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When commissioning a bespoke coat, it’s worth thinking through exactly how you intend to use the coat I.e., for everyday, for special events and with what clothes will you use, for example with a suit or more casually. Not only will this help with the fabric choice (and budget) but also the styling details.
The first key decision to make. Everybody loves the feel and warmth of 100% cashmere, but with its luxury also comes the requirement to look after it, just like it looks after you. If you intend to use your coat in wet weather, we would normally guide you to select a 100% wool fabric that has been nano-proofed to make the coat water-resistant. 100% Cashmere can also be nano-proofed but you lose some of the luxurious feel as part of the process. There are various mixes such as 90% wool/10% Cashmere which provide a touch of softness to a more durable and versatile coat. For those seeking the ultimate in luxury, our Vicuña range is also available.
Length: Overcoat or topcoat
The length of your coat is also dependant on in which part of the world you intend to use your coat. If mostly in London and Switzerland, it does not, reach freezing cold temperatures where a full length coat (overcoat) is required.
Shorter coats, i.e., those to the knee or just above, are normally refereed to as topcoats rather than overcoats. The weight can vary, but can be tailored to be either single or double breasted.
The coat often has a fly front, and sometimes has velvet on the collar (another practical addition - as the velvet could easily be replaced).
Double breasted or single breasted
The next choice to make is whether the coat will be single or double-breasted.
If properly tailored, a double-breasted coat can be flattering and stylish, but we find that a single breasted coat just offers more versatility and is more of a go-to coat, as opposed to one that you “feel” like wearing on the specific day.
The button configuration of your coat depends on how warm you would like to be. Traditional single-breasted coats have three bottoms that start lower down to allow for a scarf. Alternatively if you would like to close your coat around your neck, then we would recommend 5 buttons.
Similarly for double breasted, a traditional configuration is the 6x2, but those wishing to be warmer, 8x3 may be a more suitable configuration.
Peak lapel or notch lapel
A double-breasted coat will always have a peak lapel. But a single-breasted coat can have a peak or a notch - and it is perhaps more common to see a peak lapel on an SB coat than on a jacket.
The only real factor to consider in that choice is that a peak lapel is more formal and a little more rakish. If you want something more stylised, a peak lapel is a good way to do it. If not, a notch should be the default.
While all other overcoats will have a regular, or set-in, sleeve, a raglan sleeve runs right up to the collar, with no shoulder section between the two.
It shouldn’t surprise you to know that the raglan is more casual, and suited to coats that are worn with just knitwear, as well as tailoring. There are also variations, such as a half raglan (which looks like it has a set-in sleeve on the front) and designs with a slimmer sleeve at the top, almost like a saddle shoulder on knitwear.
Pockets are a design detail that directly impact the use of the coat. Traditionally, flapped pockets provide a more formal look, but slash pockets are definitely recommended if you indeed to use your coat to keep your hands warm or need access to your jacket pocket without unbuttoning your coat.
Ticket pockets on coats can be added to flapped pockets, and unlike with a jacket, they can be quite practical.
It is often said that the back of an overcoat is where the sexy stuff goes on. The front should look good too, but there are certainly more design options on the back.
The first is the belt. A smart overcoat, as mentioned, should have no belt at all on the waist. But most others have a half belt: one or two strips of cloth, either stitched to the material or left loose, and if loose then fastened with buttons.
The style of belt is not a big decision - it’s unlikely to look out of place whichever you choose. So pick the one you like the most.
Cuffs and swelled edges
Other design elements on coats include turn-back cuffs on the ends of the sleeves. These would seem to be a casual choice, but have been included on a surprisingly large number of formal tailoring styles over the years, including evening wear.
Hopefully running through all these sections will help define exactly what you want, in a similar way.