Short Coats for the Winter


With the winter’s wind and dropping temperatures marching across most of the northern hemisphere, it’s time to open up the closet and pull out a good coat. While there are many options – from ski parkas to quilted jean jackets – if you’re heading off to work it should be something a little dressier.

When it comes to men’s coats, there are a number of perfectly respectable options. Chesterfields, polo coats, camel hair, and coverts; and each have its place. But for something a little more modern and portable, try a short coat.

Short coats tend to end somewhere between the waist and mid-thigh area. As with their longer brethren, short coats can be put to use in formal and casual environments but they possess the additional benefit of comfort and variety.

Short coats have less fabric floating around and can be more comfortable for people who commute via public transportation. They also have a less formal feel about them even though many varieties are designed to the same level of detail as longer coats.

As a general category, Car Coats are classic and have a lightly formal design that can be worn over a suit or whenever you want to present a simple professional look. The clean lines, often with slash or patch pockets, make the traditional car coat versatile and useful.

Another classic option is the traditional Navy Pea Coat. This season, I have seen all sorts of takes on this truly timeless short coat. From leather to cashmere, a pea coat’s innate style translates well. And as long as you don’t choose some funky patterned version, it’s almost guaranteed never to go out of style.

Duffel or Toggle Coats are perfect for cold, windy days and those times when you look to project a casual and preppy sense of style. The coat’s toggle latches, patch pockets and cozy personality are a great way to inject some fun into your day.

The Barbour Jacket is an iconic choice that pretty much looks great on everyone. Barbour jackets speak of country houses, wealthy relatives, shooting weekends and galloping your favorite mount across the estate. In addition, they are a practical investment and one of those things that looks better the more it is abused. With its liner zipped in, you have a warm and waterproof outer layer that looks at home in the field or the concrete jungle.

Foul weather gear and technical jackets are a fun and functional alternative to “traditional” business oriented outerwear. As I mentioned in an earlier column, when done well, I am a fan of technical parkas worn over dress clothes. When wearing casual or weekend clothes, these jackets hit just the right note. They provide protection, are usually very comfortable and have an unmistakably rugged style.

As you can see, this is one of those subjects can literally fill a book. Cold weather coats come in myriad styles and sizes – bomber jackets, mackintoshes, raglan sleeved overcoats and wool lined barn coats. The list is endless. Try on different styles that appeal to you and go for what feels right.


Chris Hogan, an association executive based in Washington, D.C., blogs at A lifelong interest in style and clothing led to sales and management positions at several Ralph Lauren stores and an active wardrobe consulting practice


  1. Sam Jones says:

    “With the winter’s wind and dropping temperatures marching across most of the northern hemisphere”? God, you write like a student. Are you trying to sound poncy and get the most of your thesaurus (not to mention your wordcount) or are you actually going to make a point?

    And is there a reason that your postings never contain anything factual, original or personal?

  2. Sam Jones says:

    “One of those subjects that can literally fill a book”? As opposed to what, metaphorically filling a book?

  3. Sam,

    Thank you for such a spirited set of comments. I am sorry you feel that my writing style does not meet your particular standards, but I must say I find yours entertaining, albeit a little theatrical.

    The topics about which I write are extremely personal and certainly original. As to factual, I am not sure what you’re getting at. Do you mean that I do not always write product reviews? Guilty. Perhaps you feel that by offering guidance, suggestions, observations and opinion I am somehow being fictional. If so, I am afraid there is nothing I can do for you.

    Regarding your second comment, there is a wonderful little book by Vittoria De Buzzaccarini that you should read called “Men’s Coats.” Literally, it’s all about men’s coats.

    Best regards,


  4. Sam,

    The substance of the article was just fine. If you don’t like the writing, TS, go somewhere else and complain there. You certainly didn’t add anything of substance to the comment thread.

  5. First of all, congratulations Chris on useful piece of advice and even more on gentlemanly response to ungentlemanly comments. When I come across comments like this on blogs and forums I just can’t explain myself what could possibly be motivation to these people…

  6. Chris, that was gentlemanly response indeed. Being nowhere near as gentlemanly as Chris I’ll delete all comments that are impolite in future. Comments are welcome, even those where you disagree or even dislike us, as long as they are not annoying and offensive.

  7. Sam Jones has a tendency and history of leaving negative comments on posts. He is clearly an angry, repressed person.

  8. ‘My days of whining and complaining about others have come to an end. Nothing is easier than fault finding. All it will do is discolor my personality so that none will want to associate with me. That was my old life. No more.’
    Og Mandino