Overcoats are typically mid-thigh-to-knee-length, wide-cut coats, with a single vent in the back. They can be single- or double-breasted, and typically have a notch lapel, one or more chest pockets, use buttons for closure, front darts to ensure a good fit, and make use of flapped pockets.
Overcoats, sometimes called topcoats when they’re made of lighter materials not intended for lower temperatures, or great coats when they’re made of heavier materials for colder climes, are designed to be worn over a standard suit, and are thus design with that goal in mind. Although we won’t go so far as to say they aren’t stylish — they most certainly can be — they’ve made our list, after all — the overcoat puts function first. It is usually without ornamentation, so as to complement the suit undoubtedly worn underneath it.
Don’t mistake subtlety for cheapness; the overcoat should be designed of high-quality fabrics. Spend your money on a neutral or dark colored jacket, since it’s more a functional coat than a centerpiece: you’ll be wearing a full suit underneath, and that’s the main attraction. Buy a heavier fabric if you live where it gets truly cold; a lighter fabric may not get the job done.
In our next entry to the guide, we’ll take a look at a perennial favorite: the parka.