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The 10 best men’s coats and jackets for winter 2021

From traditional wool overcoats to a cosy shearling jacket, Esquire’s style director Charlie Teasdale selects the most stylish men’s coats for the autumn/winter season

26 October 2021

Dior Down Jacket

One of life’s little joys – and boy, do we need those right now – choosing a new winter coat, is a welcome, semi-annual ritual. But there are pitfalls. The first question is, what do you need it for? Warmth and dryness seem to be obvious answers here, but fashion has rarely ever been about the obvious answers, and as you’ll have no doubt learned, function often has an adverse effect on form.

So, then, if you do favour form, should it be the kind of form that goes with everything. Or do you intend to invest in a new “Atlas” coat: one garment that will carry the rest of your (potentially fatigued) wardrobe on its back?

As per usual, this season’s menswear collections were jam-packed with good coats. Alongside the suit, men tend to reach for outerwear to best express our inner workings, so it makes sense that the various brands would cater to our needs.

For autumn/winter 2021, maximal takes on menswear classics prevailed, with beefed-up versions of the down jacket, the alphabet-emblazoned varsity “letterman” jacket and the bathrobe at the likes of Dolce & Gabbana, Burberry and Bottega Veneta. Exaggerated volume, it would seem, is the name of the game, but that’s not to say the stalwarts of elegant, understated menswear aren’t still on hand.

Brunello Cucinelli, for example, will never not make beautiful, business-appropriate overcoats in impossibly soft wools, and Tom Ford will always have a litany of astonishing shearlings lining the walls of its boutiques. Thankfully, all the following – and more, I’ll wager – can be found on Sloane Street this Autumn.

The Bomber Jacket

Saint Laurent is a master of the bomber jacket. The brand represents the peak of slick, coyly menacing Parisian style and, since his arrival as creative director in 2016, Anthony Vaccarello has continued the tradition with aplomb. If anything, he’s honed it. As winter coats go, this bomber won’t serve you especially well in a cold snap, but the warmth you’ll get from knowing how incredibly cool you look should carry you through to spring. Wear it with cigarette-thin jeans and black leather boots.

Saint Laurent, 171-172 Sloane Street, London, SW1X 9QG

The Wool Overcoat

An undisputed king of the overcoat – and the pleated trouser, the unstructured blazer and captivating Italian style in general – is Brunello Cucinelli. At his hamlet (yes, hamlet) in Umbria, Central Italy, an expansive team of craftspeople create almost impossibly luxurious garments from the finest fabrics man can muster. Therefore, investing in one of his overcoats is one of the shrewdest sartorial moves you can make, because it will last a long, long time, and only improve with age. It is an investment but, as this virgin wool and cashmere coat demonstrates, you’ll be wearing it often. In fact, you might not take it off all coat season.

Brunello Cucinelli, 159 Sloane Street, London, SW1X 9BT

The Letterman Jacket

One of the key trends for winter is a fashionified version of the classic, all-American, boy-next-door letterman jacket, a style traditionally worn by high school or college varsity sports teams. At Dior, Kim Jones retooled it in rich brown wool and embroidered it with animals. While at Burberry, creative director Riccardo Tisci offered two options: one more classic, but with extended pocket/mittens, and another with extended shoulders and cutaway sleeves. The former is your best bet for winter, I’d say.

Burberry, 1 Sloane Street, London, SW1X 9LA

The Leather Blazer

Dark leather – and gothic garb in general – has been on the rise over recent seasons – thanks in large part to the furore around the Daniel-Lee-revolution at Bottega Veneta – and a proper, Moto GP-style, panelled leather jacket (see those at Gucci) could easily make this list. But my leather pick is an oversize blazer, preferably in black or dark brown, such as those at Balenciaga. There are two possible vibes with the leather blazer: the first is grungier, more minimal, worn with chunky lace-ups and blue jeans. (In other words: very nineties.) While the other is more glam, more Ron Burgundy, worn with high waisted trousers, heeled boots and voluminous hair.

Balenciaga, 193-195 Sloane Street, London, SW1X 9QX

The Shearling Jacket

As an autumn wardrobe essential of perennial appeal, a shearling jacket is statement-making but supremely casual, so not exactly one for the daily commute, but no coat will keep you warmer through the next few months. Due to its supreme American-ness, the best place for a shearling jacket is Ralph Lauren, which manages to tread the line between heritage and pastiche. Should you require something slicker and less akin to WWII fighter pilot uniforms, head to Loro Piana.

Ralph Lauren, 32-33 Sloane Square, London, SW1W 8AQ

The Statement Trench

Classic trench coats are high on the style agenda this year, with many designers putting a new spin on the traditional silhouette. At Balenciaga, the trench has been characteristically augmented to near (but, crucially, not quite) comical proportions. While at Fendi, the trench’s utilitarian feel has been refined into something more akin to a bathrobe. Indeed, cast in silk, with piping on the lapels, Fendi trenches are more like tuxedos. Or you could just invest in a classic from Burberry.

Fendi, 26-27 Sloane Street, London, SW1X 9NE

The Shell Jacket

Once the reserve of technical adventure-wear brands, the shell jacket has had a high-fashion overhaul recently. Prada, for example, has put more emphasis on its Linea Rossa line of sportswear and, last year, Gucci collaborated with The North Face on an achingly cool, hybrid collection of hiking-inspired kit. The team-up was a one-off, but Gucci has continued to create retro-ish, technical-ish sportswear of its own. This hooded windbreaker is the perfect example. From afar, it might seem to be your average rain jacket but get close (and look at the back) and the Gucci-ness is evident.

Gucci, 18 Sloane Street, London, SW1X 9NE

The Raglan-Sleeve Overcoat

As the adage goes, a good coat can hide all manner of sartorial sins. But some coats flatter you more than others. Much like unstructured tailoring hugs the shape of your shoulder, raglan-sleeve coats (where the sleeves extend diagonally from the collar to the underarm), offer a softer line to the shoulders than the traditional cut of overcoat sleeves. Raglan sleeves serve as a charming foil to super structured tailoring, or to complement the heft of a hoodie. Fendi has a great raglan sleeve number in its new collection, but my pick would be from the Boss x Russell Athletic collaboration. It’s preppy, streetwear-y and Savile Row-ish, all at once.

Hugo Boss, 35–38 Sloane Square, London, SW1W 8DL

The Pea Coat

Being a military creation, and being pretty much perfect from the beginning, you could pick up a perfectly good pea coat for next to nothing at any army surplus store. But we’re talking about Sloane Street luxury, here, and for that, you should visit Prada. The brand’s A/W 21 runway show featured this slightly oversized version, and there are a couple of key differences. First, there are no lapels; second, it’s cut from a soft knit, rather than the usual tough wool. But it has that same boxy shape that works so well with slim trousers, and it even has big embossed buttons. Although here it’s the Pradan triangle rather than a familiar anchor.

Prada, 43-45 Sloane Street, London, SW1X 9LU

The Down Jacket

Traditionally, you only needed a luxurious and/or trendy down jacket if you were going to an especially bougie ski resort, but those days are long gone. Every brand worth its salt makes a down jacket now, and none are much saltier than Dior, whose various takes on the Alpine staple range from the understated to the audacious. You could go classic with something in black from the brand’s new-ish Dior Essentials collection, or go contemporary with something in a burgundy jacquard with oblique Dior detailing. Either would be fine, though I’d recommend the former be worn with matching black trousers and trainers for an exercise in tonal, stealth-wealth dressing.

Dior, 31 Sloane Street, London, SW1X 9NR

One thing’s for sure, whether you intend to dress primarily for warmth or with wow-factor style this winter, you will discover coats for all trends and occasions in Sloane Street’s boutiques.