The Polo Shirt

A Polo Shirt is a great, versatile item that I put all my clients in at some point of us working together. They’re timeless and a cornerstone of any good spring or summer outfit. I often recommend wearing them in place of t-shirts, as they give a casual outfit a bit of polish – which is never a bad thing. No matter your age or body type, every guy needs a few polo shirts in his wardrobe.

A good polo shirt will:

  1. Fit like a glove.
  2. Enhance the good parts of your physique and hide the imperfections.
  3. Make you look more polished and put together.
  4. Layer incredibly well.
  5. Only have short sleeves – long sleeved polos have no place in your wardrobe.

Fabric

Fabric choice is the biggest thing to consider when choosing a polo shirt and heavily dependent on your body type. The fabric you choose will determine how good (or bad) you look in a polo shirt.

Piqué Cotton

Piqué cotton polo shirts are made with cotton yarn and have thin ribbing visible in the garment. The texture is soft, and if you look closely you can see the tightly raised cords that give a waffle-like appearance.

Piqué polos are best for heavier-set men with wider physiques because the textured fabric hugs the body without conforming to the less flattering areas of the chest and stomach. When I’m working with a client who’s worried about his belly being accentuated, I always go with pique cotton. Think of the fabric as airbrushing your torso and hiding the problem areas.

Check out how much more flattering the piqué cotton polo is on the same guy compared to a cotton/silk blend polo. I bet his hands are covering his belly button divot in the cotton polo shirt picture, too. It’s an old photographer’s trick. Notice his chest area looks a little more smoothed out? Please don’t think I’m recommending this polo, it’s pretty bad (that’s a horrible sleeve length) but it highlights the “airbrushing” effect that piqué cotton has very nicely.

Pique Cotton Vs Cotton or Silk Blended Polos Ashley Weston

Cotton & Cotton Blended Polos

If you’re in decent shape, skip the piqué polos and grab a few cotton/cotton-silk blended polo shirts. The material looks better on your body type and is softer and more comfortable than pique cotton. These polos have a sleek, modern look that are great on their own or underneath a jacket. Beware, it’ll shine a spotlight on your body’s imperfections if you’re not in good shape!

SilkBLendPolo - Ashley Weston

Colors, Patterns, Piping, Etc.

Avoid any patterns or collar/sleeve piping and stick with the basic (and best) colors to begin. Grab a few white, black, navy, and charcoal/gray colored polos. They’ll give you the most versatility with the rest of your Essential Wardrobe and will work with any skin tone and body type.

If you’ve got the basic colors already, definitely get some brighter colors that compliment your skin tone and/or throw some stripes in there, too. I would universally avoid plaids or any other wackier patterns, it’s just too much and looks tacky.

To Tuck or Not To Tuck

If you’re wearing a polo shirt without a jacket, then don’t tuck your shirt into your pants. I know golfers do this, but you’re not on a golf course and it looks horrible tucked in.

If you’re wearing a jacket, then loosely tuck in the front part of the shirt by your belt buckle like in my 3 ways to wear images below. The shirt should still cover the top half of your belt buckle – you don’t want to completely see the buckle. I love doing this on my clients because it breaks up the outfit when you see a little of the belt buckle and gives it a little polish without overdoing it.

Leggo my Logo

Please don’t get a shirt with a huge logo all over it. Just. Don’t. Logos that are small and the same color of the rest of the shirt are passable, but if you have the option, go logo-less.

How Should A Polo Shirt Fit?

Check out my Men’s Polo Shirt Fit Guide for details.

The Best Polo Shirts for Men

Designer Options

For a pique polo, I recommend the Sunspel Riviera Polo Shirt. This shirt was made for Daniel Craig as James Bond in Casino Royale. A black or navy polo pairs well with either dark wash jeans or grey wool trousers. For a silk/cotton blend polo shirt, I love John Varvatos and Burberry. The shirt’s impressive construction and fit is well worth the price.

John Varvatos Hampton Polo 

Sunspel Charcoal Jersey Polo Shirt

Ermenegildo Zegna Mercerized Cotton Polo Shirt 

Burberry Navy Silk Cotton Polo

Theory Black Boyd Polo

Budget-Friendly Options

I’m a big fan of H&M’s cotton polo shirts. Actually, I would probably get those over the designer options a majority of the time. They won’t last forever, but they’re cheap enough to replace every season or two. They have a clean design with a great fit and a price that you can’t beat. The model in the first picture below is wearing the H&M Polo.

H&M Polo Shirt 

Uniqlo Navy Dry Pique Short Sleeve Polo Shirt

J.Crew Black Pique Cotton Polo

3 Ways to Wear a Polo Shirt

(Sunglass lenses sold separately)

H&M Polo Shirt

J.Crew Broken-In Chino in 484 Fit

Vans Authentic Sneakers

True Vintage Revival Glasses 

Polo-Shirt-Outfit-2-Ashley-Weston-Mens-Wardrobe-Essentials

The jacket and chinos are actually from Dsquared2, but they’re for an upcoming season and not available in stores at the time of writing. So I added the best substitutes below.

Philipp Plein Coat So Cool

Ermenegildo Zegna Mercerized Cotton Polo Shirt

Brooks Brothers Slim Fit Dark Khaki Garment-Dyed Chinos

Nike Tennis Classic Sneakers

Allen Edmonds Black Poplar Belt

IWC Portugieser Automatic Watch

John Varvatos Lafayette Sunglasses

 

Polo-Shirt-Outfit-3-Ashley-Weston-Mens-Wardrobe-Essentials

Burberry Modern Fit Wool Part Canvas Jacket 

Burberry Silk Cotton Polo Shirt 

Levis Chino 511 Slim Fit Jeans 

Salvatore Ferragamo Penny Loafer Shoe

Allen Edmonds Brown Poplar Dress Belt

Piaget Altiplano Watch

John Varvatos Lafayette Sunglasses

Outfit Inspiration

 

Wool Pants And Trousers

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

Designer Options

Brooks Brothers Regent Fit Stretch Wool Trousers

Burberry Slim Fit Travel Tailoring Wool Trousers 

Ermenegildo Zegna Flat-Front Black Wool Trousers 

Budget-Friendly Options

Topman Navy Skinny Fit Wool Suit Pants

H&M Wool Suit Pants Skinny Fit

Uniqlo Men Stretch Wool Slim Fit Flat Front Pants 

2 Ways To Wear Wool Pants And Trousers

Wool-Trousers-Pants-Outfit-2-Ashley-Weston-Mens-Wardrobe-Essentials

Topman Premium Dark Grey Ribbed Slim Fit Sweater 

Brooks Brothers Red Fleece White Solid Oxford Sport Shirt

Brooks Brothers Regent Fit Stretch Wool Trousers

Allen Edmonds Poplar Belt 

Baume & Mercier CLIFTON – 10112

Allen Edmonds Carlyle Plain Toe Oxfords

Wool-Trousers-Pants-Outfit-1-Ashley-Weston-Mens-Wardrobe-Essentials

Brooks Brothers Saxxon Wool Herringbone Chesterfield

Brooks Brothers Cashmere Turtleneck 

Brooks Brothers Regent Fit Stretch Wool Trousers

Allen Edmonds Carlyle Plain Toe Oxfords

B&M – clifton automatic

Wool Pants and Trousers Outfit Inspiration

Credits

Photography: Justiin Charles
Model: Joseph Boyd at Wilhelmina Models
Hair/Makeup: Brendan Robertson for Exclusive Artists Management using Clarins Skincare and Kevin Murphy Hair Care

The V-Neck Sweater

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, boots or oxford dress shoes. So how could I leave it off this list?

Why a V-Neck and Not a Crew Neck?

Crewnecks are okay, but they’re a more casual item. 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 crewneck.

I love crewnecks, don’t get me wrong, but most guys don’t know how to wear them so then it starts looking really sloppy. I know some guys like the crew neck and tie or suit look, but I would choose a v-neck or cardigan sweater over a crewneck in this case almost every time.

V-Neck Sweater Do’s and Dont’s

Do

Don’t

  • 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

Fabrics

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.

Colors

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

Designer Options

I love these because the fit, fabric weight, and overall construction is impeccable and I’ve worked with these brands many, many times.

Ermenegildo Zegna Black V-Neck Sweater

J.Lindeberg Black V-Neck Sweater

Burberry Navy V-Neck Sweater

Brooks Brothers Navy Saxxon V-Neck Sweater

Vince Navy V-Neck Sweater

Budget-Friendly Options

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.

J.Crew Black Wool V-Neck Sweater

Life After Denim Charcoal Tournament V-Neck Sweater

H&M Dark Blue Wool V-Neck Sweater

H&M Gray Wool V-Neck Sweater

2 Ways to Wear A V-Neck Sweater

V-neck-sweater-Ashley-Weston-Mens-Wardrobe-Essentials

J Crew Rugged Cotton V-Neck Sweater 

Brooks Brothers Milano Fit Heathered Gingham French Cuff Dress Shirt

Brooks Brothers Milano Fit Plain-Front Flannel Trousers

The Tie Bar Black Grenafaux tie

Allen Edmonds Wide Basic Dress Belt

Johnston & Murphy Fielden Cap-Toe 

V-neck-sweater-Ashley-Weston-Mens-Wardrobe-Essentials-3

Brooks Brothers Navy Saxxon V-Neck Sweater

Brooks Brothers Red Fleece Gingham Sport Shirt

J Brand Tyler Fit Jeans Tumble

Allen Edmonds Carlyle Plain-toe Oxfords

Baume & Mercier -clifton-automatic

Men’s V-Neck Sweater Outfit Inspiration

Credits

Photography: Justiin Charles
Model: Joseph Boyd at Wilhelmina Models
Hair/Makeup: Brendan Robertson for Exclusive Artists Management using Clarins Skincare and Kevin Murphy Hair Care

The Navy Blazer

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 shirtsOxford 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:

  1. If the buttons on the sleeves and torso are metal of any kind – that’s a Blazer.
  2. If it has matching pants – that’s a Suit Jacket.
  3. If the jacket is thinner or more delicate feeling – that’s a Suit Jacket.
  4. If it’s heavier, thicker or sturdier feeling – that’s a Blazer.

Fabric

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. I like a fabric weight of between 8 to 10 ounces, depending on your climate (hotter climates, I like around 6 ounces). If you go heavier than my recommendations, then you’re getting into Fall/Winter territory and the lighter weight fabric would wrinkle pretty badly. This weight 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.

Vent Type

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

Designer Option

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.

Brooks Brothers Charcoal Milano Fit Herringbone Blazer

Brooks Brothers Navy Fitzgerald Fit Two-Button Blazer

Burberry Gray Slim Fit Travel Tailoring Jacket

Emporio Armani Navy Jacket in Textured Wool

Ralph Lauren Purple Label Navy Nigel Wool-Cashmere Blazer 

Zegna Gray Cashmere Blazer

Z Zegna Navy Drop 8 Two-Button Blazer 

Budget-Friendly Option

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.

H&M Navy Blazer

J.Crew Navy Ludlow Legacy Blazer

J.Crew Grey/Navy Windowpane Ludlow Blazer

Topman Blue Slim Fit Jersey Blazer

Zara Navy Basic Blazer 

Topman Blue Wool Blend Skinny Fit Blazer

2 Best Ways To Wear a Blazer

Navy-Blazer-Sport-Coat-Ashley-Weston-Mens-Wardrobe-Essentials

Brooks Brothers Fitzgerald Fit Two-Button Blazer

Tommy Hilfiger Mens Twill Dress Shirt

J Brand Tyler Slim Fit in Bellow

The Tie Bar Outpost Blue Pocket Square

Gucci GG pattern Silk Tie

The Tie Bar Colored Tie Bar

Allen Edmonds Newland Ave brown belt

Baume & Mercier Clifton-automatic

Allen Edmonds Carlyle Plain-toe Oxfords

Navy-Blazer-Sport-Coat-Ashley-Weston-Mens-Wardrobe-Essentials-2

Brooks Brothers Fitzgerald Fit Two-Button Blazer

Brooks Brothers Merino Wool Honeycomb Crewneck Sweater

Brooks Brothers Red Fleece Solid Oxford Sport Shirt

Topman Selected Homme Grey Pants

Allen Edmonds Carlyle Plain Toe Oxfords

Allen Edmonds Newland Ave Dress Casual Belt 

Blazer or Sport Coat Outfit Inspiration

 

Credits

Photography: Justiin Charles
Model: Joseph Boyd at Wilhelmina Models
Hair/Makeup: Brendan Robertson for Exclusive Artists Management using Clarins Skincare and Kevin Murphy Hair Care

How Should an Overcoat or Peacoat Fit?

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?

Peacoats-and-Overcoats-Ashley-Weston-Mens-Wardrobe-Essentials-2Shoulders

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.

shoulder fit graphic

Sleeves

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.
Sleeve-Length-Ashely-Weston-How-Your-Suit-Should-Fit

Body

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.

ML00401_GREY_2

Lapel Width

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 Long Should An Overcoat Be

 

How Should A Peacoat Fit?

Overcoats & Peacoats Ashley Weston

Shoulders

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.

shoulder fit graphic

Sleeves

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.

Sleeve-Length-Ashely-Weston-How-Your-Suit-Should-Fit

Body

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.

Lapel Width

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.

Crotch Measurements

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.

Credits

Photographer: Justiin Charles
Model: Joseph Boyd at Wilhelmina Models
Hair/Makeup: Brendan Robertson for Exclusive Artists Management using Clarins Skincare and Kevin Murphy Hair Care

Best Men's Overcoats & Peacoats Ashley Weston

Overcoats & Peacoats

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.

Overcoat

There’s two factors to determine whether you should own an overcoat:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

Peacoat

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

Designer Options

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).

Brooks Brothers Charcoal Saxxon Overcoat

Acne Studios Charcoal Coat

Theory Delancey Double-Faced Cashmere Overcoat

Saint Laurent Camel Coat

Burberry Navy Peacoat

Billy Reid Navy “Bond” Peacoat

Budget-Friendly Options

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!

Topman Camel Overcoat

J.Crew Charcoal Ludlow Topcoat

Zara Navy Coat

Topman Navy Wool Blend Peacoat Jacket

3 Ways to Wear Overcoats & Peacoats

Best Men's Overcoats & Peacoats Ashley Weston

Topman Camel Overcoat

Topman Navy Skinny Three Piece Suit

Brooks Brothers – Non-Iron Milano Fit Bengal Stripe Dress Shirt

The Tie Bar Deep Burgandy Silk Knit Tie

The Tie Bar Colored Tie Bar

Allen Edmonds Carlyle Plain-toe Oxfords

Best Men's Overcoats & Peacoats Ashley Weston

Brooks Brothers Charcoal Saxxon Overcoat

Z Zegna Navy Drop 8 Two-Button Blazer

Tommy Hilfiger – Men’s Slim-Fit Poplin Shirt

Topman – Selected Homme Grey Pants

The Tie Bar Grenafaux Midnight Navy tie

The Tie Bar Silver Shot Tie Bar

Allen Edmonds Carlyle Plain Toe Oxfords

Overcoats & Peacoats Ashley Weston

 

Burberry Brit Navy Peacoat

Tommy Hilfiger – Men’s Slim-Fit Poplin Shirt

Topman Selected Homme Grey Pants

The Tie Bar Knit Stripe Tie

Allen Edmonds Carlyle Plain Toe Oxfords

Men’s Overcoat & Peacoat Outfit Inspiration

Credits

Photographer: Justiin Charles
Model: Joseph Boyd at Wilhelmina Models
Hair/Makeup: Brendan Robertson for Exclusive Artists Management using Clarins Skincare and Kevin Murphy Hair Care

The #AskAW Show: Episode 03

Have a question you’d like me to answer? Ask in the comments of this youtube video or send me an email.

Show Notes & Links

Q: How should a sport coat look and fit?

How Your Suit Should 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.

Sportcoat

Oxford Button Down Dress Shirt

 

Dark Wash Jeans 

 

Wool Trousers

 

Oxford Dress Shoe

 

 Belts

Q: Looking to replace my worn-out wingtips with black cap-toe Oxfords or should I keep them and get Oxblood Oxfords, instead?

Oxford Shoes

 

 

The Oxford Dress Shoe

This article is part of my Men’s Wardrobe Essentials series.
These are the best mens dress shoes, no questions asked. Anything else pales in comparison. Every man should have at least 2 pairs of Oxford dress shoes in his closet. Not only are they one of the most versatile shoes a gentleman can own – which will work for nearly all formal occasions from business casual to formal – but they’re the de-facto standard shoes to wear with a suit. On top of that, they’ll also work very well with 99% of the items in your Essential Wardrobe. They’re that good.

When you imagine a well-dressed man in a suit, I guarantee he’s wearing a pair of these.

Black & Leather ≠ Oxford Dress Shoes

Don’t think that if a shoe is black and leather, it’s an Oxford dress shoe. I shudder at the thought of those square-toed and/or slip-on monstrosities I see men wearing in place of a proper, lace up, round-toed dress shoe.

Also, if you can see your reflection in your black leather shoes, those are not a proper dress shoe. Those are tuxedo shoes. As the name implies, they should only be worn with a tuxedo. I’ve seen quite a few guys wearing these shoes with jeans. It’s not a good look. Your Oxfords shouldn’t look like mirrors, they should be a little more matte finished. Go to a department store and ask to see their tuxedo shoes so you can see the difference in person.

The image below from RealMenRealStyle highlights exactly what I see a lot of men wearing in place of Oxford dress shoes:

Wrong-Square-Toe-Shoes

To Cap-Toe or Not?

My opinion about whether you should have a cap toe Oxford or not changes with the wind, so I’ll leave it up to you. There’s not a single scenario when you’d wear a cap-toe over a non-cap toe, so this is entirely up to your preference. 

My clients are split 50/50 on this, too. You won’t go wrong with either, so choose whichever you think looks great and fits your style best.

allenedmonds_shoes_carlyle_blackallenedmonds_shoes_park-avenue_black

Should I go for Quality or Value?

For foundational pieces such as these, I’d say go for quality. However, there is a caveat:

How Often Will You Be Wearing Your Oxford Dress Shoes?

  • If you’ll be wearing them more than a handful of times a month, definitely grab a nice, high quality pair. They’ll give you many good years of use and look great the whole time.
  • If you’ll be wearing them once a month or less, go for value. They’ll definitely get the job done and look “good enough”. What’s the use of having a high quality pair of dress shoes sitting in your closet most of the time? I’d take that money and spend it on other pieces you might wear more often](link).

Which Shoes Should I Get?

Since you’ve decided whether you like cap-toe or non cap-toe shoes, now it just comes down to color.

Every guy should have these two pairs of Oxfords in their wardrobe to cover every outfit choice:

  1. A solid black pair
  2. A brown/cognac pair

Anything outside of those two colors will have more specific uses and occasions and definitely falls outside the domain of an Essential Wardrobe item.

The Best Mens Dress Shoes

These are my go-to Oxfords for clients:

Designer Options

Giorgio Armani Plain-Toe Patent Leather Bluchers
Allen Edmonds Park Avenue Cap-Toe Oxfords
Allen Edmonds Carlyle
Prada Plain Toe Blutchers

Budget-Friendly Options

Aldo Craosa 
Jack Erwin Joe Cap-Toe Oxford
Johnston & Murphy Hyde Park ll Cap-toe

2 Ways to Wear

For other ways to wear your Oxford dress shoes, check out my Gray Notch Lapel Suit article, Dark Wash JeanSemi-Spread Collar Dress Shirt & Leather Jacket articles.

BlackOxfordDressShoeLook1640-Ashley-Weston-Mens-Wardrobe-Essentials

Model: Tommy Mckeown

Fred Perry Reissues Harrington Jacket
Brooks Brothers 3-D Knit Fine-Gauge Merino Wool Crewneck Sweater
Brooks Brothers Non-Iron Milano Fit Button-Down Collared Dress Shirt
Burberry Straight Fit Japanese Selvedge Denim Jeans
True Vintage Revival Glasses
Allen Edmonds Poplar Dress Belt
Daniel Wellington Classic Sheffield 36mm
Allen Edmonds Carlyle Plain-Toe Oxfords

BlackOxfordDressShoeLook2640-Ashley-Weston-Mens-Wardrobe-Essentials

Brooks Brothers Red Fleece Topcoat
Brooks Brothers 3-D Knit Fine-Gauge Merino Wool Crewneck Sweater
Brooks Brothers Non-Iron Milano Fit Button Down Collar Shirt
Brooks Brothers Fitzgerald Fit Wool Dress Trousers 
Allen Edmonds Poplar Dress Belt 
Daniel Wellington Classic Sheffield 36mm
Allen Edmonds Carlyle Plain-toe Oxfords

Outfit Inspiration