1 Piece/3 Ways: The Camel Overcoat

November 10th, 2012

Call it a topcoat, camel coat, car coat, polo coat…this jacket goes by many names. One thing is certain though, it’s a staple in a well-dressed man’s wardrobe.

While the classic overcoat has been a functional mainstay in men’s fashion for hundreds of years, this variation came into prominence with the introduction of convertibles and open-top cars during the early 20th century.  It was a great way to stay warm, while stylishly battling the elements, from the seat of a convertible.

Sports cars aside, this jacket is a versatile classic that’s perfect for a vast range of situations. Be it a commute to the office, a night of bar hopping, a lazy Sunday walk, or coaching the Packers to the first Superbowl title (Lombardi was a fan of these jackets too), this coat just works.

If you don’t already own a camel topcoat, consider investing in one. You won’t regret it.

Here’s three of the hundreds of ways to wear it.

1. Casual Weekend

When choosing between topcoats, length is an important decision.

The most versatile choice hits about halfway between the upper thigh and knee.

Anything shorter is too casual to wear over a suit and a coat that falls below the knee is inherently dressy, not suited for a laidback weekend look like this one.

Camel is also a great choice to stand out from the usual sea of black, charcoal and navy outerwear – without the unnecessary flash of a bold color.

Pairing camel with white is one of my favorite color combos. I often wear this coat with white jeans, in the Spring and well after Labor Day…post on that coming soon.


Classic Camel Hair Coat

  • Tortoise shell prescription glasses (w/ clip on shades) by Garrett Leight ·
  • Blue washed jeans by Ralph Lauren ·
  • Green needlepoint belt by Smathers & Branson ·
  • Blue camp socks by J. Crew ·
  • Tan suede desert boots by Clarks
  • · Camel topcoat by Rugby Ralph Lauren

2. Business Casual

I wore this to the Articles of Style office the other day, it’s a “business casual” go-to come Fall.  You can never go wrong with a button-down shirt, v-neck sweater, slim dark jeans, and brown loafers.

A double-breasted camel topcoat can look very rich and elegant, but I prefer the single-breasted version because I often wear it open – allowing it to breathe and complement the rest of my outfit underneath.

On a side note, I just realized that my hair is styled 3 different ways in this post.

Think of hair (and facial hair) styles as accessories – they can be changed and modified to add another element to your look.


Classic Camel Hair Coat

  • Green v-neck sweater by JCrew ·
  • Blue fine striped shirt by Brooks Brothers ·
  • Monogrammed silver belt buckle by Tiffany & Co ·
  • Brown leather belt by Brooks Brothers ·
  • Faded black jeans by J. Crew ·
  • Brown socks by Calvin Klein ·
  • Brown loafers by Johnston & Murphy
  • · Camel topcoat by Rugby Ralph Lauren

3. All Business

A business look doesn’t have to be boring. Inject an age-old combination (suit, shirt, tie, overcoat) with some unexpected fabrics, colors, and textures to bring it some new life and personality.

The fit of a topcoat can be tricky. Ideally, it should be little snug over a suit so that it’s still slim and fitted with just a thin sweater (as in look 1 and 2).

Camel is without a doubt the best color to wear over a brown suit.

It’s a neutral base that also plays well with colorful accessories, which I’m wearing plenty of here.

This is also another example of using nature’s colors for a seasonal look.

Check out our post on Autumn color palettes here.


Classic Camel Hair Coat

Chestnut Corduroy Suit

  • Tortoise shell prescription glasses (w/ clip on shades) by Garrett Leight ·
  • Red/blue plaid shirt ·
  • Green cashmere knit tie by Ralph Lauren ·
  • Brown tweed leather gloves by Hilts and Willard ·
  • Brown socks by Calvin Klein ·
  • Tan burnished toe lace-ups by Scarpe di Bianco ·
  • Red stripe umbrella with wooden handle by Pasotti Ombrelli of Italy
  • · Camel topcoat by Rugby Ralph Lauren
  • · Brown corduroy suit

Thanks for reading.

Stay Classy,



Photography by Alex Crawford.