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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
The only time I wear a suit is when attending weddings. So far all the weddings I've been to have been in warm weather. I've been invited to a wedding this November and I'll need some sort of coat to wear over my suit. The problem is it is hard for me to justify spending money on something I might realistically only wear once. So I'd like to get something with some versatility.

Trench coat - Don't know if I can really wear in a casual environment, but it will be more versatile than a topcoat or overcoat since it is a raincoat. I live in DC where it doesn't get super cold so a trench coat with a zip in liner should be warm enough.

peacoat - easy to wear casually, but might be too casual for a suit.

duffle coat - same as peacoat. Might also make me look like a school boy.

One other concern is sizing. If I buy a coat that fits over my suit jacket will it be too big when wearing casually (no jacket underneath)? Or if go about it the other way to fit me casually will it be too tight over a suit jacket?

Am I asking too much here or is there a coat out there that is versatile enough to be worn casually on a night out at the bars while being acceptable to wear with a suit?

EDIT: looks like I posted this in the trad forum instead of the fashion forum. Can a moderator kindly move it for me? thanks.
 

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The quest for versatility is often futile. Make sure you don't buy something that's "good for everything, good for nothing." Buy something that works brilliantly in one context, but can also serve in another.

If you want outerwear that can also dress down, you need to find something fairly unstructured. One option would be a single-breasted trench, cut at knee length. This would work well with jeans. I'd personally see if I could find a nappier wool coat. Just last year I saw a grey cashmere blend that had a fairly fuzzy hand. It would have looked wonderful with jeans and a sweater, and served decently with a suit. Alas, I'm at my outerwear limit.

You can often find cheap outerwear at Nordstrom Rack, et al. I usually have better luck with outerwear at these stores than with any other type of apparel.
 

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Am I asking too much here or is there a coat out there that is versatile enough to be worn casually on a night out at the bars while being acceptable to wear with a suit?
I have worn my black wool car coat as you describe, although clearly it would not work as a raincoat. It's long enough to wear over a suit or sport coat but still looks great with casual wear including jeans.

As for fit, it fits very slightly large without a jacket underneath but not so much so that it is a problem. Besides, I often wear a sweater under it when worn casually so it actually feels more comfortable than if it was closer fitting.

I have two pea coats from my time in the Navy; however, I much prefer my car coat over a pea coat.

Cruiser
 

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duffle coat - same as peacoat. Might also make me look like a school boy.

EDIT: looks like I posted this in the trad forum instead of the fashion forum. Can a moderator kindly move it for me? thanks.
Was about to make a snarky comment like "what's wrong with looking like a school boy", and then I saw your edit.

Since it hasn't been moved to fashion, I'll give you my $ .02. The duffle is where it's at. I wear mine with suits all the time. But that isn't everyone's cup of tea.

JB
 

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…Trench coat…
I do not recommend this for a wedding unless you have no alternative. Note: Be sure NOT to wear a trench coat for evening semi-format as it looks dreadful!.

…Pea coat…
Better than trench coat, I guess… However, I expect this pea coat fashion will be gone in a few years leaving the purchaser…out of fashion…

…duffle coat…
Personally, I hate these, so I will recuse myself…in this case.


You might check the local thrift shops. Possibly you can find an overcoat/top coat in good enough condition. If so, be sure to have it dry cleaned before it goes in your closet to kill any moth larvae…
 

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The only time I wear a suit is when attending weddings. So far all the weddings I've been to have been in warm weather. I've been invited to a wedding this November and I'll need some sort of coat to wear over my suit. The problem is it is hard for me to justify spending money on something I might realistically only wear once. So I'd like to get something with some versatility.

Trench coat - Don't know if I can really wear in a casual environment, but it will be more versatile than a topcoat or overcoat since it is a raincoat. I live in DC where it doesn't get super cold so a trench coat with a zip in liner should be warm enough.

peacoat - easy to wear casually, but might be too casual for a suit.

duffle coat - same as peacoat. Might also make me look like a school boy.

One other concern is sizing. If I buy a coat that fits over my suit jacket will it be too big when wearing casually (no jacket underneath)? Or if go about it the other way to fit me casually will it be too tight over a suit jacket?

Am I asking too much here or is there a coat out there that is versatile enough to be worn casually on a night out at the bars while being acceptable to wear with a suit?

EDIT: looks like I posted this in the trad forum instead of the fashion forum. Can a moderator kindly move it for me? thanks.
I'd go with a trench coat, and if you can possibly afford to, buy a good one. Any coat you can wear properly over a suit jacket will fit loosely when you're not. IMO trench coats only look better when they're loose, just wrap the belt around you as required. Can wear it with jeans (If you must!), jackets, sweater and dress slacks. Take care of it, and you'll wear it for a long time.

The other possibilities might be a duffel coat, or a car coat. A duffel coat is bordering on too casual with anything other than odd jackets or a country suit; the car coat could work well with both a suit and in a casual setting.
 

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and skip the coat check

Um, are you really going to be outside long enough to warrant a purchase? Unless you're planning on walking to the wedding, isn't everything pretty much heated (even trains and stuff)?

I know dissuading clothing purchases is anathema here, but just toss on a scarf or something. I only got around to buying a decent overcoat last year - before that I just ninny-walked through the parking lot in a lightweight suit in blustery weather.

As everybody said, there is no do-all coat. Get a decent long coat, or just run in and act like the weather caught you by surprise.
 

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Of the coat designs you mention, I recommend going with the Trench. It is both a classic and is very versatile...with a removable liner, one can easily be a 'four-season' garment. This is assuming of course that you can handle the 'Bogart' references you will get, when wearing it out to a bar in the evening! Though as another poster mentioned, I would not wear one, as an outer garment, to a wedding or other formal event. My second choice of those you mention, would be the "duffel".
 

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Was about to make a snarky comment like "what's wrong with looking like a school boy", and then I saw your edit.

Since it hasn't been moved to fashion, I'll give you my $ .02. The duffle is where it's at. I wear mine with suits all the time. But that isn't everyone's cup of tea.

JB
I agree. Mine is my go-to winter coat, probably because it's the warmest coat I can find (that doesn't make me look like I live at REI). It's versatile while still being fairly formal.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks for the input. The more I think about it the more I am leaning toward buying something that is great casually and will work with a suit. I don't wear a suit very often, let alone during the winter months to justify a dedicated coat for it. I'm leaning toward a duffle coat now. The more I look at them the more I like them. I don't see myself wearing a tench coat casually, so that's been moved to the bottom of the list.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Um, are you really going to be outside long enough to warrant a purchase? Unless you're planning on walking to the wedding, isn't everything pretty much heated (even trains and stuff)?

I know dissuading clothing purchases is anathema here, but just toss on a scarf or something. I only got around to buying a decent overcoat last year - before that I just ninny-walked through the parking lot in a lightweight suit in blustery weather.

As everybody said, there is no do-all coat. Get a decent long coat, or just run in and act like the weather caught you by surprise.
It's about a 10 minute walk from my house to the metro and another 10-15 minutes from the metro to the church where the ceremony is taking place. The reception is right next to the metro and to be honest on the way home I doubt I will feel any cold at all even if it is 20 degrees out.

DC weather can be pretty unpredictable. In November it might be 30 degrees or 70 degrees. All the more reason not to get a dedicated coat for this but something I will wear casually that can work with a suit if needed.
 

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How about a simple single breasted dark blue or black or tan wool overcoat?

I picked one up one by Ralph Lauren at Marshalls several years ago for about $125 and even though I probably don't wear it more than once a year when venturing out of southern Arizona, I feel I certainly have gotten my money's worth.

D.C.? I know I live in a warm clime, but have been in D.C. in January when I was all too happy to have said same coat to wear over my suit. I've even worn it over blue jeans and boots with a blazer.

My next similar purchase would be a simple single breasted tan rain coat with removable liner, like the one at J Press.

Divided over ten years or more, I find these things incredibly affordable.
 

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It's about a 10 minute walk from my house to the metro and another 10-15 minutes from the metro to the church where the ceremony is taking place. The reception is right next to the metro and to be honest on the way home I doubt I will feel any cold at all even if it is 20 degrees out.

DC weather can be pretty unpredictable. In November it might be 30 degrees or 70 degrees. All the more reason not to get a dedicated coat for this but something I will wear casually that can work with a suit if needed.
This might meet your criteria: https://www.josbank.com/IWCatProduc...d=1&Section_Id=9000&pcount=&Product_Id=302756

Inexpensive at $78, versatile. YMMV.
 
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