In Style: Picking a versatile overcoat for colder weather

Picture this: It’s a balmy morning and you head to your coat closet and lug out your favorite top layer, only to discover this piece isn’t going to work for you anymore. Maybe it’s the wrong size after a long year (we all fluctuate in weight every now and again). Maybe the pocket has a hole in it. Maybe it just isn’t in style anymore.

Whatever the reason, you find you’re in need of a coat update. Whether you want to accept the rapidly approaching colder weather or not, it’s time to start looking.

The best coat to invest in this year is a classic overcoat. It’s a simple piece that can be worn in both a casual or more formal setting. Gone are the days when this item worked only over a suit jacket. Dress it up or dress it down for a timeless cold-weather look.

Where do you start, and how do you choose the perfect top layer? Here are several features your overcoat should definitely have:

  • The right color. These days you can find overcoats in almost any shade. But if you want a coat that will work with a variety of styles underneath, opt for a good neutral color. A light gray or camel-colored overcoat will suit you best through the years. Not only will these colors remain fashionable over time, but they also provide the best contrast with most hues worn underneath.
  • A climate-appropriate weight. The seasons change everywhere and we all need an extra layer at some point during the year, but not everyone’s cold weather is the same. Get a coat with a fabric weight that fits your climate. If you travel frequently, be sure to invest in a jacket that will work with a variety of climates — choose something in a medium-weight fabric that can have fewer or more layers underneath, depending on the weather.
  • A timeless, yet unique closure. The closure can make or break the coat. Overcoats come in both double-breasted and single-breasted forms. Single-breasted is more traditional, while a double-breasted coat is on trend in 2020. If you want a timeless look, go for the former. And finish your look with buttons that have a unique flair. Overcoats can be outfitted with all different types of buttons and this feature is a way to add your personal touch. A contrasting button will draw the eye, while a button that blends in with the coat will give you a simpler look.

Whichever one you choose, a top layer like this is sure to stay with you through the years. Investing in a high-quality overcoat will leave you ready to combat cold weather for many winters to come.

Judah Estreicher is the CEO of JBD Clothiers in Baltimore. He can be reached at [email protected].


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