A traditional overcoat is one of the oldest and most reliable pieces of clothing in menswear and the long style has had a place in fashion for a number of centuries. Having been updated at regular intervals in that time it seems that winter 2014 is the setting for its latest comeback as many designer brands include the famous design in their respective collections.
One item a man living in the UK can never be without is a winter coat for when the temperature drops. Whilst many styles are available to choose from these days including modern quilted and puffer styles, there aren’t many with the- tried and tested- quality over time of a traditional overcoat silhouette.
Whilst the main purpose of an overcoat has been for function rather than fashion, this classic style has once again become a key trend for this season with its clean lines and traditional aesthetic. The prospect of buying a “winter coat” for the season is one which is quite a big deal to some men because it’s an item which they wear day-in day-out throughout the whole winter with any number of outfits and on any given occasion. Traditionally a coat like this will be made of a luxury wool which will be heavy and very insulating, like the latest Pretty Green model.
It’s certainly true that the overcoat leans more towards the smart, sartorially savvy consumer with its thick heavy wool and sometimes double-breasted fastening; the overcoat began as an item associated with the aristocratic elite. It is a design which is steeped in history and has been part of the identity of many different subcultures over the years. In the 20th century it would become synonymous with the military and war time as leaders like Winston Churchill made it part of his trademark clothing. Later on in the century these style of overcoats became a fashion choice of skinheads, teddy boys and mod social groups- but during these periods it might have been referred to as a Crombie. Its resurgence this year adds further strength to the belief that we are experiencing a mod revival in fashion.
The first generation of this style of long coat were created as far back as the 17th century, between then and the next 200 years it was simply a regal sort of outfit you would associate with royals, high ranking officers or aristocrats, but it eventually became a mainstream style and today the rich heritage and sense of nostalgia are two factors which make it appealing.
You could of course play it safe and use this coat as a way of upgrading your smarter ensembles or making them ready for the colder season. A smart shirt, trousers and a pair of Oliver Sweeney’s are a fool proof way to pull off the long coat.
This look is one which brands like Pretty Green advocate and has a hint of Mod and retro about it; it’s casual but still maintains its smart element.
If there was any doubt that the overcoat can’t look good in a casual outfit then here is proof that suggests otherwise. The plimsoll style shoe teamed with chino style trousers and bobble hat give a modern off-duty look.
After years in fashion’s wilderness the long profile is now back with a vengeance and whether you opt for a double breast, wool or shower proof version it is the perfect way to make a statement with your outerwear this winter.
Shop for overcoats here at Mainline Menswear.