Dress It Up or Down: The Olive Toggle Coat

February 9th, 2011

If a man could only own one piece of outerwear, there would be a good case for a classic toggle coat. It’s rugged and manly while being sleek and smart. It goes with just about any outfit and is the perfect middle ground between “casual” and “dressy”.

You see these things all the time, usually within the sea of black, grey, navy and camel outerwear that dominates the streets. I suggest going with olive green instead (which is slowly becoming my favorite color for outerwear, over navy blue). One thing I like about this particular coat is the contrast of the the green wool with the twine rope and the wooden toggles.

Here’s some quick ideas on how to dress it down, or up.

Casually Layered


The toggle coat is perfect for fitting over thick layers because, like trench coats, they should be cut with a little extra room (to fit comfortably over a blazer or suit jacket).

Bonus Tip: With time this wool cardigan sweater began to loose it’s shape and is now slightly too big. The solution? Rather than risk dryer-shrinking it, I simply improvise a double breasted closure by closing it with the belt rather than fastening the front buttons. This is a trick I used to use with a slightly oversized trench that I had a while back as well. A belted garment can be instantly “taken-in” as much as it needs (although this is no excuse for skipping appointments to the tailor).

Bonus Tip II: Don’t just stuff your gloves in your pockets for the sake of storing them. Think about using them as an accent, even when you’re not wearing them. Store them upright, just peeking out of in a jacket or sweater pocket – it’s better for maintaining their shape too.

  • Watch by Montblanc Timewalker Automatic ·
  • Suede chukka boots by John Varvatos ·
  • Tan suede gloves by Uniqlo ·
  • Olive wool toggle coat by Club Monaco ·
  • Chunky belted cardigan by Ralph Lauren Polo ·
  • Indigo denim jeans by JCrew ·
  • Brown alligator belt and silver buckle by Ralph Lauren Purple Label ·
  • Beige micro-check shirt by Theory

To The Winter Nines


A duffle coat should be cut with just enough room to fit over your heaviest suit . Or in this case, to easily throw your shoulders – Italian grandfather style.

Bonus tip: get new pocket square for $1. It’s called a bandana, and sold everywhere from army surplus shops to dollar stores.

These Norwegian-welted chocolate leather & suede double monk straps (below) are my first crack at custom shoe design. They are also instantly my new favorite shoes (or at least very close :)

This shoe also draws a great line between casual and dressy. It’s not as laid-back as a classic penny loafer, but not as straight-edge as a traditional lace-up. More on these later.


Chestnut Corduroy Suit

Brown Gingham Shirt

  • Silver 2″ tie bar by Tiffany & Co ·
  • Olive wool toggle coat by Club Monaco ·
  • Olive/brown tie Vintage from my late grandfather ·
  • Leather/suede double monkstrap shoes by Scarpe di Bianco ·
  • Brown alligator belt and silver buckle by Ralph Lauren Purple Label ·
  • Brown bandana as pocket square
  • · Tan corduroy suit
  • · Brown Gingham Shirt

Thanks for reading.

Yours in style,

Dan Trepanier


Photography by Alex Crawford.