The 5 Best Men's Coat Styles For Winter
Winter is, on most counts, rubbish. But everything rubbish about it – the cold, the dark, the wet – presents one big bonus: you get to wear big coats again. The right coat is an outfit in itself, a piece that combines practicality and style like nothing else in your wardrobe.
The trench’s origins are as murky as the weather it’s designed for. Initially claimed by Aquascutum in the 1850s, Burberry reinvented the style in 1901 as the army officer’s raincoat and its legend was forged in Belgium’s trenches.
But it’s made its mark on civvy street too. From Dick Tracy’s canary yellow to Morgan Freeman’s outerwear as Detective Lt. William Somerset in Se7en, the trench coat is the tell-tale uniform of the private eye.
Perhaps because the trench is so easy to style. “It’s the most versatile of all outerwear options, as it can be dressed up or down seamlessly,” says Kemp. “Make sure it fits well at the shoulders and flows nicely with your build. Look for a lightweight, water-repellent material, and the length should finish at mid-thigh. You can easily wear it over your suit, or dress it down with a check shirt, black jeans and minimal white trainers.”
This season, the trench is going large. Long and often oversized too, the switch-up leaves more than enough room for suiting or thick winter knitwear underneath. But the point is more about formality. Floating and flapping in the wind makes the style a lot more casual, reflecting wider trends in menswear and lends the style to high-low outfits that involve denim or even sportswear.
Can you touch your toes? Because your coat might this season. This year, designers are going long with trench coats that recall early military styles, puffers that look like sleeping bags, and wraparound wool coats like the one Richard Gere wore in American Gigolo.
Now, unless you live beyond the Arctic Circle there’s a question over whether you need such a formidable layer, but practicality is only half the point here. It’s more about the flair. Such long coats create dramatic silhouettes and often feature epic lapels. It’s a coat to strut – not shiver – in.
Even though they’ll obscure most of what you’re wearing with them, you’ll need to style with caution. Plainer styles of tops and trousers will let the coat do the talking, but don’t feel like you have to go formal. Try one with a simple tee and light-wash jeans for some less expected swagger.
It’s the coat worn by sailors and schoolchildren, generals and preppy students. It has a long history of military service while at the same time conjuring images of Enid Blyton characters. What to make of the duffle coat?
Well, it’s very warm, waterproof (assuming you pay for boiled wool) and hits a cosy smart-casual note when you need to wrap up for a chilly date night. It’s also trending hard this season with designers high and low refastening the signature toggles and pulling up the giant hood.
For styling, stick with a staple winter colour (black, grey, navy, camel) and pair with other winter wardrobe heroes like heavy denim, chunky knitwear and Hogwarts-appropriate scarfs.
Is it a coat or a dressing gown? The line gets blurry with this autumn-winter trend, which sees luxurious overcoats envelope you with a belt to keep the sartorial hug in place. And we’re not talking about trench coats, which usually come with a belt, but big soft overcoats that wouldn’t look out of place in the bathroom of a luxury hotel.
It’s a big look admittedly, one favoured by mobsters, rock stars and presidents at various points in history. Which means there’s plenty of inspiration out there – and when you dig into it, you’ll find it’s a surprisingly versatile coat.
It can go very formal: wear one to the opera or over a tuxedo and it will look perfectly at home. But you can also subvert that by dressing it down in a sleazy way that Tyler Durden might approve of. Think V-neck sweaters with no shirt beneath. A safer middle ground would be a pair of smart trousers with a merino roll neck.