How To Buy A Men's Winter Coat

Pea coat, parka or padded? Here's how to pick, buy and wear the most important item you'll buy this season

Most Popular

No doubt about it: it's Big Coat season, also known outside of fashion circles as 'Winter'.

The questions are: what kind of coat should you go for, and what should you wear it with?

To help make your most expensive winter wardrobe purchase a success, we've rounded up eight classic coats and given you the lowdown on each.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Parka

Despite the style's inherent link to Britpop, the Parka has been around for decades. As the fur-lined hood might suggest, it's an Arctic invention – one created by the Inuit people to stave off the cold. Originally made from caribou or sealskin, modern day parkas are available in all manner of fabrics, but in our opinion you're best off opting for something as un-synthetic as possible (seal notwithstanding).

Aspesi Faux Shearling-Lined Shell Hooded Parka, £665, mrporter.com

COS Padded Cotton Parka, £175, cosstores.com

Winter Bomber

Back in the days of the Dam Busters, flight jackets were made of leather and lined with fleece, which was spiffing, but made them a little bulky. As aeronautical technology advanced, so did the kit, and the bomber jacket we know today gradually came into existence.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Sandro Leather-Trimmed Wool-Blend Bomber Jacket, £475, mrporter.com

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Topman Stone Suede Bomber Jacket, £120, topman.com

Single Breasted

A single-breasted coat is a wonderful thing. Firstly, there are very few men that don't look good in one as the style will lengthen the body, broaden the shoulders and cover all manner of sartorial indiscretions. It's adaptable too; looking just as good worn over a suit as it does a roll neck sweater. As a point of reference, your single-breasted coat should be fitted as opposed to billowy, and worn with smarter outfits.

Mr P. Houndstooth Virgin Wool Coat, £645, mrporter.com

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Arket Melton Wool Topcoat, £190, arket.com

Double Breasted

Traditional overcoats were big, heavy things; more akin to armour than those in stores today. Thankfully, there have been advances in fabric technology; Gabardine and Ventile, for instance, have made things a lot easier. An amply proportioned double-breasted coat suits taller men better, which is also a rule to remember when it comes to double-breasted suits.

Paul Smith Grey Herringbone Wool-Cashmere Double-Breasted Belted Overcoat, £1,290, paulsmith.co.uk

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

H&M Double-Breasted Wool-Mix Coat, £79.99, hm.com

Padded / Quilted

By quilted jackets, we don't mean those shapeless things you tend to see worn by ruddy-faced men on The King's Road. We mean the type you see on piste, flying past in a hail of powder and hubris on the back of a Swiss local. Quilted coats are great for bridging the gap between sportswear and streetwear.

Prada Quilted Shell Down Jacket, £690, mrporter.com

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

The North Face Trevail Jacket £179, endclothing.com

Trench

In terms of function, the trench is the ultimate outer layer. Light, waterproof and good for keeping the wind out – perfect for the days when the weather doesn't really know what it's doing – these days, there's also a range of lengths and cuts to choose from. It was the founder of Burberry, Thomas, who invented Gabardine (the cloth that the same brand's Heritage range is still cut from today). Initially made for army officers, today's styles are suitable for all.

Burberry Reversible Cotton-Gabardine Trench Coat, £1,795, mrporter.com

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Carhartt Atlas Trench Coat, £195, endclothing.com

Pea Coat

The humble pea coat has been sported by countless stylish men over the years, and as you can see from the image above, the style suits even the slightest, most waif-like of frames. The origins of the woolen pea coat lie in the Navy, which is why they're so robust and chunky – the big collars and massive buttons were put in place to keep the elements at bay. That function is still very much the virtue of the pea coat today, but its aesthetic merits have come to be appreciated too, and rightly so. What's more, you can really wrap yourself up in a pea coat, and thanks to the double-breasted cut, you'll still look smart.

Mackintosh Wool Peacoat, £655, endclothing.com

COS Oversized Wool Peacoat, £175, cosstores.com

Field Coat

The recent trend for painter's coats and workwear-as-streetwear has meant that a host of designers have taken the field coat and implemented new cloths, cuts and patterns.

Off-White Black Brushed Diagonal Field Jacket, £740, ssense.com

Folk Shell Field Jacket, £290, mrporter.com