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A peacoat is a timeless and classic menswear staple that can be worn casually or with business casual attire. Not only is a wool peacoat warm but it is also incredibly stylish and masculine owing to its design and history. Here is a guide on how a peacoat should fit.
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How a peacoat should fit
A well fitting peacoat should have enough room for you to layer a dress shirt and/or sweater underneath but not much more. It should also be long enough to cover your hips. The body of the peacoat should be fitted but not tight and you should be able to button it up with ease.
The shoulders of a peacoat should fit as close to perfect as possible because they are incredibly difficult and expensive to alter. The shoulder seam of a peacoat should lie at the point where your shoulder naturally drops down to your arm.
Since you will be layering underneath you peacoat, it’s fine if the shoulder seam of the coat falls slightly down you arm about 0.5 to 1 inch but not more than that.
If the shoulder seam of the coat lies before the natural endpoint of your shoulders, the peacoat is too small and it will be very uncomfortable and constricting to wear especially with a shirt and/or sweater underneath.
However, if the shoulder seam of the peacoat falls down your arm more than 1 inch, then the coat is too big and it will look unprofessional.
A well-fitting peacoat should sit comfortably across the front and back of your neck. There shouldn’t be any tightness or pinching in the fabric. The peacoat should also lay flat across the top of your chest and neck without any excess fabric.
Peacoats are typically worn in the late fall/early winter so it’s very common to layer a shirt and a sweater/cardigan underneath. What this means for the fit of your peacoat is that it should be well fitted but with enough room to accommodate these garments underneath.
The best way to figure this out is to actually wear a dress shirt/collared shirt and a sweater when trying on a peacoat. This will help you determine if the peacoat fits well in the chest.
When wearing these layers, the peacoat should now be relatively snug (not tight) and there should be no creasing across the chest. Creasing indicates the peacoat is too tight. While too much excess fabric means the peacoat is too big/loose.
The design of a peacoat is meant to accentuate your chest, shoulders and waist. Simply put, a well-fitting peacoat should make your chest and shoulders look larger than your waist. This creates that masculine v-shape. Similar to the chest fitting, a well fitting peacoat should have enough room in the body/torso for you to layer.
With a dress shirt and sweater underneath, you should be able to close the first two rows of buttons on a peacoat comfortably. If there is a slight crease when you button the peacoat up, that is fine, it gives you a slimmer appearance. But there shouldn’t be any pulling or tightness around the body, otherwise the peacoat is too small for you.
On the other hand, if there is excess fabric and too much room in the body even when wearing a dress shirt and sweater underneath then the peacoat is too loose and big.
This is where so many men mess up with the fit. Let me make it as simple as possible. A well fitting peacoat should be long enough to cover your bum completely. It’s fine if the peacoat runs slightly longer than this, it will just keep you warmer. But it definitely should not be shorter than this point otherwise the whole look becomes too trendy.
But here is a key point to consider. If you are shorter than 5’8, then make sure the peacoat ends around your bum and doesn’t go past it, otherwise it will throw off your body proportions and make you look short.
Well fitting peacoats and jackets in general tend to have higher armholes. The benefits of a higher armhole are twofold. Firstly, it makes the jacket, in this case, the peacoat more comfortable to wear because you will be able to move your arms comfortably without the jacket riding up or restricting your movement. The second benefit of a higher armhole is that it allows the jacket to be more streamlined and well-fitted.
Lower armholes on jackets create a weird wing effect which makes the body of the jacket puff out.
The sleeves of a peacoat should be wide enough to accommodate a shirt and sweater underneath. But they should be relatively streamlined and not too roomy. You should be able to bend your arm without any discomfort or tightness in the sleeve. If there is tightness, then the sleeves are too small. If you find that the sleeves have too much excess fabric, then they are too big.
If the peacoat fits well everywhere else, then you can take the peacoat to a tailor and have the sleeves altered.
Peacoat sleeve length
The sleeves of a peacoat should be slightly longer than for a blazer or suit jacket and that is because you want the coat to cover everything you are wearing underneath. The sleeves should extend past your wrist bone by 1 to 1.5 inches. This will ensure that your shirt, sweater or anything else you are wearing underneath is covered and more importantly this will help you keep warmer in the cold.
How do you know if a peacoat is too big?
A peacoat is too big if:
- the shoulder seam is hanging well past your shoulder
- there is too much excess room in the chest and body
- the sleeves fall well past your wrists and cover your hand
How tight should a peacoat be?
A peacoat should not be tight. A well fitting peacoat should have enough room for you to wear a dress shirt and sweater underneath. You should be able to button the peacoat comfortably.
How should a man wear a peacoat?
You can wear a peacoat casually with jeans, chinos and a crew neck sweater. You can also dress up the peacoat to business casual and wear it with a collared shirt, tie and dress pants. For shoes, you can wear sneakers, oxfords, derbies and boots with a peacoat.