Men’s Overcoat Guide: 5 Styles to Consider


eHow Style Blog

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With winter looming, it’s time to think about keeping warm. Doing it in style takes thoughtful consideration, as all coats don’t suit every occasion. Here are five classic styles to consider.

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The Duffel Coat

With a rise in the popularity of preppy fashions these past few years, we’ve been seeing more duffel coats, or “benchwarmers” as they’re sometimes known. Originally worn by Scandinavian fishermen at sea, this coat is built to keep the elements out. The best ones are knee-length with a heavy hood, blanket lining, big patch pockets, and rope and wood toggles, though leather and horn toggles are an acceptable option. Tan and navy are the standby color choices, but olive green, brown or even plaids are options, too. Perfect over a sweater and jeans for a fall football game, they also have a certain schoolboy charm over a tweed jacket and tie. Gloverall of England is the real brand here but Brooks Brothers, Polo, and J. Crew also offer great versions at various price levels.

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The Pea Coat

Another coat taken from sailors at sea, pea coats are still issued by the U.S. Navy. This coat is characterized by a short length and double-breasted front, with a big collar that can be turned up against the cold, and deep side pockets. Casual but not sloppy, this staple continues to be offered year after year by any number of makers, though military surplus is certainly the most authentic. Stick with simple colors like black, navy and gray.

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The Raglan Coat

You can’t beat a tweed raglan coat for versatility. This knee-length coat is known for its sleeves, which drape down softly from the collar rather than the shoulder. This shoulder construction keeps it casual enough to throw on every day, but its knee length and button front keep it just dressy enough to wear with a suit. These coats were very popular in the ’50s and ’60s , making vintage a great option. Opt for an old-timey tweed in herringbone or houndstooth check.

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The Chesterfield

The quintessential coat for formal occasions, the Chesterfield is seen in both single- and double-breasted varieties. Gray herringbone and black, often with a black velvet collar, are the most formal, at home with anything from a business suit to a tuxedo. Try one in tan or navy and skip the velvet collar for something easier to wear with less dressy outfits.


The Parka

Winter is messy, and at times you simply need something durable and waterproof. No need to skip style, though. The military parka, with a fur-lined hood, is perfect for snow shoveling and snowball fights, and available from many makers. But a military surplus one by Alpha Industries is hard to beat. Though the most versatile colors are navy, olive drab and burgundy, you can find it in any number of hues. If you’ve got enough dash, you can even wear it over a suit. Just make sure to get one long enough to cover your behind.

Winter may be cold and messy, but it doesn’t mean we have to give up on looking good. With these classic overcoats, you can stay warm and dry in style.

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