Help me find a classic men's winter coat
January 21, 2013 9:12 AM   Subscribe

I'm a man in my late-30s and want a winter coat that's less Urban Outfitters, more classic and grown-up. Help?

Even though I've never shopped at UO, I feel like that general "alt-lite" style has been part of my wardrobe for much too long. In past winters, I've usually had puffy coats that look like a little trendy, or like sleeping bags, or have big furry hoods like I'm in a early-2000s Brit rock band. I guess all of these have gotten consciously less okay with me as I'm closer to 40...

If I was taller and broader, some variation of a peacoat might look ok, but I'm average height and quite slim. Also, many peacoats have a corporate/politico Washington DC kind of look for me, which isn't right...

(Sorry this winter coat thread seems so judgment-loaded, I'm just trying to be specific.)

One more wrinkle is that I pretty much only wear black or charcoal pants and want a non-black coat to offset that so I don't look too grim reaper-y either.

Anyway, I still want something that is at least a tiny bit hip or interesting, but not shiny, not puffy, not trying to make me look young. Maybe something wool or maybe herringbone? (I barely know what I'm talking about)

posted by deern the headlice to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (21 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: The standard answer is Filson. Expensive, but well made and durable. Style ranges from the urbane to workwear, and would be the opposite of "alt-lite".
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:18 AM on January 21, 2013 [2 favorites]

This kind of coat seems to be in right now, and might match what you want.
posted by overhauser at 9:25 AM on January 21, 2013

do you want something worky or casual? Honestly you should have both.

I have a Filson jacket I love (and when the hem on the sleeve opened up they replaced it!!) but when I wear a jacket or a suit its a little casual. For that you need something more like these
posted by JPD at 9:26 AM on January 21, 2013

Best answer: Brooklyn Industries is basically the only place I can buy a large coat and not look like a teenager or a goober. This one is actually my current winter coat (and has been for about 3 years) but it might be a little too alt-lite for you.
posted by griphus at 9:26 AM on January 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

Yeah - I see duffle coats everywhere on 30's-40's guys here in downtown NYC.
posted by JPD at 9:27 AM on January 21, 2013

(Actually, no, my coat is totally different than that one now that I look at the pockets. But the same general cut.)
posted by griphus at 9:27 AM on January 21, 2013

My thought would be something single-breasted, about mid-thigh, in either charcoal or medium brown. (I personally really like how the interior zipper + outer buttons on that Nautica coat strike a balance between classic and casual.)
posted by drlith at 9:42 AM on January 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

If you live in a city, I recommend seeing a personal stylist at Nordstrom for a good winter coat. Many coats are on sale now, and the stylists bring you a variety of options based on your price point, style, etc. And the stylists can help you figure out what sorts of alterations can be made so that it's tailored to your body.

It seems a bit extravagant, I know, but it's worth every penny.
posted by frizz at 9:43 AM on January 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

If you don't mind paying a premium, Nau makes some great grown-up yet stylish jackets.
posted by golden at 9:54 AM on January 21, 2013

mrgood wears a lot of vintage wool car coats he's collected over the years. Sometimes I think they're called topcoats, rather than overcoats - they're a little shorter, for when you want to look more put-together, but don't need something long enough to cover a suit (though many do.) We get them from estate sales and vintage stores - they have lasted all these years very well, and barring those evil f*cking bastard moths, with good care, will last many many more. Occasionally Pendleton will come out with a really good car coat - the Fremont was one, if you can find one.
posted by peagood at 10:04 AM on January 21, 2013

I'm very fond of my duffel coat, which is a long, brown one from Gloverall. It's a british classic that gives a friendly impression, and one that seems to be getting in fashion now. If you buy good quality, it should last you a lifetime. I don't have a problem combining the brown wool with black trousers and shoes, but if you're bold you can also go for a camel-colored one.
posted by springload at 10:35 AM on January 21, 2013

Best answer: Macy's is having a coat sale now, and if you troll the papers, there's always a coupon for 20% off.

I know this one is black, but it's so chic!

Here's a camel colored car coat. I think the color is too light to hold up to city use, but you be the judge.

Here's a really beautiful overcoat in charcoal.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 10:44 AM on January 21, 2013

I hope this is on-topic... I wanted to suggest that you go with a gray, charcoal, or black coat, and also find a colorful (or differently colored) scarf to give you some brightness.
posted by bluedaisy at 11:36 AM on January 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I have this Levi's coat, and quite like it. Zip out the bib and hood and it's a bit less casual - though still not formal.

Fore slightly more formal wear, I have the J Crew University coat. Doesn't seem to be on their website any longer, however.
posted by schoolgirl report at 1:18 PM on January 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

Mmmmm, Stutterheim....
posted by furnace.heart at 5:10 PM on January 21, 2013

The J. Crew University coat is still on their website, and on sale. They only have black and charcoal so it doesn't really match your specifications but there's an additional 40% off today (Mon, Jan 21, 2013) so you can get a coat that normally retails for $235 for $87 including shipping. Refunds and exchanges aren't allowed if you use the sale coupon, so caveat emptor.
posted by scottdavidsanders at 5:24 PM on January 21, 2013

where are you located? this may not be helpful, since I ordered it in canada, but I got my boyfriend this coat for christmas, and it's really nice - very stylish and well-made
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 6:59 PM on January 21, 2013

I know you said you didn't want a peacoat, but I just got one in a dark green (a little darker than the AskMe green, actually) from these guys and I love it. I think the green might help it be less corporate than a navy or black one and could help lighten your look against the dark pants.
posted by Aizkolari at 6:25 AM on January 22, 2013

Response by poster: These are fantastic guys, thank you. (Sorry I couldn't respond earlier, been having some connectivity problems).
posted by deern the headlice at 9:34 AM on January 22, 2013

Here's another spot to look for inspiration:

See also their Coats tag for more formal outerwear.
posted by Aizkolari at 10:40 AM on January 22, 2013

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