Skip to main content

Look stylish everywhere you go: Here’s how to wear that new overcoat

These tips will up your style points

man's overcoat
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Here we are, getting into the cold, wet winter. While you are undoubtedly trying to stay inside and avoid the frigid temperatures, there are some instances when you must emerge from your blanket cocoon and venture outdoors.

When you do need to go out, you pile on the layers that end with a stellar overcoat that keeps you warm, dry, and stylish. Luckily you have already chosen the best men’s overcoat for yourself; now you just need the finer details to help you wear it confidently and keep you looking great, even if you’re eager to rush home and get back under the covers for the next Netflix binge.

Here is our starting point for wearing the overcoat the way it was intended.

Man wearing an overcoat holding a coffee
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Check the fit

What you have in the closet is what we’ll work with. Hopefully, you checked out our guide to buying an overcoat and got the right fit for yourself. Maybe you even got a stylish men’s wool overcoat. Regardless of what overcoat you choose, the size of the coat that you bought will determine what you can wear underneath your coat.

For instance, you want the coat to be longer than your suit jacket and, most often, end above your knees. The sleeves should reach the first knuckle of your thumb — long enough to cover the sleeves of your jacket or sweater you have underneath it. Remember that the thicker your layers, the shorter the sleeves of your overcoat will be, making the size important.

Man wearing a gray overcoat
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Single-breasted overcoat

If you picked up a single-breasted overcoat, you have an outerwear garment that can range from formal over your best suits to something more casual. It’s a bit of an elevated style, so the ultra-casual looks won’t always work best with this coat. A single-breasted overcoat is known for the single column of buttons down the middle and usually a skinnier lapel, similar to your best suits.

When dressing this coat up, make sure you button up the front and pair it with the right scarf, gloves, and hat to complete a look. The most stylish ensembles will make sure the coat and accessories complement the outfit underneath.

To dress this coat down, keep it open and pair it with a sweater and denim. If you wear a scarf, let it drape instead of knotting it around your neck.

Man wearing a tan overcoat over a suit
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Double-breasted overcoat

If you chose a double-breasted overcoat, you are the pinnacle of class and style. This is the most traditional overcoat and is meant to elevate anything you wear with it. It’s known for its wider lapels and two columns of buttons, usually six buttons in total. The first thing to always keep in mind is that this coat is always designed to be worn buttoned up with the bottom button left open, exactly like your double-breasted suits.

There’s no need to attempt to dress this coat up; the job is done for you. Wear your suits underneath and jazz them up with the best accessories. Some of these coats have breast pockets, so if you’re feeling sassy, you can wear a pocket square just like you would with your suits.

If you’re trying to dress this coat down, don’t. A peacoat is a more casual double-breasted coat, but if you really want to wear this coat, we wouldn’t recommend wearing it with anything more casual than dress pants and a button-up.

Duffle coat
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Duffle coat

If the duffle coat is your choice, you value variety and versatility. This coat ranges from ultra-casual to elevated dress ensembles better than any other on this list. This single-breasted coat is known primarily for the wooden toggle buttons. It’s casual enough to work with just about any look, but the coat’s military history helps it elevate everything in your closet.

When dressing this coat up, remember that it spans a wide range of uses. That means it’s just under the double-breasted coats in formality. If possible, remove the hood to keep it understated.

Just like it falls just below the double-breasted coat in formality, it sits just above the peacoat in casual attire. Keep the hood on and unbutton the coat to show off your simple sweater or henley underneath.

Man wearing a khaki raincoat
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Mackintosh overcoat

If you chose the Mackintosh as your overcoat, there are two reasons. One, you live in a place like the Pacific Northwest that sees a fair amount of rain, and you need the waterproof feature. Two, you really love the movie Casablanca. This coat features a waxed outer layer that keeps you dry in even the heaviest of downpours and a belt that keeps the coat nice and tight around your body in heavy storm winds.

Dressing this coat up consists of simply protecting your more formal outfits, such as your suit and ties. If it’s raining, the best practice is to ditch the scarf and button this coat up to your neck to keep your clothes underneath clean and dry.

While this coat will work with anything and is more for function than fashion, you could swap this out with more of a puffy or quilted jacket to protect your casual ensembles.

Man wearing a black peacoat
Image used with permission by copyright holder


This is perhaps the most casual overcoat on this list, and that’s likely because it isn’t precisely an overcoat. A peacoat is generally cut much shorter than the rest of these overcoats, sitting about mid-thigh or higher. Because of this, it is best kept away from more formal events. If you like the double-breasted look, keeping a double-breasted overcoat for your formal looks and a peacoat for your informal looks isn’t a bad idea.

To dress this one up, you can wear it over a turtleneck for a classy look. If you want to show off a contemporary look, wear dark-dress denim with a button-down collared shirt and a knit tie for a stylish and elevated casual outfit.

There’s no need to dress down the peacoat as it’s already a casual coat. If you want to create a classy casual look, though, reach back to the nautical history of the coat and wear it with navy chinos and a white T-shirt the way sailors wore it when these coats first appeared on the boats.

J.Crew Ludlow Car Coat
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Car coat

A car coat is very similar to a peacoat, with the exception that a car coat is a single-breasted coat while a peacoat is a double-breasted one. As the name suggests, car coats were originally designed to keep early automobile drivers and their passengers warm while they were out for a drive, as most cars of the time had open tops. Car coats were originally much longer garments, but as time went by, they evolved into the shorter style that generally stops at the mid-thigh area that we see today.

Car coats are designed to be worn looser than some other overcoats, and they are a good choice to pair with more casual outfits like jeans and sweaters. Because of its shorter length, it’s best to avoid wearing a car coat with more formal clothing, such as a suit.

Mark McKee
Mark is a full-time freelance writer and men's coach. He spent time as a style consultant and bespoke suit salesman before…
How to get Austin Butler’s look: You need a Carhartt jacket (and these are the best to get)
The Carhartt Detroit Jacket (and more)
Austin Butler


Recently, Academy Award-nominated actor Austin Butler showcased his signature style, leaving Polo Bar draped in a vintage black Carhartt workwear jacket, adorned with a brown corduroy collar. The Carhartt jacket ensemble also featured a black baseball cap, loose black trousers, and old black shoes, and it exuded an aura we affectionately term "incognito Austin Butler."

Read more
Thrift shopping: How to do it like a pro
Tips to help you make the most of secondhand style thrifting
Person thrift shopping

So, you want to learn how to thrift shop like a pro. And who could blame you? When done well, thrift shopping, or thrifting, can be a fantastic way to find unique, one-of-a-kind clothing that’s as stylish as it is affordable. However, it can also be time-consuming and frustratingly fruitless, leaving folks empty-handed or, worse, saddled with new duds that are little more than, well … duds.

But worry not, you burgeoning vintage aficionado, you! There are plenty of tricks you can employ to save yourself from the pitfalls of thrifting, and I’ve assembled the best of ‘em right here. Below, I’m going to walk you through every step of a successful second-hand expedition, from getting in the right mindset to navigating vintage stores like a champ.

Read more
If you wear this clothing item on a Caribbean vacation, you may regret it
Close up hands of young african man packing luggage before going on vacation. Travel and vacation concept.

One of the perks of heading on a Caribbean vacation is not needing to pack much. Besides a pair of swim trunks, a few linen shirts, and some shorts to beat the hot days, there isn't much that goes into packing for a tropical location. While there are plenty of necessities like sandals and sunglasses, there is one thing you want to be sure of before heading off to your next Caribbean vacation. While it might seem odd, camouflage is the one piece you'll want to consider leaving behind before heading out on your vacation. Leaving behind your camo pieces is not about style or looks (although some would say camo should be illegal in the fashion world); it's a matter of the law. 

While in the States, camouflage can be seen anywhere and can play into a street-style trend, it's considered to be illegal in many Caribbean countries. While it's unlikely you'll face grave consequences as a tourist (depending on your destination), it is an inconvenience you should avoid at all costs. 

Read more