I have established over and over that I err on the side of classic styles and rich materials over splashy, trendy looks when it comes to my closet and what I put on every day. Some call it stealth wealth. It just makes better sense to me, financially and logistically.
In menswear, save for the suit, the quintessential winter coat is often where designers and labels show off their best fabrics and each fall-winter season, handsome modern cuts.
Some of this fall‘s looks are inspired by the past, with looser double-breasted coats in rich camel. Others delightfully textural, in a herringbone weave.
Of course, once you leave the world of synthetic blends, you can find wool and even cashmere blends for a reasonable sum. Beyond, the most delicious top layers in suede, nubuck, and butter-smooth calfskin can be had for a minor fortune.
Early in the pre-season, I spotted this seemingly plain Neil Barrett number. Upon closer inspection (and carefully reading the description, which sometimes does help), it’s clearly more. Stark, inky black, but made of stiffer bonded jersey (100% viscose, not cotton), for an almost neoprene finish. I can’t know how it hangs, but it looks fantastic.
The other coat I saw and immediately fell for was this dove gray, or what I saw as dusty pinkâ€”you decide, from Acne Studios. The shape is standard and simple, but the color…it’s so richly neutral.
Recently I sold a Zara coat I’d outgrown, my only real heavy winter coat, which was purchased out of need while in a chilly Denmark October in 2006. Years later, its hefty herringbone design and trompe l’Å“il puffer-vest liner looked and felt classy. I loved that coat, and was sad to see it go.
I love herringbone patterns, unlike houndstooth, which gives me a headache. The best I’ve seen this season come from AMI (low) to Bottega Veneta (high, above). The latter is not the traditional black and white, but instead a black and rust scheme. Chic.
Also relatively affordable: The James Bond peacoat from Billy Reid. Sorta can’t beat its old school charm and modern construction, by an American designer no less.
I thought this bouclÃ© car coat from ATM Anthony Thomas Melillo was charming. Not practical for real inclement weather, but for sunny chilly days.
Pinstriped coats make a showing via The Kooples, a British brand I have little first-hand knowledge of. Pinstripes can easily look gauche (I always think about the old Mentos commercial with the impromptu pinstripe job done by sitting in wet bench paintâ€”oh the 90s), but this version is understated. I also like the added detail of the buttoned belt in the back (see link).
Should you fancy a richer texture and hue, go with Paul Smith’s “khaki-green” cashmere overcoat, from Matches Fashion (my new #1 online store). Just by looking really close to a retina display MacBook, I can tell it is soft as one would hope for $2Gs. If you have the means, I highly recommend you pick one up.
Truthfully, there are more than a few types of coats or jackets one can don during the cooler months. Denim jackets are back in so to speak, and hoodies never really left. Consider McQ, or this luxe suede-collar Bottega Veneta example. Moncler is known for its puffy ski gear, but also dabbles in hoodies.
The same is true for American label Vince. I tried on their nubuck hoodie in Miami two weeks ago, and boy was it lovely. Soft, warm, and aromatic!
I am partial to “technical” coats as well, a.k.a. parkas, field jackets, and the likeâ€”usually made from a poly blend and designed to deter the elements. More winter warrior than dapper dandy, but sleek and well-constructed nonetheless.
British designer Christopher Raeburn uses 100% cotton, but in an extremely tight weave and with taped seams for extra water protection. The unfussy design is footnoted by a contrasting red lining, which is just the right amount of different I like.
UHNW (ultra high net worth) individuals are not ignored by fashion, and thus, can find sumptuous cold weather apparel from the likes of John Varvatos, Burberry Prorsum, Marni, and Giorgio Armani. That angora-cashmere blend coat would be worth losing a limb for!
I often wonder if, placed in a blind test of aesthetics, label removed, which brands would be perceived as more expensive?
In moving to Milan, I’ll be able for the first time to justify the expense of a heavy winter coat. It’s a thrilling proposition, and I have no doubt I’ll discover something great when I get there, in person. For now, these are some of my favorite coats found online, around the digital shopisphere, from reasonable to heart-stopping price tags :).