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Long or short overcoat?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by mech IFR, Mar 29, 2012.

  1. mech IFR

    mech IFR Well-Known Member

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    Jul 22, 2010
    I'm thinking about an overcoat for next winter. I'll be in a suit every day. It's a conservative atmosphere. Though I'm still relatively young (30ish), I lean toward modern traditional.

    Given the limited info above, what overcoat would you go for and why? I have my eye on the two Oxxfords below. Thoughts? Feel free to provide other recommendations!


    Length - 48"
    [​IMG]


    Length - 38"
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2012
  2. lostron

    lostron Senior member

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    I personally wear one that is a little shorter than mid thigh that I wear with a suit and looks great so I would lean towards the shorter one for sure
     
  3. Poindexter

    Poindexter Senior member

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    Every awesome coat I have seen has split the knee.

    [​IMG]

    I'm looking at a camel single breasted in the thrift right now that fits me almost this well (the sleeves, always the sleeves), supressed waist and all. The only reason I can't pull the trigger, it's Maui, coming on to spring.
     
  4. Nicola

    Nicola Senior member

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    You mention the coat measurements but what matters is how it fits you. Depending on height and proportions those measurements will sit differently on you.

    If you're short you likely want to avoid full length (mid shin). If you're worried about a stuffy work place you likely want to avoid the really short ones out there today that barely cover your butt.

    The usual answer put the thing on with what you'll be wearing underneath it and look in the mirror.
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2012
  5. SirGrotius

    SirGrotius Senior member

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    If you're short don't get the long one. Actually, just don't get the long one unless you're over 6'2".
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. porcelain monkey

    porcelain monkey Senior member

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    Short. I'd say it should come to just above your knee.
     
  7. Testudo_Aubreii

    Testudo_Aubreii Senior member

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    Depends on what you want the coat for. Do you want it primarily to keep all of you warm and make you look tall and elegant while walking around the city? Then get an overcoat (e.g., a Chesterfield, polo coat, or a British warm): i.e, one that hits visibly below the knee. Do you want it primarily to keep your upper body warm while doing a lot of getting in and out of cars? Then get a car coat: one that hits above the knee. Do you want it for keeping warm while taking walks in the country? Then get a covert coat: one that hits at the knee.

    Search the clothing fora for details on all three types of outercoats.

    Cons of an overcoat: Not the most comfortable for riding in cars. The traditional ones (mid-calf or below) hit stair risers: not great for subways.
    Cons of a car coat: Makes you look short, can make you look boxy.
    Cons of a covert coat: Unless you're walking in the country, it's a compromise.

    If I could only get one coat for cold weather, it would probably be a covert coat with 17 oz fabric.
     
  8. buzzron

    buzzron Well-Known Member

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    This one.
     
  9. mech IFR

    mech IFR Well-Known Member

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    This is a great post, thank you.

    I'm 6'2", 190lbs. The coat would be used primarily for walking to/from work during NYC winters. Will likely get some subway use. It will almost always be worn over a suit.

    Should frequent subway and occasional taxi use prevent the purchase of a longer coat?
     
  10. Testudo_Aubreii

    Testudo_Aubreii Senior member

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    I'd say no, it shouldn't, so long as the coat hits above mid-calf. Three inches below the bottom of the knee is a good length for an elegant city walking coat.

    If you were going bespoke, a dark brown herringbone tweed fabric would make it very wearable for the suburbs, the country, or casual wear, in addition to city walking:
    http://thelondonlounge.net/forum/vi...B&sid=0b5a17bbd646becc05658a7e6b7d72d8#p38081

    That one looks like it hits about an inch or two below the knee. I wish I had one like that (mine is a navy Chesterfield in melton, two inches below the knee).
     
  11. mech IFR

    mech IFR Well-Known Member

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    Any issue with going dark navy? It's not a fashion faux pas to mix/match coat and suit colors? What about a dark charcoal?
     
  12. Holdfast

    Holdfast Senior member

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    I personally find a really noticeable difference in warmth between two coats of approximately the same weight but differing length. If warmth matters to you, get one that hits at just above mid-calf and no shorter.

    Also, and this may again just be me, but I really dislike double-breasted overcoats that are short. SB ones can still look good if shorter; DB ones tend to look overly truncated when they're short. The one Poindexter posted upthread just about manages to remain proportionate-looking only because it buttons so high up the throat; many DB overcoats do not do this, so short lengths don't work as well on them. Unless you're talking car coat degree of short, which is a whole other ball game.
     
  13. williamson

    williamson Senior member

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    I strongly agree here - in really cold or wet weather, the outer coat should cover the knees.
    Indeed!
     
  14. CousinDonuts

    CousinDonuts Senior member

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    This whole thread is a head scratcher because it's mostly a collection of personal preferences. In my office we all wear suits. The 60ysomethings wear those massive Lauren Ralph Lauren robe-looking overcoats that nearly touch their ankles and were purchased at Macy's in 1998. The 20somethings laugh at them. The 20 somethings all wear peacoats. The 60somethings laugh at them. I wear a a model similar the short version above that hits right at the top of my knees (I have long legs). Neither 20s nor 60s really know what to think of it.

    OP, you need to try both and go with what you like. Read more into the comments about warmth and functionality and less into the "everyone should wear XYZ coat because I said so." A shorter coat will expose your legs and if you're wearing a 4season suit you may be cold depending on how long you're outside. A longer coat can swamp you if you choose too big of a size.
     
  15. brokencycle

    brokencycle Senior member

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    I'm young - 20s, and I prefer a longer coat. I hate the cold, and the longer ones keep you warmer. Go a couple inches below the knee - no below mid-calf for sure.
     
  16. ZeglioCustom

    ZeglioCustom New Member

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    I have a beautiful long, camel hair overcoat that keeps me really warm during the Chicago winters, and it has a bit of understated elegance. However, with most elegant things, it requires some amount of upkeep. I manage to send it to the cleaner at least twice a season because the bottom foot of the coat is always getting dirty.

    I would say the shorter one is the way to go. I bought a new medium length overcoat this winter, and I haven't had to send it off for cleaning even once.
     
  17. mjd

    mjd Senior member

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    I'm a short guy (5 foot 5) but I found a really tailored/slim fitting DB long coat that went mid-calf worked well for me. If you have a wide chest perhaps go with a single-breasted coat so it does not look so boxy. I went with a long coat asI live in Canada and found the extra length really helps keep out the cold.
     
  18. TheTukker

    TheTukker Senior member

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    This; you're not alone.
     
  19. MyOtherLife

    MyOtherLife Senior member

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    Most of my top coats and trench coats are just below the knee. They keep me warmer, offer more protection for the pants and look more masculine. For days when I feel like wearing shorter coats I'll wear a peacoat or a mac. Were I starting over, my first top coat would be just below the knee all over again because it is more versatile than a coat that shows thighs.
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2012
  20. Testudo_Aubreii

    Testudo_Aubreii Senior member

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    No issue, just that it's a very city/formal look when done up as a Chesterfield, and hence can easily seem too formal in the country, or on casual occasions in the suburbs. I'd say charcoal is about the same on the city/formality scale as navy.

    I wouldn't worry about combining a charcoal or navy outercoat's colors with the suit's colors. They can take any suit.
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2012

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