Personally I am a great lover of coats, I could wear all the models that we present to you a little lower, thus allowing me to be able to share with you the fruit of my various stylistic experiments (more or less successful but which allow to mature an opinion on the subject).
I also want to specify that this is a guide of winter coats only, so we do not find the jackets that can also be worn in winter (it would take a whole article as they are numerous).
The pea coat: the essential winter coat and easy to wear
Its origin is not entirely clear and is the subject of several stories. The only thing we know for sure is that it comes from the British Navy.
If the pea coat was indeed used by the British Navy, some say it was designed specifically for sailors who wanted to climb the masts, the "refeerers"! Hence the creation of a double-breasted coat (practical because it allows to button on the most adequate side according to the wind), curved and short to facilitate the climbing.
According to Camplin, supplier of the British navy in 1850, the pea coat would have been created for the Indian native officers. They were then called "petty officer" and the brand designed a "petty coat", which later became "peacoat" (the Camplin brand still exists, with the little rope around the neck as a signature).
The magazine Tailor and Cutter (a reference on trends and etiquette, especially on the news of the Crown in the eighteenth century) speaks of it for the first time, in October 1868. They mention a double-breasted jacket with a Prince of Wales pattern.
This one is rather wide, double-breasted, with two pairs of three buttons and two slanted pockets.
We distinguish two types of coats:
A rather technical one intended for use in delicate climatic conditions (made in a navy blue fabric lined with wool)
another model, more dressed up, which is intended for an urban use with silk lapels and a velvet collar.
Today it is the technical model, more relaxed that we remember and which has crossed the times and styles. The pea coat is one of the most casual winter coats you can find. It is a good solution to give yourself a little body, thanks to the cross-buttoning that brings volume to the torso. The material is usually melton wool (80% wool and 20% polyamide): it is the typical wool of sailors' coats. It is also an ideal coat when you are small, because it does not go down too low and leaves you a more generous visible leg length than other coats.
The duffle coat: The most versatile winter coat
Belgian heritage is the most common myth about the duffle coat, which is said to come from the town of Duffel, in the province of Antwerp. The duffel material was a black, rough wool
which would have given its name to the coat. Except that, unluckily, it was never produced in this city, nor in this material!
he covert coat : The gentleman farmer's coat
As explained above (and in many other articles), many of our clothes have their origin in England. In particular the hunting clothes of the British gentlemen, of which the covert coat is part! Indeed, "covert" means the fodder in which the game was hidden!
This coat was used to penetrate the fodder, which required a fabric resistant to brush, not very dirty and protecting the British climate (which is not known for its leniency and softness).
The version we know today, comes from Cordings, a British house in Picadilly. The fabric was usually khaki or tan, to be camouflaged in the forest, with a mottled look to hide the dirt. The wool in the coat was fluffy and dense.
A shorter length than the other coats, to be worn on horseback (it was not longer than 86 cm) which was enough to cover the riding jacket by more than 10 cm.
It is also more fitted than a chesterfield (hunting suits being more minimalist due to a more adventurous use). It also has a central slit and a front buttoning under the flap, to avoid that the buttons do not catch on the brush.
A typical covert coat also has rows of stitching on the pockets and sleeves: this was a very practical detail in the 20th century when the fabric was cut in straight edges (without finishing). This prevented the fabric from fraying too much. The stitching was also a repair mark on the coat of a hunter who had ventured too far into the brush (thus proving his courage and determination).
Finally, the velvet collar also has a practical origin: the men of the time used to coat their hair with gomina, which dirtied and greased the wool collars too much.
It was complicated to find exactly the same wool as the coat to change the collar, so it was replaced by a velvet collar that got dirty much less quickly.
Which coat for which style?
As with all other pieces of the men's wardrobe, coats are worn in different contexts and style families. I would like to reassure you, however, that this is not a very rigid codification and you will see that most pieces are versatile and can fit into different styles. That being said, there are still a few rules to follow to make your style as consistent as possible. I think (humbly) that my few tips (based simply on common sense and experience) will help you score easy points against others.
For those of you who don't know (and there's nothing wrong with that), the formal style register is business. Be careful not to confuse it with the false friend "formal style" in English, which is intended for very codified ceremonies (black tie, white tie and weddings). In France the formal style is when you are asked to wear a suit (with or without ties). This is the most classic style and we prefer to privilege the sobriety.
In this category you can wear several models, each with a different degree of formality (and therefore more or less adaptable in other outfits).
THE OVERCOAT: THE GREAT BUSINESS CLASSIC
This is the most classic, formal and sober model of the male wardrobe. It perfectly embodies the formal style. In my opinion, it is an essential piece that always ensures elegance for the wearer.