Overcoats 101

Greetings, friends! We’re back with another winter wardrobe feature – the overcoat.

The iconic overcoat is not only a winter essential; it’s a must in any wardrobe. It gives off a refined aesthetic, keeps most of you warm, and it goes with anything. There’s a reason it’s worn by everyone from the average joe to the likes of David Beckham and Ryan Gosling; it makes anyone and everyone look good. Let’s peel back the layer of this layer to learn more about its history, how to wear one and where you can find your own!

Design and history

The overcoat is a long coat that is meant to be worn as the outermost layer. With the primary purpose of keeping you warm, it is typically made of heavy fabrics like wool or camel. Its formal appearance can typically be noted by the lapels, horn buttons and minimal detailing. This coat is not to be confused with a peacoat, which is cropped at the waist, is double-breasted and often has fastened straps on the shoulders. It’s not exactly rare for an overcoat to have a double-breast design but most often they have a single breast with three buttons.

The overcoat was primarily used for formal events as well as a fixture in formal military uniforms before it became popular in modern fashion. In fact, it has become quite versatile and it can also be worn with any casual outfit. Whether you’re donning a suit or rocking ripped jeans and a tee, you’re heading to work or just the grocery store, the overcoat works in just about any situation.

Traditionally, overcoats and topcoats were two different outerwear garments – the overcoat was heavier, often made of fur and ended below the knee while the topcoat was more trim, made of wool or felt and ended above the knee, but in these modern times, the terms have become interchangeable. And for the sake of simplicity, we are going with the term overcoat since it is used most commonly today.

Where to buy?

Where can you find an overcoat? Considering how half the country sees snow 5 months out of the year, the supply is nearly endless. Plus, the variety out there is something to be seen! You can find plenty of colors and designs at ASOS and Zara, while H&M, Nordstrom and Suit Supply will have you covered with more mainstream options.

I recommend having at least two overcoats in your arsenal. Camel is my first pick, primarily since this color is so versatile and it compliments winter colors so well. The majority of us have fall/winter wardrobes that are made up of navy, khaki and grey, making this a perfect choice. Camel even goes well with black if you’re feeling a little more daring. For the second choice, navy is a great safe option since navy layers well with other blue shades. Or, you could make a bolder choice by picking up something with a pattern to add flavor, such as grey herringbone, brown plaid or navy windowpane.

Below are a few ways the gents wear their overcoats with shopping links below. We would love to hear if you have any overcoats in your wardrobe and how you wear them!

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