Men, when it comes to coats there is no such thing as half measures. A good coat is like a suit of armour, not only will it give you the kind of confidence you acquire just by looking and feeling the part, it will shield you from natural elements. Particularly if you reside in a place where fluctuating weather conditions are the norm and there is more grey than there is sunshine. Regardless, we all want our top layer to be the best one and hope it meets the following needs, warmth, style, practicality and comfort.

Finding the perfect coat can be stressful, especially since there is more to choose from now than ever before. The challenge comes into play with tracking down that one amazing garment that simultaneously fuses all these key elements, whilst remaining versatile enough to combine with a wide selection of outfits.  So here is a simple guide to see you through styling some of the most iconic coats of all time and equip you with the essentials needed for selecting a coat that is not only worth the investment, but so great even your great grand children will still fight over it long after you’re gone.

THE TRENCH COAT

 

The trench coat1

The notorious trench coat can be traced back to World War 1 where it coined its name after being worn in the trenches during the war. At the time Thomas Burberry specialised in designing coats for the British military before he went on to introduce gabardine, a water repellent fabric. Due to the sturdy, lightweight and weatherproof structure of this coat, it could be easily worn everyday.  Not long after its introduction, the gabardine trench became a hot commodity and quickly transitioned from mere military attire into a fashion statement.

Trench coats look fantastic when paired with either casual or smart attire, making them a worthy all season and all occasion must have. So whether you’re just popping out for a few drinks or attending a formal event, a trench coat is always a solid coat choice. For stylish results, combine either chinos, skinny jeans or slim fit trousers with a smart or casual shirt and jacket.

KEY ATTRIBUTES

  • Traditionally comes in khaki or camel colour
  • Hook & eye and throat latch
  • Gun patch/storm flap
  • Single or double breasted with wide lapels
  • It comes with a belted waist which can be fastened or set loose
  •  A wide vent extends across the back to allow more movement
  • The shoulders typically come with decorative epaulettes
  • Belted cuffs

 

THE MACINTOSH COAT

mac1

Formally known as the Macintosh, the Mac was first sold during the early 1820s after Charles Macintosh discovered a new technique which used adhesive rubber solution to make waterproof garments. Despite the unpopular ordour, this new innovation was able to make some profit due to its initial practicalities.  However the coat’s benefits were soon overshadowed by flaws, it became as sticky as honey in the heat and a hard as a board in the cold. When this former overcoat later reemerged as the reversible five ounce Paletot raincoat, it was more fashionable and popular, so it became known as the ‘Macintosh’.

Today Mac coats are among some of the most coveted coats in fashion, like trench coats, they typically come is a camel or khaki base and tend to be versatile pieces that can be worn all year round. Stylish when worn with a good pair of jeans as part of a smart/casual combination and striking when paired with a suit and tie.

 

Mac coat1

KEY ATTRIBUTES

  • Some versions come with wide lapels
  • Available in both double breast and single breast
  • Some styles include belted cuffs
  • Traditional versions typically come in light weight fabric
  • Water resistant

 

 

THE PEA COAT

The Peacoat

The Pea Coat was originally designed to protect seamen from the biting chill of the open sea. Today, modern styles still flaunt anchors which are usually engraved on the buttons, linking to the coat’s origins. A Pea Coat comes in double-breasted styles, featuring a wide lapel and notched collar. Most popular in navy and black colour bases, it is now available in a wider variety of colours and designed using softer wool than the traditional heavy melton wool.

The beauty of this coat is that it allows the wearer to smoothly transition from casual to formal. Combine it with a t-shirt and jeans for the perfect blend of sophistication and laid-back, or style it with a button-up shirt and pair of trousers for a seamless formal look. For those considering the Pea Coat for the first time, it is best to stick to the black or navy colours as they are the most versatile when it comes to styling.

 

KEY ATTRIBUTES

  • The pea coat comes in a thigh high length
  • Double breasted
  • Wide notch lapel
  • Slash pockets high on torso
  • Three by two button configuration including extra button to close collar
  • Single vent on the back
  • Close fit structure with slight flare at the hips

 

 

THE DUFFLE COAT

duffle coat5

Like with most coats, the Duffle coat can be traced back to its military origins, it’s name was adopted from the original tough wool fabric that was used to make traditional versions of the coat. Back in the day, Duffle coats were designed for the British Royal Navy during the war and their iconic toggle closure was designed to help facilitate fastening and unfastening while wearing gloves out at sea. The coat features four toggles which are fastened using leather or rope loops, an over-sized hood traditionally manufactured to accommodate a naval cap, two patch pockets and a collar button tab.

Although previous versions of the Duffle coat extended to the knee, modern versions tend to stop at the hip. A Duffle coats looks best when styled casually, combining it with a formal outfit would result in a dressed down effect. It is ideal when worn with jeans and a t-shirt, the perfect look for casual drinks with friends or running errands.

KEY ATTRIBUTES

  • The coat extends to hip-length
  • Toggles and hemp loops
  • Two patch pockets
  • Collar button tab
  • Single breasted
  • Shoulder yoke
  • Button tab on sleeves

 

 

 

THE PARKA COAT

the parker coat

The Parka is a godsend when it comes to outdoor attire, it was first introduced by the Caribou Inuit to shield against extreme weather conditions during hunting trips. Traditionally designed using caribou or seal skin, parkas are now constructed from modern lightweight materials. While encased with synthetic materials, the parka is lined with down  to help simulate its original bulky design and due to it’s puffy appearance, the modern day parka is commonly referred to as a ‘puffa coat’. The length ranges from hip to mid-thigh, the coat usually comes with a large fur-fringed hood and zip closure.

The Parka is best suited for casual wearing due it its sporty look, it is the perfect finishing touch for cold weather inspired layers. Ideal when worn with knitwear, jeans or casual trousers and boots.

KEY ATTRIBUTES

  • Hip to mid-thigh length
  • Fur-lined hood with or without a drawstring feature
  • Slanted welt chest pockets
  • Single breasted
  • Zip or button closure
  • Some styles come with a drawstring at the waist
  • Flat patch pockets

 

 

THE CHESTERFIELD COAT

the chester

The Chesterfield is an iconic coat named after the Earl of Chesterfield. Invented around the mid-19th century, this coat was the first of its kind and was designed to be styled on top of another garment strictly for outdoor wearing. Which links us back to today’s perceptions of the overcoat, although some now prefer to wear them indoors as well as outdoors, many still purchase an overcoat intending to use it for outdoor wearing.

Like with many other variations of overcoats, they can be worn on top of just about anything. However in order to introduce the style factor to your overcoat look, it is best to opt for a formal outfit. Ideal with suits or smart jackets and trousers. Perfect with a suit, tie, shirt and pocket square combination.

Although many years have passed since the Chesterfield first came on the scene, its key features have not changed significantly. Today’s Chesterfield features the following…

KEY ATTRIBUTES

  • Single breasted design structure
  • No waist seams or front darts
  • Short notch lapels
  • No cuffs
  • Some versions feature a velvet collar
  • Straight side pockets that are similar in appearance to flap or jet pockets
  • Plain back with a single vent

 

 

THE COVERT COAT

the covert

As with the Chesterfield, the Covert coat was designed for hunting and the great outdoors. Tailored using a sturdy fabric known as the Covert cloth, it was constructed to shield the wearer against the weather as well as mud bush encounters. Consequently this meant that the coat had to be heavy, weighing a good 29-30 ounces a yard, making it sturdy and durable.

Today the coat is available in lighter yet durable materials. Styles tend to come in a brownish-green colour as this enables the wearer more use as dirt does not usually show very much. Like with many overcoats, the Covert functions best atop a suit or any such formal attire. So combine it with your best suit, tie and shirt look for stylish results.

KEY ATTRIBUTES

  • Single breasted design
  • Designed using a brown-green base Covert cloth
  • Featuring notched lapels
  • Signature four or five lines stitched at the cuffs and hem
  • Two flap pockets
  • The collar comes in either the Covert cloth or the velvet

 

A good overcoat is a worthy investment, not only will it protect you against the elements, it will instantly step up your style every time you put it on. Since selecting the perfect coat is not always easy, Zee & Co is on hand to provide you with a wide selection of luxury coats by designer brands, so staying warm and stylish has never been easier.