This is the finished charcoal overcoat from Edward Sexton, and it’s hard to over-estimate how much pleasure it gives me.
It’s a very different feeling from my navy Cifonelli coat. That is practical, every day, an anonymous touch of luxury. It goes with everything and I go everywhere with it.
The Sexton coat is my idea of flamboyance. Not in colour, pattern or gimmicky design. But in weight, cut and beauty on a massive scale.
I’ve had it for a couple of months, and there were only about three weeks in that time where it felt necessary in London. But as soon as you go to New York, or Toronto, as I did for events recently (posts at those links), every other coat feels like a pathetic gesture at protection.
When each gust of wind is like ice on exposed skin, you feel very, very smug in this coat.
Primarily, it’s a matter of length. I find it eternally frustrating that raincoats are never offered below the knee, and overcoats are only a little better. Yes, you feel the cold more on your torso. But legs get cold (and wet) too.
Second it’s a matter of cloth – this 21-ounce golden bale/cashmere from Harrison’s. And third is the design: the big wrap-around of the double-breasted front and the tall collar. The former basically doubles the cloth up across the front of your body.
That collar was the one thing we didn’t get right initially. Coats are cut – understandably – with the collar down. But I wear it up just as often, and it needs to stay there.
So we doubled the canvas in the collar and, crucially, cut a separate crescent-shaped piece into the back to help support it (see pic above).
Also important was the depth of the gorge – how deep that cut is between the collar and lapel. Unless the front is entirely buttoned up, the lapel is always going to pull at the collar and drag it down. So that was deepened slightly.
Elsewhere, the make was absolutely perfect from the off. As mentioned in my original post, I wanted to use the curving seams of a paletot or tail coat on the back (I love the way they emphasise the shoulders and run into the sleeve seam) but disliked the horizontal cut usually used at the waist.
So we came up with this design, where the two seams sweep down the back, and then turn into pleats below the waist.
It took a little tweaking with the depth and position of those pleats, to make sure they stayed closed, but the end result is – I hope you’ll agree – wonderfully dramatic.
Elsewhere a lot of the superb finishing work done by Sexton’s team goes almost unnoticed. The swelled edge all the way down the length of this coat, for example, took the maker all afternoon.
And the buttonholes are beautiful: fine, deep (given the cloth) and in many cases double-sided, so you see a finished hole whether the coat is fastened across the chest or not.
Again, one of those double-sided buttonholes takes a couple of hours to do.
Stylistically, I think the structure of Edward’s cutting really suits a coat of this length. The shoulders and the roping of the sleevehead, for example, work here where a softer cut would leave the whole thing rather sloppy and lifeless.
The turn-back cuffs – and the equally wide slanted pocket flaps – balance the drama of the collar and shoulders.
My favourite style of buttoning the coat is just the one, waist button fastened and the lapel rolling beautifully down before flaring out in the skirt.
We also took a few shots of the coat in movement here, because its length is given full expression when you’re striding along the street. As ever, click on the images to enlarge them.
- The beige cashmere scarf is from Begg & Co and the lightweight patterned scarf from Anderson & Sheppard’s haberdashery
- The hat is from The City Milliner. More on this new London bespoke maker soon
- Charcoal worsted trousers from Elia Caliendo
- Black suede shoes from Edward Green – Shelton model on the 890 last
The coat cost £5600, and all photography is by Jamie Ferguson @jkf_man
And, by popular request, a shot from the front with the collar down: