One of the best things about fall and winter is that you get to wear your favorite coat almost every day. A good coat is like a good suit. Put it on and you feel almost invincible. The following options should help most of us get that feeling for a relatively affordable price (some are more affordable than others). In-person items were tried over a suit jacket or blazer to make sure they fit, and sizes are noted below. Head here to get an idea as to the height/weight of the fella (hi) in those shots.
JCP Stafford Wool/Poly Topcoat – $99.99 w/ LETSSHOP ($250)
The best <$100… as long as you’re good with a longer coat. This one hits right at the knee. Not a little above or mid-thigh like many of the other coats on this list. It’s right at the knee, if not a little over. Fabric is camel-hair like. Super smooth, has some flecks in there, and there’s a bit more downy texture to the surface of the exterior. Says it’s a “classic” fit, but it’s cut surprisingly well. Size shown here is a 40R. 63% wool / 32% Polyester / 5% other. Made in the Dominican Republic. Not flimsy feeling. Should keep you decently warm unless it’s Polar-Vortex time.
Appears to be the same jacket from last year. 49% wool, 36% polyester, 10% acrylic, 3% viscose, 2% nylon. Decent warmth, but if you live in International Falls, it’s not gonna keep you warm. Be prepared to SIZE UP. It’s Topman, and Topman runs skinny. Size shown above is a large. Does come with a belt since it’s a trench. Two pairs of pockets on the front, at the waist and chest high. Ships and returns free through Nordstrom as well as Topman direct, and Topman does run sales from time to time. Available in navy, grey, and burgundy. Burgundy? Onions.
For all of J. Crew’s talk about their “Wallace & Barnes” line, and how those items are based on vintage workwear with extra attention to detail, you’d think their Broadmoor jackets would be included in there. But they’re just the standard J. Crew line. Yes, the Broadmoor is “imported”, but the quality and looks are a noticeable step above. The Cotton/Nylon exterior has a unique, almost matte appearance, and feels solid & tough. The hardware is especially good, with gunmetal snaps that feel anything but cheap. Insulated as well, but it’s kept trim unlike a puffer. One of J. Crew’s better annual outerwear offerings, and the standard (not Japanese Chambray) options can often be had for the mid $100s with sales.
It’s different than a jacket, but it’s certainly not a blazer. It’s a Blacket? Patch pockets, breast pocket, notch lapel, and dual rear vents. But it’s unmistakably outerwear. Removable inner lining for extra warmth.
GAP Wool Mac Jacket – $82.80 w/ GAPFAM ($148)
Surprisingly good. Plain as hell (it’s a mac) but really well executed. Covered placket is easy to button (last year’s J. Crew Factory covered placket jacket was a pain), collar is reinforced so hopefully it’ll stay turned up if you need it to block bad weather. Fits pretty well over a blazer (size shown here is a medium). Body is lined in chambray, not polyester, but it’s slick enough that it doesn’t fight back when you’re putting it on. Construction feels great. 60% wool exterior delivers decent warmth. Code GAPFAM ends today, 11/10/14.
Been on this list a couple of years running. Before you jump to Barbour, get on the Boden email list, wait for a 15% or 20% off code, then give one of these a shot. Side vents in the back. They say “Great with a suit to jeans”… but no. It’s not great with a suit, since it most likely won’t cover your entire jacket tail. BUT… it is a terrific casual jacket. Lots of pockets. Lined in a not too bulky cotton. Almost flannel like in there. Corduroy collar. Three exterior pockets and one inside.
Surprisingly decent once again. On the shorter side, so, it’s more casual, but widely available, often on sale, and nicely warm. Wider collar that should keep winter off your neck. Waist level pockets. Three colors. 62% wool / 32% poly / 6% other. All poly lining. Size shown above is a medium.
Plaid-tastic. And pricey. If you can hold out for the winter sale (usually after Christmas/Early January) you should be able to save a good chunk on this one. On the loud side, but the contrast isn’t too aggressive. Zara runs slim, so you’ll want to strongly consider sizing up. Ships & returns free.
Decent, but target price has to be in the mid $100s with sales and codes. Exterior is 50% wool / 40% poly / 6% Acrylic / 4% “other”, with 100% poly fill for insulation. Thicker than most but not unmanageable in terms of movement. All poly quilted lining feels a bit cheap. Size shown here is 40R. Wait for it to dip to an oddly low price (say, under $150) before considering. And even then, if you like this type of coat, consider the much cheaper Stafford option from JC Penney first.
J. Crew Dock Peacoat w/ Thinsulate – $223.50 w/ GETWARM ($298)
J. Crew’s take on the classic peacoat. Not as boxy as some more traditional designs, and the 10-button, slightly longer front should keep your suit jackets and blazers protected. The chest high hand-warmer pockets, in addition to the standard flap pockets at the waist, are completely key. Also available in a “mossy shadow” for $201.60 with the code.
Not the same as last year in price or fabric makeup. Last year these things were a combo of wool and poly. This year it’s 85% wool, 15% cashmere. And they cost an extra FIFTY BUCKS. Still not the thickest things in the world, so you might have to layer quite a bit in colder environments. If you live somewhere that’s on the warm side, and want a topcoat that won’t have you boiling over? Give one of these a shot. Also available in camel, but never in stock.
The Wait for a Sale: Massimo Dutti Tan Nubuck Leather Harrington – $580
Moly. That color. That horizontal stitching. The fact that they went with the shorter-than-suede’s-nap nubuck. That… price. Massimo Dutti is Zara’s big brother, so expect their bi-annual sale to launch around the same time that Zara’s does. Should drop significantly in price. Ships and returns free. Like Zara, they tend to run slim. Real slim.
The… wait… it’s on sale? Billy Reid Bond – $417 ($695)
Hard to believe, but Nordstrom has marked down the Billy Reid “Bond” peacoat to $417. But… it’s only available at that price in black. Made in Italy. Leather under-collar. Trim fit. Lines that kill. Sizes are moving awfully quick.
Best in Show: B.R. Camel Wool Blend Topcoat – $178.80 w/ BRGOOD
Best in show, and not just because it’s one of the few available camel colored options out there. 60% Wool, 35% Polyester, 5% “Other Fibers” yet the fabric is fantastic. Smooth as all get-out, drapes and moves well, and has a richness to the tone. It’s not some sickly yellow/khaki. Has some caramel in there. Decent warmth. Not wispy thin, but you might have to layer up underneath in bitter temps. Size shown is a Medium and slips very nicely over a size 40R suit jacket. Trim without being tight and the armholes seem to be sized to accommodate layers. Lining feels great, stitching looks good, and construction feels strong. Looks oddly chopped on BR’s website, but it’s a perfect mid-thigh length. Sleeve buttons are functional, but that’s not bad to have on a coat. An online exclusive. Tall sizes also available. Goes on sale often. Retail is $298 but now 40% off with the code BRGOOD through Tuesday 11/11.
The Reminder: Go check out your local Army/Navy Surplus store
The annual nudge to go check out your local surplus store if you’ve got one nearby. There were a lot of peacoats & topcoats from wheelhouse retailers that were tried on and could have made this list, but most cost more than an Army/Navy surplus coat,without delivering equal quality or better looks. Most surplus stores carry high quality, usually made-in-the-USA outerwear. Feel free to swap out buttons if they’re too showy (like on the bridge coat on the right). Both of the coats shown here were found for the low $100s
Stores & Brands explored for this post include but are not limited to: Macy’s, J. Crew, J. Crew Factory, Banana Republic, Kohl’s, Nordstrom, Nordstrom Rack, Zara, Massimo Dutti, Suitsupply, Express, UNIQLO, Target, GAP, JCP, Boden, Dillards… and there’s probably more that can’t be recalled due to the temporary insanity caused by many of these stores launching into Christmas music already. Little early for Brenda Lee to get a rockin’, isn’t it?