4 vital points to consider when choosing an overcoat

Posted On: Monday, January 27th, 2020 0 comments

With the UK’s often vacillating somewhere between mild and temperate to downright arctic, a decent overcoat is always a smart investment – especially if you’ve been highly selective with quality cotton shirting fabrics for the rest of your outfit. Now, it’s undeniably Big Coat season at the moment, but depending on certain choices you make about its structure and shape, you can end up with a lighter garment that’s equally well-suited for warmer weather instead. So, what are your options when you’re considering an overcoat?

What to consider

First of all, we should start by clearing something up – you may well hear an overcoat called a ‘top coat’ every now and again. These days, the differences are very subtle, to the extent that the lines between them can seem very blurred at times. An overcoat is a long coat with sleeves designed to be worn over other clothing (typically a suit), whereas a topcoat is a lightweight overcoat. Basically, ‘overcoat’ is the umbrella term. As far as most customers are concerned though, they’re broadly one and the same, and they’re happy to let experts (like us!) highlight the specifics wherever relevant.

So, when choosing your overcoat, here are the main aspects you’ll want to consider first. It’s worth bearing in mind that they’ll often overlap – the choice of style may affect your choice of fabric, and vice versa – so it might be tricky to consider them in isolation.


Some tailors swear by wool as the standard material for an overcoat, but cashmere is another popular choice amongst some customers, given its luxurious feel and appearance. However, it might struggle to hold up in the notorious British weather – so make sure you bear practicality in mind!


Most traditional overcoats were very long – reaching almost down to the ankles, and in doing so tended to cater to a wide range of figures and body types. Now, lots of men prefer to wear their overcoat closer to knee length. Both options are perfectly acceptable, but you’ll obviously need to decide this well in advance. Don’t forget to consider where you’re wearing it – the colder the weather, the longer and heavier you’ll need.



As with our range of shirting fabrics here at Acorn, you’ve got a reasonable choice of colours when it comes to overcoats. On the whole though, it’s a good idea to keep your colour choices neutral and restrained, such as navy or grey. Alternatively, you might want to choose a classic camel shade. You may occasionally see men in overcoats with somewhat more adventurous colour schemes, but these are only acceptable in a limited number of settings. You certainly won’t be able to wear wilder-coloured overcoats to job interviews, formal business settings, or any other kind of professional context – which mostly limits their use! In fact, that leads us nicely on to…

Style and setting

This is perhaps one of our most important tips – before you buy your overcoat, you’ve got to consider the environment in which you’ll wear it. As we’ve touched upon above, most overcoats will be worn with an element of formality, so you’ll need to make sure your choice isn’t too garish. You’ll also need to ensure it’s practical too; if you’re striding through the city streets in pouring rain, you’ll want to have confidence that your overcoat is up to the job. You may also want to consider how well it complements your existing outfits – for example, how well a black suit complements a navy overcoat, and vice versa. This is arguably the hardest stage of the entire process, as tailors and experts can advise, but ultimately you’re the one who makes the final decision!

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Thankfully, you’ve certainly got no shortage of choice when it comes to cotton fabrics. We stock a huge range here at Acorn Fabrics, spanning a wide variety of weights, shades and textures. You can explore our inventory right here on our site, or alternatively give us a call on 01282 698 662 – we’re here to help!

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