Most overcoats these days come about mid-thigh. That’s partly because most are worn by men who drive on a regular basis, so they need to be long enough to cover a sport coat or suit jacket, but not so long that they’d get in the way as the wearer enters or exits a car. There’s also been a trend for the last ten or fifteen years for shorter and shorter clothes. The hems for tailored jackets and trousers, for example, have slowly crept up over the years, and along with them, the hems of overcoats.
There are few things better than a long overcoat, however. Something that comes down to your knees – possibly even longer – can add a sense of drama to whatever else you’re wearing. With a suit, a long overcoat can feel commanding and authoritative. With a chunky sweater and some jeans, they can add a touch of sophistication to an otherwise casual ensemble. The best part comes when you move. When the hem of an overcoat hangs around your knees, it can sway in a really beautiful way as you walk.
There aren’t that many places that sell long overcoats, unfortunately. Ben Silver, O'Connell’s, Cordings, Brooks Brothers, and Ralph Lauren have them in fairly traditional designs, while Chimala, Eidos, and Camoshita have them in slightly more fashion-forward styles. For more bang-for-your-buck, try eBay or your local thrift store. Since overcoats tend to be durably built and classically styled, they’re the kind of thing you can easily buy second-hand for not too much money and still wear today.
When choosing one, pay attention to fit, but don’t be afraid to play around a bit with proportions. A long overcoat with soft shoulders, worn slightly oversized, can make for a great statement piece. Pair one with a scarf for a rakish look.
We are now in the very dead of winter on the United States East Coast, when every joule of body heat is crowned and cherished. Your first lines of defense against the cold should be a hefty overcoat, a chunky scarf, and some well-lined gloves. Then a waistcoat, a hat, and some long underwear if you still need extra protection. But if your office dress code allows it, another way to stay warm while looking casual and sophisticated is to wear a turtleneck sweater under your jacket.
We turn to the often-photographed Japanese designer Yasuto Kamoshita for inspiration. Yasuto was one of the original founders of United Arrows back in the late 1980s and today runs his own (somewhat) eponymous brand, Camoshita. He mixes Italian and American influences, which he says he wears in a slightly more modern, Japanese way. His looks are a bit hip, to be sure, but even the most conservative of dressers can take away some style lessons:
The Casual Brown Suit: You don’t see brown suits terribly often these days, but they make for great warm weather wear. Particularly in materials such as cotton or linen (and especially linen), they give a more casual and relaxed sensibility than their navy and charcoal counterparts. Yasuto shows how to wear one with a black tie and some brown derbies, or more casually with a bold shirt (remember, the bolder the pattern on a shirt, the more casual it looks). The best thing about brown suits: you can break the jacket and trousers up and wear them separately. See the first photo for how Yasuto combines a pair of brown pants with a navy blazer and light blue shirt. A bit different from the usual navy with grey combo, but very stylish.
Your Summer Blues: It’s been said that blue is one of the most flattering colors you can wear, whether that’s through navy suits or light blue shirts, and it’s true. It’s gentle on your complexion, plays well with other colors, and if you happen to have blue eyes, may even make you sparkle. For the summer months, consider something outside of your traditional navy sport coats, however. Yasuto here wears a seersucker suit with a Nigerian print tie and a Carolina blue suit with dark, patterned neckwear. If you’re a shy little flower, like me, try anchoring the seersucker with a black knit tie and go for a slightly darker suit. I love this color on the late Francesco Smalto.
Low Contrast Moves: Tonal or low-contrast looks can be a sophisticated way of making a statement. In the fall or winter months, you can do this by combining various shades of browns, grays, and olive. In the warmer seasons, however, you’ll want to brighten up those colors. Yasuto here wears a white shirt with off-white pants, although he breaks it up a little with a striped sweater. In the other photo, he wears a tan sport coat with beige pants, a white shirt, and a sunflower-colored tie. Perfect for spring.
Home Style: OK, not strictly about spring/ summer. The last photo shows what Yasuto wears when he’s at home in Edogawa, which is east Tokyo. Here he’s photographed in an embroidered grandad-collar shirt and loose cotton trousers (still rocking that cuff). It looks comfy, but I’m mostly including the image because it has tea and a puppy, which are things everyone should like year-round.
On the occasion of its 5th Anniversary, acclaimed menswear haven Trunk Clothiers have put together an exclusive newspaper portraying a glimpse into its outstandingly curated selection of garments for AW15. Besides their in-house knitwear and suiting label, the retailer carries gems like Mackintosh, Camoshita and Heschung.
Charcoal grays, deep navys, and dark browns work well in the fall and winter months, but spring and summer provide an excellent opportunity to wear lighter colors. My favorites include the various shades of mid-blues you see above. These include French blue (which used to be common in men’s dress shirts), slate blue (a powdery color), and Air Force blue (a pure blue that’s similar to the color of the sky on a clear day). With a tailored jacket in one of these colors, you can have a great sport coat to wear with cream or tan trousers. With a suit, you have something smart for social occasions.
The only trick here is to wear the right shirt. With certain shades, you can wear a light blue shirt, but once the jacket’s color is light enough, you’ll want to use a white or ecru shirt in order to ensure there’s enough contrast.
Unfortunately, sport coats and suits in these colors aren’t easy to find. The most affordable ones might be at J. Crew and Suit Supply. The styling on Suit Supply’s website is really fashion forward, but the garments themselves are often much more classic looking than their site suggests. There’s also this really nice Camoshita suit at No Man Walks Alone. The price is expensive, but the store is having a sale this week on all their Japanese brands (which includes Camoshita). You can take 20% off with the code BLOSSOM and see how Camoshita’s jackets fit here, as they’re modeled on Kyle (a No Man Walks Alone employee).
Of course, the color works just as well in non-tailored clothing. If you’d like something more casual, try knitwear. Inis Meain has a fantastic (albeit expensive) one made from linen. Their linen yarns are unique in that they have a subtle “bounce back” quality to them. Like wool, this helps their sweaters retain their original shapes, and makes the fabrics feel like they have a bit more “life” to them (as they’re not just hanging limply on your body). More affordably, Brooks Brothers has a Saxxon wool sweater in deep teal, while Howard Yount has some lambswool sweaters in brighter blues.
If there was ever a brand whom I constantly turned to for inspiration on a variety of menswear related subjects, it was most definitely Camoshita. In my opinion, Yasuto Kamoshita is, along with fellow United Arrows mastermind Hirofumi Kurino, one of the most influential creative personas in the current men’s “fashion” scene. Influential not in a hyped sense, but in a much profound and ultimately richer one: his unique interpretation of men’s style explores the core essence of menswear in a transversal manner, superbly merging influences from both Western and Eastern cultures.
His unparalleled knowledge of distinct styles such as American Ivy League and Italian sprezzatura, allow Yasuto Kamoshita to subtly imbue them with a trademark Japanese touch, resulting in a unique blend of garments that exude sophistication the moment you lay eyes upon them. The unmatched mix of graphic patterns, textures, lengths and proportions, along with an inherent comprehension of how formal and casual can seamlessly coexist within an ensemble, is only surpassed by the distinct color combinations on display.
The brand continuously delivers an uncanny color palette, often overlooked by many, out of fear or ignorance… however, when you’re faced with micro patterned maroon polos mixed with mustard jacquard knits and a range of brown, burgundy and turquoise, you can’t help but feel utterly overwhelmed on all fronts: both by his foresighted genius and your inability to understand the full potential of those combinations.
Created in 2007 by Yasuto Kamoshita, one of the founders of United Arrows and influential menswear figure, Camoshita bridges the worlds of Ivy League style, Italian classic tailoring and Japanese taste.