After my post Monday, a few readers emailed to ask where they might be able to score a nice overcoat this winter. The places that sell such things are typically the same places that sell other kinds of tailored clothing (suits, sport coats, and the like). Often called “dress coats,” these garments different from other kinds coats in that they’re a bit dressier.
Go Retail: We have a two-part guide on where you can look for suits, if you don’t already have a favorite spot, and many of those places will carry overcoats. Just remember that many of the bigger companies will hold sales. With holiday seasons around the corner, right now is a good time to figure out which styles fit you best, and then plan for a purchase in a month or two.
Go Vintage: Even on sale, however, a good overcoat is likely to run you $500 or more. To get something more affordable – or to get more bang-for-your-buck – we recommend what we always recommend: trawl eBay and your local thrift stores. The great thing about overcoats is that they tend to hold up very well, as they’re usually durably constructed and classic in style. You can get a great vintage piece for pennies on the dollar.
The navy Guard’s coat above, for example, was made by Polo Ralph Lauren for Wilkes Bashford. I bought it for $75 from a thrift store in San Francisco (thanks to a tip from Jesse), and then threw in about $50 for alterations (the sleeves needed to be shorted and hem taken up). All in all, $125 for a great winter coat that probably retailed somewhere in the thousands. Jesse picked up something similar for even cheaper ($55).
Jesse wrote a great guide on thrifting, should you want to search around in your area. If you find something with moth holes, think about whether or not it’s something you can take to a re-weaver. Also, if you plan on wearing a sport coat or suit jacket underneath, bring those things with you when you go hunt. An overcoat can feel too big when you slip it on over a sweater and shirt, but fit perfectly when you have it layered over another jacket.