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Button Up for Fall With These Tips For Wearing Overcoats

Can you feel the crispness in the air? Have you seen the crowds flocking to the local coffee spot for their seasonal pumpkin spice latte fix? Fall is here and it’s the perfect time to discuss our next topic on the wardrobe journey.

Now, it’s time we talk about overcoats.

An overcoat is defined as any long-sleeved garment that is worn on top of another garment. That is a large category, but don’t worry, we will break it down to the basics. When you are choosing your overcoat, there are a few things you will want to take into consideration:

Fabric — If you want your overcoat to last a while, you should opt for a 100% wool option. Something like cashmere might seem like a good investment, but it will cost twice as much and age much quicker. If you really like the qualities of a certain fabric, I would recommend a blend fabric, such as 10% cashmere and 90% wool.

Sleeves — Your sleeves should be long enough to cover your suit sleeve and shirt cuff completely. However, you don’t want a sleeve that is so long it covers your hand.

Length — A classic overcoat extends almost all the way to the ankles, but a more modern look is a knee-length overcoat. Either of the options can be stylish and classic-looking. A full-length option is flattering for all body types, so if you carry a little extra fluff in the colder seasons, this would be a great option.

Fit — The last thing you want is to encounter the struggle of a buttoning a coat that is too small. When trying on your overcoat, be sure to wear both a shirt and jacket underneath. You should be able to easily button your overcoat with both of these layers underneath. Be sure that you have enough room in there, but you also don’t want too much room. An oversized overcoat creates unwanted extra bulk.

Style — Single-breasted or double breasted? Notch or peak lapel? These choices are all up to personal preference. There is no right or wrong; this is simply a way to exercise your unique style. The only thing I would steer you away from is a zipper. The button jacket always has been and always will be a classic look; the zipper has come and gone with trends and does not look nearly as classic.

When searching for your one true overcoat, you will encounter many different styles and options. Here are a few classic options:

Chesterfield — Single-breasted and knee-length with short lapels
Crombie — Soft-shouldered and thigh-length overcoat
Polo coat — Double-breasted and belted overcoat with large lapels
Trenchcoat — A loose and more casual coat, traditionally in a tan color
Peacoat — Waist-length overcoat, flared and naval-style with lapels
There you have it — you are now a master in the basics of men’s overcoats. Now, let me give you a list of my top-rated, entry overcoat options:

Black wool, fly-front, knee-length overcoat — This is a classic style that will look good with everything in your wardrobe and flattering on all body types.
Camel hair overcoat — You can’t go wrong with this classic look.
Tan trenchcoat – This is a great option for when it is not quite so chilly, but you still need an extra layer on top.
Black wool peacoat – If your legs don’t really get cold and you are going for a look that is a little more modern, this is the perfect option.
Blue overcoat — When you have covered your bases in the classic overcoat look and you want an option that pops, try a blue overcoat

Judah Estreicher is the CEO of JBD Clothiers in Baltimore. Reach him at judah@jbdclothiers.com.