The classic men's plaid wool coat, whether short or long, gives even the most diehard urban dweller the look of a rugged outdoorsman. The perfect item to wear either when hiking outdoors or struggling through a snowy street, it never ages. The coat your grandfather would have worn is just as stylish today. And in fact, if you have the coat your grandfather wore, you can wear it yourself with pride.
Look of Plaid Wool Coats
The traditional coat is in a dark red plaid, hip length and boxy. It might have breast pockets that button. A Pendleton, popular from the 1940s and still made today, came in a few different weights and featured hip flap pockets and a wide lapel. Pendleton used several plaids - dark green, blue and even yellow, as well as a few shades of red. But for most men, the deep red or even rich green is the plaid of choice.
Plaid is also used on a number of other traditional men's outerwear items, such as duffel coats, pea coats and bomber jackets.
Vintage Men's Plaid Wool Coats
Although the styles haven't changed much, there is still something very special about a vintage coat. Quality wool, when properly cared for, lasts for decades and continues to look great. Many vintage coats were very well-designed, so that, if you can find the right fit, a coat from the 1950s might be more flattering than one from this season. The cost may even be comparable - or considerably lower.
Vintage shopping isn't just the province of women and hipsters. A lot of stylish men get into it because they know they can find great stuff that doesn't look like it's solely for the stage and often at great prices. Silk ties, cuff links, hats and coats can all add a touch of class and pizzazz to an otherwise basic business look. However, when it comes to coats, a man must be aware of changes in measurements and fit that can make shopping for a vintage wool coat a little more challenging than he's used to.
In the 1940s and 1950s, a man might be fit and play sports, but he didn't work out. So most men did not have broad chests and shoulders, and large biceps. Bearing this in mind, don't be surprised if you go to try on a vintage wool coat and find that it's a tight fit through the arms or the chest. Chances are, you will eventually find a coat that works for you and be pleased with the design that gives you a more defined silhouette, slimming your waist while emphasizing your shoulders. But this is why, if your only option for buying a vintage coat is shopping online, you want to be very mindful of sizing and get all the measurements, especially in the biceps.
For the man who prefers his shopping to be as simple as possible, but still wants to have a classic flair, Pendleton still makes men's plaid wool coats and jackets. Their styles change from year to year, but if they don't currently carry what you want, you can ask them when they will next provide it.
For other online sources of plaid wool coats, try Schott NYC, which carries duffel coats and pea coats in various patterns. They will also do custom work if you need some modifications.
Woolrich, a 19th century company that is still going strong, carries the classic field coat in red plaid. This fully lined coat promises to shed water and keep you warm even in sharp winds. It is the ultimate in a rugged outdoors coat.
And if you're wearing your plaid wool coat in the city and people tease you for looking like a lumberjack, just remember that you'll get the last laugh when the snow starts to fly!