If you’ve been asking yourself if the heat is ever going to lift, the answer is yes and when it does you’ll be needing a coat.

However, there are a ton of options and depending on lifestyle, career, and motivation the selection process can be daunting. So let’s break it down in layman terms – coat buying 101 if you will.

Whether you’re a college student, a recent graduate or a career person, your coats should not only reflect where you are in life but also where you are going. I have half a closet filled with winter coats, mostly wool, but there are a couple of raincoats thrown in for good measure.

The reasoning behind my wide selection comes down to fashion – I have different jackets for different outfits and while this is possibly an overkill, I would say that you need at least 3 in your wardrobe.


A black wool overcoat is needed because it makes an elegant statement, but it’s also versatile enough to wear with jeans and a sweater. An overcoat is designed to wear over a suit, but don’t you dare buy a size too big – you’ll look like a little kid swimming in your father’s coat.

Do not buy manmade fibers under any circumstance. Rather, always opt for wool, cashmere or a blend of the two.
These fabrics repel water, keep you warm and last years.

Overcoats should hit you at the knee – no shorter, no longer. Collar style is a personal preference, but I lean towards the notch – the same as a suit coat or blazer, but I have to say that the peak collar is next on my shopping list. Three button closure is pretty standard, but never button all of them – only the top two.

If you’re just starting your career and don’t have a disposable income, I feel you. To be practical and get the most for your buck, H&M has a black wool overcoat with a spread collar for $299.

The long trench coat is made from wool twill and features a concealed double-breasted fastening at the front. The collar comes with a hook-and-eye fastening, loose yoke front and back, and side-seam pockets. The belt at the waist ties everything together nicely.

Mid-level career men should have a little money to burn and Theory has a nice option for $745. The Melton is a top coat with notch lapels and a button-front closure tailored in a regular fit. With slashed front pockets, interior pocket and a back vent, this coat is made of wool with a soft touch from Italy and comes fully lined. It not only comes in black but also grey, blue and brown.


Established career men set the example for their subordinates and they should exude confidence as well as style. Burberry carries a sharply tailored coat woven with a blend of wool and cashmere that provides an unparalleled softness.

Expertly cut and detailed with button cuffs, a signature check pattern under the collar and peak lapels this coat will run you $1.795 – a small price to pay for such sophistication.

A car coat is shorter than an overcoat and is an acceptable option over sweaters or dress shirts as it can replace a blazer. The pea coat is good for a casual work environment or those Fridays when jeans or cotton chinos are the standard dress.

You are going to want a car coat in either navy or charcoal to go with your brown hues. Some options for the shopper are the Tommy Hilfiger Melton walking coat for $275. This good-looking coat comes with a detachable matching plaid scarf and a stand collar.

Brooks Brothers have a redesigned pea coat in navy for $675. Their new fabric was developed by one of the oldest woolen mills in the world, Vitale Barberis Canonico. The fabric is made with top-rate wool and woven and treated in such a way to repel the elements.

For additional warmth, they upgraded their fill to the USA made Primaloft and utilized a traditional interior diamond quilting pattern. They kept their signature details like true melamine anchor buttons, double needle stitching, corduroy on the pocket facings, and decorative stitching under the collar. This coat will last decades and never go out of style.

Finally, you’ll want a raincoat, but not one like Seinfeld’s father used to sell. Again, Brooks Brothers have a classic wool/nylon trench that falls just below the hips for $798. The color is ice which will play nicely with everything in your closet.

If you have money burning a hole in your pocket, Brunello Cuccinelli has a Glen Plaid Alpaca single-breasted coat in dark gray for a whopping $5,845. But Nieman Marcus does offer Free Shipping and Free Returns in case you experience justified buyers remorse.

Image credits: Getty

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