How to choose a classic gentleman’s overcoat which will last you a lifetime

When temperatures drop, the only acceptable outerwear with a suit is an overcoat. Huntsman’s Head Cutter, Dario Carnera, explains how to keep warm yet retain one’s sartorial cool.

Over the course of 2018, Country Life is releasing a series of style guides, in conjunction with Huntsman, detailing the proper way to dress for a modern gentleman. This is the second part, the overcoat. Click here to see part one: black tie.

You’ll sometimes hear an overcoat called a ‘top coat’

They’re essentially the same thing. The names originate from the days when you might still wear a top coat over a jacket.

Always think about what you need the coat for

The main things to remember when ordering a top coat are getting the weight and the length correct for your needs. The colder it is, the longer and heavier you need – if you spend part of your winters in Chicago, you’ll need something very different to what you’d want for Cornwall.

Don’t forget about the lining

You will also have to consider the type of lining you need to suit your needs – a satin lining is generally used for overcoats. However, if it is really cold you may go for a cotton-back twill. It’s incredibly good at insulating.

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Formality is also a key factor to consider when ordering a top coat, whether you are wearing it in the country or city.

Selecting the sleeves

For an alternative to standard sleeves, consider a raglan sleeve – it’s named for Lord Raglan, a 19th  British army officer  who lost an arm, and asked his tailor to cut a coat which would be more comfortable for a one-armed man It’s cut up to the to the neck, compared to a normal sleeve that is cut to the shoulder, and offers a more casual look. It’s often made from tweed for a country overcoat.

The covert coat

In the city, men traditionally wear a covert coat – a three-quarter-length coat named for the 20oz cloth from which it was originally cut. It evolved from riding wear, and while it used to always be over 20 ounces, is usually between 16 and 18 ounces these days.

A covert coat generallyhas  a velvet collar, stitched cuffs without buttons, and a fly front. The fly front takes its name from trousers, offering a fastening in which the buttons are concealed. It gives a cleaner, neater look, but doesn’t suit a double breasted or a raglan sleeve coat – it’s a formal detail.

The finest overcoat ever?

Huntsman made the overcoat worn by Gregory Peck in The Omen – a beautiful, exclusive Huntsman tweed, raglan sleeve top coat.

Gregory Peck in The Omen (20th Century Fox)

Gregory Peck in The Omen (20th Century Fox)