The short and honest answer for how should dress pants and wool trousers fit is that they should fit exactly how your suit pants should fit, so if this article looks familiar,that’s why. This advice goes for any of these pants: slacks, dress pants, wool trousers, wool pants, whatever you want to call them. Since this is a fit guide, I won’t get into fabric weights here, but it’s a very important point when choosing your dress pants/wool trousers that won’t be worn as part of a suit. See my Wool Pants & Trousers article for details.
Waist and Seat
Dress pants and wool trousers should fit perfectly around your waist with no need for a belt to hold them up. They should hit around the high hipbone area, or even slightly higher. You do not wear wool pants at the same waist as jeans – which are usually designed to sit lower. Saggy pants is a big no no.
The seat, or butt area, should lightly hug your butt and not be saggy or super tight. If it feels like you’re going to split your pants, they’re way too tight. If you’ve got a bunch of extra fabric around the butt, they’re much too loose. A tailor can fix this, it won’t be easy or cheap, but if everything else on the pants fits properly, definitely get it done.
RealMenRealStyle has the perfect illustration of how the seat of your pants should fit:
You want to be able to pinch around 1/2″ to 1 inch of fabric on either side of your thigh. If it’s less than that, your pants are too tight. If it’s more, have your tailor slim the thighs.
Knee to Ankle
If you’re a thin to regular build, the pants should have a slight taper so that it gets narrower towards the ankle, like the image below. This will look great on this body type/size.
If you’re a thicker/wider guy, you want the pants to be cut straight down from the knee to the ankle – like how your jeans should fit. This will balance your proportions nicely. If you went with a taper here, it’d make you look very top-heavy.
Hem & Cuff
Always default to having your pants hemmed to leave a quarter (also called slight) break. It looks more polished and sharper than a full break and no break at the hem is a time & place kind of thing, and not generally for everyday wear. A slight break works for everyone.
A trick I do with all my clients is to have the tailor hem the pants so that it’s slightly longer at the back of the hem. That way, when you’re walking, you’ll show less sock and when you’re standing still, it’ll lay nicer on the top and back of your shoe.
There are very few times, I’d argue almost never, when you’d cuff your dress pants or wool trousers. I’ve never cuffed pants for a single client because it’s not necessary, no matter their body type.
If you’re not familiar with the different type of pant breaks, PrimerMag has some great images to help you understand:
The Best Wool Pants And Trousers For Men
See my Wool Pants and Trousers Essential article for my favorite wool pants for men.
The Best Ways to wear Dress Pants & Wool Trousers
See the bottom of my Wool Pants and Trousers article for details.
Wool pants and trousers are an essential item because they’re the middle ground between jeans/chinos and a full suit. In situations when jeans or chinos might be a bit too informal and a suit is overkill, the wool pant/trouser fits this spot perfectly. They’re also amazing because they look damn good on every body type.
I want to clear the air about something first because it’s important for you to know this: The category of wool trousers is quite broad and basically includes any pants that are made of wool. This means trousers made of a more lightweight fabric, like suit pants, and the traditional, heavier-weight wool trouser are all considered “wool trousers.” If you want to get technical, I’m specifically meaning a wool fabric weight of anywhere from about 10-12oz and up.
When I say wool trousers from this point forward, I only mean the thick/heavier-weight wool trousers because the lightweight fabrics, like suit pants, look flimsy and unpolished when worn with items outside of a suit jacket. The thicker weight of the wool trousers I recommend below will not wrinkle as easily, lay cleaner on the legs and look great with everything from a sweater or overcoat/peacoat and semi-spread collared shirt (oxford button down dress shirt, too) to a leather jacket and t-shirt. Basically anything in your essential wardrobe will look great with the recommended wool trousers.
Some of my older readers often ask about “slacks” or “suit trousers” and my answer is always the same: don’t bother. You should never be wearing slacks or suit pants or similar without a full suit. Its flimsy looking, tacky and the mark of a guy who doesn’t know what he’s doing.
To Pleat or Not To Pleat
I don’t care how old or young you are or what your body type is – whether you’re thin or a larger guy, you should NEVER, EVER have pleated wool pants. Honestly, I f*#@%ing hate them because they’re so unnecessary and are unflattering on every guy. I’ll be the first to dance on their grave if they ever completely go away. I’ve never seen a guy look good while wearing them – ever.
What Colors Should You Get?
I’d recommend having at least two pairs of wool pants in your wardrobe. My first choice would be gray, then dark blue, and then brown, if blue or gray wasn’t available. Black is OK, but I’d consider that my last option, if I were you. It’s just too heavy of a fabric to wear black in, as it’ll look more imposing.
How Should Men’s Wool Trousers Fit?
See my How Should Dress Pants and Wool Trousers fit article.
The Best Wool Pants And Trousers For Men
2 Ways To Wear Wool Pants And Trousers
Wool Pants and Trousers Outfit Inspiration
A lot of my clients ask me how should a sweater fit, so I figured it was time to write down my typical answer so you can understand this, as well. These fit rules apply to any sweater, but I’ll use a v-neck sweater in my images below to demonstrate how a sweater should fit on a guy.
A quick note before we begin: Most sweaters are made of cotton, wool, cashmere or blends with other fabrics. This is a problem for tailors because the fabrics are fragile, which makes them very hard to work with, so you should find a sweater that fits you perfectly off the rack, as it’ll be very difficult, if not impossible, for a tailor to fix a majority of sweaters. The only exception are cotton crew necks. Those can easily be tailored.
What do I wear under a V-Neck Sweater or Crew New When Trying On?
It’s important you’re wearing the proper shirts when trying on your sweater so you can get the proper fit.
When you’re trying on a V-Neck sweater, you should only be wearing a Dress Shirt or Oxford Button Down Dress Shirt because these are the only two shirts that you should ever wear under a v-neck sweater. That means no t-shirts, polo shirts or any other kind of shirt. Just a collared shirt.
Crew Neck Sweater
When trying on a crew neck sweater, you should only be wearing a t-shirt or v-neck shirt because that’s all that should be worn under a crew neck. You might be able to get away with a collared shirt, but it’s not my preference to wear them with crew necks because it usually looks pretty bad.
What a Sweater Looks Like When its Too Small/Tight
I want you to see what a sweater looks like when it’s too small. See the points below for details.
- Shoulders – If he pulled the sweater shoulder up so his shirt collar was tucked under the sweater collar, the seams would be sitting on top of his shoulders, which means its way too small. You can kind of see the seam sitting way too high on his shoulder on his bent arm side.
- Arm Hole – Way too tight, you can see it bunching underneath his armpit. I guarantee it’s incredibly uncomfortable.
- Neck/Collar – If he pulled the sweater so the collar was touching his shirt’s collar, the “v” of the neck would go down past the top of his armpits.
- Sleeve Length – The sleeves are way too short, which is why he has them pulled up on his forearms in this picture. I know this because (See the next point)
- Body Length – The body length is about 2 inches too short. At the shortest point, a sweater should hit past the bottom of your belt buckle.
What a Sweater Looks Like When Its Too Big
- Shoulders – The seams are way past where his shoulder starts sloping down and are just resting on the upper part of his arms – not good.
- Arm Hole – Way too big, so it’s making his chest look super wide and baggy with all that extra fabric around the chest area.
- Neck/Collar – You can tell it’s too large because you can see his shirt on the sides of his collar. If he pulled the sweater forward, so the “v” rests better against his shirt collar, the “v” would go past the top of his armpits.
- Sleeves – They’re hard to see because his hands are in his pockets, but with everything else not fitting properly, I’m sure the sleeves are way too long and not ending at the bend of his wrist. Also, they’re way too big and baggy, which just look floppy and wrinkled in odd places.
- Body Fit and Length – I bet if he pulled his hands out of his pockets, the sweater would be way too long and go past the 2 inch mark below his belt buckle. As you can see, there’s excess fabric on both sides of his torso because the sweater is just to big.
How long should a sweater be?
A sweater should end somewhere between just past your belt buckle and no more than 2 inches past that. In a lot of my other fit guides, I usually differentiate the length based on your height, but for a sweater it doesn’t matter. It should hit between those two points for everyone. This goes for all sweaters.
While wearing the sweater – when you bend your wrist, so your palms are facing the ground, the sleeves should end where your wrist ends. So where the white shirt cuff stops in my picture below. A sweater’s sleeves shouldn’t be totally smooth and ripple-free – if it is, that usually means it’s too small. It’s impossible for a sweater to fit like that, so don’t bother trying. Just make sure it ends at the bend of the wrist and not before or after.
The sleeves should fit close to your arm, but not so tight that you can see your muscles or the ripples of the shirt underneath (like the sweater that’s too tight above) or so loose that it’s floppy and folding on itself. The model I used was very muscular, but you can’t see his biceps well-defined, or the folds of his collared shirt under the sleeves.
Quick tip: If you’re wearing a v-neck sweater, lightly tug on the sweater sleeve so your dress shirt cuff is sticking out about 1/4″. It’ll have a little bunching near the wrist, that’s fine. As you can see in my picture below, it still looks great.
Like with all your garments in the Essential Series, you want the shoulder seams to hit just where your shoulders start to slope down into your arms. I call this “the natural end of your shoulder”. See the picture below for what I’m talking about – the seam hits perfectly at the point where the shoulder turns into the upper arm.
For any sweater, you want to be able to pinch no more than 2 inches of fabric on either side of your lower rib cage. You also don’t want to be able to pinch any less than 1 inch of fabric, as that’s way too tight. You want it to lightly hug your torso, but not be so loose or tight. This goes for ALL BODY TYPES. I know some of my larger clients fight me on this, but they always come around when they see how much better and fitted it looks. A little rippling in a sweater will always happen, so it’s unavoidable.
This only applies to v-necks, as crew neck sweaters are all pretty universal. You want the bottom of the “v” to be no lower than the top of your armpits.
The opening of the v-neck should be just wide enough so that you can tuck your collar tips and they stay in place – like the image above. A wider opening than that would look terrible, as it’ll show too much shirt on the outside of the collar like the image of the too big sweater. For crew necks, they’re a pretty standard size – they shouldn’t be stretched out or show any shirt underneath.
They shouldn’t be so high that they’re cutting into your armpits like in my “too small” image or so big and low that it looks like a bunch of excess fabric is around your chest like in my “too big” image near the top of this story.
The Best Sweaters Every Man Should Own
See my V-Neck Sweater Essential Article for my favorite sweaters that every man should own.
The V-Neck Sweater is an essential because you’re going to need warm layering pieces for the cooler parts of the year and it allows you to mix and match your Essential Wardrobe a little better by layering it with a blazer or suit, over an oxford or semi-spread collar dress shirt and paired with simple dark wash jeans or wool trousers and a white sneaker or oxford dress shoe. So how could I leave it off this list?
Why a V-Neck and Not a Crew Neck?
Any item you see people wearing to or from the gym is not going to look good in anything but a casual outfit. So for this reason, a V-Neck sweater is essential because it’s the classy mofo of the sweater world. V-necks add a touch of dressy formality that you just won’t get with a crew neck.
I love crew necks, but they don’t look good with anything but t-shirts and dark wash denim or khakis – casual items. I know some guys like the crew neck and tie or suit look, but I don’t think it looks all too great. Crew necks are for more casual looks, going to the gym and for kids, not anything else.
V-Neck Sweater Do’s and Dont’s
- Wear them under Suits
- Wear them under a Blazer
- Wear them under Overcoats and Peacoats
- Wear them under Leather Jackets
- Wear them with or without a tie
- Wear them with Semi-Spread Collar Dress Shirts with the collar tucked into the “v”
- Wear them with Oxford Button Down Dress Shirts
- Wear them with Wool Trousers
- Wear them with Dark Wash Jeans
- Wear them with White Sneakers
- Wear them with Oxford Dress Shoes
- Let your partner borrow them to snuggle with or wear
- Throw them out if they get worn or thin around the elbows or the collar gets stretched out
- Wear them with a dress shirt and have the collar resting on top of the “v”
- Wear them with shorts
- Wear them over Polo Shirts (ever)
- Wear them over T-Shirts (ever)
- Wear them without any shirt underneath – gross!
- Wear them if they have any holes, pilling or they’re worn thin around the elbows
I prefer the V-Neck Sweaters I work with to be made of wool, – either regular or merino wool. Cashmere is also a great fabric, but it’s definitely on the pricier side. If you run a little warmer, then go for a wool/silk or cotton-blended sweater – Pima cotton is also great, but it stretches out very easily.
You need at least 1 black V-Neck Sweater in your closet. If you’ve got a black one already, grab a navy and/or charcoal gray version. These colors will go with everything else in your Essential Wardrobe. If you want a 3rd option, then a darker brown will also go pretty well with your wardrobe, too.
How Should a V-Neck Sweater Fit on a guy?
Check out my V-Neck Sweater fit guide for how (all) your sweater(s) should fit.
The Best Men’s V-Neck Sweaters
I love these because the fit, fabric weight, and overall construction is impeccable and I’ve worked with these brands many, many times.
I love each one of these v-neck sweaters, especially the H&M and Life After Denim sweaters. Even though they’re budget-friendly, the quality, fabric weight, and overall fit is really good.
2 Ways to Wear A V-Neck Sweater
Men’s V-Neck Sweater Outfit Inspiration
The short and honest answer for how should a Blazer fit is exactly how a Suit Jacket should fit, so if this article looks familiar, it’s because it’s pretty much the same advice.
How long should a Blazer be?
The length of your blazer will dictate how “balanced” your upper body is to your lower body. The blazer should end around mid to lower crotch. Mid-crotch if you’re under 5ft 9inches, lower than that if you’re taller than 5′ 9″.
A tailor can shorten your jacket up to an inch without messing up it’s proportions, but they can never really let much out because there’s no fabric there. Overall, you generally want this part to already be perfect when you’re buying a blazer, even off the rack.
Blazer Sleeve Length
While wearing the blazer – when you bend your wrist, so your palms are facing the ground, the sleeves should be about ¼” above the top of your hand. A lot of people recommend that it hits the top of your hand, but that’s bullshit – then none of your shirt sleeve will be showing. This length allows for a little bit (¼”) of your shirt sleeve to peek through. If your sleeves are longer, a tailor can easily fix that. If they’re shorter by more than an inch, ditch the jacket, the sleeves can’t be let out enough to fit properly.
You want the shoulder seams of the blazer to end where your shoulders end – where they start curving down to your arm, basically. You should see no divots or wrinkles in the shoulders anywhere. The shoulders should lay perfectly flat, with no divots or rumpling or pulling on the shoulders. If you have more rounded shoulders, the seam should still end in the same place, you would just need a little more padding in the shoulders to make them appear less rounded. If the shoulders are too big or small, a tailor will have a very hard time fixing this, and it would be very expensive – if it was even possible. So ensure these fit properly when buying a blazer from anywhere, as well.
RealMenRealStyle has this awesome graphic showing the proper shoulder fit.
With the top button fastened (never the bottom button), the blazer should lightly hug your midsection, but not feel tight or constricting. It shouldn’t be pulling at the button, creating an ugly “X”. The X mean’s it’s too tight. If it’s roomy around your stomach/waist area, you can (and should!) have a tailor take in the sides of the jacket so it fits properly. This is a very easy and common fix for a tailor to do. Remember: For tailoring purposes, it’s better to have a jacket that’s slightly too big in the body than too small.
The collar should rest against your shirt collar, which in turn should rest against the back of your neck. All of these should touch lightly, without significant gaps in between. If there’s a gap, it’s too loose. If there’s bunching just under the back of the jacket collar, it’s too tight or the stance of the jacket is off.
They should be high, but not so high that they’re cutting into your armpit. The picture below shows where the armholes should be on your blazer. Notice it’s not cutting into his armpit? They should be large enough that you don’t notice them, but not so big that you have a few extra inches between your armpit and the bottom of the hole. The arms should be able to move somewhat independently of the jacket’s body during normal motion, but not excessively.
While I’m speaking about blazers and motion, a lot of guys who are new to wearing dress clothes usually complain that they should be able to move their arms more while wearing them. Let me tell you that a blazer is not activewear, so don’t think you should be able to do everything you normally do while wearing a blazer. It’s just not built for that purpose.
The blazer’s second button from the bottom (aka the top button) should lie just above your belly-button, never below. My rule of thumb is no more than about an inch above and never, ever below. Otherwise it’ll throw off your body’s proportions and you’ll look really odd.
The Best Men’s Blazer/Sport Coats
See my Navy Blazer/Sport Coat Essential Article for my favorite blazers that every man should own.
The Navy Blazer or Sport Coat or Sports Jacket, whatever you want to call it (we’ll go with Blazer from here on out), is an essential because it’s the very definition of business or dressy casual. It pairs incredibly well with dark wash jeans, oxford or semi-spread collar dress shirts, Oxford dress shoes and almost any other mix of dressy or casual wear in your Essential Wardrobe.
NOTE: A Navy Blazer looks horrible with a pair of tan chinos/khakis. This is the quintessential older, out-of-touch-guy-who-wants-to-dress-up uniform. Just. don’t – Ever.
Blazer vs Sport Coat
I see some resources online talking about how a Blazer is different from a Sport Coat/Sports Jacket and honestly, in all my years in the industry, the term is used so interchangeably that it doesn’t matter. They’re basically the same garment. If I have a hard time telling the difference, you’ll have an even harder time, so I say don’t worry about it and call it whatever you want.
Blazer vs Suit Jacket
The differences between a Blazer and Suit Jacket are constantly debated. A lot of sources say they’re the same, others say they’re different, but allow me to flex my teeny tiny muscles a bit, as I deal with these items day in and day out.
First and foremost, they’re not the same. A Blazer is made of thicker fabric so it pairs better with other clothing items of different weights, like jeans, for example. A Suit Jacket is made of lighter material and should only be worn as part of a suit.
You may not notice, but fabric weights can influence whether an outfit looks off or not. Blazers are not made of the same weight of fabric that a Suit Jacket is.
If you have a chance, go somewhere that requires a jacket be worn – like a business casual event or restaurant that requires a dinner jacket be worn – and I guarantee you’ll see some guys wearing suit jackets with jeans or khakis. I’m sorry to call them out, but older gentleman are the worst offenders here.
I want you to notice how it just looks… weird. The jacket fabric seems a little too “thin” and “flowy” compared to the pants because it’s too light of a fabric to go with a heavier fabric like denim or khaki. They don’t lay or move the same, so it looks weird.
The problem is that most guys see pictures of other guys wearing suit jackets with denim pants and think it looks great, which it does – in pictures. In person it looks bad due to the differing fabric weights. So trust me on this one – you need separate Blazers and Suit Jackets.
How To Tell A Blazer From A Suit Jacket
Here’s my patented 4-Step process to tell if a jacket is a Blazer or a Suit Jacket:
- If the buttons on the sleeves and torso are metal of any kind – that’s a Blazer.
- If it has matching pants – that’s a Suit Jacket.
- If the jacket is thinner or more delicate feeling – that’s a Suit Jacket.
- If it’s heavier, thicker or sturdier feeling – that’s a Blazer.
I recommend you go with a heavier, textured wool fabric because its robust and you’ll get a lot of mileage out of this type of blazer. It also looks best with the other items a blazer is typically worn with – jeans, wool pants, sweaters, etc. – basically everything else in your Essential Wardrobe. Lighter fabrics have very slim use cases and are a pain in the butt to maintain that they’re usually not worth the hassle.
The Best Colors for A Blazer or Sport Coat
If you read the title, you know I’m going to say navy :). The reason is because it will go with everything else in my Men’s Wardrobe Essentials list. If you already own a navy Blazer – great job! – then go with a Charcoal or Charcoal Herringbone pattern.
Ideally, you’ll want to go with a double vent. This style of vent has been around for quite a while and is flattering on every body type. With that being said, a single vent is not a poor choice, but it’s definitely second in my book. Just make sure that, no matter what, you never go with a blazer without a vent – it’s a horrible look.
How Should a Blazer or Sport Coat Fit?
Check out my Blazer/Sport Coat Fit Guide for details.
The Best Blazers or Sport Coats for men
I chose these blazers because they’re not only well-constructed, but they’re also made of a nice, textured fabric that has the perfect amount of weight to them. Each of these blazers has the 2-button, notch-lapel features that I love and that work on all body types. The navy Brooks Brothers blazer is only offered with gold buttons online, but they do have non-gold button options available in their stores. Stick with their Milano or Fitzgerald lines as they offer the most tailored fits. Ermenegildo Zegna and Z Zegna make incredible blazers that always makes me stop and touch them whenever I’m at the store pulling clothes for a client. Burberry is fantastic for slimmer men that are 5’10” and above.
These are my go-to for blazers that look great, sport all the features I want to see on a blazer, and hit a more affordable price poin. J.Crew offers wool blazers for an extremely affordable price and their Ludlow line has a tailored fit that is fantastic and offered in a range of sizes, from Short to Regular to Tall. If you’re a slim to regular build, I love Topman because their cuts are the best! The material is usually a polyester-wool blend so it’s not the best, but it’ll get the job done and still look fantastic.
2 Best Ways To Wear a Blazer
Blazer or Sport Coat Outfit Inspiration
It’s time to answer the age-old question: How Should an Overcoat or Peacoat Fit? Alright, maybe it’s not age-old, but it’s still important either way. The rules are very similar to how should a suit jacket fit but keep in mind, with an Overcoat, at least, you’ll usually be wearing a suit or blazer underneath it, so the size will need to adjust accordingly.
Before We Begin
When trying on Overcoats, make sure you’re wearing a proper-fitting suit jacket or blazer so you can see how it’ll really fit. Trying on an Overcoat with just a shirt underneath will likely result in getting one that is too small and will look horrible when you’re wearing it with the proper clothing underneath it.
Also, when trying on a Peacoat, make sure you’re NOT wearing a suit jacket or blazer underneath, because like I said in my Overcoats & Peacoats essential article, this coat is not meant to be worn with those items.
Like with almost all your clothing, your coats can and should be tailored, but you always want to make sure at least the shoulders fit, because it’s very difficult and costly for a tailor to fix these, if they can at all.
How Should An Overcoat Fit?
Even though this will be going over a suit jacket or sport coat/blazer, you still want the shoulder seams of the coat to end where your shoulders end. If the shoulders are too tight or loose, they will be very hard to fix at a tailor’s. You should see no divots or wrinkles in the shoulders, as well. If nothing else, the coat’s shoulders should fit perfectly.
RealMenRealStyle has this awesome graphic showing the proper shoulder fit.
With your arms straight down, bend your wrist, so your palms are facing the ground, the sleeves should lightly touch the top of your hand. This length will cover anything you’re wearing underneath – which is what you want with a coat.
The picture below is from my How Should A Suit Fit? article, but I wanted to show you what I’m talking about when I mean palms facing the ground. Where the white shirt cuff is hitting is where your coat sleeves should be hitting. Just enough to cover it, basically.
When buttoned, the coat should not be roomy, but should lie close to your body. That being said, it should be in no way taut or feel constricting on your chest or midsection when wearing it over a suit or blazer.
This picture below (of the same coat my model is wearing, by Brooks Brothers) perfectly illustrates how it should fit in the body. He’s only wearing a sweater and Oxford dress shirt underneath, so it’d fit a little tighter in the body if he had on a suit or sport coat/blazer.
For Overcoats, the lapels are pretty standard width, so this is a non-issue. The lapels on the Brooks Brothers Overcoat above are a little wide, but they’re still very acceptable.
How Long should an overcoat be?
No matter what climate you live in, it should end somewhere above your knee – never longer. A good rule of thumb is mid-thigh to just above your knee is where your Overcoat should hit. If it needs to be longer because it’s too cold, then it’s time to throw aesthetics/fashion out to the window and go full Constanza Gore-Tex.
How Should A Peacoat Fit?
Just like with Overcoats, you want the shoulder seams of a Peacoat to end where your shoulders naturally end – where they start curving down to your arm, basically. You should see no divots or wrinkles in the shoulders anywhere. The shoulders should lay perfectly flat, with no divots or rumpling or pulling on the shoulders. If you have more rounded shoulders, the seam should still end in the same place. If the shoulders are too big or small, a tailor will have a very hard time fixing this, and it would be very expensive – if it was even possible. So ensure these fit properly before buying your peacoat.
RealMenRealStyle has this awesome graphic showing the proper shoulder fit. Even though it’s for suit jackets, your Peacoat shoulders should still look like this when the jacket is buttoned.
Just like an Overcoat: With your arms straight down, bend your wrist, so your palms are facing the ground, the sleeves should lightly touch the top of your hand. This length will cover anything you’re wearing underneath – which is what you want with a Peacoat.
The picture below is from my How Should A Suit Fit? article, but I wanted to show you what I’m talking about when I mean palms facing the ground. Where the white shirt cuff is hitting is where your Peacoat sleeves should be hitting. Just enough to cover it, basically.
When buttoned, the jacket should lightly hug your midsection, but not feel tight or constricting. There shouldn’t be a whole lot of “play” if you were to put your hands in the jacket and pull forward. The jacket shouldn’t be pulling at any of the various buttons on the front, making any creases in the front. If it’s very roomy around your stomach/waist area, you can (and should!) have a tailor take in the sides so it fits properly. Remember: better to be slightly too big than too small.
Quick Tip: When wearing your Peacoat, leave the bottom two buttons unbuttoned. It allows the coat’s bottom to flow better when walking or sitting. Buttoning a Peacoat all the way down is very odd looking and never done by anyone but a rookie.
For Peacoats, the lapels are all standard width, so this is a non-issue.
How Long should a Peacoat be?
Unlike the Overcoat, a Peacoat should hit anywhere from mid to lower crotch. On my model, above, the Peacoat ends right around lower crotch. Anything longer than that wouldn’t be acceptable. Anything longer than lower-crotch or shorter than mid-crotch would throw off the proportions of your body and make you look weird. Balancing proportions is a mistake a lot of guys make and can really influence how big or small you look in clothing.
The Best Overcoats & Peacoats for Men
Check out my Men’s Overcoats & Peacoats essential article for my favorite coats for men of any age or body type and the different ways to wear your Overcoat and Peacoat.
If you live in a climate where the temperatures drop during the winter, you’re going to need a coat or two. So let’s talk about Overcoats & Peacoats. They’re not to be confused with a jacket or windbreaker or whatever other sorry excuse for a coat I see guys wearing during the winter months. You need a proper coat that’ll look sharp and timeless and last many, many seasons. Your coat is the first thing anyone is going to see (aside from your shoes and a scarf) during the winter months, so let’s make sure you look amazing.
Common Overcoat & Peacoat Mistakes
In my travels, I see a lot of Overcoat blunders, so let me go over the common mistakes I see guys making with their coats before we dig in.
- Too Boxy
This makes stocky men look really wide and/or short and thin guys look even thinner.
- Too Long
This would technically fall under fit, but it’s such a big problem that it deserves it’s own section. Your overcoat is designed to go over your clothing, not be a blanket you threw over yourself! The worst is when I see guy’s sleeves going past the beginnings of their palms or their coats hitting mid-shin. If a coat goes past your knees, it’s going to collect dirt, mud and salt stains on the bottom – gross!
- Too Complicated
Some of my male friends suffer from this: They just have too much stuff going on with their coats. As I mentioned in my first #AskAW episode, you don’t need epaulettes/shoulder straps, sewn in sweaters or hoodies or a bunch of pockets or zippers or… things hanging off your coat. It looks cheap and tacky.
- Too Trendy
Even though I work in the fashion industry and attend the various Fashion Weeks around the world, good lord, there’s some jackets I see guys wearing on the street and I just wonder what happens once it goes out of style in a few weeks. I would never recommend something trendy as a Men’s Wardrobe Essential because you’ll probably only get one winter’s worth of wear out of it.
- Not Appropriate For the Climate
If you live in a warmer climate and are wearing a long overcoat without a suit, you look silly. There’s a time and a place for everything and it’s important to understand this in all things, but definitely in regards to coats. See below for details on when it is or isn’t appropriate to wear your coat.
- For more style mistakes, check out my free “10 Most Overlooked Men’s Style Mistakes” and how to fix them ebook.
What Coat(s) Should Men Own?
A man should own at least one of these two coats, maybe both. See below to determine whether you need one or both coats in your closet.
There’s two factors to determine whether you should own an overcoat:
- Does it snow where you live?
An overcoat is an essential if it snows where you live because it’ll cover more of your body and be a great coat to layer clothing under to keep warm on the colder days.
- Do you wear suits often?
If you wear suits (like a gray suit), regardless of your climate, you need an overcoat because this is the only coat that compliments a suit. A Peacoat won’t work with a suit because (if it fits properly) it’s too short to cover a blazer or suit jacket as well as too casual for this type of outfit.
Every guy, regardless of his climate or whether he wears suits regularly or not, should own a Peacoat because it’s great for casual outfits in your Essential Wardrobe. If you live in a colder climate, it’s also great for warmer winter days and through the early parts of Spring. Notice I’m leaving out Fall. This is because that’s when a Blazer, Leather Jacket and Harrington Jacket really shine. For moderate/warmer climates, like Southern California, a Peacoat will be your “winter” coat.
Double-Breasted or Single-Breasted Coats?
A proper Peacoat is always double-breasted, so that’s not an issue.
As for Overcoats, stick to a single breasted coat because a double breasted Overcoat would require you to wear it buttoned 24/7 since it looks really big and floppy when it’s left unbuttoned. Single breasted gives you the option to wear it buttoned or unbuttoned while still looking sharp and form-fitting.
The Best Overcoat & Peacoat Colors For Men
For Peacoats, you want to go with the classic Navy color. For Overcoats, you can go with Navy, Camel (tan), Black or Dark Gray. If this is your first Overcoat, go with Dark Gray or Black. If it’s your second, get a Camel Overcoat to inject some color into your wardrobe, as it’s still a neutral color that will go with the rest of the Men’s Wardrobe Essentials.
How Should An Overcoat or Peacoat fit?
Check out my Overcoat & Peacoat fit guide for how a man’s coats should fit.
The Best Men’s Overcoats & Peacoats
I chose these coats because they all have a great tailored fit and the material, coat length, lapel width, buttons and the overall construction of them is impeccable. I love the Brooks Brothers charcoal Overcoat, which I actually used on a recent shoot with Harrison Ford, and I was amazed at how well-designed this coat was. The Burberry and Billy Reid Peacoats are my favorite Peacoats of all time! The details are incredible and they’re flattering on every man. An interesting fact: The Billy Reid coat is named the “Bond” coat because it’s the exact one Daniel Craig wore in “Skyfall.” The Burberry runs on the slimmer and slightly longer side, so if you have a shorter and wider build, then this may not work for you, although my model (below) was wearing it and he was quite “built”, so YMMV (your mileage may vary).
Each of these coats has a simple and clean design with no unnecessary flourishes, which you’ll usually find with cheaper alternatives. The price point is great for these considering they’re wool and wool-blended coats and will keep you warm and looking sharp. I love the Topman Camel Overcoat a lot, which is why I used it on my model below!
3 Ways to Wear Overcoats & Peacoats
Men’s Overcoat & Peacoat Outfit Inspiration
Show Notes & Links
Q: How should a sport coat look and fit?
Q: How do I dress in a more “mature” style that makes me look my age?
See my Men’s Wardrobe Essentials articles for the clothing you should be wearing to look more mature. Also, see my Men’s Clothing Fit Guide for how each of these items should fit, regardless of your age or body type.
Q: Looking to replace my worn-out wingtips with black cap-toe Oxfords or should I keep them and get Oxblood Oxfords, instead?