Some of the most badass people in history and in movies wore long coats. In the western movie, when the dude with the long coat rolls in, you know that either trouble is coming or some justice is about to get served. Blade wore a long coat. So did Sherlock Holmes, Humphrey Bogart, Neo, and Inspector Gadget.
You know Inspector Gadget was a badass. All wore long coats, all were awesome. Long coats are pretty awesome.
But their style journey was anything but simple, and over the years, many different types of long coats have evolved. Which ones are going to make you look and feel the way you want?
How Coats Came to Be
The first outerwear was created way back in the Stone Age, tens of thousands of years ago. The earliest humans wrapped animal skins around themselves to stave off the cold of the Ice Age. These early wraps weren’t really coats, not yet. They were more like cloaks or capes, which would evolve and become a part of fashion in their own way later.
Real coats actually came behind jackets, well after the Stone Age. And the Bronze Age. And the Iron Age. They didn’t come along during the Classical period of Greece and Rome.
Jackets didn’t show up in fashion until the later Middle Ages when both men and women began wearing outer gowns. These gowns were a top layer worn over other clothing and usually had short sleeves or no sleeves. They were worn open, so the clothes underneath were still visible, and they weren’t really coats, as regular outerwear was still worn.
True coats finally appeared in the late 1600s. Greatcoats appeared in England as long, full overcoats that went on over all other clothing. They were full, loose, long coats. Women began wearing their own version of the greatcoat in the late 1700s. It was floor-length and made to fit over long, full skirts.
Coat style pretty much exploded from here, with all sorts of different designs emerging. As different materials and technologies became available, more styles appeared in the fashion world, and coats with different features were created. There are many types of long coats to choose from these days, a much bigger selection than back when everyone just wore the same greatcoat style.
Now, you can use coats to flatter your figure, show off your personality or strike a certain style chord to look elegant or sophisticated or sexy or anything else you want to be. Isn’t fashion fun? Play around with different types of long coats and find out which ones are your favorites.
Types of Long Coats
There are tons of long coat styles to choose from. Find the ones that you like best or decide to add them all to your coat wardrobe. There are enough different long coat styles for you to stay busy, and fashionable, for several winters.
The Chesterfield is a long, beltless coat with short, wide lapels and three decorative buttons on each sleeve. It can be single- or double-breasted. The Chesterfield has a breast pocket, two hip pockets, and a waist pocket in classic designs. This is a long coat that falls past the knees. This is an elegant, sophisticated long coat style that works as business attire and as semi-formal wear.
The covert is a type of overcoat that was originally designed to be a man’s riding coat. It has a slim, close-fitting style with a breast pocket, two front pockets, and an extra waist pocket.
One distinct feature of this coat is the hem, which is finished with four decorative seams, a style that’s known as “railroading.” This effect is on the sleeves and the hem of the coat. The covert is about knee-length. This is a more casual or sporting coat that’s perfect for everyday cold weather wear.
This is a classic English overcoat that’s made for all-occasion wear. It’s a simple, straight design with short, wide lapels and straight, wide sleeves. This overcoat has two front flap pockets and a chest pocket. The Crombie is a single-breasted design, and it’s often made in dark colors.
Since the coat appeared in the 1890s, it has been a staple of British fashion. The Crombie works as business wear or semi-formal attire, but it can definitely be worn as an everyday winter coat, too.
The duffle coat, or duffel coat, is a long coat style with two oversized front pockets, toggle closures, and a hood. This was a military-issue overcoat for sailors in the Royal British Navy. It became popular with civilians after the end of WWII. The duffle coat is slightly above knee-length. Made to be waterproof or at least water-resistant, the duffle coat keeps bodies warmer and dryer even in cold, wet conditions.
This is a good casual coat for when you’re working outdoors or spending time outdoors on any cold, wet day.
No other coat is associated with the Wild West, quite like the duster. This long, simple coat has two oversized front pockets with flaps, a button-front closure that only runs the length of the torso, a collar, and cuffed sleeves. The duster was popularized by American movies about the Old West, but the coat actually comes from Australia. It was made by a sailor who soaked his coats in linseed oil to make them waterproof.
This coat has a distinct and instantly recognizable style, and it’s perfect for any sort of casual winter wear, though it might be a little too casual for the office or any semi-formal or formal event.
The loden coat is named for the waterproof wool that’s used to make it. This wool is also what gives the loden its distinct green color. This coat has a collar, a single-breasted front button closure, and bands with buttons on each sleeve.
This is a great everyday long coat style that can be worn for just about anything, from casual wear to business wear to semi-formal attire.
The mackintosh, or macintosh, was the first waterproof overcoat. It was invented in 1823 by Charles Macintosh, who was a chemist by trade. He figured out how to waterproof coats using two pieces of wool and a rubber compound. This classic style is still made, and the waterproofing formula still works. The mac, as it’s called, is just above knee-length and has a single-breasted design.
This is a classic style that works well as daily wear, and of course, it’s perfect for any rainy day. The macintosh can be worn for business attire or semi-formal occasions as well.
The polo overcoat was introduced by Brooks Brothers in 1910 and became a classic right away. This long coat was considered to be the American take on the Ulster, a popular style of British overcoat. This is a belted overcoat with a double breast and two rows of buttons down the front. The sleeves are cuffed, and the coat has short, wide-notched lapels.
This long coat is truly an all-occasion design that works for everything. Wear it for casual to semi-formal to formal attire or as business attire.
Burberry, a famous name in fashion, was the first to create the trench coat, now one of the most iconic types of long coats. Originally made for the British military to use during WWI, the trench coat design was too good not to appeal to civilians, too. This first classic style was made in a long design, below knee-length, with a matching belt with buckle closure.
A similar belt and buckle design are on each of the long sleeves, which can be used to adjust the fit. The classic trench coat is a double-breasted design with a collar. Epaulets on the shoulders add a military touch.
The reason it’s called a trench coat? Also, because of WWI was a conflict that was defined by its trench warfare. The classic trench coat can be worn for daily wear, casual style, or business style, but it’s a little too every day for semi-formal or formal wear.
The Ulster overcoat is a classic British style. It’s named for a province in Ireland, and it has a distinct, traditional design. The Ulster has two rows of four buttons in a double-breasted design, two front flap pockets, sleeves finished with hand-stitching, a back box pleat, and a slim-fitting design that looks very well-tailored and elegant. It falls to just below the knees.
This is an elegant coat style that works well for anything, even formal wear.
The Types of Long Coats You Should Wear
Which types of long coats should you wear? Why not try them all? There are many different types of long coats, and all have their own distinct looks and embellishments. Find out which ones you like best and play around with different coat styles to complement all of your outfits. A great coat can take you anywhere you want to go.
Still have questions about the different long coat styles? We’ve got the answers to the most frequently asked questions about the different types of long coats. Learn them all and get all the info that the experts have so you can always expertly style all of your long coats.
How long does a long coat have to be?
What makes a long coat a long coat? If the coat is just above the knee or longer, it’s a long coat. This is a pretty simple way to classify long coats apart from short and medium coat styles.
Which long coat style best suits your body type?
If you are shorter, long coats may not be an option for you because long coat styles can swamp your frame and make you appear even shorter. Taller people can wear long coats easily, while shorter bodies should stick to shorter long coat types.
At any height, the natural shape of your body matters. If you have wider hips, stay away from coats with large front pockets. This will add bulk to your silhouette and emphasize your hips, which you don’t want.
If you have a larger bustline, you’d rather not draw a ton of attention to, look for a coat with a lower opening. Higher openings will make you look even bustier. If your waist lacks definition and you’re a bit more round in shape, look for beltless styles.
When should you wear a long coat?
Long coats are just the thing to wear in cold, icy winter weather. But when should you wear a long coat and when shouldn’t you? On any cold day when the temperature is low, it’s perfectly fine to wear a long coat everywhere.
You definitely should be wearing a long coat if you’re going to a formal event or if you’re wearing a long dress, as well. Long coats also look really good with formal business attire, especially if you want to make an impression.
Are long coats in style?
Long coats were definitely the thing to wear in Victorian London in the 1800s…but how about now? Are long coats still in style in the modern world, or is this look over? Trench coats and other types of long coats are definitely still cool.
The hottest celebs are still wearing long coat styles, even the classic designs that have origins deeply rooted in the past. Some things never go out of style, and the coats on this list are among them. You can freely wear long coats whenever the style mood suits you because when it comes to being in style, long coats are here to stay.
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