1 Piece/3 Ways: The Camel Overcoat

November 10th, 2012

Call it a topcoat, camel coat, car coat, polo coat…this jacket goes by many names. One thing is certain though, it’s a staple in a well-dressed man’s wardrobe.

While the classic overcoat has been a functional mainstay in men’s fashion for hundreds of years, this variation came into prominence with the introduction of convertibles and open-top cars during the early 20th century.  It was a great way to stay warm, while stylishly battling the elements, from the seat of a convertible.

Sports cars aside, this jacket is a versatile classic that’s perfect for a vast range of situations. Be it a commute to the office, a night of bar hopping, a lazy Sunday walk, or coaching the Packers to the first Superbowl title (Lombardi was a fan of these jackets too), this coat just works.

If you don’t already own a camel topcoat, consider investing in one. You won’t regret it.

Here’s three of the hundreds of ways to wear it.

    1. Casual Weekend

    When choosing between topcoats, length is an important decision.

    The most versatile choice hits about halfway between the upper thigh and knee.

    Anything shorter is too casual to wear over a suit and a coat that falls below the knee is inherently dressy, not suited for a laidback weekend look like this one.

    Camel is also a great choice to stand out from the usual sea of black, charcoal and navy outerwear – without the unnecessary flash of a bold color.

    Pairing camel with white is one of my favorite color combos. I often wear this coat with white jeans, in the Spring and well after Labor Day…post on that coming soon.

    • Tortoise shell prescription glasses (w/ clip on shades) by Garrett Leight
    • Camel topcoat by Rugby Ralph Lauren
    • Blue washed jeans by Ralph Lauren
    • Green needlepoint belt by Smathers & Branson
    • Blue camp socks by J. Crew
    • Tan suede desert boots by Clarks

    2. Business Casual

    I wore this to the Articles of Style office the other day, it’s a “business casual” go-to come Fall.  You can never go wrong with a button-down shirt, v-neck sweater, slim dark jeans, and brown loafers.

    A double-breasted camel topcoat can look very rich and elegant, but I prefer the single-breasted version because I often wear it open – allowing it to breathe and complement the rest of my outfit underneath.

    On a side note, I just realized that my hair is styled 3 different ways in this post.

    Think of hair (and facial hair) styles as accessories – they can be changed and modified to add another element to your look.

    • Camel topcoat by Rugby Ralph Lauren
    • Green v-neck sweater by JCrew
    • Blue fine striped shirt by Brooks Brothers
    • Monogrammed silver belt buckle by Tiffany & Co
    • Brown leather belt by Brooks Brothers
    • Faded black jeans by J. Crew
    • Brown socks by Calvin Klein
    • Brown loafers by Johnston & Murphy

    3. All Business

    A business look doesn’t have to be boring. Inject an age-old combination (suit, shirt, tie, overcoat) with some unexpected fabrics, colors, and textures to bring it some new life and personality.

    The fit of a topcoat can be tricky. Ideally, it should be little snug over a suit so that it’s still slim and fitted with just a thin sweater (as in look 1 and 2).

    Camel is without a doubt the best color to wear over a brown suit.

    It’s a neutral base that also plays well with colorful accessories, which I’m wearing plenty of here.

    This is also another example of using nature’s colors for a seasonal look.

    Check out our post on Autumn color palettes here.

    • Tortoise shell prescription glasses (w/ clip on shades) by Garrett Leight
    • Camel topcoat by Rugby Ralph Lauren
    • Brown corduroy suit
    • Red/blue plaid shirt
    • Green cashmere knit tie by Ralph Lauren
    • Brown tweed leather gloves by Hilts and Willard
    • Brown socks by Calvin Klein
    • Tan burnished toe lace-ups by Scarpe di Bianco
    • Red stripe umbrella with wooden handle by Pasotti Ombrelli of Italy

    Thanks for reading.

    Stay Classy,



    Photography by Alex Crawford. 


    • Omar Shaikh

      Are those Johnston and Murphy loafers you’re wearing have rubber soles or leather soles?

    • http://www.lacievantis.com Nicolas

      This is some good look guys, nice .

    • KD

      Excellent post Townsend – I’ve been on the hunt for some modern burgundy loafers just like those after Bass discontinued their Dover line. These look much more durable since it’s not the plastic-looking corrected leather that is unfortunately all too common with Bass’ lineup. What’s the name of those? Thanks man!

      • http://tsbmen.com Townsend

        Hey KD, they are Johnston & Murphy, and they are great! I wear them ALL the time.

        Thanks for reading!

    • http://www.lady-blog.de Dani

      I think the glasses are a little bit to small for your face, but it’s a very nice dress!

    • Gazman

      Style #3 rocks bigtime! Beautiful matching with green tie and plaid shirt.

    • Don Pierre

      Chocolate Brown Corduroy Suit Is Dangerously Sharp. Christmas Red Pocket Square Is Brilliant. Camel Topcoat Polishes The Look Perfectly. Great Post Gentlemen.
      Style Beyond Fashion

    • TimL

      I have one of these and I love it. Got it at a Goodwill store for about $8.
      I love wearing it with a ribbed black turtleneck and faded jeans and boots or a dark brown suite for work. Great post.

    • TSB Fan

      Another awesome post-great looks and Townsend makes one good model

    • TO

      Well done Townsend, well done!

      Suggested one of these to my dad- he ended up returning from Montreal with a black topcoat instead, but it was a 40R instead of his previous 42L, so at least some of my advice is getting through!

    • Ishaan

      The brown suit and green tie is dope. The glasses are a plus too. Good job dude.

    • Nick

      Brilliant as usual!

    • Badger

      Not sure that a brown corduroy suit and a tartan shirt constitutes “all business”, but it is a great look!