You might wear a coat for practical reasons but never forget that first impressions count and there’s no point wearing a beautifully cut suit only to cover it up with a cheap pac-a-mac. Therefore do what stylish guys have done for decades and invest in a classic Covert Coat.
Also known (probably due to mishearing) as a Cover Coat or just a Top Coat, the Covert originates from late 19th century gentlemen who needed something warm but smart when riding, hence its rather short length – just enough to cover one’s jacket in fact. Single-breasted and fly-fronted the coat has been popular ever since as a pared-down but eternally elegant way of braving the English (or in fact any Northern country’s) weather.
The Covert Coat traditionally is made from a particularly heavy melange twill fabric called – wait for it! – covert cloth which is tough enough to resist thorns and branches and also coloured in a range of very practical muted brown shades which helpfully disguise mud and dirt. The distinctive four rows of stitching around the hem were to help stop the coat from catching on hedges when jumping them on your trusty steed and inside there is usually a large hidden pocket at thigh level, just big enough to stuff a dead pheasant in hence the name Poacher’s Pocket. (As few of us catch our own dinner these days, this pocket is more likely to be used for your iPad or a sandwich for lunch on-the-go).
Whatever the history, the Covert Coat is a remarkably modern looking piece of outerwear, with its minimal design and length that is just right for getting in and out of cars. And let’s face it, it’s way classier than a plastic mac.