Top(coat) It All Off, Part I

March 8th, 2011

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4. The Easy Goer – Cotton

Looking for a 3/4 length layer to throw over just about anything?

Just like an unconstructed blazer, an unlined cotton topcoat is lightweight, laid-back, and super versatile. It’s especially great for layering with casual looks (of course it can be dressed-up too). I’ll wear this thing with a shirt and tie to a midday meeting, then wear it with sweats to the gym later the same night.

Where I wore this: menswear pattern-making class at the Fashion Institute of Technology, NYC

Bonus Tip: pocket square in a topcoat? If it fits as well as a blazer, why not? (once in a while).

Bonus Tip II: tortoiseshell shades are cool and classic, but everyone is wearing them. Woodgrain (preferably on actual wood) is a cool organic change of pace. The good people at Shwood sent me these, and I’ve been wearing the hell out of them on those surprisingly-sunny winter days.


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  • greg

    Hi, great post. I really like the “Navy unlined cotton topcoat by Theory” but can’t find it anymore. Any suggestions for something similar? Thanks!

  • Jose

    What is “unlined”, for coats and jackets?

  • Dani

    Mmmmmmmmmmmmm, New Money-Old Money???

    New Money! The check-suit is impecable, and may I add not easy to pull off, and is that knit tie I see?


    Finally a site that is functional and the style tips, they’re inventive, fun and imaginative.



  • obell

    Nice styles, love it all. Cool gear is an art, we collect it

  • l3on

    Just amazing. I gotta be honest, I never had many good impressions on topcoats, but as I see it’s all about the fitting.

    I’ll look around for one of these when winter comes…

  • Nick

    Hi SB,
    I have just finished reading the site from start to finish, has taken a few days! I was just wondering how you get your boss suits looking so fitted, as I have one and it seems rather long and the trousers rather big and wide for me even after getting the Jacket taken in. The same can be said for my other suit, what would you recommend I do to get them fitting better?

    Cheers Nick

    • SB

      Hey Nick. Wow, that’s dedication!

      Keep in mind many brands, including Hugo Boss, make a number of different suit “cuts”. My favorite Boss (black label) cuts – the only ones I wear – are the “Eagle/Sharp” or “Jam/Sharp” which are their slimmer/younger/more modern fit.

      With that said, I get all of my off-the-rack suits tailored. The standard alterations are: taken up in the sleeves, tapered at the sides, tapered through the leg, and shortened hem. Although some jackets/pants require additional work.

      Hope this helps.


  • Matt

    The Hugo Boss suit paired with the burnt orange knit tie is excellent. I love that look for the “new money” caption. The blue navy cotton is definitely a great piece, I have been trying to find one of those or something like the blue trench you have. Any recommendation on which of those types would be better for a first outwear piece in Charleston, SC mostly dressing business casual for work and sharper for evenings out. Thank you.

    • SB

      If you are looking for one outerwear piece to layer it over different looks I would recommend the single breasted – it is more versatile and wearing it open adds more dimension to an outfit since you can see the layers underneath better.

      Thanks for reading.


  • Economically

    Awesome and well done as usual Dan. Love the way you look away at the camera. Very professional indeed. I have got to tell ya bro, you are starting a revolution in men’s clothing. I am hearing a lot people mentioning your name. The buzz is out there.

    • SB

      Thanks! This is just the beginning. -SB

  • Nader

    Love the Hugo suit, glad you’ve used it again.

    What about that post on lapel accessories ?

    • SB

      Coming this Spring! (can’t have overcoats hiding them)


  • Alex

    Hey Are all your custom MAB suits and stuff the Sterling, Platinum, or signature models?

    • SB

      Hey Alex. All of my MAB suits are from their Platinum (handmade) Collection.

      Thanks for reading.


  • James

    Looks 3 & 4 are killing it. Love the Hugo suit & I’d kill for that Theory coat.

  • Cory

    Nice post! Hey, I saw your name and clothes mentioned in NY Mag. Did you see that?

    • SB

      Cool. I actually didn’t see it. Which issue?

      • Cory

        Best of New York shopping guide (suits)

        • SB

          That’s cool – I designed everything on those mannequins.

          MAB had me design all 12 of the mannequins in their new studio for Spring – I’m really happy with how they came out.

          Thanks Cory!

          • Cory

            You bet! Keep up the great work!

  • Bill Burge

    Every time you have a pic of it, I can’t get over how much I love the the pockets of your tweed vest from your 3 piece. Somehow they give a casualness to it to make it seem less out of place when you dress it down without the jacket.

    Vests can so often look douchey without a jacket and this definitely does not.

    Might have to go have something tailored up myself.

    • SB

      Good eye. Little subtleties like patch pockets can dramatically affect the “feel” of a piece, especially in tailored wear.

      Thx for reading,

  • Carter

    Thank you Dan for bringing back the Hugo Boss suit in look three! I recognize the piece from my favorite post of all time, “1 suit, 5 looks.” I find inspiration in the way you place your personality in each of your looks. I believe firmly that style is art, and you are an artist in his prime!
    Be Well

  • JK Ferguson

    Another great post Dan. Love the topcoat in the third, Young Money. Love the contrast of the gold buttons against the navy blue.

    • SB


  • DCRob

    The 3rd look is amazing. I love that Hugo Boss suit, that pattern makes such a statement. Great job!

  • jeff

    Looking Great style,Dress style,hair style, and beautiful location, for photography make a marvelous outlook as you can watch in the following video.

    what a luxury style with beauty and action stuff it is.

  • Aei

    Just wondering, is there one missing?

    • SB

      Sorry, that was a typo. 4 not 5. Might do Part II though.


  • Zach

    Nicely done. But in the intro you said 5 coats…I only count 4. I feel like I’m being shorted one!

    Also, any help as to what belt are you wearing in photos 1 and 4? Nice worn-in, casual belt, which is something I need as the current choice is on its last legs…

    • SB

      Sorry, that was a typo. 4 not 5. Might do Part II though.

      Check the photo captions for all the brands (as always).


      • Zach

        Oh yeah. duh. Thanks!

  • eli

    Good post. Like the variety. Keep your posts coming. I come each day looking for a new post.

    • SB

      Thx Eli

  • JIzzy

    Looks like you made quite a few top coat additions to the wardrobe this fall/winter season. I especially like the addition of the “Where I wore this”.

    I remember the Theory coat from some earlier posts, were any of the newer coats tailored at all? Maybe cropped a few inches, or brought in at the waist?

    Great as always!

    • SB

      Most of these coats are a couple years old – with the exception of the fur trimmed D’Avenza. None of them were tailored – buying the correct size can avoid avoid seamstress fees.

      Thanks for reading,

  • Robin

    “Sometimes you want to feel like a boss. Sometimes you want to feel like a boss’s boss.”

    Nuff said my man.

    • SB


  • MrThOmAs313

    Great post Dan, two thumbs up from Tha D……Im in love with the camel hair coat bro…

  • Kean

    What is the perfect length for a topcoat?

    • SB

      Depends on your height, as well as the look you are going for. As I recommend in the post, I think mid-thigh (around halfway between waist and knee) is most versatile because it can be worn dress-up or down.

      Hope this helps,

  • Ariel…

    Another excellent post Bro! My favorite look will have to be the Third look, although I think every look is innovative in it’s own light. As always much respect to you Dan…

    • SB

      Thanks Ariel. The third one is probably my favorite of the bunch as well.


  • Felix

    Well, apart from that removable collar think (seriously that coat would look much sharper without) I’ve really liked this post. Especially digging look 4 – pocket square and coat? GENIUS.

    • SB

      Let’s agree to disagree about the fur collar.

      Thanks for reading.


      • Felix

        Settled like a man.

  • Dan Lau

    great post man, I just bought the JCrew Mayfair Topcoat on sale today in camel.. love that 4th casual look

  • UTK

    Great article. Love your topcoats.
    Was just wondering, do you plan to post any piece on denim jeans?
    Would love to learn from your insights.


  • Romey

    Great looks once again Dan.

    My tortoiseshell clubmaster shades are falling apart so those Shwood look great. Luckily they post to Australia too.

    • SB

      Thaks Romey. Hope all is well down under.