• Reefer
  • Leather
  • Peacoat
  • Coachman
  • Polo
  • Wrap
  • Cape
  • Sheerling
  • Toggle / Duffle
  • Anorak
  • Quilted
  • Parker
  • Swing
  • Trench
  • Barrel
  • Balmacaan
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A classic coat that has a narrow silhouette, shaped waist, torso princess seaming and a slight flare towards the hemline.
May be double or single breast.
Best worn with skirts and dresses.

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Personal Overview

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General Overview


A coat is one of the most expensive items of clothing you will ever purchase and should be considered an investment piece. Purchase the best quality you can afford in fit, cloth and cut. Take time to consider your needs and lifestyle to find the most appropriate style. Use the following guidelines along with your personal portfolio advice:

  • Analyse your lifestyle and how you travel. Do you drive a car or travel a lot? If so, then a 3/4 or 7/8 length coat will make it easy for you to get in and out of vehicles. If you work in a city office you will need a businesslike coat, e.g. a chesterfield. If you have a casual lifestyle or live in the country, a duffel may be more appropriate. Full length capes are only useful if you have an extensive and formal night life.
  • Think about the garments you wear the most. Some coats will look right when teamed with pants (e.g. a Duffel or Chesterfield), while designs like the coachman are best worn with dresses.
  • Consider what you will wear under the coat. Make sure that you have chosen a style with enough room for your clothes and that still allows you to move freely.
  • Consider your age and health, not only for the suitability of the style, but also the fabric. A mature woman in a heavy woollen Balmacaan will be quickly exhausted by the weight of the fabric. Topcoats are generally lighter than overcoats and are designed to be worn in the warmer months, e.g. the trench and the slicker. Some coats have detachable linings that make them perfect all year round.
  • Decide on your best neutral colour. Black and navy are very versatile colours and will go from day to evening, while beige, cream and taupe are best worn in the daytime. Add a scarf around the neck of your coat for extra pizzazz.
  • Know you figure requirements. Some styles and fabrics add bulk to your silhouette and may make you appear shorter or heavier. A straight coat such as a polo is be more slimming than a barrel coat or a wrap in a thick fabric.

For long-term value, select styles that are simple and without extravagant detailing. Avoid oversized collars, yokes and pockets as well as styles with lots of buttons. Long coats should be longer than your skirt or dress by approximately 1.5 cms (1/2in), and boots should be high enough to disappear under the hemline. Shorter coats are best considered as short-term investments as they are often part of a fashion fad, e.g. a short satin trench coat. Coats may be found in many different fabrics from plastic-coated cottons to animal furs. In general, the bulkier the fabric, the heavier you will appear. Some classic coat materials include: cashmere, soft wool, camel hair, gabardines and poplins.