Are you thinking of purchasing a coat for this upcoming winter season? Then it's time to inform yourself about all the options out there — starting with the overcoat. Here is a guide on what exactly an overcoat is, its origins, and what type of variations there are today.
What is an Overcoat?
To make it simple, an overcoat is a long, single-breasted coat that reaches below the knee and is meant to be worn over your outfit, hence the term 'overcoat'. Its main purpose is practical, which is to protect you against harsh weather conditions. Although an overcoat was once considered formal attire, it is now an outdoor piece that can also be combined with casual outfits. Since an overcoat is meant to withstand cold temperatures, the fabric is typically made out of thick high-quality wool.
Key features of an Overcoat:
- Knee or thigh length
- Notch lapel
- Single breasted
- Straight flap pockets
- Single vent
History of the Overcoat
The origin of the overcoat dates back to the 17th century when it was first used as a military uniform to withstand harsh weather conditions. The overcoat back then was traditionally black and much more fitted and longer, to provide more warmth. At some point, it was turned into formal wear to reflect social status and wealth. In our modern world, the overcoat doesn't necessarily need to be fitted but can be loose and shorter in length. Moreover, in our society, we have developed several different types of overcoats in different shapes and colors, which we will be going over in the following section.
Overcoats are traditionally dark in color, as this helps absorb heat and maintains the warm temperature within the coat. However, in today's world, we have the option to go for light colors as well. If you want to play it on the safe side and find an overcoat color that can be combined with any outfit, here are some ideas:
Are you really surprised? A black overcoat is classy and goes with everything. In addition, it's a color that's hard to stain, which is always a plus.
A good and vibrant navy overcoat will differentiate itself from a black one. If you're someone with a preference for darker colors with a blue hue, then this is just the one.
A beige overcoat is the perfect neutral. It's a versatile color and mixes well with other colors.
A deep brown overcoat has a nice and earthy look. Not to mention, you can easily combine it with black shoes.
Overcoats are meant to be warm and withstand cold temperatures, for that reason they are typically made out of animal fibers. Here are the three main fabrics used for the overcoats:
Wool is an animal fiber made from sheep. This organic material contains a protein named keratin, which is responsible for making it water repellent. Moreover, wool is breathable and insulates heat even when wet. However, pure wool is pricey and not to mention, stains quickly. Unless you live in a severe cold climate, it may be better to opt for an overcoat with a wool blend.
Wool blends contain a large amount of wool mixed with synthetic fiber such as nylon or polyester. This is often done to create a coat that has the best properties and improves the durability and softness of the coat. At Hockerty you find a large variety of wool blends for your coat. If you're unsure which fabric to select, we offer you the option to order a sample. Check it out!
Cashmere is also a type of wool made from cashmere goats. The benefit of cashmere is, that compared to other wool fabrics, it is moisture-wicking and therefore doesn't absorb any bad smells. Not to mention, this fabric is incredibly soft, which makes it a great material for winter.
What is the Difference Between a Coat and an Overcoat?
An overcoat is a heavy coat that you wear over your outfit, to shield you from cold weather. For example, an overcoat can also be worn over suit jackets or any type of jacket. A coat, on the other hand, has two purposes. It can be worn as a stylish fashion item or provide you the protection from cold weather.
What is the Difference Between a Topcoat and an Overcoat?
While an overcoat is known as a long and thick coat that is worn over your garment, a topcoat is a lightweight coat, such as a raincoat. The fabric of an overcoat is much heavier than that of a topcoat and usually is made of thick wool, while a topcoat is known for its lightweight fabrics.
What Temperature Should You Wear an Overcoat?
An overcoat is best worn at temperatures below 10 °C. Overcoats are made of thick fabrics that will warm you up quickly, hence why it's best to avoid them in the spring or fall season.
Is an Overcoat Formal or Casual?
An overcoat doesn't fall in either category. It can be worn for most occasions, considering it's a coat that is meant to be taken off indoors.
Should an Overcoat be Buttoned?
The main purpose of an overcoat is to keep you warm - therefore it is no problem if you choose to button it up. If you're feeling warm, you can always unbutton your coat. There really isn't a strict rule on that.
What Color Overcoat with Navy Suit?
If you're someone who typically wears navy suits, then you may want to opt for a matching overcoat. If you want to keep it safe, go for black, grey, or beige. If you're someone who enjoys vibrant colors, try going for a yellow mustard coat.