A New Coat

Words by: Andrew Williams


England’s sudden cold snap brought home to me the fact I need to invest in a new overcoat.

On average I find a good quality overcoat will last me nearly 10 years. That being the case it’s not a bad idea to spend some time considering the options, I’ll have to live with my choice for some time.

Several options have fired my imagination, but in this post I’m going to focus on that most English of overcoats, the Covert Coat.

Distinguished country outfitters Cordings of Piccadilly claim the credit for inventing said coat, however, the name actually comes from the distinctive fawn coloured twill weave cloth from which the coat is made. Other details to note include the fly front, two side pockets and, as is the case on the original Cording’s coats, a large game or poachers pocket on the inside. In the days before iPads and Kindles City gents used this pocket to store their newspaper. A true covert coat should also be knee length and feature four rows of stitching on the sleeve cuffs and hem. This last detail is another reminder of the coats sporting country heritage; the stitching was designed to prevent the coat from snagging and tearing as the wearer made his way through bracken. One final detail worth remembering is that a true covert coat is also slightly tailored, which provides a pleasing form and allows the coat to be worn on it’s own without a jacket underneath.

Despite it’s origins on the country estates of England, the Covert Coat makes for an excellent city coat. Admittedly, there isn’t a lot of bracken to snag a coat on in Parliament Square, but it is just the right weight for those of us who live a typical urban life of moving in and out of buildings, tube stations, taxis and the like. It is eminently practical; just heavy enough to keep a chill out but not too heavy or too boxy.

As options go this one is ahead by a noise, and has long been a favourite of mine. Indeed, my last coat but one was a navy version. So perhaps it’s time to return to the warming embrace of an old friend.