cannot for the life of me remember what it was called. Are you able to help – even with so little information to go on? Reading your site has got me thinking about getting a coat made and a neutral colour in a very distinctive texture could be the way forward for me.

M

Many thanks Simon. Let’s see if I’m brave enough when it comes to making the decision!

Michael

Hi Simon,
Any advise on coats that you can wear over your suit in the spring? I already have a wool overcoat for fall and winter and am currently looking at some mac coat options. Only concern i’m having is the breathability of certain macs due to their bonded cotton fabric. I’m looking for something simple, timeless and wears cool in spring. Waterproof would be a nice bonus.

Paddy

Hi Simon,
I wanted to ask for your advice on a Black peak lapel SB topcoat/overcoat. Reason I got black was that I have many navy coats…… You have always stated black to be a too strong of a colour so I was wondering what colour trouser/chinos I can wear with the black overcoat? I can only think of charcoal trousers….and I tend to hear from people black and navy dont go together? So navy chinos, navy trousers dont work?

In terms of shoes, can one wear brown shoes with the black overcoat? or do one have to stick to black shoes?

I think I have made an mistake in getting black…….

Gael

Dear Simon.

Following on the comment above, I too have a black overcoat that I have been struggling to wear.

Your advice is to avoid anything but the darker Brown shoes…. But I assume I can wear black shoes since it matches the black overcoat?

Thanks gael

Georges

Hi Simon,

I’m looking for a scarf for a navy blue overcoat and an olive/brown parka. Do you think this one (https://www.drakes.com/scarves/navy-embroidered-animal-print-wool-and-silk-scarf) would look good or a different color than navy would be better? If yes, what is your advice?

Thank you

Neil

Very helpful tips! I am currently having trouble for choosing two chesterfield coats. Both are black with 80% wool and 20% cashmere but one is with velvet collar and concealed button closure while the other one without velvet collar and centre button closure. Hope to receive your advice~

James

Hi Simon,

A common theme throughout your writing on overcoats has been the need for them to work as well with knitwear as over a jacket. Your post on the Vergallo Loden coat for example features it being worn with a very nice rig of grey flannels and a navy sweater. I am curious to what extent you can wear an overcoat with more casual trousers like jeans and corduroys. I usually wear field jackets in the summer and a Barbour in the autumn/spring but for winter I currently only have a navy cashmere overcoat that is far too dressy for non-wool trousers.

The most obvious solution would probably be a pea-coat but the double breasted style does little to flatter me so I’m looking instead at more casual, shorter coats like this grey tweed from Magee (http://www.ahume.co.uk/uploads/images_extra_large/4940_1.jpg). They also do a brown tweed (http://www.ahume.co.uk/uploads/images_extra_large/4941.jpg) but I feel the grey is a little more urban and less rustic.

Do you think either of these coats are a viable option for casual winter wear, or am I doomed to wear a Northface insulated montrosity in the colder months? I’ll be wearing it with my usual cold-weather staples like dark denim or cords, crew-neck sweaters, oxford cloth shirts and suede chukkas.

Peter

Simon could you comment on sizing an overcoat to wear over suits and sport coats?

I’m looking at some very nice vintage peacoats (bridge length, so falling near the knees). I wear a 38S (48 EU) jacket. Vintage items are often advertised with measurements and the peacoat I favour is 19 inches from shoulder seam to shoulder seam across the back. My sport coats are around 17.5 inches on the same measurement.

Is having about 3/4 inch more width on each shoulder adequate? I know it’s hard to say without seeing the coat on me but does this sound to tight or loose in the shoulder?

Carl

I am thinking about have an overcoat made bespoke. I wonder if you think that cashmere (like you have in your Cifonelli coat) can stand rain or other heavy and wet weather. What is your opinion of “traditional” heavy cashmere vs fabric like the Loro Piana Storm System?

Carl

What are the pros and cons of different pocket styles for an overcoat? I would like to be able to put my hands in them but also small items like my gloves

Peter

Hello Simon,
Would your advice on overcoats also apply to trench coats? I am curious to know what you wear to protect your suits from the rain.

Tom

Hi Simon,
Thank you for this very interesting post. I live in Rome but yet my clothes made in London – and thus on my next visit home wish to have a coat and a couple of sports jackets made.
In terms of coats, I currently only have a blue double breasted coat, as I recently abandoned an ill-fitting rust coloured casentino and another in camelhair. I imagine you would recommend either a navy or grey as a logical replacement, but what about brown or dark green? My wardrobe does not have to be particularly business-like, on a side note.
I have a few sports jackets, but they are mostly browns in various patterns. I figured navy would be an obvious choice, and since I am keen to add some green to my winter wardrobe, do you think a green sports coat in a plain wool/cashmere fabric would be best, rather than a green overcoat and say navy/tobacco jacket combination?
Thank you for your help and advice,
Tom

Steven

I’m looking to purchase a RTW coat as I’m moving to somewhere actually cold for the first time. Do you have a recommendation in terms of chest ease for a well-fitted coat? A roomier one?

Dan

Hi Simon.

Very useful information. I am just in the process of getting my first bespoke overcoat made. I am going for a fairly standard Navy Cashmere. After reading this article, and others, I have decided to go double breasted but the one point I was unsure on was the decision around whether to go for 6×2 or 6×3 buttons and what this decision meant for the formality or otherwise of the coat. I am looking for something standard, simple, plain and formal.

Could you perhaps discuss some of the thoughts that should go into making this decision. I have not really found a good source of info. 6×2 “seems” more common these days but I am not really clear on why or which would be better for different uses, or if this is just a purely personal decision of style.

Tks!

Patrick

Hi Simon,

You touched upon Love Cashmere and how you’ve had knits that was affected by moths but have you had any problems with your cashmere Cifonelli DB or any other cashmere coats/jackets? I’m planning to get a cashmere overcoat and was wondering how you store your cashmere overcoats especially your Cifonelli one? In a suit bag?
I’ve had issues with moths and knits before but as I do not own any cashmere overcoat-Im scarred the overcoat will get affected!

Any advice would be really helpful!

Carl

Can you recommend any good moth killer?

James

Simon love the blog and really enjoyed this article. I am still struggling with the overcoat purchase though so if you or any of your readers can give me some advice would be much appreciated! My requirements are basically:

1) I hate the cold and feel it terribly so warmth is my number one priority
2) The coat is likely to get 5 day a week use for 6 or so months a year plus it rains a fair bit here so going to get a fair work out…

Originally I was considering this from Suitsupply (http://eu.suitsupply.com/en_GB/coats/navy-overcoat/J452.html?cgid=Coats) but then I started to worry about the wear and tear of 100% cashmere and it felt very light (even accounting for cashmere being a lighter fabric). Plus there isn’t a lot covering the chest. I am thinking double-breasted, as you have suggested Simon, might work better for me.

Can anyone suggest what I should be looking for from a material perspective and/or anywhere that would sell something appropriate? Thanks very much!

Joseph

Hi, Simon! Suddenly remembered your posts and comment sections around both your polo coat and herringbone DB overcoat, both by Graham Browne. However, you said at the time of this post (ca. October of 2015) that you only have 5 overcoats, citing only one GB. That must mean that you did away with one of them. By the looks of your conversations with other readers here, you chose to let go of the polo coat. What was it’s final fate, if you would not mind my asking?

Just rather curious about stories of where tailored articles go when they reach the end of the line, given that their owners must no doubt have formed strong attachments to them.

Joseph

I see. Good to know at least that it has found a new home. Your friend must be quite accustomed to wearing heavier-built pieces, to have found regular use for it.

Ah, indeed, the emotions evoked when letting go of beloved clothes. Aside from the time and finances spent acquiring them, there’s also a lot of love of the parental sort, if nothing else.

On the flipside, your later overcoat projects have all been nothing short of stellar by comparison. Perhaps, the commissioning lessons from the polo coat were its parting gifts, which have served you well.

Oskar

Hello Simon, Fox has this camel coating on sale:

http://www.themerchantfox.co.uk/prod/1034/limited-edition-cloth/camel-coating

Do you think at 500g it’s too light in weight for a Polo coat of proper overcoat length made up in Southern Italy?

Thanks and Happy Easter

Patrick

Hi Simon,

For any all your overcoats, from your Cifonelli to Edward Sexton, how do you store them?

Do you use normal thin wooden hangers with no flare or do you invest in good quality hangers such as those from Hanger Projects- the ones with flare to hang all your overcoats?

Thanks

David

Hi Simon, I’m curious about weight / heft of material in overcoats / topcoats vs cold temperatures. Some background: I recently bought a cheap overcoat (Zara) that fits me great, looks great, but its wool content isn’t high, and even with a suit underneath, it could be worn probably only above 0 Celsisus / 32 Fahrenheit, or just below freezing. A longer navy overcoat I’ve had since the late 1980s (wool / cashmere blend, hidden buttons, to just below the knees, very classic piece, Crombie-style), even though wool with a little cashmere, it’s little better in the sub zero New York winter. Now, the real winner is a vintage peacoat (US Navy, probably from the Vietnam War era) that is 100% wool and is “durable as a brick shit house”. Its seems are incredibly strong, it’s very well made (bought for less than $50 10 years ago). It also has high lapels that are brilliant when popped against the wind. Problem is, it’s not ideal over a suit or sports jacket. So, my question is – are there any overcoats made anymore that have the heaviness of coats of previous eras? (I was in Drake’s the other day in NYC, and their peacoat, while lovely, is so light, it feels more like a scarf than a coat. I exaggerate, but I think the cashmere makes it so, if cashmere it is.) London / Dublin / Paris residents don’t usually have to commute in weather like in New York, or Toronto, for that matter. At a certain point, fashion has to go out the window, or does it? Thanks, David.

David

Thanks, Simon, the layering / weight is key. The penny finally dropped – my pea coat is DB! Of course the wool is nice and heavy, but the DB adds a lot of warmth, silly me. 🙂 In overcoats, and in terms of heritage of a product, I haven’t seen you do a piece on Crombie. They do MTM, but don’t seem to do bespoke. Still, the heritage of the brand might justify a piece. I for one would be interested in reading it. All the best, David

David

That’s a pity, isn’t it, since the site heralds a kind of unbroken line to that heritage? (Worn by peers and royalty and the Beatles – as well as Mods and Skinheads, etc., etc.) But at least their RTW, as you say, seems good.

Briggs

How would you suggest buying a coat if you are shorter/stockier. I find even the above the knee overcoats to make me look shorter. I am getting a SB coat made now in a 18oz cashmere for wearing over both sweaters and jackets. I am thinking about using a belt and pleat similar to the one you did in your Vergallo loden top coat. I was going to have it cut a little shorter than you suggest so that I don’t look too short, between mid thighs and just above the knee. Is this an awkward length?

Peter

Funny. Even with 132 posts there seems to be confusion about the categories of overcoat. Topcoats are exactly that and are designed and cut to fit over a jacket/suit and are generally in material of 24 ounces or more. In this case thicker and heavier doesn’t necessarily mean better as above 28 ounces the finer points of Bespoke become impractical. Overcoats are usually a lighter garment of 18 – 20 ounces that due to additional length fulfill the same function as a jacket but give additional protection to the legs neck and chest. Usually cut slightly roomier than a jacket they allow for unhindered use of scarfs..

Josh

Hi Simon,

Great post mate. I’m on the hunt for a classic navy overcoat and literally cannot find what I am looking for (within my price bracket) anywhere. As such, I’ve decided to go MTM.

I’m still considering whether to go DB or single breasted, but one feature I really want is for the collar to be able to be worn up (and to remain UP without flopping around or falling down).

What do you recommend in the way of collars and to ensure that my collar actually stay stiff and up?

Cheers!

F

In terms of formality, would you say a black overcoat is more desirable than charcoal or navy? I already have a fair few smart coats, but I am thinking of getting a bespoke overcoat made that I can wear travelling to evening events and at winter funerals, hence the appeal of going as dark as possible. My only worry is that a black overcoat might be seen as a faux pas, in the same way as a black suit would be.
Cheers,
F

Jj

Hi Simon,
I am thinking about next winter commissions and a casual bespoke overcoat will be one of them.
It will be worn on weekends, only weekends.
What fabric do you recommend? What about tweed?
Would it look better on SB or DB?
Thanks.

Peter

I would go along with most of your observations regarding DB overcoats but I have found that some the thicker and heavier cloths that are coming onto the bespoke market do not make up well into a peak lapels..

F. Gerd

Hi Simon,

thank you very much for sharing this valuable information about overcoats.

I am looking for a new overcoat for the smart end of my wardrobe, and I think it should be a DB Chesterfield. But I am undecisive about the colour: navy or grey?

Do you think navy is formal enough for the top end, i.e. to be worn with black tie on some occasions?
Or does that only leave grey (or even only charcoal, if medium grey is still to casual to be combined with a dinner suit)?

I don’t wear black tie often, only a few times per year. Most of the time the overcoat will be worn with a suit to the office.

Thanks a lot in advance for your thoughts on that.

Best regards,
F. Gerd

Max

Hello, Simon. Long time follower of your blog. I live in a cold and wet part of the world and as such I’m interested in buying an overcoat that goes past the knees slightly (which I agree, looks very elegant). I don’t often wear suits so at most I would likely have a sweater or cardigan under it. Do you think it’s a good idea for me to have a overcoat made that is very fitted to the body like a tailored suit would be, or is it better to ensure it’s larger and can accommodate a suit under it? This leads onto my second question which is do you think shorter men should stay away from longer coats? I’m 5’6″ and have been told several times that shorter men should not by long coats as it is unflattering to them. This upsets me as shorter coats are not nearly as stylish, practical or interesting. I think that as long as I have a long coat that is tailored to fit me well, isn’t bulky and is conservative in design and colour I should be able to rock it.

Appreciate your work,

Maxwell.

J

Hi Simon
I am planning on getting a bespoke double breasted overcoat for winter in Tokyo – I will go for 100% wool as I fear that cashmere may be too light and not as durable. What is an appropriate weight range for the cloth keeping in mind that I usually wear 11-13 oz suits?

Justin

Hi Simon! Although you are more familiar with bespoke coats, I wanted to ask, if you could suggest some rtw manufacturers, who make good coats/pea coats? Looking for one at the moment, as winter is slowly coming and would appreciate some suggestions.

thanks!

Justin

Great! Thanks for the update! Looking very much forward to more information and will try to keep myself from impulse purchases.

Justin

You won’t believe it but a coat by Private White was at the top of my list before I wrote my first question. And now that I see the collaboration coming, I hope I will not miss it.

Justin

Sorry, was a bit unclear here – will try to keep myself from impulse purchases till that time 🙂 I am sure the collaboration will be of a high standard!

Khoa Van

I am 5 ft 7. So does I look short wearing knee-length coat?

Anonymous

Hi Simon,
In most pictures I’ve seen on your blog of overcoats you’re wearing your collar up. Could for instance the Cifonelli overcoat be worn with collar down, and still look as good, or was it designed to be worn that way and that way only (which I think is the case with your Edward Sexton, since the lapels with collar down, to my taste, are way over the top but looks alright with collar up)? If so, what does it change in the general design?
As well, with your experience, if you could have only one overcoat, are there some point you would definitely recommend or avoid? For instance, cashmere over wool, or wool and cashmere mix, pocket style, a different fabric for the collar (like a chesterfield) etc?

Falk

Hi Simon,

thanks for the great article about coats.

I am planning my first bespoke overcoat and I am undesisive about the colour: navy or charcoal?

It will be a (single or double breasted) Chesterfield and most probably it will be the smart end of my overcoat wardrobe for many years, so the main question is: would navy be smart enough to go with a dinner suit? Or would you recommend charcoal instead?

Thanks a lot in advance for your opinion and advice.

Jason

Hi Simon,

I wanted your thoughts on buttons for coats, Im a big fan of beautiful details and I find silver/gold buttons on coats to up its elegance but most of the time these days I find those details more common on womens coats ?

I find putting metal buttons on a lot of my clothes really improves the overall look.

What do you think of gold/silver vs horn/plastic

Thanks !
Jason

Clate

Reminded of when I was looking for my first long overcoat, at age 18. My father, God bless him, who grew up during the Depression and had an aversion to everything from that time period because he and his family were poor, insisted on a “finger tip length coat,” and forbade me a longer one. Even then, with much less knowledge of style, I thought that they were of no value for warmth, and looked half-baked, shall we say. Never did buy one of those, and never will. At or below the knee, and preferably double-breasted, all the way!

Robert

Simon,

Thank you for your great articles & helpful posts on overcoats. I live in the mid-Atlantic region of the US where cold weather months are not extreme. Perhaps once per winter season we’ll travel a week or two in northern climes with freezing temps. I contacted Joseph Genuardi, whom you recently gave positive reviews in your New York Bespoke article, to commission an overcoat.

I will gratefully take your advice and go with DB Navy, classic style, length below the knee (6X2 button design in dark brown horn) and when it comes to fabric (cashmere vs wool vs hybrid) I’ll decide when I’m face-to-face talking with Joseph and reviewing his swatches. I like the idea of achieving a sculpted silhouette with this long coat. I will discuss with Joseph how snug the fit should be to include half-lining and other details for less extreme winters. I’ll wear only MTM suits/jackets and knitwear underneath so I’d like to sculpt as much as practical while keeping in mind that I want this coat to be conservative. Joseph indicated his overcoats start at $3,300. That seems like a good deal to me. I appreciate reading all your articles because the more I read the more I learn and can combine data from your various posts to make informed conclusions.

One data point that I haven’t found…. do you ask for higher arm holes in your overcoats to help with the silhouette?

Anonymous

Is there a suggested/classic/proper button size for a DB overcoat?

David

Hi Simon, I’ve a question about an apparently vintage top coat I just picked up. It’s SB, Harris Tweed. It has the Harris Tweed Orb / mark of quality label, but no brand label and no care labels, and other than the Harris label, no labels at all. It’s half-lined and the seams are all cleanly done. The brown, bulbous buttons seem to be typical of the ’70s. Do you know of bespoke makers who wouldn’t put their label on the interior of the coat? I think I’m overhopeful in that regard. Anyway, it’s certainly vintage, and a v. nice piece. Thanks!

David

Hi Simon, I just got it back from the local seamstress, who was mending a tiny rip, and I’m thrilled with the coat – it has a nice line to it, hangs v. well, shoulders and fit are superb, and the colour (variegated greys and blues and bits of black and a few lighter blues showing up) is great. At first in terms of weight to the eye it looks to be a lighter top coat, but the tweed has a lovely heaviness which will come in handy. Also, in style terms it doesn’t have any of the sins of cheaper RTS overcoats and none of the peccadilloes of vintage styles from previous eras. So all in all a great find.

Jake

Hello, Simon.

Thank you for the incredible resource that you’ve created here at Permanent Style. I really enjoy your writing. I’d love to ask you about an overcoat I’m considering purchasing this season and would appreciate any thoughts you may have.

I live in Boston and my wardrobe is casual (I most often wear 5-pocket pants/jeans and a bespoke button-down shirt and sometimes trousers with a jacket — both with Cleverly George loafers or a similarly casual shoe). As I continue to build my wardrobe I’d like to add more trousers and knits, but would only wear a jacket a handful of times each month. Right now, I don’t have a proper coat and am looking for something under $1k USD. What are your thoughts on this coat from Sage de Cret (which you’ve reviewed briefly on the blog before)?

https://nomanwalksalone.com/convertible-collar-long-coat-in-dark-olive-melton-wool.html?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIgMCs97Sz5QIVCpyzCh1bbAlKEAYYASABEgK4L_D_BwE

It’s also available at Barney’s in navy: https://www.barneys.com/product/sage-de-cr-c3-aat-wool-blend-four-button-coat-506337646.html

I appreciate your time, Simon.

Jake

Thank you, Simon. Have you had an opportunity to handle either the peacoat or country coat from Anglo Italian? I’m considering both of those as alternatives and would be interested to hear your thoughts regarding weight and versatility.

J

Hi Simon,
I just commissioned a bespoke sb coat. It is a lovely Porter and Harding Harris Tweed fabric, with a muted greenish/brown color, with red, blue and even pink shades.
It is not a heavy fabric (450 grs) , perfect for Spanish winter.
I was not totally sure about the fabric so I visited my tailor when he received it, just to make sure I didn’t make a mistake. This is something I strongly recommend.
Cheers, J.

Anonymous

Hi Simon,

Why shouldn’t a first overcoat just be a pea coat instead of a notch lapel overcoat? Is it because the pea coat is more unusual than the longer plain overcoat? Thanks

Anonymous

What about a dark brown overcoat? Is it formal enough for business (only navy blue and charcoal grey suits)?

Karol

Does the colour recommendation stay the same with very dark suits? I mean charcoal grey and very deep brown. Should I focus on navy above all others or consider a light grey or tan, same as if I was choosing an odd jacket to contrast dark odd trousers?

Charles

hello simon, is your view on overcoat length still that is should be a couple inches below the knee (midpoint or base of knee?). I see some of your recent overcoat commissions appear a bit higher. But it is hard to tell from photos sometimes.

Anonymous

Hi Simon, what are your thoughts on front darts on more formal top coats? Do you have front darts on any of your overcoats and would you recommend that look? Thanks!

Anonymous

Hi Simon, what do you see as the advantages and disadvantages of adding buttons to the vent of a bespoke overcoat? My tailor advised against adding buttons at the vent, saying a bespoke overcoat should be balanced and not require buttons there. I’m not sure if he’s trying to make things easier for himself.

Jj.

Hi Simon,
what about covert coats? Have you ever comissioned one?
Thanks,

Anonymous

In my opinion it is easy to tell when a coat is too big but I find it difficult to tell when a coat is too tight over a suit. Do you have some tips on how a coat should fit over a suit and where you can best tell if a coat is the right size?

Brandon B

I am considering buying a made to measure overcoat (this will be my first, granted), and instead of navy, I’m thinking about using a darker black watch tartan. Do you think this is a mistake?

I was then hoping to purchase a navy Gloverall duffle.

Kashan

Hello Simon, I never had a Jacket coats that long and after I see the benefits of owning one. Number one is for sure an instant dope af outfit and the second- it really keeps you warm! This is the one piece I would dare to wear ripped jeans in winter.

Mike

Hi Simon,

Really helpful article. I was wondering if you can give me some additional advice. I’m looking to have two overcoats made. Out of the overcoat styles I really like the Ulster coat the most. (Your Liverano ulster is a true grail item). My daily wear predominantly exist of casual wear. Think denim, chinos, ocbd’s and sweatshirts. Would a navy ulster coat fit in terms of style and formality or would a navy topcoat be the more versatile coat? And what would your second choice be? I’m leaning to a wide herringbone brown Ulster…

Mike

Thanks for taking the time to reply! Really helpful. As a psychologist i’m really hesitant about dressing more formal than I currently do, but perhaps some tailored trousers and Finer knitwear doesn’t create too much of a gap between me and the client. I reckon that in this case it would be easier to incorporate an overcoat.

I really like the fabric you’ve used on the recent donegal coat. Unfortunately I can’t get used to the raglan sleeves.

Mike

Ok. I’ve ordered your donegal coat and I’m converted. The raglan coat sits really well on the shoulder without making them look smaller at all. The fabric is fantastic and I really like the weight and drape of the fabric. What do you reckon the ideal length of the coat should be? With 1.81 the size 5 falls 4 cm below the knee.

Mike

Great advise Simon. I’ve worn the coat for three weeks now and I really like the length. I’ve decided to leave the length this way.

Would you recommend the same size in your bridge coat?

H

Hello Simon!

As an Australian, from Queensland, I haven’t really needed an overcoat. But now I’m moving to a colder country and I’ll need to dress formally at work. Accordingly, I’m trying to follow your advice to first-timers – but it is surprisingly difficult to find the right thing!

My list of specs: formal, navy, double-breasted, woollen, and long past my knees. I have found cheap examples which are just about right in every way except quality of materials. The ones with lovely materials all stray too far from classic, or they’re the price of bespoke without any guarantee of a good fit.

My budget is around £800. Do you think I can find what I want – the classic navy overcoat you advise to first-time wearers – without going for bespoke? If so, where should I look?

Cheers

H

H

Thanks! Would your answer change much if I extended my budget £1000-2000?