A Topcoat Tailored to Your Lifestyle

March 8th, 2011

There are only a few things that I think “every man should own”. A topcoat is one of them.

No piece of outerwear speaks “grown” or “mature” more than a proper-fitting topcoat. Boys don’t wear them, so in a sense, it marks your arrival as a “man”.

Regardless of your personal aesthetic, background or lifestyle, there is a style of topcoat for you.

Here, four different topcoats for four different impressions.

    1. The Tough Guy – Moleskin


    Moleskin (brushed cotton – think corduroy without the velvety “ribs”) is one of those tough and rugged fabrics that doesn’t necessarily look tough and rugged. It gives a sort of “contemporary cowboy in the city” vibe. It’s stiff, sturdy and breaks in well – just like a pair of my father’s original Levis or my brother’s leather cowboy boots.

    I’ve had this coat for several years and I like it more now than ever. It gets softer with age, works with just about anything from a shirt & tie to a t-shirt & jeans, and always remains sharp and “put together” without feeling stuffy or too “dressed up”.

    Where I wore this: grocery shopping at the fish market in Chinatown

    Bonus Tip: for best versatility, go with a 3/4 length that hits at mid-thigh (like all of these).

    Bonus Tip II: a Canadian tuxedo (denim on denim) is much easier to carry when you top-it-off with a rugged outerwear piece in a neutral color.

    Bonus Tip III: I recommend having two sets of topcoats – one to be worn over jackets/blazers/suits, and the other for more streamlined looks over lighter layers. A middle ground does exist, although it’s very hard to find – more than likely it will be too restricting over a jacket or not sharp-fitting enough without one.

    • Brown moleskin topcoat by Banana Republic
    • Brown leather belt by JCrew
    • Denim shirt by RRL
    • “New Standard” Raw denim jeans by APC
    • Brown leather boots by Red Wing
    • Olive fingerless wool gloves from Army/Navy supply store

    2. The Old Money – Cashmere & Fur


    Sometimes you want to feel like a boss. Sometimes you want to feel like a boss’s boss. A topcoat this luxurious not only demands attention but also, in a way, demands respect.

    A cashmere topcoat is a dressy outerwear piece (especially if it’s an authoritative double breasted one with a fur collar). It should be worn over a suit or a very sharp casual look (think dark slim jeans, sleek leather lace-up, button-down shirt and lightweight sweater, for example).

    Where I wore this: to a design consulting appointment with a tailored clothier

    Bonus Tip: a removable fur collar is an innovative detail – not only does it bring a coat to the next level stylistically, its also functional as a built-in scarf (especially when you pop the collar).

    Bonus Tip II: Even more innovative? Removing it and wearing it with different looks. Coming soon”¦

    Bonus Tup III: Speaking of popped peak lapels, it can be a very chic detail to compliment a style-forward look (as Clark shows us here in his 3rd look).

    3. The Young Money – Camel Hair


    A great alternative to cashmere is camel hair. It can be just as soft and luxurious, but has a little more edge (and texture) to it. Keep in mind it comes in more colors than the standard beige camel, like this dyed navy version for example.

    Where I wore this: lunch with a friend at the Soho House (a high-end member’s only club)

    Bonus Tip: navy is the most versatile color for outerwear. You can wear it over just about any suit (other than black – but you shouldn’t be wearing black suits anyway unless you’re hitting the club or attending a funeral).

    Bonus Tip II: even though there are several elements of this look that are unexpected and “aggressive” in their styling (the grey/ivory/burnt orange windowpane suit, navy camel hair coat, gold buttons, 4″ wide silk knit tie, oxblood boots) because the base colors are conservative and neutral – navy, grey, light blue – it’s a young and expressive look that doesn’t scream “loud”.

    4. The Easy Goer – Cotton


    Looking for a 3/4 length layer to throw over just about anything?

    Just like an unconstructed blazer, an unlined cotton topcoat is lightweight, laid-back, and super versatile. It’s especially great for layering with casual looks (of course it can be dressed-up too). I’ll wear this thing with a shirt and tie to a midday meeting, then wear it with sweats to the gym later the same night.

    Where I wore this: menswear pattern-making class at the Fashion Institute of Technology, NYC

    Bonus Tip: pocket square in a topcoat? If it fits as well as a blazer, why not? (once in a while).

    Bonus Tip II: tortoiseshell shades are cool and classic, but everyone is wearing them. Woodgrain (preferably on actual wood) is a cool organic change of pace. The good people at Shwood sent me these, and I’ve been wearing the hell out of them on those surprisingly-sunny winter days.

    Thanks for reading.

    Yours in style,

    Dan Trepanier


    Photography by Alex Crawford.

    • greg

      Hi, great post. I really like the “Navy unlined cotton topcoat by Theory” but can’t find it anymore. Any suggestions for something similar? Thanks!

    • Jose

      What is “unlined”, for coats and jackets?

    • Dani

      Mmmmmmmmmmmmm, New Money-Old Money???

      New Money! The check-suit is impecable, and may I add not easy to pull off, and is that knit tie I see?


    • STEVE

      Finally a site that is functional and inspirational..love the style tips, they’re inventive, fun and imaginative.



    • obell

      Nice styles, love it all. Cool gear is an art, we collect it


    • l3on

      Just amazing. I gotta be honest, I never had many good impressions on topcoats, but as I see it’s all about the fitting.

      I’ll look around for one of these when winter comes…

    • Nick

      Hi SB,
      I have just finished reading the site from start to finish, has taken a few days! I was just wondering how you get your boss suits looking so fitted, as I have one and it seems rather long and the trousers rather big and wide for me even after getting the Jacket taken in. The same can be said for my other suit, what would you recommend I do to get them fitting better?

      Cheers Nick

      • http://www.thestyleblogger.com SB

        Hey Nick. Wow, that’s dedication!

        Keep in mind many brands, including Hugo Boss, make a number of different suit “cuts”. My favorite Boss (black label) cuts – the only ones I wear – are the “Eagle/Sharp” or “Jam/Sharp” which are their slimmer/younger/more modern fit.

        With that said, I get all of my off-the-rack suits tailored. The standard alterations are: taken up in the sleeves, tapered at the sides, tapered through the leg, and shortened hem. Although some jackets/pants require additional work.

        Hope this helps.


    • Matt

      The Hugo Boss suit paired with the burnt orange knit tie is excellent. I love that look for the “new money” caption. The blue navy cotton is definitely a great piece, I have been trying to find one of those or something like the blue trench you have. Any recommendation on which of those types would be better for a first outwear piece in Charleston, SC mostly dressing business casual for work and sharper for evenings out. Thank you.

      • http://www.thestyleblogger.com SB

        If you are looking for one outerwear piece to layer it over different looks I would recommend the single breasted – it is more versatile and wearing it open adds more dimension to an outfit since you can see the layers underneath better.

        Thanks for reading.


    • Economically

      Awesome and well done as usual Dan. Love the way you look away at the camera. Very professional indeed. I have got to tell ya bro, you are starting a revolution in men’s clothing. I am hearing a lot people mentioning your name. The buzz is out there.

      • http://www.thestyleblogger.com SB

        Thanks! This is just the beginning. -SB

    • Nader

      Love the Hugo suit, glad you’ve used it again.

      What about that post on lapel accessories ?

      • http://www.thestyleblogger.com SB

        Coming this Spring! (can’t have overcoats hiding them)


    • Alex

      Hey Are all your custom MAB suits and stuff the Sterling, Platinum, or signature models?

      • http://www.thestyleblogger.com SB

        Hey Alex. All of my MAB suits are from their Platinum (handmade) Collection.

        Thanks for reading.


    • James

      Looks 3 & 4 are killing it. Love the Hugo suit & I’d kill for that Theory coat.

    • Cory

      Nice post! Hey, I saw your name and clothes mentioned in NY Mag. Did you see that?

      • http://www.thestyleblogger.com SB

        Cool. I actually didn’t see it. Which issue?

        • Cory

          Best of New York shopping guide (suits)

          • http://www.thestyleblogger.com SB

            That’s cool – I designed everything on those mannequins.

            MAB had me design all 12 of the mannequins in their new studio for Spring – I’m really happy with how they came out.

            Thanks Cory!

            • Cory

              You bet! Keep up the great work!

    • Bill Burge

      Every time you have a pic of it, I can’t get over how much I love the the pockets of your tweed vest from your 3 piece. Somehow they give a casualness to it to make it seem less out of place when you dress it down without the jacket.

      Vests can so often look douchey without a jacket and this definitely does not.

      Might have to go have something tailored up myself.

      • http://www.thestyleblogger.com SB

        Good eye. Little subtleties like patch pockets can dramatically affect the “feel” of a piece, especially in tailored wear.

        Thx for reading,

    • Carter

      Thank you Dan for bringing back the Hugo Boss suit in look three! I recognize the piece from my favorite post of all time, “1 suit, 5 looks.” I find inspiration in the way you place your personality in each of your looks. I believe firmly that style is art, and you are an artist in his prime!
      Be Well

    • JK Ferguson

      Another great post Dan. Love the topcoat in the third, Young Money. Love the contrast of the gold buttons against the navy blue.


      • http://www.thestyleblogger.com SB


    • DCRob

      The 3rd look is amazing. I love that Hugo Boss suit, that pattern makes such a statement. Great job!

    • jeff

      Looking Great style,Dress style,hair style, and beautiful location, for photography make a marvelous outlook as you can watch in the following video.


      what a luxury style with beauty and action stuff it is.

    • Aei

      Just wondering, is there one missing?

      • http://www.thestyleblogger.com SB

        Sorry, that was a typo. 4 not 5. Might do Part II though.


    • Zach

      Nicely done. But in the intro you said 5 coats…I only count 4. I feel like I’m being shorted one!

      Also, any help as to what belt are you wearing in photos 1 and 4? Nice worn-in, casual belt, which is something I need as the current choice is on its last legs…

      • http://www.thestyleblogger.com SB

        Sorry, that was a typo. 4 not 5. Might do Part II though.

        Check the photo captions for all the brands (as always).


        • Zach

          Oh yeah. duh. Thanks!

    • eli

      Good post. Like the variety. Keep your posts coming. I come each day looking for a new post.

      • http://www.thestyleblogger.com SB

        Thx Eli

    • JIzzy

      Looks like you made quite a few top coat additions to the wardrobe this fall/winter season. I especially like the addition of the “Where I wore this”.

      I remember the Theory coat from some earlier posts, were any of the newer coats tailored at all? Maybe cropped a few inches, or brought in at the waist?

      Great as always!

      • http://www.thestyleblogger.com SB

        Most of these coats are a couple years old – with the exception of the fur trimmed D’Avenza. None of them were tailored – buying the correct size can avoid avoid seamstress fees.

        Thanks for reading,

    • Robin

      “Sometimes you want to feel like a boss. Sometimes you want to feel like a boss’s boss.”

      Nuff said my man.

      • http://www.thestyleblogger.com SB


    • MrThOmAs313

      Great post Dan, two thumbs up from Tha D……Im in love with the camel hair coat bro…

    • Kean

      What is the perfect length for a topcoat?

      • http://www.thestyleblogger.com SB

        Depends on your height, as well as the look you are going for. As I recommend in the post, I think mid-thigh (around halfway between waist and knee) is most versatile because it can be worn dress-up or down.

        Hope this helps,

    • Ariel…

      Another excellent post Bro! My favorite look will have to be the Third look, although I think every look is innovative in it’s own light. As always much respect to you Dan…

      • http://www.thestyleblogger.com SB

        Thanks Ariel. The third one is probably my favorite of the bunch as well.


    • Felix

      Well, apart from that removable collar think (seriously that coat would look much sharper without) I’ve really liked this post. Especially digging look 4 – pocket square and coat? GENIUS.

      • http://www.thestyleblogger.com SB

        Let’s agree to disagree about the fur collar.

        Thanks for reading.


        • Felix

          Settled like a man.

    • Dan Lau

      great post man, I just bought the JCrew Mayfair Topcoat on sale today in camel.. love that 4th casual look

    • UTK

      Great article. Love your topcoats.
      Was just wondering, do you plan to post any piece on denim jeans?
      Would love to learn from your insights.


    • Romey

      Great looks once again Dan.

      My tortoiseshell clubmaster shades are falling apart so those Shwood look great. Luckily they post to Australia too.

      • http://www.thestyleblogger.com SB

        Thaks Romey. Hope all is well down under.