After delving into the origins of the blazer, today we would like to address a key garment for winter: men’s overcoat. We wear it to go to the office, for a special dinner, for a cocktail with friends.
Choosing the right overcoat is easier than thought
You just need to keep in mind some characteristics such as fabric, colour and style:
If you plan to wear your overcoat for years to come, make sure you buy a coat that is made of 100% wool, in general heavier coats last longer because the fabric is more durable. A wool/cashmere blend is a perfect compromise too. Pure cashmere ones, being more delicate, are likely to wear out sooner;
For overcoats, the most worn colours are the darker ones. Starting from the formal black, to the classical business grey, up to the more versatile navy blue. All these three colours can be easily matched. But we must not forget the camel color synonymous with sophistication and ideal for daytime meetings.
Obviously it depends on the occasion in which it is to be worn and on the personal style of each one. We love the double-breasted version with patch pockets of our DE-Havilland camel, but also the belted single-breasted version with Raglan sleeve of our Spitfire LFSD ovecoat. elegant, informal, sporty and dandy.
In particular, in this article, we will see two types of overcoats that made the iconographic history of the perfect gentleman: the Polo Coat and the Ulster Coat.
History of the Polo Coat
The Polo Coat was born in England, it refers to the loose-fitting, casual style of overcoat that was originally worn by polo players, so it became known as the Polo Coat. Originally, a Polo Coat was made by camel’s hair and was designed as a wrap coat. Instead of buttons, it simply featured a belt.
Eventually it came across the Atlantic Ocean, in the US and when players wore their coats after games, the spectators noted it and by the end of the 1920’s the Polo Coat was one of the most popular overcoats. Let's remember that in November 1929, at the Yale-Princeton football game, the Camel Hair Polo Coatsworn by the spectators far outnumbered traditional raccoon overcoats, so it became a symbol of fashion style.
The Camel Hair Polo Coat
Unfortunately, the pure camel hairwears out rather quickly. Therefore, Camel’s hair fabric is often blended with 50% virgin wool. The Polo Coat was initially worn only by polo players, and so the exclusivity of the original leaves us with little details about it’s true features. When it became an overcoat worn by a wider audience, the Polo Coat has the following characteristics:
it is made out of golden, tan-colored camel hair or a 50/50 blend with wool;
it has a half-belt or a full belt;
it features six or eight buttons;
peaked lapels or an ulster collar with optional cuffs
To find excellent Polo Coats men, just rely on companies that have always produced this type of overcoat with care and attention, for example the Polo Ralph Lauren Coat.
While the Ulster Coat…
The Ulster Coat, is an overcoat with a strong personality. It represents the maximum expression of a tailor’s ability. Named after the homonymous Irish Northern province, whose people popularized a particular tweed overcoat.
A classic Ulster Coat has specific elements:
eight horn buttons;
shirt like sleeves with hand-made stitches;
pockets with flaps;
cuffs with half-belts;
back box pleat with slit;
to the sides of the box pleat, two deep pleats;
an elegant half-belt;
over the knee length
The fabric of an Ulster Coat is tweed, but not a generic tweed, the Donegal Tweed. It was originally invented in Donegal County in the province of Ulster. It is characterized by its unfinished hand-woven look. It is also interesting to mention that in the 1880’s Ulster overcoats often had a hood, cape or pelerin and many people associate it to the image of fiction character Sherlock Holmes.
The Ulster Coat is a well-formed and important overcoat, designed for someone that loves a more formal elegance suitable for both business and informal contexts.
They are three kinds of pleat:forward (pointing towards the fly, typical of English tailoring),reverse(folded towards the pockets, favored by the Italians) and “a forchetta” which has one side forward and the other reverse. Forward pleats are neater, reverse pleats create a looser shape.