Men's Top Coats: What Is a Top Coat and Why Do You Need One?

Men's Top Coats: What Is a Top Coat and Why Do You Need One?

Not all types of men's outerwear are made equal. Top coats, however, remain a popular choice. Regardless of the season, you can't go wrong with a men's top coat. It's a classic type of outerwear that will enhance your personal style while simultaneously protecting you from the weather. What is a top coat exactly, and why do you need one?

What Is a Top Coat?

A top coat is a coat that's designed to be worn over an existing suit. They've been around for over a century. Some of the world's first top coats originally appeared during World War I, during which they were worn by soldiers. Since then, top coats have become a popular style of men's outerwear.

As the name suggests, top coats are worn over or on top of an existing outfit. This makes them an excellent choice on rainy days. Rather than carrying an umbrella, you can sport a top coat. The top coat will keep you dry -- all while projecting a stylish appearance.

You can find top coats in different materials. Some of the most common materials in which they are made include the following:

  • Wool
  • Cotton
  • Tweed
  • Covert cloth

Top Coats vs Overcoats: What's the Difference?

The terms "top coats" and "overcoats" are often used interchangeably, but don't let that fool you into thinking they are the same. They may share some similar characteristics, but top coats and overcoats are two different types of men's outerwear.

What's the difference between top coats and overcoats? For starters, top coats are better suited for year-round use, whereas overcoats are typically worn exclusively during the cooler months of the year. If you're looking to buy a new coat that you can wear all year long, you may want to choose a top coat. If you're only planning to wear it during the fall and winter seasons, on the other hand, an overcoat may suffice.

Top coats typically weigh less than overcoats. Regardless of the specific material from which they are made, most top coats weigh about 18 ounces per yard of material. Overcoats, in comparison, are heavier. You can find overcoats in many of the same types of materials as top coats, but they weigh more than their top coat counterparts. And because they weigh more, overcoats aren't ideal for warm weather. You can wear a top coat all year long, but you may want to avoid wearing an overcoat during the warmer months of the year.

Another difference between top coats and overcoats is the length. You can find both types of men's outerwear in different lengths. With that said, overcoats are almost always longer than top coats. Most overcoats extend past the knees when worn. In comparison, most top coats only extend to the knees or slightly above the knees.

Top coats are still classified as full-length men's coats, but they are shorter than overcoats. Overcoats extend past the knees. Top coats extend either to or slightly past the knees. You can distinguish between top coats and overcoats by checking their length as well as their weight.

Reasons to Own a Top Coat

Top coats offer several benefits. You can use them to create a layered outfit. Layered outfits live up to their namesake by featuring multiple layers of garments. Assuming you choose layers in colors that complement each other, a layered outfit will enhance your image. A top coat serves as the perfect outer layer. Whether you're wearing a polo shirt or a button-up dress shirt underneath it, it will help you achieve a layered outfit.

You'll get a better bang for your buck by investing in a top coat. Top coats aren't limited to any specific season. Whether it's spring, summer, fall or winter, you can sport a top coat.

A top coat will protect you from bad weather. They typically aren't hooded. Nonetheless, a top coat will keep your body dry if it's raining. A high-quality top coat will create a barrier of protection over your existing outfit 

Top coats are available in plenty of styles. Some of them feature the same, classic appearance as those designed nearly a century ago. Other top coats feature a more modern and unique style. The bottom line is that not all top coats look the same. You can find them in dozens of different styles, each of which projects a different appearance 

Choosing a Top Coat: What You Should Know

You should choose a top coat in the right material. Top coats are designed to be relatively lightweight. After all, they weigh less than overcoats. But you can still find top coats in different materials, including those listed above. Each material offers its own advantages.

Something else to consider when choosing a top coat is the button configuration. Nearly all top coats have buttons on the front. But the specific placement or style of these buttons may vary. There are front-breasted top coats, and there are double-breasted top coats. Front-breasted top coats have a single column of buttons, whereas double-breasted top coats have two columns of buttons. 

Like with all coats, you should choose a top coat in the right size. Checking the sleeves will often reveal whether a top coat is too long. While wearing a top coat, the sleeves should extend to your wrists. If they extend past your wrists, the top coat is probably too long. If they stop several inches or more before your wrists, the top coat is too short. You can avoid sizing problems such as this by ordering a custom-sized top coat, such as this sold here at StudioSuits.

In Conclusion

Top coats are one of several types of men's outerwear. Not to be confused with overcoats, they consist of lightweight coats that extend to about the knees when worn. Top coats are designed to be worn an existing outfit. Some of the benefits of top coats include the ability to create a layered outfit, protection from the weather and versatility.