This winter season has, seemingly, no end in sight. Snowstorm after snowstorm has hit NYC, with some tepid 45 degree days mixed into the blistery fray. During my search for winter coats to combat said conditions, I considered the lined trench coat, the polo coat, the navy double breasted overcoat and the single breasted topcoat. Each has its merits and place within a finely tuned wardrobe. Add to that more casual jackets like snorkel parkas and duffel coats and you’re a seasoned northerner, which I am not.
For a winter-weather rookies, like myself, one versatile coat will have to do for now. After some mild research, and a sigh at the price points of several very desirable coats, I chose J.Crew’s Ludlow wool topcoat in grey herringbone.
It’s a single breasted, three-button design that ends a few inches above the knee. As with all of J.Crew’s Ludlow line, the shape is slimmer and more suppressed a bit at the waist than other coats. It fits cleanly over suits and sportcoats and pairs just as well with jeans and chinos. The coat is lighter in weight, which renders it a topcoat rather than an overcoat, an ideal piece for March. As a matter of fact, I recently wore it for a brief stroll in Miami since the temperature was a brisk 68, enough to warrant outerwear here. I didn’t sweat too much, but I did get a few awkward stares. Though 1,300 miles north some layering will serve me well.
Clothing purists may prefer the true overcoat, that ends just below the wearer’s knees. For what it’s worth, that length feels a little bathrobe-like to me, a little, dare I say more mature. The swaying fabric doesn’t appeal to me. It conjures up images not of the imitable Cary Grant, but the menacing Patrick Bateman, as portrayed by Christian Bale. Of course, after one full winter season trekking daily to the train station I may very well eat my words and cover my knees. For now, this coat suits my style and the average March highs of 45 degrees.
In the bubble of menswear, camel, navy and grey are the most seen. Given my druthers, I’d include a camel polo coat (half or fully belted with cuffed sleeves and patch pockets with flaps) and a double breasted overcoat in navy (a guard’s coat). These three shades lend themselves well to a number of occasions. For a first coat, any of the three would serve one well. With the coat I’ve just purchased the herringbone adds some welcome visual interest and texture.