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views on two overcoats for business

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 

Hi Gents,


I am looking to buy a nice basic overcoat for work.  I am usually business casual but want to be able to wear it with a jacket and tie.  I have a few other jackets but need a winter workhorse to wear often.  I live in NYC so I want a warm one, as walking around in the winter can be very cold.  


Here are two ones below that I like and are on good sales.  Basically a classic charcoal chesterfield versus a charcoal wool double breasted trench coat.  I think the chesterfield looks great but worry that the uncovered neck will be unpleasant on very cold days. 


Thoughts/suggestions/other ideas?


One other quick question - I just lost my favorite grey wool scarf.  Any suggestions where to get a nice simple grey wool/cashmere scarf on a nice sale?


As always,  thanks










post #2 of 25
I personally prefer option 1. The style is more common and certainly classic. I also feel it looks more professional. My best recommendation for you is to get one of the loro piana storm system models from Brooks Brothers. The storm system performs fantastically in the snow and rain, couldn't ask for better. They come in both "short" and "long" styles:,default,pd.html?dwvar_032L_Color=BLCK&contentpos=40&cgid=0222,default,pd.html?dwvar_010L_Color=BLCK&contentpos=35&cgid=0222

I personally have the short town overcoat in charcoal. It is quite warm. I can also verify they use canvassed construction rather than fused.

Twice a year, you can get them on sale for 25%-30% off, plus an additional 15% off, putting them in the roughly $600 range.

As for the scarf:

Not on sale, but a good price for quality cashmere.
post #3 of 25

The chesterfield is much more appropriate for a business environment. eHaberdasher has great deals on cashmere scarves as well.

post #4 of 25

If you are buying one (1) overcoat, then you would regret buying a full length trench coat with zip out liner.


No other overcoat is as versatile. Single breasted is probably easier to dress up and down, but ymmv.


Since, you live in the city, you really need both a trench coat and an overcoat.


In fact, you really need three overcoats, if you can find a thrifted pea coat/car coat style along the way, unless you already have some sort of casual overcoat like a parka or leather jacket.. A shorter length coat has its advantages depending on how you live, but it will never replace a full length coat for warmth when it is near or below zero weather, especially when the wind is brisk.


If your budget is tight, get one of either your overcoat or trench from a thrift or consignment store.


Since you are usually business casual, I would make your thrift buy the Chesterfield, unless you stumble into a particularly fortunate find on a thrifted Burberry trench coat first. Keep an eye out for a tweed overcoat that you find attractive. I have one with a very subtle charcoal plaid tweed with brown undertones and subdued red overcheck that can serve for anything below black tie rig, and not that anyone would bat an eye, if I wore it to a semi-formal occasion nowadays. I just prefer other options.


So all things being equal, find your trench coat first, since it will be harder to find a great value that will last and fit well.


You can dress a charcoal herringbone Chesterfield up or down pretty easy, as well as a polo coat in natural camel hair, which is considered is more casual than the Chesterfield. The polo might be good if you dig the idea of camel hair as it is very warm for it's weight But if you can't store it properly, moth larva will make you regret its purchase of any camel hair garment or cashmere for that matter.


The dressiest option for you would be a full length blue cashmere overcoat. Awesome and warm, but there is no real good way to dress it down without looking like a gangster from 1930's.But, if you are headed to Lincoln Center, the Met, or an important business meeting, nothing will make you look as classy as navy or midnight cashmere.


A dark horse for you might be a covert coat for spring and fall wear if you can find a real one, and not one designed to be fashion statement. You would wear it, instead of the trench coat sans liner on days when you're not likely to get wet and it's above freezing, but you want more coverage than a car coat, pea coat, parka, or bomber.


I passed on the idea of a herringbone Chesterfield and went straight to blue cashmere for my dress overcoat, since I already have winter overcoats in of plaid tweed and camel hair. that are each awesome with anything from lounge suits to black jeans. When I wear my plaid tweed with a black watch cap and black jeans, I can even pass for a homeless guy when required, lol!


But all my overcoats stay home when the weather is snotty or wet, as I prefer to wear a trench coat for such an occasion.


Good luck with your adventure in finding a warm overcoat that you'll enjoy for at least the next 30 years.

post #5 of 25

Charcoal chesterfield is much more suitable for business. A trench coat is pretty much casual only. 

post #6 of 25

Ennius, a proper topcat is usually placed, as you know, on top of something, and that something is a suit or sport coat. There are slim topcoats that some gents wear casually but they are so fitted that you can't wear a jacket under it...and that means you freeze on a long walk in the cold. Neither of the examples shown in the 2 photos you posted are appropriate for your need. Photo 1 shows a thin coat wih no option for a jacket under it. Photo 2 is in fact a trench coat and is not warm enough for deep winter although it will work for above freezing temperatures. I am not a topcoat expert but I own 2 of them. One is Hugo Boss Black cashmere and the other is a beater by Grafton. The Boss I wear with suits and the Grafton I wear with thick sweaters. I am also interested to see what recommendations are made for you here. lurker[1].gif

post #7 of 25

Difficult to choose between the two since I like wearing both for different occasions, so it all boils down to personal preference in my opinion.

post #8 of 25
Originally Posted by Ennius View Post

Hi Gents,

 Basically a classic charcoal chesterfield versus a charcoal wool double breasted trench coat.

A trench is what you wear when it's cool and rainy.

An overcoat is what you wear when it's cold.

They don't really overlap.

The opening on the overcoat is covered by your scarf. Jacket.
post #9 of 25
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the informative replies.


It does sound like I need two coats - both an overcoat and a trench coat.   Good call on the chesterfield being thin - I went by and saw it yesterday and it isnt that warm.  Its cold in NYC now so I am more focused on the warm overcoat now but see I need both over time as part of the proper wardrobe.


Any other suggestions on warm overcoats that are on sale now?


Gauss - that Brooks Brothers overcoat looks nice - I may try to grab it when its on sale next.  


Also thanks for the suggestion to ehaberdasher - they have some great stuff/deals there.  I actually saw a Kiton overcoat that retailed for $45K that is discounted to only $5K!





post #10 of 25
1 is the classic style but either would suit a young man.

Your choice - YOU are wearing it.
post #11 of 25
Thread Starter 



are you saying #1 is classic for any age but #2 is more appropriate for a young man?

post #12 of 25
Originally Posted by Ennius View Post






FYI: the first example you posted, the picture above, is not a Chesterfield despite being styled like a Chesterfield, even if they marketed it that way. Please do some research to understand the concept of a Chesterfield, which is an overcoat or designed to go over a suit of clothing, including lounge suits.


The coat above looks more like a tailored topcoat that has been styled to resemble a Chesterfield in construction, but it is in fact the equivalent in function of a tailored version of the covert coat I mentioned above, or spring and fall wear primarily. The problem with a tailored topcoat is that, unless you plan for it, you cannot wear a sportcoat or bulky sweater underneath it as you should. This cuts it's usefulness by more than half, since it is now just a fancy sweater or sweatshirt in practical use.


If you are buying one warm overcoat or topcoat, it would be a serious mistake to tailor it such that you can wear nothing but a shirt and light sweater underneath it.

Follow these links, some we can use the same words to mean the same things:



post #13 of 25
Thread Starter 



Thanks for the explanation.  Those links are helpful.  They even provide a useful summary:




  • An OVERCOAT is a long, sleeved garment worn on top of something else.
  • A TOPCOAT is a lightweight overcoat.
  • A GREATCOAT is a heavy, bulky overcoat.


I guess I am looking for a Great Coat then.  And also a trench coat.

post #14 of 25
Thread Starter 
Hi Gents,

I am having a tough time finding overcoats. I guess the season is over and there isnt much left.

I have seen a few decent ones at J Press - any thoughts on their quality?
post #15 of 25
Originally Posted by Ennius View Post


I guess I am looking for a Great Coat then.  And also a trench coat.

A greatcoat is a military garment. It's a heavyweight, full-length, double-breasted coat that can look great but can also make you look like a WWII reenactor. Not for everyone.

You live in NYC. There are so many good shops in the city that if you can't find an overcoat you like, I don't know what to tell you. Winter sales aren't over yet. Check out the better department stores (Bergdorf Goodman, Barneys) or Brooks Brothers, Paul Stuart, etc. Charcoal is fine but navy and brown are also good choices.
Edited by JohnnyLaw - 1/19/13 at 11:26am
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