Summer, confusingly, seems to be back upon us in the UK. Still, no doubt it won't be long before the cold and rain returns and, when it does, I plan to be properly equipped with a new coat from Cad and the Dandy.
I already own an overcoat and a covert coat (for a slightly inadequate explanation of the difference, read this old blog post). What I don't own, and have always hankered after, is a proper polo coat.
As with many items of clothing, a polo coat is defined less now by its original function (keeping polo players warm between chukkas, it seems) and more by certain specific features. Some variation is probably 'permissable', but the more of these features it has, the more of a proper polo coat it is.
Firstly, it must be double-breasted. I think that's pretty much non-negotiable, if it's to be a polo coat. Like a double-breasted suit, it should have peaked lapels, and generally a buttonhole on both sides. However, it is associated with sport and therefore more casual than a simple double-breasted overcoat, so is almost always light brown, camel or fawn, and has patch pockets. It should come to slightly below the knee, and may have a half-belt or even a full belt, although that is perhaps less common.
Cad and the Dandy have promised to make me look like this chap. Fact.
The most proper place for a polo coat is at a sporting event, including the races. However, as a less formal winter coat I expect to be able to wear it with casual clothes, or even with a suit. It's a versatile garment and has that great feature of coats that it doesn't have to match what's being worn underneath in colour, style or level of formality.
My own will be made of a very slightly lighter cloth than the traditional coats, to make it more versatile, especially in London which is generally several degrees warmer than elsewhere in the country. It will also, in a slightly unusual take on the general style, have a subtle herringbone pattern, which I think will work nicely.
It should be ready in time for a trip to New York in November, when I expect it will come in very handy indeed.