Inherent Swagger: The Polo Coat

I gave myself a year-end bonus and blew it on a polo coat. Always wanted one of these. If there was ever an item of clothing possessed by an inherent swagger woven into its very fibers — George Frazier would call it duende — it’s the polo coat, the so-called “aristocrat of topcoats.”

This model was made by Ralph Lauren and comes paired with several items I’ve written about previously, including the RL Dartmouth sportcoat, the LL Bean Town & Field flannel pant, a patchwork cap, a bengal-striped shirt with collar pin and knit tie, and — most importantly — Balkan Sasieni tobacco in a James Upshall straight grain.

For further romanticizing of the polo coat, see this post by blogger Maxminimus, and Bruce Boyer’s essay we digitized here last year. — CC

Photo by Frederick Egan Castleberry.

41 Comments on "Inherent Swagger: The Polo Coat"

  1. That’s a stunning coat. It’s about as comfortable as a bathrobe. I remember seeing a young guy picking up a bottle of Champagne early one morning with that coat thrown over some sloppy clothing – seemed so chic and careless.

  2. A bit of nostalgia for those who remember the real thing:

  3. Yeah, few things are what they used to be. I think Balkan Sasieni is a better tobacco than, say, Dunhill 965 of recent vintage.

    After college I worked for a year at a couple tobacconists while publishing my first articles. I was able to smoke some 50-year-old Balkan Sobranie. The texture of the smoke was unreal, like a velvet fog.

  4. Realitycheck | December 27, 2010 at 9:36 pm |

    You look ridiculous.

    And what does that stupid costume have to do with Ivy style?

  5. Got me jonesin’ for pipe smoke.. ever get to Leavitt and Pierce Tabbaconists in Harvrad Square? They gave out free stogies to all grads who came in… sweet deal..

  6. For the love of God, man!
    Show some self-respect and take that picture down.

  7. Great looking rig! Reminds me somewhat of the 1920s posters of the Yale Bowl — nice duds Christian!

  8. It’s just refreshing to see somebody wearing socks.

  9. Realitycheck,

    There is no excuse for your rudeness, as I’m sure you are well aware.

  10. Great look, Christian. Super shoes.

    My first polo coat was bought about 1963 from Brooks; it eventually wore out and my current one was purchased from the Polo shop @ Bloomingdales. It is the best I have ever seen. Caution must be used to not wear it too much. It will fray, especially at the sleeves. If this happens, you can get small leather strips sewn on.

    My favorite pipe tobacco mixture was the house mild blend from the late S.S. Pierce in Boston. You should put an apple core in the decanter to keep the tobacco moist. You can shine your pipe by rubbing it on the side of your nose. Don’t see many pipe smokers anymore.

  11. Glenn Kimmell | December 28, 2010 at 1:09 pm |

    Saw Dustin’s post on the Polo Coat and got a Camel hair polo coat this year for my wardrobe collection, and really like the look of it a lot!
    I remember an early Ralph Lauren catalog picture I believe it’s in his book, of a guy wearing a tan color polo coat with red cord trousers and brown suede tassel loafers, really smart looking!

  12. I have a JPEG of the photo you’re talking about. Maybe I’ll do a follow-up post with some polo coat images.

  13. Perfect financial sector | December 28, 2010 at 2:26 pm |

    The splurge was entirely worth it!

  14. Realitycheck, you are a rogue and a scoundrel.

  15. Oh, one more thing my friend, I hope you will allow a small criticism… if you just cock that hat down a bit, left or right, you are golden. Remember what Sinatra said, “cock your hat, angles are attitudes…”
    Try it, I know from hats.

  16. Outrageous. I’m unsubscribing on google reader because of that picture. Principally because of the pipe.

  17. My hat is never level with the horizon except, evidently, when a camera is pointed at me.

    Smoked a pipe for nearly 20 years. Sorry to lose you, Patrick.

  18. Didn’t you say something once about “only one GTH item per outfit”? Giant peaked lapels, pipe, or patchwork cap: pick one (hint: not the patchwork cap). Alas, neither you nor I are young enough to pull off what you’re trying to do here.

  19. hey Kagi, “anything worth doing is worth overdoing”

  20. You look great. Even the facial expression flows with the outfit. I would never be able to get away with this, but you do. I suspect the naysayers are jealous.

  21. more polo coat photos please.

  22. Yess more photos: Is WONDERFULL!

  23. I would ditch the pipe and the cap. Sub in a burgundy cashmere scarf for the blackwatch. Then you’ll be cooking.

  24. Incoming link:

    And Cram, worry not: I always ditch the pipe and hat when indoors.

  25. Love the shoes! What brand are they? Where did you get them?

  26. Where can I buy one of those caps in NYC?

    I hear the patchwork can vary and be a surprise when you order online. I want to actually see the one I’d end up with before I buy it.

  27. I think I saw them at Brooks, though not the floppy kind with the button on top.

    You probably want to avoid that kind anyway.

    The shoes are Allen Edmonds’ Strand model, and at the time of the photo, the only shoes I had. You may recall I developed a case of fat foot and have had to buy all new shoes.

  28. I’m sorry but you look rediculous, nice coat but as has been said loose the hat and the pipe. Also it might be worth getting someone to take a picture when you’re not posing as you look constipated.

  29. I think I look less constipated there than I do in other photos.

  30. Hello,
    I am a regular reader of your blog via a Droid phone using Google reader. Suddenly, I have to go to your URL to view the complete post. Unfortunately, the URL site will not automatically size itsel when I zoom the view. Cut off letters in this post are a result
    This new format is completely unuseable for Droid phone users. Please let me know if you require any additional information. Jrc

  31. Thanks for the incoming link. While I am among the skeptics of this look, I think the tone of some of the above comments violates canons of taste much more important than the ones you are accused of ignoring.

  32. The BEST purchase I made in 2010 was my Polo Ralph polo coat. I’ve been living in it these past few weeks.

  33. BEAUTIFUL polo coat! Enjoyed the photos!!

  34. I honestly can’t tell if this is a joke or not……

  35. I believe those shoes are Allen Edmond Strands in Walnut? I own the same pair….I like the look minus the hat and the pipe. Cheers, Jerry Grasso

  36. Bravo on this look sir!
    This execution is Beautiful, I’d like to know what brand is your Blazer?
    By the way let the haters keep on hating, and you keep the good work! you are posted in many sites with this Freestyle, it’s obvious that the flow is nice.

  37. I need to get my hands on a cashmere coat!

  38. l’ve oftern thought about buying one but basically you need to be tall AND bulky to wear it with style. I’m tall but slender and they always appear to drown one. For me it’s the Covert or a tan cashmere Chesterfield.

  39. What are you smoking in the pipe!?

  40. Christian | June 17, 2011 at 8:34 am |

    Heavy English.

  41. Comment by Patrick — December 28, 2010 @ 6:49 pm
    Outrageous. I’m unsubscribing on google reader because of that picture. Principally because of the pipe.
    The tobacco-intolerant are getting even more extreme—not that anyone should be surprised by that.

    It’s not enough that nearly every public space, including commercial (and therefore private) ones, are smoke-free; now, the anti-smoking Nazis can’t even abide a picture of a smoking device!

    Better not watch a movie, Patrick. You might blow a gasket from seeing all the people smoking in them.

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