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Style SOS: What's the one best coat?

Style SOS: What's the one best coat?

I discovered that moths had eaten my one good coat when I got it out of storage. I need to replace it with something that I can wear with everything, from now until I don't have to wear a coat again. What style should I go for? – John via email

The simple answer here, John, is any. Style is down to an individual, and if you wear something with total confidence, you will always look good. Choosing a good coat is vital to how you’ll feel when you face each blustery day, so investing in one means taking the time to find out what works for your shape, budget, and personality. We think that variety is a luxury that everyone deserves, but if you’re committed to having that ‘one’ best coat and no others, then you should consider the single-breasted overcoat. 

As the factotum of outerwear, the reliable yet impactful single-breasted coat can be worn with smart, casual, and everything in between. With military origins and elements of formalwear, they are similar to blazers in that they are structured around the shoulders and have lapels and vents at the back. “As well as looking good over a suit in winter, the single-breasted coat wouldn’t look out of place over a very casual t-shirt and jeans combo,” says Thread stylist Toby Standing. “Plus, they look good over all body types when you choose the right size.” 

Choosing the right size and fit should be your priority. “You want to make sure it isn’t so tight that it bulges on your arms, or so loose that it hangs off you. You should be able to layer a suit or a jumper underneath your overcoat comfortably, without looking like you’re about to burst out of it,” Toby says. “It should also always taper after a blazer, and traditionally fall above the knee.” Not sure what your size is or how to measure yourself? We’ve got that covered here.

In the interest of finding that ‘one’ coat you can wear with any outfit, Toby advises going for one in navy, grey, or even beige. These colours accompany most outfits and occasions, whether you’re wearing an athleisure-style jumper in orange or a 3-piece suit. You can of course experiment with colours and patterns, but only when your outfit underneath is a little more pared-back. We’d recommend stocking up on a handful of different options that offer something a little different, like coats in forest green hues, houndstooth, and check patterns. 

Be sure to invest in a high-quality design that will stand the test of wear, winter after winter. “Get one with a high wool content or even 100% wool, because it’ll last longer, be insulated and warm, and will also be waterproof,” Toby says. To avoid moths feasting on your handsome coat, there are a number of measures you can take to make sure your coat remains in tip-top condition. “Buy a really good moth repellent,” Toby says, “and make sure you always hang it up properly so it doesn’t lose its structure or gets crumpled. Then store it in a breathable garment bag with the moth repellent during warmer months.” Last but not least, drop it off at the dry cleaners once every six months. 

Now that our rant is over, the fun part is choosing your new companion. “Selected Homme and MVP are great options for a lower budget,” Toby reveals, “and if you’re able to spend a little more, I’d go for Paul Smith.” Take our recommendation of buying a navy or grey overcoat as your ‘one’ best coat with a pinch of salt. We always recommend buying what you feel best in, whether that’s a double-breasted herringbone coat or a cashmere peacoat, the choice is ultimately yours. Our best advice is this: whichever coat you choose, treat it with a little bit of love.


Words: Ashiana Pradhan
Illustration: Ryan Gillett