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Winter Coats other than Pea Coats

Written by admin, Sunday, November 21st, 2010 in Q&As

It’s getting cold again, and I’m in the market for a nice winter coat. Pea coats still seem pretty popular at my University, but I haven’t noticed any dominant new trend. What would you recommend (specifically for a short, well-built guy with broad shoulders)?

While peacoats are awesome, I’ve been getting a lot of e-mails from different people saying they want something different, requesting new options. There are actually quite a few non-peacoat options, and the decision really depends on your taste and budget. A few increasingly popular styles come to mind:

– Check out traditional topcoats. Topcoats are just single breasted wool coats in a simple semi-formal style, making them a great option for pretty much any classic outfit. A good example is this J.Crew offering, but you can get awesome offerings for much cheaper. These are fairly warm, but not ridiculously so — they are best worn with layers with classic clothing (i.e. no t-shirts).

– If you’re willing to sacrifice fashion for warmth, “puffy” down jackets (like this Gap offering) are possibly your best bet. Many, many stores carry them, and in very cold climates they are acceptable wear in many contexts due to their utility. Nothing in this range is going to be explicitly hyper-stylish (even the ridiculously expensive designer down jackets look the same), but they are all workable.

– If you feel like getting on a trend before it hits the mainstream, go for toggle coats/duffle coats (like this offering from Ralph Lauren’s Rugby Series). Toggle/duffle coats come in a variety of styles, but they are fairly rare and growing, and some speculate they are going to be the next major trend in the next few years. If you do get one, feel free to get something in a color (like navy, or even a bold plaid or something) — these coats are really not as formal as topcoats, so feel free to play around with the style.

– Finally, don’t be afraid to layer and avoid the coat issue entirely. At this point, lots of thicker “winter” suits are available — including “winter weight” sports jackets that have significantly more lining. Layer these with a cardigan, matching vest, sweater, or something underneath and you’ll create a very stylish look without having to default to putting on a heavy coat.

As for your height/shoulders, you shouldn’t worry too much, but if you do get a topcoat, get it tailored. Your height should not be an issue so long as you do not get something drastically longer than about your knees — anything too much longer might look a bit strange. Toggle coats look a bit better when well fitted but not drastically tight, and “puffy” down jackets really can’t be tailored. So long as something fits (and so long as it has shape, if it fits like a topcoat), you’ll look great.

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