6 Coats That Will Stand the Test of Time

our men’s coat guide and you won’t have to worry about what’s trendy next

by Jacob Sigala
image by GQ]
Any halfway decent men’s coat
should keep you from turning into a human icicle — but staying warm, dry, and
stylish simultaneously takes a bit more thought. Fads, by definition, come and
go. Instead of focusing on the trends of the day, we’ve focused our attention
on six coat styles that have stood the test of time.
Use the information here to
educate yourself on the history and anatomy of these classic men’s coats. Once
you’re familiar with the basics, you’ll be equipped to invest in a coat so
timeless that your grandchildren will be fighting over it after you’re long
Coats: The Pea Coat

                     Men's Coat Guide: Pea Coat
The pea coat is a thigh length
double-breasted coat popularized by the navy, designed to shield seamen against
the biting chill of the open sea. To this day, its nautical origins have stuck
and many modern pea coats have anchors engraved on the buttons. A pea coat
features a double-breasted button closure with a wide notched collar and lapel.
Traditionally these coats are made of heavy, scratchy melton wool in either
navy or black. As the years have gone by, the wool used in making pea coats has
softened and the colors available have broadened.

men's coats: pea coat

If you’re just beginning your
coat collection, a black pea coat is a perfect place to start; it’s timeless,
versatile, and warm.
The pea coat allows the wearer
to transition from formal to casual with ease. Shrug it on over a T-shirt and
jeans, and it instantly adds a component of laid-back sophistication. Wear it
with a button-down and a pair of slacks, and it fits in seamlessly.
Coats: The Trench Coat

                 men's coats: trench coat
Trench coats trace their roots
back to World War I, where they were named after the very trenches they were
worn in. Thomas Burberry designed trench coats for the British military and
later implemented his own special water-repellent fabric known as gabardine.
This new fabric was sturdy, lightweight, weatherproof, and could easily be worn
over everyday wear. Because of gabardine’s many positive attributes, the trench
coat transitioned easily from military attire and into mainstream fashion.
Trench coats pair well with
both casual and formal attire and make a great all-weather all-occasion coat.
The trench coat is
traditionally a long coat that extends to the shins. It is double-breasted with
wide lapels, and it is belted at the waist. The numerous details in its
construction are key characteristics of the trench coat. A wide vent extends
across the back of the coat to allow for more movement, and the shoulders are
often graced with decorative epaulets. Belting on the cuffs is also common as
well as a turndown collar, usually worn flipped upwards. Although a
double-breasted closure is traditional, single-breasted versions are also

men's coats: trench coat
Trench coats pair well with
both casual and formal attire. Whether you’re an aspiring heartthrob, à la
Humphrey Bogart, or a mysterious sophisticate, à la Inspector Clouseau, the
trench coat is an iconic and a solid coat choice. A word of warning: wearing a
trench coat when the weather doesn’t warrant it may have you looking like
you’ve got something to hide. Anyone wanna to buy a watch?
Coats: The Overcoat

                   men's coats: Overcoat
Since an overcoat is intended
to be worn over a standard suit, it tends to feature a wider cut. Generally, an
overcoat is constructed of high-quality wool fabrics that are designed to
withstand harsh weather. Its original construction includes a single-breasted
closure, notched collar, flap pockets, and a welt pocket at the chest. When an
overcoat is lighter in weight and intended for less extreme weather conditions,
it is often called a topcoat. If it is heavier in weight, it is sometimes
called a greatcoat.
When overcoat is lighter in
weight and intended for less extreme weather conditions, it is often called a
The overcoat is minimal and
features little in the way of ornamentation. This simplicity is the reason that
it pairs well with most suits. Because this coat is intended for more formal
affairs, a dark or neutral color may prove to be a more versatile investment.

men's coats: the overcoat
Though subtle in its styling,
this classic coat has graced the shoulders of some of history’s most intriguing
characters. Al Capone, for one, was known to don this number over his classic
pinstripe suits during his devious dealings in Chicago.
Coats: The Car Coat

                 6 Coats That Will Stand the Test of Time: Car Coat

The car coat was initially
designed to keep drivers warm from the wind while driving old fashioned open
cars. Its slight A-line cut and wide cuffs were intended to allow a full range
of motion while driving. The car coat is customarily made of heavy wool and
features a flat front placket over its closure to shield from wind and rain. A
typical car coat is thigh-length with a straight collar and two welt pockets.
The type of closure varies between a zipper and buttons, though buttons are
most common.

men's coats: car coat
The car coat is a utilitarian
coat that isn’t heavy on the details but gives stylish minimalism to any
It can easily be dressed up or
down and is a great basic for your everyday adventures.
Coats: The Duffle Coat

                     men's coats: Duffle Coat
The duffle coat adopted its
name from the rough and tough wool fabric it was originally made of: duffel.
Like many coats, the duffle coat owes its popularity in modern day fashion to
its military origins. Duffle coats were a garment of the British Royal Navy
during World War I and II, and its iconic toggle closure was designed to be
able to be fastened and unfastened while wearing gloves out at sea.

men's coats: duffle coat

This coat usually has three to
four toggles known as “walrus teeth” that are fastened with leather or rope
loops. Its oversized hood was originally designed to allow room for a naval cap
to remain on underneath. This coat also features a buttonable strap at the neck
and two patch pockets. Besides the toggles, a defining characteristic of the
duffle coat is its fuzzy tartan lining. Modern versions of this coat usually
end at about hip-length, although more original versions extend to the knee.
This coat is usually worn
casually because its bright characteristics would drastically dress down a
formal outfit.
The duffle coat is perfect for
running errands or grabbing drinks with a friend.
Coats: The Parka

6 Coats That Will Stand the Test of Time: Parka
When it comes to weathering
the elements, the parka is king. It was initially conceived by the Caribou
Inuit to cope with extreme Arctic climates during hunting expeditions. Back
then, parkas were constructed of caribou or seal skin. The parkas of today are
made from lightweight synthetic materials and lined with down. These updated
materials have added bulk to the original design and contribute to the modern
parka’s puffy look. It is not uncommon to hear a parka referred to as a
“puffer” coat. A parka ranges in length from waist-length to knee-length and
generally features a large and fur-lined hood and a zipper closure.

men's coats: parkas

When it comes to weathering
the elements, the parka is king.
Though some use the words
“parka” and “anorak” interchangeably, this is inaccurate. An anorak is
technically a pull-over jacket as opposed to the parka’s open-front coat
The parka creates a sporty
look best suited for casual attire and makes for a fantastic outer shell to
your other cold-weather layers. You won’t want to find yourself caught in a
blustery snowstorm without one.
After the purchase of a
tailored suit and a great pair of dress shoes, a classic coat should be the
next item to check off your list. Staying warm and stylish is effortless when you
select one of the iconic coats mentioned above. Which style will you be adding
to your closet next?

Kayode Ojo
Kayode Emmanuel Ojo is the Co-Founder and Managing Director at SHEFFA Limited. He is presently studying Computer Science at the National Open University, Victoria Island, Lagos.