The Car coat.


The iconic car coat was conceived in a haze of gasoline and born on a dirt road. Over a century the mid-thigh length, A-line shaped coat has evolved into one of men’s most multi-faceted garments.

The car coat from Givenchy Spring 2015, All Over Press

As the name reveals this garment was born in symbiosis with the birth of the automobile in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Back then, when most cars were built without roofs and modern heaters, drivers and passengers of the then-so-luxurious vehicles needed coats that kept them warm as well as protect their expensive suits and dresses (in these days solely the very rich were able to afford cars) from the dust and dirt that often would spray the driver whilst riding on underdeveloped roads. But functionality was not the only perk with the coat – looking dapper while stepping out of your car was equally important. 

The original car coats were often longer and commonly made of much heavier materials than the models we encounter on streets, runways, and in cars today.  The mid-thigh length coat that is the car coat today evolved in the 1960s when the garment became something every man – and most women – had in their wardrobes. Its mid-thigh length and A-line form is a comfortable fit, allowing the driver to move comfortably without the risk of feet getting tangled up near the pedals. 

When the length changed, the material followed; from mostly being made of fur and leather to a lighter version in nylon or dense wool – although the former still occur. This is how the coat is most commonly seen today.

The car coat is one the most multi-faceted garment in men’s outerwear. The sober look and clean lines together with its mid-thigh length makes sure it covers the end of your suit jacket, and enables you to wear it – depending on colour and perhaps material – to a job interview as well as a wedding. The coat is equally easy to dress down. If you match it with black jeans, a pair of boots, and perhaps a washed out and well-beaten denim jacket, you can wear it at a hip downtown club.

Stylist Columbine Smille styled the car coat together with a thin-knitted sweater, a hoodie, and sweatpants for a laidback everyday look.

“It’s simple but has the right details with nice zippers and buttons. And I love the material!” says Smille. 

Photographer Tobias Lundkvist’s favourite items are the classics: a black t-shirt and Chuck Taylors. Stylist Columbine Smille’s favourite item is the perfect black silk dress. Our model is super hunk Sacha M'Baye. Hair by Mette Thorsgaard and makeup by Josefin Scherdin

Idris Elba, Steve McQueen, Prad Pitt in a leather car coat in Fight Club, Sean Connery in the Bond movie From Russia With Love, David Beckham models 'Modern Essentials selected by David Beckham from H&M and Ben Affleck on a walk with wife Jennifer Garner, All Over Press.
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