AKA: it is sometimes called an overcoat

How to say it: as it looks

Traditional Features: 

body template

  • longer style jacket – usually to the knees
  • traditionally had convertible collars and cuffs for extra warmth
  • sometimes had an additional elbow length cape for extra warmth and weather proofing
  • deep pockets
  • double-breasted
  • half belt at the back
  • often has fur lining


…of the style: As with many classic coats, the Greatcoat has a military past. It was popular as military uniform in the 19th century and through both World Wars, as it was quite voluminous and fitted over a full dress uniform. It was also worn as casual wear by the upper class as the heavy woollen fabric it was made from helped to protect the wearer from the elements and thus made the Greatcoat a popular choice for an overcoat. As well as the heavy fabric, the collar could be pulled up and the cuffs down to increase the coverage, and a cape was often added as an extra layer over the upper body.

There is not a load of information out there about the origins of the Greatcoat as a fashion garment (that I could find anyway), but Wikipedia has a bit. The Fairchilds Dictionary of Fashion has a bit too.

21st Century Greatcoats

Greatcoats are super popular, but they do seem to come back every time there is a big Military trend on the catwalks.

derek-lam-rtw-fw2012-runway-020_151518629293 pierre balmain unique-for-topshop-rtw-fw2012-runway-09_164434946211 ann-demeulemeester

Top row – Derek Lam, Pierre Balmain

Bottom row – Unique for Topshop, Ann Demeulemeester

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