As the winter is fully upon us, I can't help but see there is a need for my insight on overcoats. Let's go over what you should't be wearing.
Overcoat, topcoat, carcoat; they are all essentially the same thing (today). Traditionally the overcoat was for a suit, the topcoat for a sports coat, and a carcoat being dressy enough for a sports coat and casual enough by itself. These were the days that gentleman existed around every corner donning a sleek suit with a fedora style dress hat.
People ask every now and then "is this a coat I can wear with my suit?"
This is important- if the outerwear isn't longer than the suit coat (or sports coat), then you shouldn't be wearing it as an overcoat. The back of the sport coat is usually the part that sticks out, if you see that happening- try another outerwear piece.
The outerwear pieces below are not meant to be worn over a suit or sport coat- even though some people think these are "dressy," they aren't (remember as always, there are exceptions).
I see a LOT of overcoats that come down to peoples calves and even their ankles, it's possible I've even seen a couple out there where it was lightly dusting the ground. My goodness gents, I don't know where to begin with you if this is what you are wearing (I always know where to begin, I was just getting a little cheeky).
If your coat goes past your knees, most likely you need to get rid of it ASAP. I tell you ASAP, because right now all the stores around you are on their winter sales, go see if they have some for 50% off (and please please please email me if you aren't sure about the jacket someone is trying to sell you).
I said "most likely" you need to get rid of it, because there are people out there that know exactly what to do with clothing...and they have longer coats for a reason. They might live in New York and want a long coat to protect them from the salt and snow walking 17 blocks to work. Most likely if their overcoat still looks good even though it's past their knees...it's custom, and probably $2,000+. The other small percentage is the black tie affairs, if someone is wearing tails then they technically need a longer overcoat to cover their whole tuxedo jacket.
How do these overcoats look to you?
I hope you said they look bad, correct? Big, baggy, boxy, huge on the shoulders, padding galore, - ugh, terrible. Trim. It. Up.
Ideally your overcoat would hit mid thigh or close to your knees. When I make overcoats for myself, I actually only cut them 2.5 inches longer than my sport coats (total length is about 32.5). Just because it's an outwear piece doesn't mean it has to lose its shape. Treat it like all your other clothes (or how you should be treating all of your other clothes), get it fitted. Again, fitted doesn't mean skinny or tight, it just implies giving you a shape other than a square. That is a good thing.
Overcoats are expensive, a cheap one is like anything else that's cheap- terrible. Hence me telling you to go shopping asap to try and find one off the rack that is 50% off.
Try and get less padding on the shoulders, this isn't made to go over football pads. Basically, the way you should be buying a sports coat, is the way you should be buying an overcoat. And always remember; Just because someone is working in a retail shop doesn't mean they know fashion or whats best for you- you are a paycheck to them. So I will always urge you to send me photos or questions you may have.
Look for these qualities:
- Less "constructed"
- Shorter length
- Trimmer sides
- Shorter sleeves (too often I don't see the fingers wth(heck))
- Softer shoulders