Slim Down Your Overcoat

If you’re already planning on a new overcoat for this season, you might want to slim down. That is, with the cut of the coat.

That’s according to this vintage advertisement from Hickey Freeman, which advocates “comfort and natural lines” with “lapels narrow to emphasize smartness.” Finally, “shoulders are normal,” because abnormal shoulders are so last year. The Hartmarx company could not provide Ivy Style with a date for the image, but it looks like 1950-55, when menswear began moving away from the big shoulders and drapey double-breasteds of the late ’40s and toward the clean lines and natural shoulders that reigned during the heyday of the Ivy League Look.

Take a look at your own overcoat, as the principle still applies. Are you a man of today? — CC

16 Comments on "Slim Down Your Overcoat"

  1. love it, great stuff again.

  2. The beginning of the end!

  3. Awesome! Thanks for sharing this.

  4. Here in Tallahassee it’s seldom overcoat weather. The heaviest thing I have in my closet is a wool peacoat– double-breasted, yes, but not boxy by any means.

  5. It appears to me to be nothing more than a change for the sake of change. The older style provides more coat for inclement weather, especially with the wider lapels and greater length. Even the fadora has a wider brim, better to keep the rain off.

  6. Tony Hartfeld | September 9, 2019 at 11:42 pm |

    The “yesterday” model looks like pure Ralph Lauren Polo.

  7. Collegiatepanticker2 | September 10, 2019 at 6:57 am |

    Notice the pants are diff too

  8. Carmelo Pugliatti | September 10, 2019 at 11:44 am |

    Why switch from one excess to another ?
    Was enough a classic cut as in the best European bespoke.

  9. Alberto Conti | September 10, 2019 at 1:27 pm |

    @Carmelo:
    How is “the best European bespoke” (Continental style) related to Ivy style?

  10. Charlottesville | September 10, 2019 at 1:46 pm |

    I think my coats seem to be a mix. I have a DB tweed polo coat that is pretty loose and bulky, and other coats ranging from a relatively short covert coat to below-the-knee chesterfields that are relatively trim. Same with raincoats from a bulky belted Burberry trench coat to a trim above-the-knee raincoat from J. Press. I like them all. However, I definitely prefer the trimmer trousers in the example on the right.

  11. Old School Tie | September 10, 2019 at 4:27 pm |

    Yes, the “yesterday” guy has a better coat, better collar points, a better tie and better pants (presumably pleated). Oh, and a better hat. And better shoes. And bigger, more masculine hands. Indeed, he is better looking all round. Even his wife and kids will be better, you’ll see….

  12. It comes in handy sometimes (like when it’s really cold and windy) to pop the collar and fasten the top button. I would think the older style would work better for that.

  13. The irony, of course, is that now the “yesterday” guy looks classic and the “today” guy looks old-fashioned.

  14. Henry Contestwinner | September 11, 2019 at 4:04 pm |

    The “yesterday” hat is much more stylish—and practical.

  15. Christopher Hosford | October 14, 2019 at 1:51 pm |

    A variation of this story appeared in the Wall Street Journal on Oct. 11, 2019, i.e. slim vs. full: https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-classic-overcoat-is-back-but-must-it-cost-3-450-11570801836?mod=searchresults&page=1&pos=1

    Slim vs. full? Hmm. Your choice, but for my money there’s too dang much slim, slimmer and slimmest these days (grump, grump!). Otherwise, why would Red Fleece be on sale all the time, eh?

  16. The good old 1930s to 1940s overcoat/fashion/beautiful fedora fashion gone. Stupid ugly lapels of the 50s shorter looks like trash, no drape cut which looks pathetic. Exaggerated lapels. Shoulders look pathetic shorter overcoat length does not keep you warm at al
    If I went back in time to my old past life and realized that fashion would go bad, I would buy 1930s/1940s suits/dress shirts/oxfords/overalls/fedoras lots of them and never buy the mid 1950s to present suits til i die

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