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How long should a full length overcoat be? Due to a recent debate with a salesman, I have decided to consult with you. Should a overcoat reach the knees? Should it reach the mid calf? Or should it rest on your shoes? Thanks in advance for your advice.
Anthony
 

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I don't have a list of rules for you, but in my mind, the longer an overcoat is, the more formal it becomes. Despite this, I like an overcoat to hit somewhere between mid-thigh and my knees. If it covers my knees, I find walking to be such a chore. Also, the longer an overcoat is, the more dirt, slush, and salt it will pick up from the ground in the winter. I think any length of coat can be an overcoat and do the job just fine as long as it covers your suit.
 

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Depends where you live and whether you expect to be walking through blizzards, often.
Do you not get some serious winters in New York for instance ?
The weight and thickness of the cloth I think is more important.

Knee length for sure, touching your shoes seems a bit nineteenth century military, like Horse Guards or Cavalry garb.

Horses for courses.
 

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The correct length depends on the type of overcoat. The most formal overcoats were generally, but not always, about knee length. In modern usage, the Chesterfield is the most formal overcoat in common use. It is actually more of a top coat, and thus a length to just above the knees is correct, unless it is intended to be worn with an evening dress coat, in which case you may have to ask your tailor to cut it a little longer so as to completely cover the tails.

There are older types of overcoats that were just a bit longer than the Chesterfield. For example the frock overcoat was cut to be just a little longer than the frock coat underneath so as to completely cover it. Likewise, the Inverness cloak was a looser and somewhat longer garment.

However, old fashioned sports overcoats such as the paddock coat or paletot could be quite long. The idea being that the longer the coat, the warmer it was. So really long overcoats are more of a sports overcoat. Conversely, the covert coat is much shorter and also a more sporty overcoat.

With that I would say that medium length overcoats are generally the most formal.
 

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Current style seems to favor a trim cut coat coming just above the knees as shown in the photograph from a recent GQ magazine.

https://img88.imageshack.us/my.php?image=scan0005qr5.gifhttps://g.imageshack.us/thpix.php

I just had a topcoat shortened to an above the knee length.

Cruiser
The local tailor confirms Cruiser's statement on this. However, my age and this winter's weather have confirmed a below-the-knee length for me and..... that I do not aspire to fashion.
 
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