When it comes to menswear, you truly can’t go wrong with pieces that have military roots. The top coat, or overcoat if it goes past your knees, was invented in the 18th century as a formal, aristocratic garment.
As clothing styles do, it went in and out fashion, but became a permanent fixture when WW1 soldiers repopularized the full-length coat.
So basically, the top coat has style approval from the cultural tastemakers of history and functional approval straight from the war trenches.
Plus, with their ability to accommodate layers, they’re a practical autumn-to-winter piece that adds depth to your look.
My Recommendations for Top Coats
We’ve got a wide range here, from more formal pieces to everyday classics to a few fun, lively picks. Let’s get to it.
Formal Top Coats
1. Suitsupply Belted Navy Coat
The Suitsupply Belted Overcoat is classic yet distinct, the added belt giving it a trench coat vibe. Between that and the peak lapels, you have options with the silhouette.
Pop the back collar for a slick, dynamic look or keep it down for a more elegant and simple approach. Meanwhile, you can wear the belt loosely for a clean, formal contour, or cinch the waist for a utilitarian, hunting-jacket-esque shape.
The herringbone weave isn’t immediately obvious, but it does add dimension and sleekness to the surface, as does the 10% added cashmere.
Really, you can wear this top coat with casual or formal outfits, but the impeccable details really add a cool factor to a tuxedo or full suit.
2. COS Double-breasted Coat
This handsome double-breasted coat from Cos is the perfect evening wear coat for the guy who doesn’t love evening wear.
The notch lapels, double breasted buttoning, slanted side pockets, and overall tonality anchors the whole aesthetic in formality. However, the relaxed cut and length ensure the coat isn’t stuffy or overly structured. It also makes it effective for layering.
In fact, if styled correctly, the cut of this coat can easily be incorporated into trend-forward outfits (loose-cut
3. Club Monaco Textured Topcoat
I love this modern but still grounded take on the classic camel coat. Club Monaco’s Textured Topcoat has a warmer hue that’s lively but still understated, with high-contrast black buttons that allow you to pair this jacket with brown or black clothes.
That’s not always possible with camels that are too close to true brown. It has a straight-cut and exquisite texturing on the surface, with flap pockets that add a touch of contemporary casualness.
I should also mention its construction. I know when a coat is made of too many materials, you start to question its purity — 100% wool just sounds so appealing.
However, everything there has a purpose. The polyester adds durability while the viscose provides a touch of silkiness.
4. Uniqlo Cashmere Wool Chesterfield
Uniqulo’s Cashmere Wool Chesterfield is a no-nonsense, classic camel top coat that can be worn with a suit and tie, as well as an everyday outfit, say a pullover and chinos.
I know that some people who don’t love formal looks think that a top coat might be too “university professor” for them. But, you’d be surprised how differently you can style the Chesterfield Jacket.
It’s in a cooler tone, similar to a dark khaki, which connects the overall style to its vintage military roots. That being the case, you can even rock workwear-inspired combinations with this jacket.
Want to toss this coat over jeans, a utility
High-Contrast Patterned Weaves
5. J.Crew Ludlow Topcoat
Unlike a gray herringbone which leans more formal, the higher contrast between the brown and white weaves of J.Crew’s Ludlow Topcoat has a more down-to-earth vibe about it.
Don’t get me wrong, herringbone is super classy, and you can definitely wear this coat with formal attire. It just has more of an English countryside look. Plus, the giant flap pockets add a bit of utilitarianism.
If you love an old money hunting style you can certainly wear this with a flat cap, a Barbour vest, and some wellies.
Oh, and the construction? 100% wool straight from Ireland. So it doesn’t get any more gentleman-sportsman than that.
6. Spier and Mackay Donegal Coat
A classic Donegal jacket, the Spier and Mackay Overcoat is truly exquisite, with specks and slubs of autumnal colors all grounded in a solid v-shaped weave. It’s artistic, like an Impressionist painting, but still so classic and traditional.
Even more, it has a trim and flattering fit. Spier recommends sizing up if you want to wear it over a suit jacket or sport coat. But, I personally love the look of the curved, close sides so much, that I would just stuff my suit jacket in there.
Between the thin but strong cut, and details like that Italian-style Barchetta breast pocket, this coat is a class act that can take you from fall to winter.
7. Spier and Mackay Prince of Wales Check
There’s no woven pattern more associated with old world class than the stately Prince of Wales Check. Spier and Mackay really knock it out of the park with this one.
It’s authentically executed, down to the darker vertical stripes over the lighter vertical ones. It’s heavily-woven and warm, making it an effective coat for a New England February.
Details like the patch pockets and turnback cuffs really cinch the aristocratically sporty tone. And considering it’s made out of 100% wool, it’s as genuine in its construction as it is in its looks.
8. Madewell Houndstooth Topcoat Italian Fabric
Not all patterned top coats are formal or highly structured. The Houndstooth Top Coat from Madewell is the perfect example of taking a traditional fabric and rebuilding it to contemporary standards of a relaxed look.
As time and fashion evolve, this boxy fit will switch back and forth from being trend-forward (which it is today) and purposefully vintage-leaning, as if you got this jacket from a consignment shop or inherited it from your grandfather.
The fabric may be a mix of different materials, but it includes wool and alpaca, and they all come from Italian mills that are Fair Trade Certified.
Textures and Colors
9. Todd Snyder Casentino Teal Coat
If you want a top coat that has both texture and color, may I direct you to Todd Snyder’s Casentino Teal Coat?
Like a lot of TS pieces, this jacket takes a classic build and silhouette, then brings a fun, slightly irreverent twist that perfectly balances playfulness with tried-and-trues.
The fuzz of the Italian wool is compelling, as is its vivid color. While it isn’t a neutral look by any means, this jacket can really be worn with any other neutral palette.
You can combine it with chinos, boots, and a white t-shirt, or a gray or black suit. There’s surprisingly a lot of versatility here since it balances out understated colors and matches the energy of livelier ones.
10. Todd Snyder Cashmere Top Coat Olive
Olive is the perfect jacket color if you’re looking for something distinguished but not loud. The Todd Snyder Cashmere Top Coat sports a military-inspired hue that, without exaggeration, can be worn with basically anything.
You can style it just as you would a gray coat, only it has a bit more personality to it. The genuine horn buttons really up the class factor without compromising the effortlessly cool aesthetic.
The construction is remarkable too. Besides the fact it’s made out of 100% cashmere, TS implements a two-piece build, which gives its tailored yet relaxed silhouette. Moreover, this jacket is unlined making it perfect for layering.
11. Suitsupply Mid-Blue Belted Coat
Alpaca is a real gold standard when it comes to wool, and this Suitsupply Belted Coat is made of it. Well, 90%, but the rest is a polyamide fabric that provides extra abrasion resistance and stretch.
This Italian alpaca is warmer than sheep wool, and is naturally stronger, more resilient, and more lightweight. It’s like what titanium is to steel in watchmaking, since alpaca also happens to be hypoallergenic.
Style-wise, the mid-blue hue is close enough to navy that it still looks conventional, but has just a bit more pop than your average classic top coat.
12. Zara Oversized Denim Trench
We’ve had some pieces that lean into workwear and could be incorporated into street style combinations. But, if you love a more robust look, and none of the other coats on the list have convinced you yet, I’m confident the Zara Denim Trench will.
It’s long, oversized, and made with unwashed denim, which means you get a raw, highly rigid style with defined creases. It also means that the fades will be more prominent as you continue to wear it, making it look even more rugged.
Yes, you can wear it with trendy outfits and texture-forward workwear, but it can also create a fun contrast when partnered with a classic
Three Top Coats We’d Choose From This List First
Not sure which one to buy? Of course they’re all great, but if you’re really unsure, I’d narrow it down to these three picks.
The Right Top Coat For You
Again, a top coat is the perfect cold season piece of outerwear since you can wear it during early fall and well into late winter thanks to its layering capabilities. And now you know there’s a style for basically any type of guy.
We hope that was helpful!
Which top coat is your favorite? Any that you’re surprised you’re into?