An expertly crafted coat should sit on the wearer's frame as if it is a part of the person. It should protect against the ravages of the weather, and it should make the wearer feel comfortable in their appearance.
The very best coats are often individually made, and every possible check is made to ensure that they are of the highest possible quality. Most coats start out as a design on a sheet of paper, yet it is the luxurious feel of the finished garment that people fall in love with. Making a quality coat requires decades of experience, a high level of skill and the very best materials.
The most important facet of any coat is the material it is made with. Raincoats are often manufactured with a rubber-based fibre, so that moisture can be kept away from the body. There are also various cotton and synthetic fibres used in the production of coats, yet it is often Melton wool that delivers in terms of comfort and elegance. Melton wool contains a small amount of nylon for extra durability, but it does little to detract from the insulating and comforting properties of the wool itself.
A well-stitched coat should have clean lines, joins and detailing. The very best examples have no outwardly visible stitching at all, yet they will last a lifetime. Some well-made coats include details made with luxurious materials such as silk and velvet; collars, pockets and cuffs made with these materials can often give the garment a more elegant look. Some coats are also manufactured with fusile web and underlining for reinforcement purposes; a process that often prolongs the life of the garment and maintains its shape.
It is often the smallest details that make the biggest differences on a coat. Genuine leather buttons or cuff-straps can completely transform the overall image of the garment, and a velvet collar may add a little extra class. However, it is often the lining of a coat that is used to give even the most authoritative coats a flash of personality. Red, blue and green linings often provide a little hidden eccentricity for the wearer to expose when the situation calls for it.
A beautiful coat is made by people, not machines; only with an expert eye for detail, and years of experience, will those people be able to make coats of the very highest quality.
Coats by Crombie are available from crombie.co.uk, Harrods, Tonic and YMC in London, Brown Thomas in Ireland, Autograph in Birmingham and online at the Mandon Store. A full stockist list can be seen at crombie.co.uk.