Overcoats: The Winter Warmer


While many of my customers clearly have a direct line to God, or indeed Michael Fish depending on who you trust to predict the weather, and have ordered their overcoats early this season, a great many more feel that with the cold wet weather so suddenly upon us, they have missed the boat; but they’d be wrong!

You see, while we enjoy an ever increasing number of Indian summers – whereby many of us are wearing shirtsleeves into November – it would be naive to think that we will endure a shorter winter; one that begins in the middle of November but is all said and done come Christmas, but this is how many of us think.

But fear not! For irrespective of our optimism, or indeed naivety, the cold winter months will linger on regardless – and if these past five years which I have spent in Bristol are anything to go by, then the inclement weather will last way beyond Crimble and most likely until Spring I shouldn’t wonder.

And those only just redeeming their overcoats from the the depths of their wardrobes, only to discover they’ve been moth-eaten, or have become a little tight under the arms, will, perhaps, be encouraged by the fact that Bristol’s local tailor only recently gave heed to his own sartorial requirements and put the first Brown in Town covert coat onto the cutting table.

Ever since my days in the City have I admired the style of the older city gents in their covert coats. With it’s green brown whipcord cloth and it’s contrasting brown velvet collar – I think that winter encourages a little luxury in our clothes to better fight off the winter chill – there are few overcoats as iconic and which represent traditional British tailoring quite so well.

Other styles of overcoat do exist, of course; the peacoat, for instance, is particularly popular at present and Brown in Town are only too happy to put their hand to this style, or any other style for that matter. But the other popular style of overcoat which includes a contrasting collar is, of course, the ‘Arthur Daley‘, as it is known affectionately to fans of George Cole’s character in the 1980’s TV show Minder. His camel coloured wool overcoat with it’s contrasting dark brown collar is as synonymous with Arthur Daley, as it is with city gents. I once had the opportunity to buy some real camel hair for just such an overcoat but I passed on the opportunity and shortly after it was lost in a fire at London cloth merchants Crescent Trading in the east end of London – if ever I have looked gift horse in the mouth, this was it, and more’s the pity.

The traditional covert coat had slanted hip pockets and a ticket pocket, which is perhaps more rakish in it’s appeal, but I like to make good use of my overcoats hip pockets and, ergo, prefer to have straight hip pockets as these I find less cumbersome when inserting one’s hands with a thumb-cocked over the front edge of the pocket, a la Prince Charles. I’m also experimenting with a slightly longer cut to provide a little more swish and sway which I think brings the coat to life when strolling about town.

So fear not if you are feeling the nip of winter and have yet to answer the call of your own sartorial requirements; be encouraged that if you’ve not yet commissioned the overcoat of your dreams, there is still time!

Image courtesy of the incredibly talented Nick Veez.

Brown in Town