Top Classic Winter Coats for Men
“The man who, as is often said, can get away with wearing a trench coat over his dinner jacket, or an old school tie for a belt, is the one who in fact understands best the rules of proper dress and can bend them to suit his own personality and requirements.”
– G. Bruce Boyer
It’s been said that coats are the fashion item of choice for those with slippery hands.
Cloakrooms lose coats left, right and centre. Why? The coat made to protect the wearer either from the elements or the job at hand so a quality coat is a smart option for many. Now, I’m not promoting stealing in any way but what I am promoting is the personalisation of your overcoats so you can claim your second skins!
Whether it’s single or double breasted, quilted or gabardine, I love how you can layer an outfit in multiple ways with a quality coat. Some of the more traditional styles of coats you will come across have been around for years and for a good reason.
Here are some of the most iconic of classic coats you should think about this winter and many more seasons to come;
The sailor’s favourite. ‘Pea’ refers not to what rolls off your plate, but the pilot cloth the coat was originally crafted from, then contracted to P-jacket by naval quartermasters. These were the best storm-ready jackets, built from heavy duty wool and feature an oversized collar to turn up against sea spray.
Because the hem sits below your suit jacket, the peacoat works with tailoring, but for weekends (or casual offices) worn over roll-necks or jumpers and with denim or heavy drill cotton chinos will keep you warm in the concrete ocean during winter.
Most are found in Blacks, Charcoals and Navy’s, so look out for something different if you’re not into the norm and like to have a more technicolour life.
The trench coat also served its time in the ranks, designed as a water-resistant alternative to the heavy wool coat, which soaked up mud and rain in the trenches. A century on and it is still getting the job done since it’s pressed wool or cotton poplin keeps you dry without weighing you down.
One with taped seams will keep you dry and last you for years and because most are unlined, you can layer up when it’s frosty, so make sure you pick one big enough to accommodate your heaviest knitwear and jackets. With a more shielding effect rather than warmth means more time out of storage; because it’s lightweight, you can still rock a trench over a T-shirt on a cold Spring evening.
Keep an eye out for styles made from water-repellent gabardine if you desire full protection from the elements, and stick to neutrals to ensure it looks just as good worn over your suit as your weekend wardrobe.
Once the preserve of men in environments where a person’s style was less of a concern than losing toes to frostbite, modern quilted outerwear is suited to both work and wilderness. This is due to an overall slimming of the body, thanks to advancements in down – the fine feathers that keep juvenile poultry toasty and offer you warmth without bulk.
Even if you don’t wear yours for trekking across the frozen wilderness chasing a nut, you’ll appreciate the warmth, light weight and usually tailored cut.
This jacket’s natural home is with workwear but I would dare wear it over a suit because you can, take note of the Italian’s but for those not in the suit game; cable knits, sweatshirts, selvedge denim, heavy chinos and boots will take you from City smog to open wilderness adventures but please leave the axe at home He-man.
The most formal of the coat as its history with tailored garments is just as long as tailoring itself, the overcoat now works with a workwear and streetwear as much as a suit. It’s also barely changed in three centuries, so this season’s purchase will look just as good the next. The overcoat is seeing a bit of a surge in popularity at the moment, partially due to the exposure of the minimalist European style, the better quality ones will be made of wool, cashmere or a wool/cashmere blend, with silk linings and horn buttons.
As with tailoring, getting the shoulders right is key. The seams should sit slightly outside your arm so it won’t look boxy with just a tee, or too tight when you layer up. Your alteration tailor can fix anything else.
Pick a neutral colour and it can be thrown over almost anything in your wardrobe or if you want something different there are always made to measure or bespoke options as most tailoring houses will be able to produce these. Worn with a suit is timeless, but a white button-down, jeans and minimal sneakers combination would work equally well or go the full Kanye with a juxtaposition of rich meets poor.
Unfortunately, this jacket isn’t really bomb proof nor is it something you would see a bomb tech wearing but they an iconic jacket that will be seen worn for years to come. The MA-1 aka the “Bomber jacket”, evolved from the B-15 (The OG of flight jackets) due to planes being able to fly higher altitudes. The higher they got the lighter weight, warmer and water repellent due to water freezing jackets were needed.
Nowadays far from its origins of nylon and hi-vis linings the bomber can be found in suede, wool and evening linen versions for the modern man. Wearing a bomber is as easy as throwing it over a t-shirt with a pair of jeans but to get a little more creative especially for winter layering and as the bomber is traditional a more “over-sized” jacket this is quite an easy task for anyone. You can either a t-shirt or jump straight into a Henley or long-sleeve polo, throwing on a cable knit jumper over some heavy drill or wool trousers and finishing with a scarf over or under the bomber.