Designing the Anthology polo coat

Wednesday, January 6th 2021
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Last year The Anthology asked me to help design a new polo coat they were going to produce. They’ve only gradually added coats to their bespoke offering, but are now doing so more, as they expand into ready-to-wear. 

Buzz at The Anthology was well aware that I’ve never done a tailored coat as part of my regular collaborations with Private White VC, on principle.

Given how much I love bespoke overcoats, and eulogise them, it would never make sense to help make a RTW one that didn’t have some aspect of that bespoke make. 

However, the lower costs at The Anthology’s workshop in China make it possible to offer that: a ready-made coat with some significant, functional hand work, such as hand padding of the lapels. 

And of course, this model also serves as a design for future bespoke orders, so Anthology customers can get a bespoke overcoat, to my design. 

For the moment, however, the polo coat is only available RTW, through the Anthology website here. It is made in 100% camelhair - and costs $1850 plus VAT.

We went with camelhair for two reasons. First, it has a nice, almost-cashmere feel without being too expensive; and second, it means we can have a natural, undyed material and the traditional colour of a polo coat. The cloth is 23oz (650g) from Standeven. 

There is a range of colours of camelhair, even if they’re all natural, from rather strong and yellow, to rather dark and caramel-y. We went for a fairly muted shade (you’ll be unsurprised to hear) but also one that was pale enough to clearly get the polo-coat reference. 

The most important parts of the coat, though, are of course the make and the design. 

To cover off the make, quickly. The coat is machine made, like any normal RTW overcoat, except for hand-padded lapels and hand-sewn armholes. You can see the hand padding in the image above, and this was the making point I wanted more than any other. 

There are then hand-sewn buttonholes, which are not so functional but do add a bespoke feel to the coat, and other tiny details like hand-sewn bar tacks, turn-back cuffs and sprat’s heads. 

We did initially plan for a hand-padded collar and chest, but that would have added too much to the costs. Equally, the prick stitching around the front edge, pockets and belt is done by machine, even if it gives some appearance of being done by hand. 

It’s a hard balance when you want to make the coat as good as possible, but keep costs down - to avoid it basically being the same price as bespoke. 

I wanted that swelled edge, to replicate the look of a traditional polo coat, but doing it by hand just took long, and would have added almost £200 to the price. 

The design had two main influences: the many different historical iterations of the polo coat, and the things I ask for on my bespoke commissions. 

Those polo-coat iterations vary wildly. There have been single-breasted and double-breasted, belted and not, various pocket designs, different gorge angles, different sleeve constructions. 

Some of those were only introduced relatively recently, though, and often with the aim of becoming more commercial. Most original polo coats - thrown over tennis or polo clothing to keep players warm - were consistent on several points. 

They were double-breasted, with a set-in sleeve and patch pockets. They had swelled edges, and a gorge line that meant the lapels could be folded up, under the chin. They were long, protective and practical. 

The other decisions we had to make on design were primarily whether to include a belt (we went with just a half belt, Martingale-style), whether to have patch or postbox pockets (postbox, my favourite), and whether to have a split sleeve (where you’d see a seam running down the top of the sleeve, similar to a raglan).

The latter was the only area I was really unsure about, but decided a conventional sleeve would create a cleaner, smarter look that might suit more Anthology customers. 

The only idiosyncrasy I did add was a flapped breast pocket. This was partly style, and partly practicality. I like the fact that it’s a touch unusual, but it's also great that you can keep a mobile phone in there without it falling out - an issue I often have. 

When it came to the design aspects I liked from my bespoke commissions, the primary one was a lapel with a good amount of belly. 

I don’t think skinny double-breasted lapels look great at the best of times, but they seem particularly dated now. Wide lapels are also more satisfying to wear up, and wrap across the chest - as I picture a good number of Anthology customers doing. 

This also fitted well with the ability to button the lapel under the chin. 

Designing for this is always a little fiddly. First, the point of the lapel has to finish just under the chin, and not poke up into it (see below). This determines a lot about the shape of the gorge line.  

And second, the top pair of buttons on the body has to be narrowed, and the lapel widened, until that top body button can fasten. This is a tricky balance: you don’t want the lapel to be stupidly wide, and I don’t want that top set of buttons to be the same width as the rest either - it just looks too boxy. 

Other, small design points are generous turn-back cuffs (7cm), matte-horn buttons with plenty of mottling, and a collar which is large without being too wide at the gorge line. 

There is something about a collar that’s too wide at the gorge, almost overshadowing the lapel, that seems much less flattering to me. It’s very military and top-heavy.

The coat has a dark-brown lining, and two internal breast pockets. There is a box pleat in the back, four tuck pleats around the belt, and then a vent that buttons shut below it. 

I’m wearing a size 48. I’ve shown the coat without tailoring underneath, but if I was to wear a jacket under it regularly, I would size up to a 50. For those that don’t know, I’m six foot (183cm) and 12.5 stone (79kg). 

The fit is of course not perfect, because it is RTW, not bespoke. I might also have the coat an inch or so longer if I was having it made for myself - but then I’m above average height. 

Measurements of the coat are all available through The Anthology. Also best to ask them for details about potential alterations. 

The two outfits are intended to demonstrate how versatile a camel-coloured polo coat can be. 

Now, I don’t think a polo coat is great for business. I had one, in fact, when I was 25, and regretted it. The colour was too showy for grey and navy suits - like I was some kind of flash trader. I should have gone for a navy coat, or dark brown at the most. 

The advantage of this colour though, I think, is how good it can look with casual things like jeans. I think it looks particularly nice above with my vintage Levi’s, a grey cable knit and suede loafers (above). 

That colour combination is of course heavily influenced by Ivy (and Ralph Lauren’s retelling of the story): pink oxford, grey knit, green scarf, brown suede. 

The second outfit is certainly not a business suit, but it is considerably smarter. 

The shirt and shoes are the same, but there's a cream sleeveless cardigan and grey flannel trousers. Still mining the same vein of American influences, but a touch more uptown. 

The other pieces shown are my old Berkeley cap, much-worn Frank Clegg leather tote bag, a PS Watch Cap in red, and Merola snuff-suede gloves.

The shirt is bespoke in pink PS Oxford cloth, the scarf is from Begg, and the knit is from Luca Faloni.

The polo coat is available on the Anthology website here.

Photography: Alex Natt

 

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David

Hi Simon, that is another great looking coat! As far as I am concerned you have not collaborated on anything this season which is not tremendous is its appeal. If I had not already purchased the Donegal 2 coat this season, I may have been inclined to buy this one. // Last winter I purchased a polo coat from the brand, Seal Up in collaboration with Beams F. It was a bit of splurge given its look, but it is something I reach for whenever I want to leave an impression. It features some (extremely) aggressive lapels, peaking above the shoulder line, in fact. I first saw it worn on Nishiguchi Shuhei, of “Nishiguchi’s Closet”, and thought how wonderful it looked on him. I too bought mine a bit smaller and do not wear it over suits or sport coats. I am partial to wearing on top of fair isle sweaters and corduroy trousers.

Anonymous

Hi Simon,

Lovely coat, although i find it slight paradoxical that you choose against the split sleeve in favour of a smarter look but then decided to style it very casually for this shoot. Interesting also that you chose this sleeve when you don’t think a polo coat is great for business and in fact don’t recommend the colour based upon your own experience?

Haackk

A bit of an unspecific question, but what are your thoughts on this coat compared to the Ciardi British warm you have?

For example, I think the Anthology coat looks really good wit the collar popped, but not so much with the collar down, whereas the Ciardi coat looks good even with the collar down.

Haackk

Thanks.

Would you prefer the length to be similar to your Liverano Ulster?

And how long is too long, you think? Would you think the coat would be too long in a length similar to your Sexton long coat?

Hugh

You have some pictures of the shorter length sexton overcoat in your review of the Stephen Temkin hat

https://www.permanentstyle.com/2018/02/how-a-hat-should-fit-with-stephen-temkin-fedora.html

Martins

Out of curiousity. For someone who bought your bridge coat for its slimness in body, how would this compare?

Robin

Nice coat and personally I prefer double breasted .
I find single breasted , unless tailored , can add years to one’s ago , or if in a dark colour , make one seem like a funeral director.

Question ….. with regards sizing and overcoats generally …..Is it possible to kill two birds with one stone and wear the same size coat both casually and with a jacket or would it look too big on the shoulders when worn without a jacket ?

Oscar

Hi Simon, wonderful polo coat as anything that has your personal touch. One question regarding the color. Although you commented that this is a pale camel (it is not really easy to appreciate the real color through a digital screen), do you think it could work with the “cold color capsule”? or it will be better to have something more in the taupe color palette? I’m trying to work in the cold color capsule and I’m really unsure about this one.

Anonymous

Congratulations to you and the Armoury for producing such a nice piece. Any plans to stock this on the PS shop, keen to avoid the extortionate import fee this would attract if I were to order from the Anthology to London.

Andrew Poupart

The coat is not by The Armoury, it’s by Anthology, a London-based brand.

Andy

Has Buzz moved back to HK permanently?

Anonymous

Thanks Simon. Are there any plans for other PS outerwear releases — a raglan perhaps? Also, keen to hear your view on the Husbands Raglan?

Oliver

Love it Simon, great work along with The Anthology Team.

Nicolas Sitbon

Hi Simon can you be more precise about the weight of the fabric: is 650 per square meter or per linear meter? best regards.

William Nixon

Another great piece, Simon! I’ve noticed on some of your more recent coats that you’ve had a buttoned vent with the central pleat down the back- particularly on this one, the Ciardi and the Liverano Ulster. I wonder if this is becoming a default for your coats? I find it incredibly useful for movement, as well as a way of having extra fabric in the skirt without ruining the silhouette.

As always, loving your posts!
W

Miles

“On Wednesdays, we wear pink” – Karen Smith, played by Amanda Seyfried (Mean Girls, 2004)

Benjamin Abraham

This coat is wonderful. Excellent job on the make and styling. I really wish I could justify purchasing one. I’ve gone through all of the calculations to rationalize it. The season I have already picked up have a vintage 100% camelhair polo coat (single breasted) and a RTW double breasted Ulster from Liverano that’s very similar to Simon’s bespoke coat, but in a blue boucle wool. The size limitations of a New York City apartment also are a factor. However, camelhair is also wonderful fabric, it’s my favorite of any luxury overcoating fabric. By its nature, as it does a great job of regulating temperature–i’m never too warm or too cold but very comfortable. I think the light color, as mentioned in the article does limit its versatility to more casual excursions than say to a financial office, but since very few people are going into an office these days, perhaps this is a very appropriate piece to pick up. The pricing is a great value as well.

Andrew Poupart

Another beautiful coat–congratulations to you and to Buzz. I love Polo costa and this one checks many of the right boxes. I do wish it were a little longer, say mid-calf. Then I think it would be much more dramatic (perhaps something you would not want, I realize). Still, very tempting!

robert kubek

Beautiful coat Simon. Really enjoy seeing your overcoat commissions. Top coats are like scarves, always room for one more. These coats are so glamorous. Sadly few men in the states still wear them ( or even own one). Seeing the bespoke stitching of hand padding with the upturned lapel is a neat little reveal to the discerning observer. Nice touch. Good stuff.

Sandro

Amazing coat. Love the small details that sets itself apart from just another camel coat. Since it is RTW, and due to my height, is there any room to let out the length of this coat? If so, how much in a size 54?

The Anthology

Hi Sandro,

Thank you for showing interest in our Polo Coat. In order to avoid leaving marks to the cloth as well as to disrupt the clean finishing, we advise not to have the length altered from the existing overcoat. However, we would be happy to discuss at length via email on how we can assist you further in this regard. Kindly drop us an email at [email protected], thank you!

The Anthology Team

Jonathan Kalman

That is a very busy coat; so many details in one piece of clothing. I understand the desire to create a unique coat but I think it is overwrought. The flap on the breast pocket is just one example

Mark R

Not sure I like that flap there either. Is it possible to tuck it inside the breast pocket? Or is the material just too bulky?

Alexander

Dear Simon, you said you would have probably chosen a navy or dark brown for your first DB overcoat. What do you think of dark greys for an ulster/polo? I went with a charcoal herringbone ulster. For me it is one of the most versatile colours for an ulster (or polo) coat. It goes with all my typical business outfits and also works for me all the way down to jeans. With jeans: there is my problem with navy, which would have been too smart for me.
BTW: I do realize that the Anthology version was not created to be as versatile as possible, so this is slightly off topic which I hope will be forgiven.
Thanks, kind regards

Stephen

Hi Simon,
Well done to you. This looks a superb coat, that looks like a really authentic polo coat with great detailing. Also I think showcasing with casual looks for me was great as it’s mainly how I dress nowadays. It certainly appears excellent value for money. I do have a couple of questions.
I do agree with the comment that it’s looks best with the collar up. Does it easily stay up? Your Donegal coat had a collar in insert to help with this.
My second point / question is a practical one regarding purchasing. I understand any importer would need to pass on the import tariffs and VAT to the customer. It’s more around ordering something from half way across the world with the inherent risk around couriers being able to provide a reliable service. I believe it would be a commercially good move to partner with a UK retailer (who would have the relevant expertise) , who could import and sell the coat. Perhaps this is something to be considered.
In the meantime I’ll find out from Anthology who they use for international carriage and T&Cs.
Please don’t take this as criticism, more a genuine suggestion to make the product more commercially viable.

Mark

Extremely appealing over all, and the best part, the nicest colour I have ever seen for a polo coat! Most look too yellow or too caramel-like to my eye. Simon, I really admire your eye for shade selection, and this coat reinforces that. Strongly admire the shape and proportions of the lapel and collar but really wish the buttoning point was at least an inch lower and I am mildly on the side of an unflapped outbreast pocket and split sleeves. Hoping for Polo 2 at some point. I realize these are minor concerns with what is still a beautiful, and most uncommon casual coat.

Ant

Hi Simon

Love it, as usual.

Can I respectfully make a suggestion – I appreciate a lot of the readership have the means to buy most of your collaborations, but for the rest of us, would you consider giving a bit more of a heads-up/schedule of upcoming works?

As an example, I have a few PS items, including the recent Donegal, but if i had an idea of what was coming down the tracks I might be able to better allocate money to those pieces I was most interested in.

I dont know – maybe this is not a problem for many, but hopefully the point at least makes sense?!

Cheers,
Ant

Martins onzuls

I’d like to know as early as possible about which Donegal cloth you’ll use next year. I really liked texture and colour of v1!

Karl

Congratulations Simon,
I just viewed today’s (January 7, 2021) online version of The Robb Report which features the Anthology/Permanent Style Polo coat collaboration.

Dan James

Lovely coat-not sure the winters are harsh enough in west Japan to warrant it. Also, as it is tad short on you at six foot, it wouldn’t really suit me at 3 inches more. However, it does look good dressed up and down in both outfits. Forgive my ignorance, but I noticed some small perforations on the reverse of the lapel (the left one at least), could you tell me what they are for?

Dan James

As always polite and courteous in response – must read more carefully. Never knew about prick stitching till today.
One last thing- the more I look at the back of the coat, the more I like it. The box pleat and the stitching at the top, the side pleats and the belt and the buttons on the vent-all very nice touches.

Mark

In reponse to Dan (and Andy Poupart),
I also would like a longer version of the Polo. My understanding from communicating with Buzz’s team is that an increased length is entirely possible but a surcharge may apply and the coat will be final sale. Best to confirm with the team at The Anthology, as Simon has previously mentioned.

ChrisS

Hi Simon – one aspect you didn’t mention in the design of this coat or overcoats in general is overcoat “length” and how almost all manufacturers seem to end them well above the break in the back of the knees. This coat also seems a bit short to me? Can you opine on overcoat length in general because I feel that properly longer overcoats (ending below or slightly below the back of the knee) appear more elegant but seem to have become extinct.

Rob Mac

Hi Simon, Great coat, looks to be warm and comfortable just as a proper coat should be.
Not sure about the flapped breast pocket though. I know that Ralph Lauren does the same
with his polo coats. Thanks for the personal size info, it’s nice to have a reference point. I’m
a touch bigger at 6’1″ and 180 lbs. It is refreshing to see clothes worn in a size range beyond stick thin models. Stay warm and safe.

Josh

Another exquisite piece of outerwear; wonderful work! I would so love to own the entire 2020 run of PS outerwear collabs, but as I am still on the cusp of getting my first MTM sports jacket, and as I am forever spontaneously purchasing outwear to the detriment of my wider wardrobe building, it will be a while before I am able to. There’s really such a unique thrill to buying a new coat…

A few more thoughts: the PS watch cap in red looks amazing and I will definitely be taking the plunge on that. Also, I’ve been wondering whether there is a small but increasingly significant gap in coverage of that hazy area between business and casual tailoring in terms of wardrobe building. I suspect, as you have meditated over the last year, that this grey zone will grow as the world adapts to new ways of working. It would be great to see more discussion of buying considerations for those who choose to wear tailoring purely for style. So, how a coat such as this, while inappropriate for business suits, might be a good choice for such a wardrobe? I’m also thinking of how Willy at the Anthology can layer the most casual and unconventional coats and workwear over tailoring to excellent effect. That kind of styling obviously and intentionally defies conventional wardrobe building wisdom. Or maybe I‘m just ruminating too much on all the content of the past year 😅
Cheers

Josh

The bus stop test 😂 Love that. I think where I am in East London, I’d get harsher looks for playing it safe

Detlef Rueskamp

Hi
I’ve just received the Polo coat and I really have to say it’s wonderful! Not only does it fit me (size 50) perfectly, the coat is lovely crafted and from my perspective a perfect twist between RTW and MTM. Thanks to you Simon for your knowledgeable contribution and to the guys from The Anthology for making this wonderful coat!

Matthew Lauc

Hello,

I am interested in purchasing the polo coat in size 50 and I’m wondering what your measurements are so I can compare them to me. I’m 6ft tall, 185lbs. I wear a size 42regular jacket.

Best regards,
Matthew

Detlef Rueskamp

Hi Matthew
I am 5ft9 and 184lbs. I’ve bought the coat in size 50. It’s a perfect fit with regards to shoulder width, waist and sleeves on me if I wear it like Simon in the fotoshoot, i.e. shirt and light jumper, or even with a Shetland rollneck underneath. When it comes to wearing it with a jacket underneath it’s getting quite tight around shoulders and waist. So, like Simon said, deciding on the right size mainly depends on what way you will be wearing the coat really.

Detlef Rueskamp

I made a mistake with regard to my size: I’m 182 cm, which is almost 6ft if I’ve got it right this time

Matt

It seems the majority in the comments don’t like the flap breast pocket but for me, it’s a perfect nod to Ralph, who did so much to cement the polo coat as an iconic piece of outerwear. While I’m debating if I want to have one made with a bit extra length or to just pull the trigger on a RTW I’m very much looking forward to adding one to my closet.

Martin

Simon,

On PS/Instagram/etc I see people based in Europe and praising The Anthology products (such as the knitted t shirt for example). If not mistaken, if buying their products from Europe one would have to pay for import taxes, etc. Or is there a solution (retailer, third party, etc) that I am not seeing?

Regards

Anonymous

Slightly off-topic, but what do you think about Faloni’s cable knit sweaters? If choosing between them and one of their regular crewnecks, what would you do? Thanks.

Oscar

Hi again Simon, I’ve received the coat today. Loving the colour, the flap breast pocket and the whole coat. I’m 179cm and I love the length as well (48 size). I cannot imagine anything like this with this style/quality/price relation. A big shout-out to you and TheAnthology Team!

Stefan

When we’re talking about the color of coats. Everybody with a sartorial interest say you should stay away from a black suit and go with a navy or charcoal. But what about black coat? Last couple of days I’ve noticed a lot of american politicians (Obama for example) wear a black coat with a navy suit. Is this “correct” in classic menswear to have a black coat over a navy suit? I know you don’t always have to follow rules etc etc. To me it isn’t the nicest combination black and navy, but surprisingly many have that.

andy

can this be worn with black suede shoes? i’m tempted to get one but found majority of my shoe closet is black calf or suede!

Hugh McQueen

A great looking coat and colour combination – camel and denim never fails – but for a polo feel do feel it needs be that fraction longer, as you indicate in your post. Plus, I think the pockets should be a little deeper. Not in the same league, but a good example for length is Berg & Berg’s polo: https://bergbergstore.com/products/noa-double-breasted-coat-navy

Anonymous

hi simon, ive got this coat and its a lovely make. i struggle with identifying warm and cold colours. from your article and comments, this coat is warm in tone and you have suggested pairing this with other warm colours and strong colours.
so here is my question, i like wearing this casually with a hoodie underneath so if you dont mind looking at this link from uniqlo- which of those colours will suit the jacket?-

https://www.uniqlo.com/uk/en/product/men-uniqlo-u-wide-fit-sweat-hoodie-437317.html?dwvar_437317_color=COL12&dwvar_437317_size=SMA002

i was thinking pink and beige?

AA

Hi Simon. My question is related to Anthology but not the polo coat specifically. (You don’t have a post about their knit t-shirts, so I though I’d post here.) Are you familiar with whether they sourcing their cotton from an ethical source? They mention that they get their cotton from farms in Xinjiang, which I know supplies a ton of the world’s cotton, and I asked them to confirm that those farms do not use forced labor from interned Uighurs. They confirmed that their operation is “not in association with any related parties of the Uyghur forced-labour/concentration camps.” My inclination is to take them at their word, but unfortunately so much of the Xinjiang cotton has been tainted that I feel it proper to treat cautiously. Many companies for understandable reasons don’t disclose their fabric sources, so I didn’t ask any further. Have you happened to inquire at all about this?

This post is not meant to make accusations or cause controversy. Just trying to get clarity about what “sustainably sourced” cotton here means. If you have any guidance I’d appreciate it. Thank you.