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