All Out – as in “Full Coverage”

Full coverage costs more on the front end, but can often save your back end….if you know what I mean. After paying all of those premiums for dental insurance, you don’t want to be hit with a big bill because an un-popped popcorn kernel chipped your tooth and you didn’t have “full coverage.”

Since the 19th century glory days of outerwear, coats have been getting shorter and lighter, but there are still times when only a “full coverage” Overcoat or Topcoat (technically lighter than an overcoat) meets the required, or at least preferred, look and function.

In the realm of classic Overcoats, one can choose either single breasted or double breasted, made from heavier wool, camel hair, or cashmere cloth, or a blend of said fibers. For daytime dressy and formal evening wear, I suggest that you choose a solid (or herringbone) cloth in navy, black or charcoal. A double breasted model would also be a great choice, but single is more versatile. For extra dressiness, a Chesterfield, with its customary black velvet collar and fly front will stand above the crowd. First worn by George Stanhope, the 6th Earl of Chesterfield, it is considered to be the original overcoat. Thanks to Gentlemans Gazette for the photo and further elaboration on the style.

Tan Camel hair or Cashmere is best for wearing over earth-tone clothing, sport coats and daytime dressy/business casual. For the true classic, what noted author G. Bruce Boyer called “the best looking topcoat a man can wear,” a “Polo coat” – half belted, w/ cuffs, patch pockets, stitched edges, and a little longer than standard – epitomizes the masculine costume. It was standard issue for none other than Vince Lombardi. The photo above is from Lombardi, a new American play, as performed on Broadway.

A man’s wardrobe is not complete without the right outerwear. When did you last update your overcoat?

Going All Out,


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  1. Pingback: Remember Last Winter? A coat for all seasons | Tom Talks

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