A classic men’s overcoat is arguably the king of men’s outerwear. Heavy and warm, they convey a certain kind of confidence and authority – making you feel as good as you look. There are dozens of styles, but if I had to pick four, these would be my favorites:
- Polo Coat: The most quintessentially American of all men’s overcoats, the polo is defined by its double breasted front, half-belted back, Ulster or peak collar, patch pockets, and perhaps most importantly, it’s camel tan color. Like with many American classics, it’s slightly less formal than its European counterparts. I think it looks best with a sport coat and grey flannel trousers, but you could also wear it with a chunky sweater and some jeans.
- Ulster Coat: The Ulster is a close cousin of the polo, but it’s much more rustic in nature. This design is defined by its patch pockets, signature collar style (known as the Ulster, where the notch goes horizontal or, at times, even slopes down), half belted back, and heavy tweed shell. That tweed fabric is what makes this go perfect with other rustic things, such as cavalry tweed trousers and pebble-grained boots. Unfortunately, these are hard to find new and off-the-rack nowadays, but you can try scouring your local thrift store.
- Guard’s Coat: As one of the more formal overcoats, this is what you want to wear over business suits. Unlike the other options above, a Guard’s coat needs to have peak lapels and welted pockets, since these are the details that help it look a little more dressy. The classic color is also navy. If you like the look, but don’t wear suits often, try something like what Patrick Grant is wearing above. With a different collar, a long, double-breasted overcoat can suddenly transform into something more casual. Something like this won’t be a true Guard’s coat, but it can be more useful for certain wardrobes.
- Single Breasted Topcoat: I find double-breasted coats look better buttoned, while single-breasted coats look better worn open. Like Mark and Alan from The Armoury above, you can wear a single-breasted topcoat over a suit or sport coat, but – if the design of the coat is right – you can also pair it with jeans and a sweater. It’s not a classic look, but the contrast of a dressy overcoat with more casual items can also look very chic and sophisticated. If you plan on wearing your coat more casually, consider getting something that buttons higher on the chest and has slim lapels, so you can wear it with the collar up.