Compared to, for example, suiting cloths there are numerous aspects to consider when pondering overcoat fabrics and the difficulty of choosing a suitable overcoat fabric is not seldom overlooked.
Firstly, the overcoat is a piece of outerwear used for the colder seasons and hence the functionality of the cloth is more important than with most pieces of tailoring. Secondly, the mere mass of cloth used is a factor to consider as different cloths drapes differently and will create totally different appearances as a result. Thirdly, and lastly, the overcoat is the outward shell you will be wearing during the greater part of the colder season and (if it is a good one) for many seasons ahead. Hence, finding something versatile and that wears well over time is essential.
Mid weights – covert and cashmere
At Atelier Saman Amel, we simply define mid weight overcoat fabrics as fabrics that will need some layering to handle the coldest months of the northern Europe. This implies thateven some of the heavier fabrics from Italian suppliers such as Loro Piana and Caccioppoli at around 390gr-490gr are, to our standards, defined as mid weights.
Pictured above is (on the right) a taupe 100% cashmere fabric from Loro Piana. From a far it looks plain, however, a closer look will reveal a rich mélange effect created by the fineness of the cashmere fiber. It weighs 480gr, it is water repellent and will keep you warm throughout most of the Autumn/Winter season. However, a solid cashmere should not be considered primarily for its functional aspects but rather for its incredibly hand feel and luster.
The brown fabric above (to the left) has a similar weight of 470gr, however, as a drastically different look and feel to it. It is a covert cloth which is more compact, however, is still soft and has a very nice drape to it. As a contrast to the cashmere, the covert is hard wearing and not something you need to be too careful with when wearing, however, as a result it lacks the fineness in hand that comes with cashmere.
Heavy weight – sturdy lambs wool
Logically enough we define heavy weight overcoat fabrics as fabrics that will keep you warm without the help of excessive layering. As a rule, this would imply a weight of around 450gr-750gr.
The blue lambs wool pictured above has a subtle herringbone pattern and is essentially a sturdy British overcoat cloth. With a weight of 780gr this cloth is warm and durable. The finish is rugged and when worn a cloth like this act almost like an armor of elegance. Great as it is, what you gain in durability and warmth you will lack in softness.
Something special for Spring
Regardless of the weight, wool often feels out of season midst Spring or Autumn. When rain and wind are greater issues than cold temperatures, cotton is the way to go.
Pictured above are two – one navy and one mid brown – bunches of coated cotton that we have developed together with our British friends at Dugdale Bros & Co. A “coating” on a cloth means that the cloth is treated with a synthetic substance to give it more durability and a water repellant finish. Hence, a coated fabric like will last longer and be more functional.