This season, we're seeing a classic Hollywood influence on outerwear that couldn't be more welcome. The timeless topcoat channels iconic film idols like Cary Grant, Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, and Humphrey Bogart— but with today's trimmer silhouettes and performance fabrics, the look is also very current.
What is a topcoat, and do you need one?
A topcoat is a type of lightweight overcoat that typically hits at or above the knee and is designed in fabrics like wool or cashmere. These updated traditional coats provide serious wardrobe mileage. They not only look sophisticated with suits or sport coats, but can also add a refreshing note to casual and denim-friendly looks. Such versatility means you're sure to have the right coat for almost any occasion to keep you looking polished and camera-ready.
Here's what to look for when bringing some Hollywood swagger to your outerwear this season.
The best example of the trend is a long wool topcoat with plenty of tweed-like texture. While the inspiration may come from black-and-white movies, a touch of color from autumn's palette can really make it pop. Throw one on over a heathered flannel peak-lapel suit to maintain that Tinseltown style (think Cary Grant), but make it modern by keeping the jacket single-breasted and wearing it with a solid-color dress shirt. Add a colorful, patterned pocket square and a solid cashmere scarf in a coordinating hue, and finish the look with a pair of lace-up cap-toe oxfords.
A black-and-white pattern is a classic look that works for both casual and dressy occasions. Grab one in a mid-thigh length for a perfect pairing over an unstructured sport coat and a well-fitting pair of dark jeans. To ward off the winter chill, consider going up a size to leave room to layer in a quilted vest. Round out the look with a black or cream knit beanie, black leather gloves, and a pair of suede chelsea boots.
For the real purist, go for a tone-on-tone look in a warm chestnut hue. Textured fabric makes it both interesting and tactile—you'll feel as warm as you look. This is the perfect coat to wear with a crisp chambray shirt and workwear-inspired chinos. On weekends, it will look great with hiking boots, but it can also be your everyday workhorse with a toasty plaid button-down, khakis, a trim-fit blazer, and brown oxfords.
The dressiest version of the dapper outerwear trend is a classic men's camel topcoat, which looks sharp worn over a navy or grey pinstripe suit. But this amiable neutral will also complement faded weekend jeans and add an irreverent, cinematic-rebel look when layered over a tee, flannel shirt, and cable-knit sweater. Grab a pair of knit "touchscreen-friendly" gloves for sidewalk replies, and wrap up with a patterned knit scarf—or a colorful solid silk version for a fancy evening out.
In the navy
Finally, don't count out the classic peacoat, made forever stylish by Steve McQueen. Its clean, military silhouette looks squared away when worn over a single-color shirt-and-trouser combination—wear a skinny necktie, simple belt, and oxfords (all in black) to command respect. Put it on over a denim jacket, thermal knit, and wide-wale corduroys for a more casual day-off vibe.
Whether you're headed to the cineplex, or just to a buddy's house to stream some old favorites, these cold-weather looks are both eye-catching and autograph-worthy.