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Seasonal Staple

The Topcoat

Late fall is the season for layers. It's still too early to pull the heavy-duty winter coat out of its summer hibernation, but the brisk mornings and unpredictable forecasts call for a sturdy shield against the elements. Enter the topcoat, one of the most flexible pieces of outerwear that you can wear even into the snowiest months of winter. Styled much like a thicker, longer sports coat, the topcoat originated as a smart outer shell for those wearing a suit. However, if you consider that the topcoat is more "coat meets blazer," you can truly realize its potential. Of course, you can wear it into the office, but if you're looking to lock together a casual look, sport it unbuttoned with a solid sweatshirt and some jeans. If it's cooler, pull the coat over a denim jacket for another layer. And while you could certainly opt for bolder checked patterns, luxe leather sleeves or lighter shades like camel, a topcoat in charcoal grey or navy blue provides Olympic gymnast-level flexibility in your wardrobe.


    A Note on Fit: The best top coats should have a tailored fit and a slightly relaxed shoulder like a coat, and hit about a palm's width above the knee. In terms of sizing, you want a coat that's the same size as the suit jacket you wear—not a size larger.

From left to right:

J.Crew, $450; La Marque, $635; Club Monaco, $389; Banana Republic, $275