A military overcoat is a coat that is usually tailored to full length or longer from heavy duty fabrics. They are classic winter garments and they are used to fight off the cold and other adverse temperatures. The Overcoats are different from the topcoats in a fashion that the topcoats are made of light materials and mostly used for fashion purposes rather than its utilitarian properties. A properly tailored military overcoat gives the wearer an air of style and stature.
As the major use of this military coats is to protect the wearer from cold they are made of thick fabrics like wool or cashmere wool which has good insulation properties. While the wool is the most popular fabric, cashmere is a luxury fabric which is softer and more comfortable than their woollen counterparts. But the softness comes with a catch. They can wear out easily at the points of cuffs and collars hence to avoid this you can get blends of the materials like wool and cashmere blends which can be more durable. These coats are usually single or double breasted and depending on your taste you can choose your style. As for the basics single breasted styles are more versatile than the double breasted ones. The double breasted ones are considered to be best for the formal use like to be worn with business suits for important meetings. Single vents are more common in the overcoats.
Outerwear on the whole has been evolving along with the human civilization. The ancient people used leather and animal skins to make their outer coverings and clothes. This soon got sophisticated with the evolution of the people. Capes were the next main improvement which were used by both men and women alike in many parts of the world. They were deemed so important that they were for some time used to determine the wearers status and class. The fur in the coats was the main indicator with the rich and the aristocrats wearing the expensive ones like beaver and mink while the normal ones wearing the cheap ones like goats and such. It is surprising that in some parts of the world there were also rules that restricted some class of people from wearing the expensive ones even if they can afford it. At the times of Regency the first type of military overcoats were paired with form fitting clothes that became the recent style at that time and these overcoats were also fitted close to the body of the wearer. They were usually double breasted and had a flared skirt.
Though the overcoat have occupied a part of mens fashion from the 18th century, one of the main contributor to the popularity and refinement of the military coat style is the military. The styles and designs of coats we have now are mostly from the ones that were originally developed for the military purposes. At the times of First World War the full length military overcoats became a popular military style. The soldiers in the army were used to wearing single breasted military overcoats while the ones in the navy were wearing the double breasted ones. This was because of the fact that the soldiers in navy had to fend off in adverse weather conditions and also the storms in the seaside while the weight of the double breasted military coats may slow down the army soldiers. These coats were part of the military uniform till about 1950s after which they were removed since they were considered to be impractical.
It was around this time when most of the classic styles of overcoat came into existence . The trench coats have been in style even before the times of First World War and were used only by Army officers of high rank. It is actually been in existence for like 100 years before the world war I. They were made from a new type of rubberised cotton fabric which were also waterproof which made them very useful when the soldiers were in the battle. This style soon became revolutionary since weatherproof was a great property to have by an outerwear. While the material had many advantages it had one major drawback that is the materials was not breathable. Thus the sweating became a major problem and they were impractical to be worn in the sunny days.
Thus a need for more breathable material became important and this was when trench coats were developed. As for the accurate origin of the military coats it has two popular theories. Two famous manufacturers still claim to be the first one to have created this classic style of military trench coats. Aquascutum and Burberry still are producing trench coats and are considered to be one of the best all over the world.
The trench coats soon became a popular style in the military. The trench coats when first introduced were not cheap and hence were only worn by the officers of high rank. These waterproof double breasted military overcoats had many accessories in it that made them a coveted fashion among the soldiers in the military. Even now the trench coats incorporate these styles in it.
If you are thinking of getting a trench coat some of the major characteristics which make them a trench coat is what you will have to check. The trench coats have shoulder straps which were used to indicate the rank of the soldiers at that time. The D rings are put there so that it can hold equipments like maps and swords. As the military coats were used for military and in trenches ventilation flaps were designed so that they expel the unpleasant odours and help to keep the material breathable. The length of the military overcoats were designed short so that they would not trip and would slightly flared at the hips to provide easy movement of the legs.
As for the recent times, military styles have made a great impact in our fashion sense. The overcoats are one such garments which though had their origin in military have now become one of the essentials of mens wardrobe.