At the very least, a gentleman’s coat is a perfect mantle against cold, wind, dust, and rain. But psychology has used the coat to study basic human behavior. For example, wearing of the coat announces the intended departure. The removal of the jacket, however, shows that the wearer has arrived. Only when the coat has been removed, the social appearance begins. But those who arrive without removing their coat signalize distance, mistrust or even indecision.
The coat can almost accurately be used to summarize a man’s wardrobe by stylistically announcing the clothes worn underneath. In this way, the protective coat already reveals a lot about its wearer, unless it is deliberately chosen a copy that stands in contrast to the preferred outerwear.
Usually, however, a coat is worn in harmony with the occasion at hand and wearer’s own personal taste. So you can give away a whole range of stylistic expressions every time the wearer makes his choice. An appropriate coat is always a true expression of style.
The Crombie Coat
The dark blue Crombie Coat is the classic English city coat. Made of thick woolen fabrics, the Crombie is particularly well suited for uncomfortable and damp wet autumn and winter days. Almost every classic dressmaker has it in more or less modified form in its basic collection.
Chesterfield became fashionable in 19th-century England. His first lover is said to have been a member of the widely ramified Earls of Chesterfield family. Yet it is not known whether the aristocrat actually invented this cloak, that is, when he first commissioned a tailor. The Chesterfield coat is single-breasted and double-breasted, in beige, blue or black. The single-row version comes with a concealed button placket, made of wool fabric in a gray herringbone pattern and with a black velvet collar attached.
The British Warm Coat
The British Warm, or “British warm overcoat,” as the English call it, was originally a military cloak. This is revealed by the epaulets. It is actually warm because it’s made of thick Melton Wool. Sometimes it’s made of heavy Cavalry Twill. In addition, there is the noble variant of cashmere. The long version reveals its close relationship to the trench coat – another military coat that is very successful and widespread in civilian life.
The Covert Coat
Tight and short – that’s the Covert Coat. At first glance, it is very similar to the single-row Chesterfield. The difference, however, is the fabric that makes the Covert Coat. It’s a light twill that can be worn almost all year round. The covert coat, at the cuff level and at the hem, is equipped with four simple, parallel decorative seams, the so-called “railroading”. The typical color is a slightly mottled pale brown, matching the Covert Coat and usually has a dark brown velvet collar. It was originally designed as a riding and hunting cloak for the aristocracy and reminds us today of the large inner pocket, which is mounted on the height of the left thigh and serves to accommodate provisions or ammunition for hunting.
The Polo Coat
The Polo Coat is an American classic, although it is closely related to the traditional and more elegant shell shapes such as Paletot, Ulster, and Guards coat. Brooks Brothers imported the style from England around 1910. The original belt has become a backstrap today. Its big patch pockets give it a sporty touch. The polo coat typically comes in beige, perhaps because it was initially made from camel hair. In the meantime, however, one usually tailors it from pure new wool.
The Trench Coat
The classic, authentic trench coat is made by Burberry. Thomas Burberry may not necessarily be the inventor of gabardines, but he was enterprising enough to have his water- and wind-repellent cotton fabric patented in 1879 for rainy England and since then to be the market leader. The Pauldrons, the storm flap on the collar, and the D-shaped metal rings on the belt used to attach equipment remind us of the military past of the trench coat. If you do not like it, you can let go of the classic Burberry and make use of differently cut gabardine coats.
The Barbour Jacket
With a Barbour jacket, you buy not only a rainproof jacket but also a piece of international lifestyle. You slip in and become part of it – the world of the rich and successful. The Barbour jacket provides security, protecting you from bad weather as well as the risk of being dressed incorrectly. In fact, if in doubt, and if it’s not too hot, you can always use the Barbour jacket if you’re not sure what to wear. As absurd as that may be, it would seem better to go to an evening party in sweaters, jeans and a Barbour jacket than with the wrong shoes or a badly cut tuxedo. The Barbour jacket is a sort of ticket to high society throughout Europe – and if the other details, such as the wristwatch, are also correct, then the wearer of the well-known wax jacket is treated courteously, even in the most distinguished shops.
The Barbour jacket is neither overly expensive nor particularly hard to get. But it does suggest taste, sense of style and tradition – especially when it comes to an old and repeatedly patched copy.
It’s hard to say what makes the Barbour jacket stand out compared to other classic English garments, making it so successful in so many different European countries, despite the alleged or actual differences in mentality. It may feel like you are buying a piece of the glamorous world with this jacket, which, unlike most fashionable garments, is a truly lasting and rewarding investment, as its value increases with increasing age. The degree of abrasion of the Barbour jacket certifies the wearer unspoken membership to the gentleman club.
But despite its reputation, the Barbour jacket has remained a highly individual piece of clothing. It offers a variety of stylistic, aesthetic, ideological and ethical links. The patented wax jacket is at the same time English, practical, robust, sporty, close to nature, accepted, valuable, casual, classic, and snobbish.
The Quilted Jacket (Husky Jacket)
There are many quilted jackets today, but only the real husky jacket may be considered original. Its inventor, Stephen Guylas, was a colonel of the American Army of Hungarian descent, who settled after his active service in the English Tostock. Since he was an avid shooter on top of that, he designed his own clothes for the cold-shooting range in the early sixties.
First, there was a quilted and waterproof shooting vest, then a jacket in the same style. Colonel Guylas’s friends on the firing range were enthusiastic about the practical pieces. Word of mouth quickly created a growing demand and the Colonel and his wife had their hands full to satisfy them. Today, there is the Husky jacket and a whole lot of imitations all over England. The jacket is offered in different color palettes, cuts and side slit designs.