We’ve still got a lot of counting down to do until overcoat season arrives. In the meantime you can start counting up, as in saving your pennies for a chesterfield coat. Check it out on this young man of yore. — CC
33 Comments on "Countdown To Overcoat Season"
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I got one barely used tweed overcoat from Cable Car clothiers for a song, but I rarely use it what with being from Los Angeles the weather rarely allows it.
sometimes, just sometimes, I envy east coast cold weather people for their ability to use more clothes in autumn/winter.
but then i remember the 72 f degree winters here and think it’s not that bad.
I’ve searched high and low and have not found a single store that offers a velvet collar Chesterfield. Only Brooks offers one in their mtm program.
You can order a Chesterfield from O’Connell’s and request them to put on a velvet collar. It would be less expensive that doing custom BB.
I picked up an RL polo coat on eBay last February. The thought of its first full season of wear has me looking forward to falling temps.
Every Fall I pay a visit to the Invertere great coat and
the Burberry dense woolen (like Loden) Balmacaan
that I store in the garage and recall the years commuting
by train in Chicago. The Burberry served me well on a visit
to New York during the deep freeze of 2013.
Andover Shop may have them. I have a velvet collared Covert cloth overcoat from Country Classics in Middleburg, VA, which gets much of its merchandise from England.
Cordings of Piccadilly does them, as does O’Connell’s, Pakeman, Catto, and Carter, and Crombie.
I own a few Chesterfield coats and rotate them throughout the season.
My favorite is probably a charcoal, 700g, m-t-m job made by Bookster Tailoring out of the UK.
An acquaintance of mine, who runs Thick As Thieves LA, also offers m-t-m overcoats at a good price.
It’s finally cooling off here in Boston and I look forward to wrapping myself in a nice Chesterfield!
Such a throwback, even fogey piece. Not that it can’t be updated/modernized (just about anything is vulnerable), but the men I know who wear a Chesterfield come across as fiercely traditional. I like a longer version of the classic.
Thanks for the link. C.D. Rigden has one on sale. It is a solid color with a velvet collar: http://www.cdrigden.com/mens-outerwear-specials/mbhc0xwzsc49d1h5nwqcevkvhoybez
Probably J. Press will offer them when their website is up and running. As of now, their site is “down for maintenance.”
There’s a great circa-Heyday Norman Hilton ad–for a topcoat. Or, rather, “town coat.” Fly front, center vent, brown Scottish Cheviot. The ad copy confirms that it stands in contrast to the appropriately high-and-pointy-shouldered Chesterfield. How so? “Natural shoulder construction.”
Compliment with brown trilby, gray flannel suit, and wool challis tie.
For better or worse I’m in the same boat as the person who wrote the first comment: in doesn’t make sense to have a winter coat around here. For that matter, we don’t need summer (e.g., seersucker) things either. From afar, seasonal wardrobes seem to hold a certain appeal, but when it comes down to it I guess I’m just used to never having to deal with snowdrifts or high humidity. Perhaps I’m missing out.
I’ve always found it interesting what people find as too hot and too cold. It’s all what you’re used to, right? A stop at O’Hare in early December several years ago provided the perfect example.
I stepped outside to smoke a cig and found myself in some kind of open air parking garage. The temps were in the middle teens and the wind was whipping around. I had on a Harris tweed sport jacket, a fairly heavy overcoat, wool scarf and insulated gloves, yet I was shivering.
Behind me, a guy was talking loudly on his cell phone. I turned around and saw that he had on only a pair of shorts, a polo pullover, and an unzipped leaf-raker jacket. He was perfectly at ease leaning against the frigid wall. I barely got through half the cigarette before I escaped back inside.
PS Please spare me the cigarette lecture.
I might have told this before, but try flying into Baraga, Michigan wearing a grey flannel suit, a Burberry trench with wool lining. Before my feet hit the tarmac, my nads shot up somewhere in my stomach. Long story short, had my ride take me to a sporting goods store and purchased long underwear and one of those Columbia convertible duck hunting parkas. Not a great look, but I survived.
Smoke em if you got em.
I love Chesterfields. It is a very formal coat, and is the correct choice with black tie as well as a business suit, but I also happily wear it with a sweater and cords. I have a non-velvet-collared version in heavy, charcoal-gray tweed from Brooks Brothers. It has the traditional fly-front and classic longer length. In the old days, at least into the late 1980s, Brooks included a velvet collar with their Chesterfields and one had the option of keeping the plain collar or having it replaced with velvet. Or perhaps velvet was standard with the plain collar optional; I can’t recall. I lusted after it, but passed on buying one back then since the price was something like $995. Probably twice that now. I got mine a year or so ago, in like new condition and a perfect fit, from EBay for $75, and so saved roughly $920, but I did not have the velvet collar as an option. I also have a tan cashmere Chesterfield, again sans velvet, that I bought from J. Press in Washington at an end-of-season sale sometime in the early 2000s, and it too is a favorite. Sorry neither has the velvet collar, though. What a great, classic coat.
I’ve got a kind of slightly casual one Brooks put out a few years ago. Abraham Moon fabric, mid-gray with some texture. May have been pictured here before. Richard especially liked it. Would like to add a herringbone to the collection.
Agreed, the modern versions of the classics are shorter. Even Burberry’s version of their original trench seems shorter.
I no longer live in the city and walk to work, so my trench, Gloverall and various outer wear are adequate. I now live and work in the suburbs. Five minute drive and park fifty feet from my office door.
My ex-wife had a charcoal herringbone Chesterfield, RL I believe. I was always jealous of that coat, she sort of cock blocked me from owning one. 😉
As a part-time rocket surgeon, I have concluded that temps on Earth get colder than they get hot. Huh? Lemme explain.
Most of us are comfortable with temps around 70. If the heat soars from 70 to an Iraq-hot 130, it’s a climb of 60 degrees or 85.5%. If the temps drop to 20, that’s a 71.4% drop. And a drop to 10 is 85.5% and 0 is 100%. I don’t want to think about -0.
Then throw in the wind chill, which causes a lot more discomfort than humidity. And in general, high temperatures are usually accompanies by low humidity.
That’s my science, and I’m sticking to it.
I’m trying to figure out where you guys are such that it’s finally cooling off. Here in Toronto, it still feels like the middle of July, and it’s supposed to be like that for the rest of the week. I like fall clothes as much as the next guy, but we Canadians cherish these last fading moments of summer as long as possible.
A herringbone Chesterfield is like a Madras dinner jacket. Incorrect yet cool.
A nice vintage J Press gray herringbone overcoat on eBay around a size 40.
James — Great coat! Looks exactly like mine from Brooks.
GS — I agree a herringbone Chesterfield is cool, but I think it is a pretty standard version of the coat, although not the only option. I have seen them in dark gray and midnight blue flannel as well as in tan. Why do you think charcoal gray herringbone is incorrect? Not being truculent, just curious.
I thought that the Chesterfield was a town coat and the most formal overcoat, since it’s the only one (technically) acceptable to wear with black tie, and that it was commonly offered in a melton/flannel fabric. So a Chesterfield made of tweed, a rough country fabric fairly causal by nature, even with the formal velvet collar is incorrect in that it cuts the coat’s formality. I love the coat, I think it looks cool because it breaks the rules, essentially.
There are no rules (anymore). Casual clothes are worn in formal environs, vice versa. Because this is so, a Chesterfield can somehow look okay with a sweatshirt and jeans. We can thank Ralph Lauren (in part) for the this sort of thing. “Sneakers and a baseball cap with a vested flannel suit? Hell yeah!”…and so on. Paradox, irony, and mixing of all kinds–they reign.
For those of us who appreciate a few rules as one (practical) way of keeping things straight in our minds and in the world (Kant says categories actually matter), a Chesterfield of appropriate cloth is indeed a formal coat. Out of tune with an OCBD, penny loafers, and an old tweed jacket? Uh, yes. But that won’t stop most people.
S.E., I somewhat agree with you but I find certain types of rule bending to be fun. Ralph Lauren was known for his twists on traditional garments but they were not (for the most part) outlandish or distasteful. I do think we need rules for wearing clothes (dressing seasonally is a personal favorite) but Ivy style tends to bend certain rules. Wearing an OCBD with a suit is technically wrong since it’s a sport shirt. But it’s fun and still looks good, just the tweed Chesterfield above.
Charlottesville, if you were so inclined, you could probably get your alterations seamstress to attach velvet to the collar of any of your coats.
I imagine that if a certain New York-based custom tailor were to offer a Chesterfield, the coats would be available in a couple of traditional colors, Black Watch, and some shade of red, along with the Signature Edition in patch tweed. The velvet on the Signature Edition would be in the wearer’s choice of hot pink or chartreuse. Starting at $3000; Black Watch or Hunting Pink, $4000, Signature Edition, $5000.
Basic traditions are important, but there are always exceptions. I don’t blame Ralph for the denim thing, I blame the sixties in general. In my high school the guys all wore 501s on Fridays, I asked why, no one knew for sure, only that it had been done for decades.
I imagine the indignation many felt seeing the first guy wearing chinos with a tie and tweed jacket on the Harvard campus.
Mitchell S: You are most welcome. It’s a lovely small shop in the lovely village of Middleburg, heart of VA horse country.
I’m in a place that’s firmly 30 degrees Celsius as an average. The closest thing I have to ‘outerwear’ is a London Fog Maincoat for use during the ‘wet’ monsoon season. Rarely get to wear it, though, because the weather enjoys taunting me. Hot and humid as hell in the late morning, then thunderstorms from noon to dusk. God seems to have a terribly annoying sense of humour when I ask for rain.
I bought a mid-gray herringbone Chesterfield at Hornet’s, the vintage clothing store, in Kensington, London, about 3-4 years ago. It is bespoke, having been made by the tailoring firm of Wyser & Bryant Ltd., at 45 Maddox Street in October, 1971. The label shows that it was apparently made for Mr. Wyser, himself. It is in perfect shape and fits me just fine. This is all that I could find about those tailors: https://www.the-saleroom.com/en-gb/auction-catalogues/addisons-auctioneers/catalogue-id-sradd10019/lot-1df6948d-423b-4ecd-b17b-a424008a56e2
Late to the party, but I just bought one of these Chesterfield coats on eBay and couldn’t be happier with it. It’s an oxford gray herringbone with natural shoulders, narrow lapels, swelled edge, and a hook vent of all things. My heather colored Harris tweed balmaccan didn’t look right with dark suits and this is its perfect complement.