The style, the feel, the comfort — there is something supremely satisfying about a well-tailored suit. The last thing you want is for your winter coat to spoil the effect. Here are five things that can help ensure you always put your best foot forward in your winter coat and suit, no matter what weather comes your way.
Tip #1: Measure Up
Whether you’re shopping for men’s suits or winter coats, looking your best is all about finding the perfect fit. A measuring tape can help you achieve that goal. Here are the four measurements you should take before you start shopping:
- With your upper arms held down at your side, measure over your arms and around your chest.
- Keep the tape under your arms to measure the widest part of your chest.
- Exhale as you measure the circumference of your waist just below your belly button.
- Measure the inseam from the crotch of your pants to your shoes where the heel meets the insole.
Tip #2: Make Sure Your Suit Is Properly Tailored
Now that we’ve explained how to find your measurements for a suit, knowing your measurements in advance is a good idea. But numbers alone cannot guarantee a perfect fit. For a suit that will look great with whatever you wear, get help from a master tailor. According to the famed sartorial journalist G. Bruce Boyer, “Good tailors are not after fit, but effect. The idea is to help your figure, not reproduce it.”
When working with a tailor, don’t hesitate to speak up. Take the opportunity to describe your lifestyle, from where you work and live to your favorite hobbies. Your tailor can use this information to suggest the fabrics, colors, cuts and styles best suited for you. You can also discuss the garments and accessories you intend to wear with your suit, including your new winter coat.
Tip #3: Find the Right Type of Winter Coat
What’s the first thing to consider when selecting a winter coat? The weather! A frigidly cold climate demands a coat that keeps you warm when temperatures take a nose-dive. Are you accustomed to dealing with rain more than snow? A light waterproof trench coat might fit the bill. If you live in a climate with mild winters, you can likely forgo coats altogether in favor of men’s dress sweaters when you’re not wearing a suit. Whatever the weather, style matters too. Here are three popular types of winter coats that work well with formal or informal suits.
- Topcoat: With its clean lines, classic cut and sophisticated style, a topcoat is the perfect option to wear over a formal suit. Typically falling above the knee, the coat protects your suit against the elements without looking too bulky. Lightweight and stylish, a men’s topcoat is ideal to wear for special occasions, like a wedding or prom.
- Overcoat: The most traditional attire to wear with suits, overcoats offer the best defense against winter weather. Their longer hemline offers protection on the coldest days of the year. Generally free from over-the-top accessories, overcoats are the optimal choice for the office. They’re also a good investment because they feature a classic design that never goes out of style.
- Trench Coat: If you’re more worried about rain than cold, a trench coat is a way to go. Its waterproof material, double-breasted design and knee-length cut will keep you dry in wet weather. They’re also a fashionable and iconic choice.
Tip #4: Choose a Fabric That Stands Up to the Cold
From cotton, nylon and wool to leather and suede, men’s coats are available in a full spectrum of fabrics. It’s not surprising that wool is the most popular option for cold winter wear. No other type of material does a better job of keeping you warm when temperatures plummet. Wool insulates yet breathes, so you won’t feel overheated if the weather suddenly turns warmer. Wool also absorbs moisture without getting you wet, making it a practical choice for stormy days. Lightweight yet strong, wool has an elasticity that lengthens the wear life of the fabric.
Which wool coat is best? Multiple factors go into calculating the durability, softness and overall quality of wool, including the thread count and fineness (thickness of the thread). Here are a few examples:
- An alpaca coat with a shearling wool lining will weather any winter storm.
- A topcoat crafted from cashmere fits the bill for formal indoor winter events.
- A traditional tweed coat is a great choice for upscale outdoor activities.
- A cashmere wool blend makes for a soft and sophisticated-looking topcoat for formal affairs.
- A light merino wool jacket combines comfort and style for chilly outings.
Tip #5: Go for a Test Drive
You’ll never know how to wear a coat over a suit until you try them on together. For best results, wear your suit while shopping. Once you’ve tried on the winter coat, it’s time to test the fit.
- Button up the coat from top to bottom to ensure it’s wide enough to fasten easily.
- Cross your arms across your chest to make sure the fabric isn’t too tight across your back.
- Reach for something high on a shelf or bend down to pick up an object.
- Finally, ensure the coat will work with whatever you’re wearing by trying it on without the suit.
Stay Warm and Stylish
Your suit might be the centerpiece of your outfit, but when it’s cold, rainy or windy outside, your coat will likely be the first thing people see. The right style, fabric and fit will ensure you always make a great first impression. Whether you opt for a sophisticated topcoat or a casual jacket, you’ll look better and feel more comfortable when you know how to wear a coat over a suit.