It’s the perfect time of year to invest in a good-quality overcoat. Unlike jeans or shirts, you can be confident that an overcoat is an investment piece, so don’t be afraid to push the boat out – it works as part of almost any outfit, and looks as effective over a suit as it does over a sweater and jeans. It’s something you’ll pay more for up-front, but a well-made overcoat will comfortably reward you with many years of wear.
What I find helps to calm any nerves about spending a significant amount of money on a piece of clothing, is to work out the likely cost-per-wear of the item. £750 might seem like a lot initially, but if you wear it for two-and-a-half months a year (75 days) and it lasts ten years, well, that’s only £1 per wear. That’s a no-brainer for a high-quality, functional, good-looking piece of outerwear.
The key for a purchase like this is to keep things simple. For the majority of people, a single-breasted overcoat with three buttons will look good, although double-breasted overcoats can look great on the right person. If you’re of a slighter build, a double-breasted overcoat can make you appear slightly bigger and more balanced. However if you’re a larger (read: fatter) man, a double-breasted overcoat can make you look enormous.
Don’t fall into the trap of assuming all overcoats are equal – there are dozens of styles and fabrics available, various button configurations, lapel styles and lengths, all of which can greatly influence the way the coat looks on you. It’s also wise to disregard fashion to a certain extent. What is in fashion today likely won’t be a couple of years down the line, and you don’t want to be stuck with an expensive and unwearable piece. We all remember the skinny-lapel suits of the mid-2000s which by today’s standards look horribly dated.
I’ve pulled out five overcoats at varying price points below. I’ve always found Camel/Tan overcoats to look especially good, but there is a huge range of materials available in almost any style, so it’s worth looking at your own wardrobe and seeing which colour is likely to work best.
A classic colour paired with traditional notch lapels make for a timeless overcoat that will never be out of style.
A slim silhouette and peak lapels creates a striking look.
Perhaps the most basic overcoat on the list, but you can’t go wrong with the three-button, notch lapel look. A classic.
Shawl collars give the overcoat a more laid-back look, but still with undertones of luxury – think tuxedo jacket, rather than bath robe.
It’s only fair to include one double-breasted jacket on this list, and this is the most traditional iteration – three buttons, peak lapels with a single vent at the rear. A winner.