There should always be some space in your wardrobe for a solid winter coat. Whether you dread the icy mornings and shortened afternoons or not, every guy needs the right insulation to see the cold months through to their bitter end.
Provided you treat it with a bit of love and care, a winter jacket can serve as an investment piece that should help you through several hard winters without complaint.
Winter jackets come in different cuts and shapes, and incorporate historical and geographic inspiration derived from the unique climate and social environment of the garment’s place of origin. The best and only choice should be a fully-lined, natural fibre garment in a neutral colour.
You’ll be comfortably toasty, and never at risk of sartorial disfavour as seasonal quirks and trends invariably become a source of embarrassment with the passage of time. Contemporary jackets also include water-resistant synthetics, in case you are prone to losing your umbrella.
You just need one. One that you can wear over anything from a suit to a knit, on your way to work or to the pub after 5. Running the gamut from classic double-breasted coats to contemporary anoraks, this list will give you the correct sartorial pointers for staying warm and looking cool.
This wouldn’t be a proper winter coat discussion without Burberry. Originally worn by well-heeled officers in WWI as a dashing accessory to be worn in between trench raids and bayonet duels, the trench coat quickly became a common feature in the British male wardrobe. They’ve never fallen out of favour, and you’d be foolish to think they ever will.
This Burberry trench is made from semi-synthetic cotton derivatives for weather proofing, so you won’t find a better alternative for the rainy morning trek to the office. With a prominent collar and double-breasted structure, it carries enough traditional charm without looking dated.
This isn’t just for your corporate winter rotation – it can be worn over suits or with a knit, chinos, and chukka boots. If you wear more than two layers, go a size up, unless you like the idea of getting your mates to help you ever time you need to take it off.
Like traditional etiquette and upper-crust country hobbies, the British do coats better than anyone. Kingsman are Saville Row alum with posh pedigree and a firm grasp on traditional craftsmanship and heritage cloth – most of their fabric comes from mills that have been operational since the 19th century.
Their camel overcoat is a rainy-day staple that can make lift anyone from sartorial humdrum and into timeless, debonair style. With peaked lapels and double-breasted fastening, it combines key ingredients of old-world British tailoring that’ll elevate your winter layering system well ahead of cheap polyester raincoats that won’t survive a season.
This coat is made from peerless melton wool, with satin lining for a luxurious internal texture. It’s constructed to accommodate internal layers, so you should wear this over your suit and tie corporate ensemble.
Kingsman are running this as an exclusive offering, and it’s unlikely to last, so if you’ve been eyeing off a camel overcoat then it looks like the stars are lining up. Just remember to double and triple check your savings account first, and maybe tell the mrs that a weekend at the Cayman Islands might need to wait.
Cav Empt are the new kids on the block. Although they only got a start in 2011, they’ve made up for lost time with contemporary workwear that’s applicable to your everyday mischief. This jacket, channelling the inner McQueen in all of us, is no exception.
Shearling jackets were originally constructed from sheep and lamb pelts, to create a lightweight fleece that’s soft enough for prolonged wear, and warm enough for bone-chilling winters. Cav Empt have made this from faux-shearling, should you have moral reservations about the use of animal products.
But with a wool-acrylic-alpaca blend collar and a Melton shell, the differences are hard to spot. You’ll be snug as a bug and dashing as hell while you’re at it. Because this is a workwear classic, it suits a casual look with a contrasting blue t-shirt, dark chinos, and dressy sneakers.
It’s got Made in Japan pricing (because it is) but we think it’s well deserved.
Solid craftsmanship is at the heart of VISVIM’s design philosophy, a Japanese brand famous for painstaking handiwork and world-class materials.
This ‘Frank Soutien’ GORE-TEX raincoat is an understated companion for your daily travels when days on the beach are becoming a distant memory. Mackintosh jackets are normally made in a cotton-poly blend, because no one really wants to roll in the office resembling a wet rat.
This jacket’s speccy GORE-TEX finish takes weatherproofing to another level, by ensuring the fabric can withstand serious pelting without suffocating the weather in non-breathable material. With two external pockets and a modest collar, it offers little concession to flashy design and thus won’t look out of place in your winter wardrobe the following year.
Due to its lightweight materials, you can wear this across every season except summer. It’ll work well in autumn when the temperature starts to dip, just as much as it deserves a look in spring when it’s getting warmer, but you’re not brave enough to leave a jacket at home.
Club Monaco are a subsidiary of Polo Ralph Lauren, offering monthly releases of accessible luxury and repackaged classics. Their Virgin Wool-Blend Peacoat is a quintessential winter item to help you see through the colder months with inconspicuous elegance.
The legendary peacoat’s early life saw action on the high seas, as a stylish wet-weather addition for British naval officers during various Imperial conflicts. Even if you get a little seasick, however, you no longer require a Navy commission to rock one in winter.
This jacket is oversized, so perfect for layering, and made from a virgin wool-polyamide blend to keep you insulated in the coldest conditions. In a navy, you can wear it over just about any colour combination – think tan chinos, brogues, and a knit for cold weekends.
It’s an affordable entry into the winter jacket market, so you can expect a solid investment without having to sell off your stocks.
PS By Paul Smith
Paul Smith might be one of the big boys in British heritage tailoring, but his ‘PS by Paul Smith’ line is a gateway to solid tailoring that isn’t burdened by overt formality.
Inspired by practical necessity, this jacket is perfect for guys who want to combine contemporary tailoring and military-inspired utility. Paul Smith has made this jacket from a cotton-polyamide blend, so it’s appropriate for milder weather when there’s a looming threat of showers.
There’s enough pockets to almost make a suitcase redundant, and the adjustable hood will keep your new fade tidy in the wind and rain. Khaki is a solid neutral that you can wear with colour staples like blue or grey, so it should be right at home with items you already own.
As this belongs to Paul Smith’s subsidiary line, you don’t need to prepare for a bank-busting purchase.
Minimalist masterminds ACNE combine their pared-down utilitarian approach with a classic garment that’s been outfitting soldiers, workmen, and outdoorsmen for decades.
You’d struggle to make this parka more understated – it has no visible external pockets, lapels, stitching, and is dyed in a monochrome French navy. The insulation-guaranteed melton wool shell ensures that embarrassing scarf you copped for Christmas can stay at home.
It also boasts nylon lining, in case you need some additional thermal insurance. Benefits aside, I should warn you that it’s not an inexpensive investment. A timeless parka like this, however, means you won’t need to whip out the Amex for another jacket for the foreseeable future.
Kent & Curwen
Established in 1926, Kent & Curwen are advocates of Britain’s peerless tailoring instincts, without leaving design in the stuff formality of last century. With the recent addition of David Beckham and his creative guidance, K&C are opening the door for a younger audience to experience heritage tailoring.
Kent & Curwen have reimagined the lovechild of two winter tailoring staples – the navy peacoat and shearling jacket. Comfort and adaptability are the first orders of business with this jacket. You can layer it how you please, and don’t need to worry about a constricted fit that reminds you of your failed new year’s nutrition goal.
The collar is detachable for outings that ask for a bit of understatement, and the black dye leaves you plenty of room to work with neutral colours everywhere else. These guys have cut no corners in manufacturing. This jacket is Made in Italy from 100% virgin wool, but it’s priced accordingly. If you only ever buy one winter jacket in your lifetime, however, this is it.
From modest origins in Toronto in the late fifties, family-owned brand Canada Goose have risen above the crowd in the outdoor apparel market. Canada Goose design everything with the demands of the unforgiving Arctic in mind, using 13 production stages to ensure that every aspect of design is optimised for extreme conditions.
The Macmillan Quilted Shell Parka is for the both the alpine adventurer and urban explorer. This jacket is made with thermal failsafes for particularly chilly days. The shell is water-resistant polyester, with additional down and poly internal padding for optimal insulation.
It also has a drawstring hood for those punishing moments in the rain, and internal pockets to keep your staple accessories safe from the elements. With a tailored cut and slim lines, this jacket optimises winter protection without looking boxy.
Wear this with jeans, Timberlands, and a flannel button-down for cold weather cool.
Private White V.C.
Private White V.C. isn’t just another Brit tailoring racket. The brand is named after Jack White V.C, who earned the prestigious Victoria Cross (a bloody difficult thing to do) at the ripe young age of 20 in WWI, and then started a clothing factory line after hostilities ended.
Today, the factory is operated by his great grandson, inspired by classic military fashions and their utilitarian uses. This Twin Track waxed-cotton field jacket is a continuation of this envious legacy. The design is reminiscent of old-school motorsport outerwear, before the days of high-tech armoured leather jackets.
The jacket is designed for hard wear, with double zips, a snap-fastening throat latch, and an adjustable belt. Like all Private White V.C. kit, this is made in their Manchester factory – one of the last men standing in home-grown British craftsmanship.
Although highly utilitarian, this bit of British history would look smashing on a both lazy day off, or weekend hill rides with the boys.