how to style & combine an overcoat

How To Style & Combine An Overcoat

Basically, you just put on your overcoat, and you go, right?

Not quite! An overcoat is an integral part of a classic gentleman’s wardrobe, but it requires a little bit of thought about your outfit and the event you’re going to go to, as well as the temperature outside, to come up with an outfit that’s both functional and stylish.

How To Choose An Overcoat For Your Outfit

As a core principle, it should ideally contrast other elements in your wardrobe.
  • If you have lots of dark elements in your wardrobe: If you own darker gloves, hats or pants, I suggest going with a light overcoat. Vice versa, if you have lighter accessories and pants, a dark overcoat is better because you always want it to contrast.
  • If you have lots of solids in your wardrobe: You can either go with a solid overcoat or with a patterned overcoat. If you go for a solid, I suggest going with an interesting texture, maybe a tweed, maybe a bold weave in a solid color because that makes just all the more useful because you can combine it with different shades of colors, but also more interesting and it provides a certain amount of contrast from your otherwise solid pants.
  • An overcoat should suit the rest of the formality of your wardrobe. So if you like to go with more casual slacks, maybe go with a shorter overcoat in more brown tones. On the other hand, if you go to an office and you wear business suits every day, maybe a darker coat with grey elements, blues, or blacks, are better for you.
A great overcoat will accentuate your style. It will hide all the flaws and just look very debonair.

A great overcoat will accentuate your style. It will hide all the flaws and just look very debonair.

Overcoat Details To Watch Out For

  • Casual: Things like patch pockets, notch lapels or toggle closures as you can find in duffle coats are all casual items.
  • Formal: Peak lapels on a double-breasted coat, jetted pockets or flap pockets, an elegant back belt, those are all things more associated with formal garments.

Guide To Styling Different Overcoat Colors

DB navy overcoat, brown corduroy, tan shoes, burnt orange and gray scarf from Fort Belvedere

DB navy overcoat, brown corduroy, tan shoes, burnt orange and gray scarf from Fort Belvedere

Navy Overcoats

A navy overcoat is perfect as a first overcoat in your collection because you can wear it with formal outfits. You can wear it in the evening, as well as informal outfits if you choose the right texture of the fabric. 
 For example, here you can see me wearing a double-breasted navy overcoat that is made of a hundred percent boiled wool. As such, it’s denser. It has this wonderful knobby texture which is just interesting than if it was a plain weave.  It comes with a belt, so it makes it a little less formal and more casual so I can wear it with a broader range of outfits, and it’s double-breasted which means I get two layers of fabric that keeps me warm.
Raphael looking dapper wearing petrol blue gloves from Fort Belvedere

Raphael looking dapper wearing petrol blue gloves from Fort Belvedere

I combined it with brown corduroys that provide some of the contrast just like the tan shoes. My cashmere scarf in burnt orange and gray herringbone pattern from Fort Belvedere is also contrasting even though it’s not a bright and loud color. Rather than going with boring black gloves, I went with a petrol blue pair from Fort Belvedere which is lined with cashmere. I could have also opted for a gray pair which would look likewise as dapper, and it would have picked up the color in my scarf. That way, you tie in the entire outfit together.
Overall, I could have topped it off with a hat, either a navy one or even a brown one that would go with my pants but it would have created a nice contrast with interesting visual points such as my scarf, my gloves, and my overcoat. Everything works together, but the individual items stand out stylishly.

Tan Overcoats

If you don’t wear suits to the office, a great first overcoat would be one in a solid tan color. Regarding colors, they go with any winter color and in general, with almost any color out there. For example, here you can see me wearing a British warm overcoat which is a very heavy wool fleece coat.
It has brown contrasting leather buttons, it has epaulets, peak lapels, and everything is designed to keep you very warm at the same time stylish.
British warm overcoat paired with cognac colored gloves from Fort Belvedere

British warm overcoat paired with cognac colored gloves from Fort Belvedere

As you can see, I’m pairing it with a brown fedora hat, as well as cognac colored cashmere lined leather gloves from Fort Belvedere. The scarf is likewise from Fort Belvedere and is made out of a blend of silk and wool which makes it softer than just plain wool, and it’s in green and red which is different than the hat, but at the same time, it’s a winter color, so it all works together.
Alternatively, you can opt for a more formal tan coat such as this military-inspired overcoat; it has an Ulster collar, it has gold buttons, epaulets and it’s cut more like a body coat such as a morning coat or an evening tailcoat, you can see that by the seams in the back. It also has a half belt in the back which is quite decorative, yet it’s not as informal as a full belt. It also has interesting details such as a flap chest pockets and angled flap front side pockets.z
A great alternative to the British warm

A great alternative to the British warm

As you can see, I paired it with dark brown contrasting corduroy pants, brown shoes, as well as a burnt orange and grey scarf and chamois yellow HydroPeccary gloves from Fort Belvedere. It’s just a very elegant color. Yes, it’s bold but with the tan, it works quite well, and the gloves are perfect for winter because they are lined with cashmere, and they don’t get wet because they have this treatment that is water repellent. So no matter if you have to scratch the ice of your car or shovel the snow, these gloves are great. I topped it all off with a brown fedora hat to provide somewhat of a contrast.

Herringbone Overcoats

Some of the most popular ones out there are herringbone overcoats. Herringbone is a very classic menswear pattern. It’s timeless, but for overcoats, you want to make sure that it is over-scaled and large, unlike with suits or sport coats where it can be smaller.  The Donegal tweed, which means it has a rougher texture made out of a hundred percent wool with contrasting colored flecks.
Here you see a brown herringbone Donegal tweed overcoat, but it has flecks in blue, green, yellow, pink and orange. It just lightens the entire outfit. It also means it’s very easy to combine with any kind of other colors in your accessories as well as your pants because it’s already part of the overcoat and so it ties everything together.
Donegal tweed overcoat. fedora hat, Fort Belvedere yellow gloves and blue scarf

Donegal tweed overcoat. fedora hat, Fort Belvedere yellow gloves, and blue scarf

For example, the yellow flecks are picked up by the chamois yellow gloves from Fort Belvedere. The blue flecks are picked up by my blue and gray scarf. The brown tones are picked up by my brown and gray velour fedora. Overall, the overcoat has quite some interesting details; it has some cuffs, it has a seam on the outside of the sleeve which is also very dapper and very classic. It has a back belt, patch pockets, it’s double-breasted, but it also has peak lapels to make it a little more formal.
Of course, you can also go with something a little more subdued such the overcoat below. It has an even larger scale herringbone pattern, but the flecks are more like tan, yellow, orange, and brown and are therefore more subdued. Because of that, I could have worn them with brown or tan gloves.
Personally, I chose to go with a burgundy glove because it’s a touchscreen glove and it’s exactly what you want when it’s really cold outside, so you don’t have to take them off when you want to check something on your phone. Obviously, the belt on the coat makes a little more casual, and the mustard color and grey herringbone cashmere scarf from Fort Belvedere picks up the yellow flecks in the coat.
Overall, the scarf is contrasting, but it’s tied together by those individual flecks. That’s why this combination works so well. The same is true for the hat. It has combinations of black and brown which you can find in the overcoat as well as in the pants and the shoes. Because of that, it’s a very harmonious outfit that provides lots of contrast, but it’s very pleasing to the eye and the viewer.

Gray Or Charcoal Overcoats

If you’re more at home in a traditional white-collar environment, you want to invest in an overcoat that’s either gray or charcoal or something that combines all those colors. For example, the overcoat I’m wearing consists of a really nice wool fabric with an interesting weave that contains tones of grey, charcoal, black and blue. Because of that, you can wear this overcoat with any business suit whether it’s light grey or charcoal. Black would even work, as well as navy or blue, and it’s just fantastic to have just one overcoat that works with every kind of suit you have.
To make it visually more appealing, a contrast velvet collar in black was added which goes really well with the overall Paletot style which is double-breasted in this case. It’s very easy to combine, and in this case, I chose a red and blue pattern wool-silk scarf from Fort Belvedere with petrol blue gloves. The hat is likewise dark and picks up colors of the overcoats, and so are the boots. Overall, if I had to get just one business overcoat, it would be this one simply because of the versatility of the fabric.
A bold green duffle coat

A bold green duffle coat

Bolder Colored Overcoats

First of all, let me say I don’t think it’s a wise idea to invest in a really bold overcoat in yellow, red, or maybe green early on because it’s just a very narrow field where you can wear it, and the cost per wear will be quite high. It’s also quite a statement piece, and because of that, I think it’s only suited to someone who really knows what they’re doing and who has an advance closet where all the basics are already covered.
That being said, if you end up with a bold overcoat such as a green duffle coat, make sure to tone down the rest of your outfit. For example, my scarf has subtle brown tones. Same with my cognac gloves which are likewise not loud and bold but very classic. They work well with my dark brown pants as well as my boots.

How to Create Different Looks With Your Overcoat

Pay Close Attention To Your Accessories

Overcoats are not cheap, and most men have just one or two. To not keep it boring and to create different looks, I suggest that you really pay attention to your accessories.

Consider Beautiful Boutonnieres

First of all, if your lapel is wide enough and it features a buttonhole you may want to consider a boutonniere. During the winter season, a real boutonniere is hard to find, and because of that, we created silk flowers from Fort Belvedere which you can find in our shop here.
Typically during the winter season, I don’t wear them on my jackets because they would be squished by my overcoat. So you wear them in your overcoat, and when you hang it up, you can exchange it, put it on your suit, wear it around and then transfer it again when you go back home. That way you’re stylish in your suit, in your overcoat, you don’t squish the flower, and everything is dapper.

Stand Out In Scarves

When it comes to scarves, I suggest not to wear solid scarves with solid overcoats. Always try to go with some other pattern whether it’s a stripe, a classic herringbone or some other printed patterns. If you have a patterned overcoat, you can also wear a patterned scarf just make sure the scales are different. For example, with a bolder overcoat, you can get a finer pattern in your scarf and vice versa.
Brown fedora with contrasting hat band

Brown fedora with contrasting hat band

Opt For Elegant Hats

When it comes to hats, bear in mind that an overcoat is a traditional classic garment that’s meant to make you look elegant. Because of that, you should go with more formal choices. So skip the baseball hat or self-knitted hats and opt for a stylish Fedora with your business overcoat maybe something like a flat cap or a newsboy cap for your more casual overcoats and that will just create an overall look that is very debonair.

Go For Colored Gloves

Just like with scarves, when it comes to your gloves, you want something that’s contrasting. I’ve always been a big opponent of black gloves because not only do they look boring but they also often like the desired contrast, and it’s not something an elegant gentleman would have worn a hundred years ago. Instead, stylish men back then and today would wear different colors such as a grey which is much better than black because it’s likewise formal but you can wear it with the blue suit, you can wear it with a charcoal suit, and it will always contrast.
If you live in a warmer climate, you can also go with unlined gloves or even driving gloves for regular wear because they keep your fingers warm without making you overheat.

 What do you think elevates the overall look of an overcoat? Drop a comment below!

How To Style & Combine An Overcoat
Article Name
How To Style & Combine An Overcoat
Learn how to style and combine an overcoat so you create dapper outfits that always look the part.
Gentleman's Gazette LLC
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23 replies
  1. mark bernheim says:

    Please note: I think you should use the correct ITS and not IT’S for the possessive form of the pronoun….IT’S is only a contraction:
    It’s cold out.
    An overcoat can add a lot with its appeal in any wardrobe.

    See? They’re two different words, spelled differently.

    Also, objectively speaking, I think the coats look a lot better UNbelted. The silhouette is longer and slimmer and more attractive. Cinching the belt in so tight does not create a great look, and I doubt you actually feel warmer. Only men I have seen look really good with the belt closed tightly are super thin, as in super, wasp waisted. Otherwise, it just cuts off the lines of the body in not great ways, makes a kind of blockish bulky shape. Tie it in the back or leave it hang open, with sprezzatura….

    • Sven Raphael Schneider says:

      Oh my, of course, we understand the grammar, but mistakes happen. Now, if you actually pointed out the specific mistake, we’d correct it right away.

      Some like a belt, other’s don’t and there is very little in men’s clothing that is objectively better or worse. Each to his own.

  2. Alexander_F says:

    @ Mark Bernheim
    I take it you don’t write for a living. Otherwise, you would know that typos are everywhere, inavoidable and that this is a reason why important newspapers have everything proofread by at least three people before publishing. However, not every institution can allow themselves to hire as many.
    But that’s just an insight by me as a translator and writer.

    Otherwise I must contradict with regards to belts on coats. It’s a shame it’s so hard to find something that’s not a trench coat and made of wool off the rack.

    As to the article, my compliments to the author for this very useful and insightful guide.

  3. Jonne says:

    Another great topic. Personality i find a hat would be both a great functional and stylish item that should go with an overcoat. As for the style I believe nothing better than a charcoal loden coat by SALKO with a removable lining, raglan style. Works both ways, casual and formal, you just switch the type of hat with it.

    Again, Thanks Sven Raphael for a great read.

  4. A Salt says:

    Hello everybody.
    As I live in sunny England overcoats I have and always brought coats from Levi trucker style denim jackets ,waxed coats, and any other jacket or coat with winter in mind, so I leave room for another layer underneath or sized to fit over coats and clothes, making sure that they still look good when I wear them on their own.
    A little maturer in experience (OK 52) I’m dressing more vintage with my own twist to the jazz, swing 40s50s styles,
    I have a classic black single breasted peak lapels with concealed buttons and 2 slit side pockets by hans kelven.
    A vintage Sears USA oakbrook sports wear duffel /pea coat style in a brown/sand mixed shades of wet to dry sand, the darker colour dominant, it reminds me of the old British army coat with the thick itchy material! Lined with a large dog tooth in 3 shades of brown light to dark that is halfway up the lapel because it will close at the neck with buttons, 2 side slit pockets and 2 patch with flap pockets, very nice looking and warm, it goes well with my fedoras in thorn and olive plus news boys and other caps, scarfs I have only tried block colours, but after reading your suggestions I will have to look at my other scarfs! Trousers /pants off any kind and colour go well with this coat, shoe wise my brouge wingtip Chelsea boots in black are OK but a last choice (apart from my cordovan brown penny loafers, definitely a no no) my brown brogue Darby boots, great, brown brogue Oxford shoes great,
    And brown and black brogue, black and white brogue wingtips would be OK, but I have better choices so I have not worn those, but this is a very versatile coat,
    I have read a lot of your articles about everything,
    But never have I seen mention of a very classic British overcoat called Covert !? It has a felt collar and on the cuffs and hem they have 3 rows of extra stitching for strength, they are well made out of a specialty made material with riding, hunting around the overgrowth “covert is a thorny bushy wood land” I think originally made for an earl or Duke of a battalion command in the early 1800 . This is the overcoat that I use when I have my suit ,shirt, tie, cufflinks, pocket, tie pin/clip or slide, Fedora, and feel great, Just need more places to go like that. Please have a look at the coat mentioned I might have spelt it wrong, it’s what it is its true, but always remember that the English language has now or never has had a ruling body.
    All of the words are suggestions of standards, but most of them are from people who speak Oxford or Cambridge English witch makes up a very small minority of English people.
    So when you think about it the language has very little to do with English. Sorry about that everyone.

  5. Jerome C Finefrock says:

    Being somewhat old fashioned, I prefer to match hat & gloves to a topcoat or overcoat. With a dark charcoal overcoat gray hat & gloves, with a light gray one black ones and with anything in the tan/brown family brown hat with pigskin gloves. As for newsboy caps I still wear a Homburg.

  6. Simon says:

    Wow – actual snow. It is 32 degrees here today in Australia. Not a lot of snow here at anytime 🙂

    Some nice outfits in this piece. The hat suits you Sven. Great article!

  7. Rock says:

    Great article, and I’m looking forward to getting a new Overcoat. Especially since I recently found out that my wife got rid of my Navy top coat by giving it to Goodwill!
    The positive side of this is that she’s totally open to me getting a new one. Thank you for all your great tips and information, keep up the great work!

  8. Kingston Lim says:

    Hey Sven!

    What are your thoughts on wearing an overcoat for shorter gentlemen? Do you think wearing a long coat would make not so long legs look shorter?


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