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The advent of winter may bring with it a desire to hide under the covers and wait for Spring to adorn our path but for any man who happens to take a passing interesting in clothes, winter is the best time in which to partake in the art of dressing.

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Winter gives us the opportunity to layer-up; unlike summer, where a pair of shorts and a t-shirt often suffice. The arrival of Jack Frost and his cohorts allows us the opportunity to don more than one layer, to actually have some fun with our clothes and the ways in which we wear them.

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While we experiment with all these layers – sweaters, knitwear, cardigans, shirts et al – possibly the most important layer is the one that every passer-by will see at first glance: your coat.  This season, from bombers to parkas, there is a wealth of choice to be had but the go-to coat this season has to be the overcoat.

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This season, when it comes to choosing your outerwear, the overcoat reigns supreme. It doesn’t matter if it’s oversized and off-the-shoulder (very much on trend this AW14) or cut tight to the shoulder and decorated with a distinctive print, the contemporary overcoat is an essential ingredient to the modern gents wardrobe.

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Talking of modern, the new overcoat doesn’t have to be worn with brogues and a suit either. From trainers and high hemmed trousers to work-wear boots and slim fitting jeans, the new overcoat look is open to a diverse and wide ranging audience making it more accessible than ever before.

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It’s not just the plethora of looks that make the overcoat a seasonal must have. Take a quick peek at the number of designers with overcoats in their AW14 collections and you will soon realise this is a zeitgeist moment for the most traditional of winter coats.

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From the monochrome hues of Agi & Sam and McQueen to the classic camel of Ami to the oversized E Tautz and bone achingly slim silhouettes of Saint Laurent bad boy Hedi Slimane, any catwalk show worth talking about had an overcoat or three thrown in to the mix.

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Of course most of us aren’t in a position to shell out a four-digit number on a designer coat which is why the likes of Topman, Reiss and a world of great high street and E-Commerce retailers are on hand to ensure we are not left out in the cold this winter.

There are an abundance of great overcoats at great prices this season so there is no excuse why any of us should be looking anything other than our best over the coming months. Here’s a few ways in which to make the overcoat essential to your wardrobe this season…

Morning Commute

You know how it is, jammed up against half the world trying to make their way to work on buses with steamed-up windows, trains fit to burst, streets drenched with morning downpours.

Thankfully, the cocoon of your overcoat will act like a shelter from the world, a chance to be alone with your thoughts as the world hurries by…just make sure you’ve got your scarf tucked in tight around your neck and your umbrella in case of emergencies.

wool check jacketssoho dark jacketsnn7 trousers

oliver popline shirtstriped polka scarfsblack shine mix

Rambling Man

The end of a winter’s country walk should always end with a visit to a pub and a roast dinner, while the walk itself never looked as good as it does in an overcoat.

Both stylish and able to ward of the elements, teamed with a sturdy pair of jeans and boots (avoid Wellies unless you happen to be a farmer) the overcoat offers the ideal look for both the family man and the solitary soul out with this canine friend.

prince overcoatsheskin mens sweatersstriped apc

standard apc jeansbuckle strap bootsdocker mini hats

City Break

It doesn’t matter if you’re paying a quick trip to Amsterdam, Paris or Copenhagen, the overcoat can go with you everywhere. It doesn’t matter if you’re meandering through the myriad of streets or heading out for a romantic dinner, the overcoat is the best friend to both your trainers and your tailor.

We’ve already taken a look at how we can wear the overcoat in its formal environs so here’s a more dressed down approach for those cool city cats.

wool zigzag coatsdouble faced sweatersmax leg jeans

purple outdoormini beanie hatsreversible scarf

Best Of The Rest

brown breasted coatsami black overcoatbarena knitcoats

baby wool coatswoolen faux jacketscashmere prorsum

black apc porterblend charles coatscrew blend overcoats

A Final Note

The great thing about the overcoat is that it gives us all the opportunity to add an array of layers under its subtle charm. Be it check shirts or sweaters, suit blazers or a fine knit jumper, they are all complimented perfectly by the trustworthy overcoat and help to ensure our winter wardrobe goes off without a hitch.

The overcoat has always had something aristocratic about its persona but now, thanks to the lines of fashion and style becoming something of a blur, the overcoat can be a little more rebellious in its outlook making it a must have for the city folk and the cool kids alike.