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Addressing Coats By Formality


While there are few hard and fast rules today governing appropriate dress, general guidelines are still relevant. When it comes to outerwear, coats can be classified based on their level of formality and that formality is largely determined by the jacket’s length.

Full length overcoats provide the most formality and so are the proper choice to wear over a suit for a business situation, or over black tie for formal events. For the man who prefers the sleek and modern, our Fly Front Topcoat will set you apart. Mid: The huge growth of the automobile in the postwar boom of the ‘50s resulted in the “car coat,” or shorter overcoats that were easier to wear while driving and getting in and out of vehicles. Lately similar mid-length jackets have found a following by some of the best dressed gents (like those Italian men who get stopped on the street by fashion photographers). The shorter length adds a lightness and sportiness to their otherwise formal suit-and-tie outfits. Just make sure that a mid-length jacket reaches the bottom of your seat and covers your suit jacket. Our Pure Lambswool Field Jacket does just the trick. And for a more traditional car coat, check out our Suede-Finish Trim Car Coat.

Short jackets are easy to throw on but can’t pull work/play double duty as they’re unable to cover the length of a suit jacket. But that doesn’t mean they can’t be styled with things like silk scarves and distinctive shoes. Our Lambswool Bomber Duffle Jacket is casual enough to pair with jeans and work boots but stylish enough to pair with your favorite dress trousers and cashmere sweaters. Same for our Shawl Collar Pea Coat, a nautical classic we updated with contemporary styling. Juxtaposing formality levels, of course, is always a part of stylish dressing, and traditionalists have no problem throwing a long camel coat over a sweater at a college football game. Likewise, the 1988 film “The Untouchables” — a great style movie, by the way — shows a young Andy Garcia looking dapper in a shirt, tie and fedora topped with a short bomber-style jacket in brown suede.

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