If there’s one thing November demands it’s a good coat. I was painfully reminded of this the other day when I foolishly left home without one. Despite it being gloomy rain hadn’t been forecast, and as I rode the train home I was sure that I’d managed to avoid a soaking.
I was wrong.
As I got off the train the heavens opened. It soon became clear that this wasn’t a five-minute shower that I could wait out. I made a dash for home, and though I was outside for only a few minutes my suit got drenched. Only time will tell if there’s been any lasting damage to it.
A lesson learned, then, and one that led to me thinking about coats. In Tokyo at least, it’s still not cold enough for wool overcoats, like the covert or Chesterfield. What’s needed is a good cotton trench coat that’s both light and waterproof.
The length and cut of trench coats can vary. Short-length trench coats may look quite fashionable and rakish this year (especially on, erm… rakes, I suppose), but are unlikely to become wardrobe staples and aren’t particularly practical: the act of walking exposes the trousers above the knees to the most rain. A trench coat that ends at the knees is, therefore, much more useful.
It goes without saying that trench coats should be bought with suit jackets in mind: they need to fit over them. They don’t have to be enormously large, however. Ideally, they should still be small enough to wear sans suit jacket without making the wearer look like an under-sized teenage WWI officer. Try on as many as possible, both with and without a suit jacket, to find the perfect fit.
Finally, colour. While tan is considered the traditional trench coat colour, it’s possible to buy them in red, green, purple… in fact almost any colour you can think of. For longevity’s sake (a good trench coat is a lifetime investment, after all) it’s best to stick with classic colours that compliment your workday clothes. Tan, navy, grey and black are all sensible choices. A subtle pattern, such as herringbone on charcoal grey, adds interest when paired with a plain suit and offers a range of possibilities to the seasoned pattern mixer.