Looking forward to coat season

Layers are an art, but it is an art that should be fun to play with, especially when weather and occasion allow for a bit of variation. As we are approaching coat season (Well, technically you could wear a light linen coat, or cotton or polyester trenchcoats during the spring and summer too) maybe looking at a few options in a more casual outfit is exactly the kind of fun needed.

Shearling and suede coats or jackets can be lifelong quests for those who enjoy their 70s aesthetics or who like a bit more fullness in their clothes, as they are not the most affordable item. This is an unaltered piece, made in Germany prior to 1990, unfortunately I was unable to trace back the manufacturer, but looking at the quality it might be a medium priced coat (Which does not mean it was cheap back then or today. Thick suede like that would probably cost around 600-800 Euros and not be made in Germany.). I absolutely love the vintage appeal in its stitching details, although double-breasted buttoning would have been perfect. If you consider the time and how the arms fall in proportion to the overall length, one could assume that it was meant as a long coat below the knees, on my frame it becomes a bit more versatile and easier to pair with casual pants as well.

 

Coats 1

When I asked my Instagram audience what aspect of ‘fall/winter coats’ would be worth covering, one answer was vintage/second-hand. While a certain audience is very much interested in vintage Bespoke and tailoring from well-known houses, I have not yet had the opportunity to wear such a piece as outerwear. Maybe the two vintage pieces I am talking about however will suffice. You have seen one above, the second is a brown wool overcoat with classic, rather straight proportions. Made by Pal Zileri, a brand with history and a distinct style, somewhere between the softer Lubiam silhouettes and the elegant lines of Zegna, it was originally an American size 40 (German 50). I had bought in a private sale some time ago but never truly knew how to wear it. Back then I had too many slim fitting jeans and not enough jackets with drape so the coat was always swallowing everything else, now its length and shoulders add a timeless touch to fall looks. Also note the lapel width and curve in relation to the shoulders and coat width.

 

Coat 1

I believe there is potential in outerwear, especially when looking for older or worn pieces and while this is in no way a ‘How-to-buy-a-vintage-coat-guide’ I wish to focus on a few points that also apply to any new coat:

  • Length matters, older coats were long, but people might have been shorter, so check the measurements.
  • Thrifted leather can be expensive even when the quality sucks, I was lucky, I paid the standard fee for a coat, but larger, franchise thrift stores may have separate prices for leather. The same goes for Ebay, a leather coat, even if it’s ages old, might set you back 500 bucks, just because its original price was at 5000.
  • Expect a looser, wider fit that won’t be corrected by alterations. Some have said the brown wool coat is too wide, but slimming down the arms and waist would only disrupt the original balance. Same goes for the arms which are often way too short, and those are crucial in a seasonal coat.
  • Put some work into restoring colors and materials, just as with vintage shoes or leather bags there are plenty of guides and products out there which aren’t expensive but require an investment of time.

Here is a perfect example of a 1970s, British heritage, Aquascutum coat, worn by Dennis, who, if you don’t know him already, deserves a follow, as he is rebuilding his account from scratch.

 

Finally, a debatable look, which has gotten some love from the more casual crowd and pitiful critiques from the sartorial insiders.

I do wear Chelsea boots with everything: Here it is a herringbone, cotton chino, blue shirt and an Allegri wool/polyester weather proof jacket, creating a monochrome look. Enhanced by rather contemporary proportions (short jacket, smaller lapels) it is meant to be a modern, urban look. I do realize this jacket, as the name would suggest, is not a coat, but since I, a) Didn’t have a better way to use that picture and b) Like contrasting the different styles I wear on a weekly basis it felt like a nice way to end this article and start a discussion.

Of course you may also comment on the two coats above, either below, via message or on Instagram,

/jf

 

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