I read with interest Winston Chesterfield’s post on Camel Coats, and it put me in mind of a few weeks ago when I happened to pass a charity shop and spotted a little talked about, and underrated classic, the Loden Coat.
I say much underrated because, while every bit a classic style of overcoat, it has been overshadowed for some years by the trend towards Covert Coats and, for those inclined to play it really safe, the standard navy, black or grey Crombie.
The name Loden actually refers not to the design of the coat, but the process by which the cloth of the coat is made, which gives it a number of useful properties. This handy little layman’s guide explains all - and saves me about 10 minutes keyboard work.
Originally a garment for Austrian and German huntsmen, what you end up with, by virtue of the cloth, is a practical, lightweight, wind proof and water resistant coat steeped in European history which is just as acceptable in town or country.
As I say, while the name Loden doesn’t specifically refer to the styling of the coat, and there are variants using the cloth, the authentic look, and the one I spotted, features a loose almost tent like cut, a deep centre vent down the back, no lining and a double layer of cloth over the shoulders for warmth. While you can commonly find examples in blue, the bottle green is the classic. As to length, the coat’s hem should come to rest just below the knee.
The example I came across was made by Aquascutum, it was my size, in excellent knick and just £40 – expect to pay £350 upwards new. Looking back I could kick myself for not snapping it up. My hesitation was down to the fact that, in general, I’ve seen the Loden coat work best on those of age upwards of thirty five. That said it would have made a beautiful country coat for those weekends when I head home to Norfolk.
A Teutonic masterpiece; not something you’ll here an Englishman say very often.