Ask Our Stylist – How to Choose the Right Overcoat
It’s that time of year again. The fall leaves are giving way to plumes of chimney smoke, and your wardrobe could use a warm and toasty upgrade. There are a myriad of options out there to keep you comfy as the temperature dips. We’ve already discussed fabrics that work well for winter, so let’s take it a step further and bring overcoats into the mix. How does one style an overcoat to become a jack-of-all-trades garment? Let’s run through the basics.
Pick the right weight for your climate
The weight of an overcoat comes down to a few factors. The fabric you choose, the length of the overcoat, and whether it’s lined or not. These all play an important role in how much an overcoat will weigh. Obviously, lighter weights (roughly 17 ounces) are ideal for mildly cool weather, whereas something more substantial (between 19 and 20 ounces) works well for harsher climates like New York winters. Heavier fabrics are usually made using natural fibers like alpaca, cashmere, or wool.
What length is the right length?
There is a bit of discrepancy here, so take these suggestions as a starting point. The general rule of thumb for a traditional overcoat is that it should hang just below the knee. However, there are variations – like the topcoat (trenches fall into this category) – which are lighter overcoats that stop at or above the knee. Then there is the duffel coat, a much heavier overcoat with a military heritage. These tend to hang around the mid-thigh area, have a hood, and come equipped with large, fashionable, toggle fastenings, or buttons. In either case, the sleeve length should be long enough to cover your shirt or suit’s cuffs, typically stopping just below the base of your thumbs to lock warm, body heated air in and keep the sting of winter out.
Single breast or double breast?
This, for most, simply comes down to style. Some prefer the sleek, modern look of a single-breasted overcoat. They’re slimming when closed, give your wardrobe a bit of breathing room when worn opened, and – as you may have guessed – have a single line of buttons on the face. Double-breasted overcoats are currently making a come back for the regality they lend to a wardrobe. They’re typically a bit boxier when worn closed, flows close (only leaving a small gap between fastening points) when worn opened, and have a two-button row down the front. Double-breasted overcoats also tend to be warmer due to the overlapping layers.
Any color is the new black
Again, this comes completely down to style and preference. Black is a perfectly suitable choice for an overcoat. They’re safe, dependable, versatile. They can be dressed up, paired down, and given the boot-cut jeans treatment. But they’re also expected. So, why not throw a little color onto the palette that is your wardrobe? Heather grey and navy blue are strong contenders for those who don’t want to stray too far away from the quiet dignity of black. But if you’re feeling adventurous might we suggest dabbling in the traditional fall colors – your maroons, olives, mustards, and browns.
Starter options for everyday situations:
Testing out the Smart Office look: Simply pair the coat with a fitted suit, tailored dress shirt, and skinny tie. Easy.
Dressing up for date night: A nice roll-neck sweater and wool trousers are fashionable enough winter wear but adding an overcoat will liven up the ensemble without adding too much fanfare.
Pub crawling with friends: Your favorite raised knitted sweater and jeans go here. Opting for a crewneck offers the same casual vibe as the “tee shirt and jeans” style you may be more comfortable with, except it’s upgraded for winter.
Brunch Sundays and day-tripping around the city: A close-knit sweater (think hoodie without the hood), casual jeans, and a simple scarf will fit right in with traversing urban jungles to blow off a little steam.
At Original Stitch, we offer a fully customizable collection (yes, even the collar type!) of premium quality shirts. Customers can create a shirt completely unique to them. Our high-quality yarns are hand-selected from and tailored in Japan to be extra resistant to wear and tear while maintaining a softer feel than regular button-up shirts.