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If being known as “Michelin Man” isn’t enough to make you stop wearing your down puffer jacket, I don’t know what would be. It was enough for me.
As a big guy, I’ve always had to be concerned about how I dress. An outfit that is fine on a skinny dude with small feet makes me look like a marshmallow stuffed into some skinny jeans.
So, after my friends decided that Michellin Man was a fun nickname, I decided that I needed to up my style game and start looking for a coat option that was warm, classy, and a bit more slimming.
Luckily, makers of overcoats understand that big guys like myself are always in the market for such a product. Big and tall peacoats, carcoats, trenches, etc. are easy to find and relatively inexpensive.
The real issue is finding one that is made of the right material, has a flattering cut, and is made with enough attention to detail that it won’t fall apart after a single season. Well, I did it for you. Whether you are looking for something to wear around campus, to get to work, or simply to look classy in on dates I’ve got you covered with several different options.
The perfect winter coat for big guys
If you’re looking for the perfect winter coat for big guys, a pea coat is probably it. Even with the massive number of guys wearing brightly colored down jackets everywhere, nobody will take you seriously if you are part of the goof-troop that wears mountaineering stuff around town.
A big and tall peacoat has several advantages for big guys, including:
- Lots of warmth in a thin layer. If you’re a big guy you probably want to avoid looking bulkier than you need to. In other words, leave the freaking down puffer jacket in your closet for times when you’re either hiking a mountain or freezing to death. The wool (or wool blend) that makes up most peacoats means you get a thin layer that is extremely warm for its thickness as well as excellent at blocking wind.
- Elevated style. Whenever I give fashion advice I always tell guys, “when in doubt, overdress.” As a big and heavy guy, I never feel even average when I wear average clothes. Not that I dislike my body, but I know how others view my weight so I make a concerted effort to overcome the stigma through my clothes.
- Lots of big and tall options at affordable prices. Yes, there are some insanely expensive peacoats. However, unlike many coats, they all function very similarly. They use similar materials, have a style/cut that differs only slightly, and are available from just about every brand. Don’t feel the need to overpay for an ultra-premium option. Once you get to a certain level of quality you’ll be hardpressed to notice a difference.
While there are arguments that can be made for almost every style of coat (and situations they work great in) one of the real hallmarks of men’s style is to have the proper clothing for the proper situation. This means that, no, you can’t wear the same jacket everywhere no matter what the rest of your outfit is like. Instead, you need to have several options and one of them should always be dressier eg. a double-breasted peacoat.
Here are my favorite options:
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Wait, what is a pea coat?
When it comes to overcoats for big guys, things are kind of a mess. If you came here looking for a peacoat and found that the options we recommend aren’t what you’re looking for, maybe it’s not a peacoat you were looking for at all! There are a dozen different types of overcoats and, while each style does have specific characteristics, brands often call their items whatever they want. Which is obviously confusing for the consumer! So, while I can’t guarantee that these styles will be right 100% of the time, these are some of the most common and desirable styles of wool dress coats for big guys: (I left out full-length coats because let’s face it, we’re not wizards or flashers)
Putting on a peacoat (or pea jacket, peacoat, pilot jacket, reefer jacket, etc. depending on who you ask) is to put on a piece of history!
This heavy wool overcoat was originally worn by European and later American Navies as part of their official uniform. In fact, there are references to American Navy sailors wearing peacoats as early as 1720!
While there have been slight updates of fabric and fit but, in general, peacoats are still known for the same characteristics: waist-length, double-breasted, large buttons (often with the navy anchor inscribed on them), and vertical pockets.
If you’re looking for a coat with hook and loop toggles, you’re probably thinking of a duffel coat.
Duffel coats are another excellent option for big and tall guys. There tend to be slightly more slimming in appearance as they are single-breasted and cut a little longer.
As an added bonus, many duffel coats have a hood which, while looking a bit less professional, can keep you a whole bunch warmer!
A car coat is just what it sounds like: a coat to be worn in a car. Not just any car, however, but the type of care that men and women rode in a hundred years ago when “motoring” was considered an outdoor sport. That type of vehicle typically had no top which means that passengers needed clothing that provided both warmth and protection.
Due to changes in both style and necessity care coats today are significantly shorter than they used to be hitting about mid-thigh. They are still made predominantly of wool or cashmere and considered to be a highly fashionable but function overcoat, an excellent option for big and tall guys.
Whichever coat you choose, be sure to look for an option that is mostly wool (preferably with a quilted liner) and from a reputable brand. If you haven’t actually tried on many peacoats or similar overcoats I would be very wary of buying one online that’s not on this list.
The reason for my caution is that, if you get the wrong coat, it will be boxy and unflattering as well as probably being scratchy and uncomfortable. If you do want to look for another option, be sure to read as many reviews as possible and check out the measurements to ensure a proper fit.
However, I did lots and lots of research, reading, measure, and trying on to bring you the best 3 peacoats for big and tall guys that you can get on the internet! Well, kind of. You can find much nicer big and tall peacoats if you’re willing to spend upwards of thousand dollars but, for most guys who just want to look great and feel warm, these are the best value for the money. So let’s see the lineup!
The Best Overall Big and Tall Peacoat: BGSD Men’s Mark Classic Wool Blend Pea Coat
- 70% Wool provides great warmth to weight ration while the balance of polyester increases softness
- The classic cut provides extra room in the waist and chest (perfect for big and tall guys) while maintaining a flattering silhouette
- BGSD is an American designed and trademarked brand, ensuring that you get a quality product in American sizes and, if anything goes wrong, there is customers service available
- BDSD is probably the most well-known brand you’ve never heard of and has over 30 years of experience in making jackets for big and tall guys
Roomiest/Largest Fit: Nautica Men’s Big & Tall Wool-Blend Peacoat
- 52% wool, 30% polyester, 7% rayon, 6% nylon, 5% other
- Classic double-breasted closure ensures warmth and the traditional navy-style buttons give an attractive touch
- Quilted polyester lining is comfortable enough to be worn even without long sleeves
Budget Option: KingSize Men’s Big & Tall Double-Breasted Wool Peacoat Coat
- Wool/Polyester blend is both warm and soft
- Relaxed fit makes this a great peacoat for big and tall guys
- KingSize has been around providing big and tall peacoats as well as other high-quality options for big men since 1920
Choosing the Best Peacoat
While all three above options are terrific, it doesn’t mean that any of them will be quite right for you. Choosing a big and tall peacoat is more involved that just finding one that looks nice. After all, one coat might look great for one person’s body shape and fashion style and be terrible for someone else.
So how do you choose?
Choosing the fabric for your peacoat is incredibly important if you want it to last for a long time and service a functional purpose. If you just want to something that looks good briefly, just get one that you like the look of because if you want higher quality fabric, you’ll pay for it. So you’ll need to decide what function you want you coat to fill.
The fabric options are:
- 100% Wool: Pure wool is incredibly warm for its weight and can last for a lifetime if cared for correctly. Pure wool tends to be pretty itchy if it’s unlined and also has the drawback of being drycleaned only.
- Wool Blend: A wool blend is probably the most common pea coat for big guys and will typically give you the most bang for your buck. Blended options typically have a wool outer layer and a quilted nylon inner layer which adds a layer of warmth and keeps the wool off your skin.
- Non-Wool Fibers (typically polyester): On the lower end of the price spectrum we have pea coats that either have very low wool content or no wool at all. These typically have more of a jersey type feel (think of hoodie material) and lack the classic look of a traditional dress coat. If you want a more trendy/youthful look this can be a good option but you will forgo both warmth and the dress-up factor.
All things considered, a wool blend will give almost all wearers the most mileage and all the options we included here are a blend.
A double breasted coat is fairly flattering as it tend to break up your body lined and add some size to your chest (balancing out your belly). However, having the proper fit will ensure that you look as good as possible you new coat. Almost all manufactueres provide measurements online so you can find your correct and you should use them. Don’t just order your normal size and hope it will fit. Get out a measuring tape (borrow your wife’s) and find your chest and waist measurement.
Don’t go too slim as most dress coats are designed to have a more classic box-type fit. If you’re a tall guy also be sure to measure the length of a coat you have (from the bottom of the collar to the bottom hem) to be sure that it will be long enough for you.
With only a few exceptions dress coats come in three colors: black, navy, and charcoal gray. Some also come in brown but we won’t even entertain that option.
Of the three, black is the most versatile and tends to look the most polished. If you want to have a slim fit and an alternative color, grays can be a very good option.
Switching to a peacoat as my go to winter wear has been (at the risk of being dramatic) life-changing. Knowing that I’m going to be putting on a dressier coat has elevated my entire style and even helped changed my attitude.
And yes, the Michelin-man comments have stopped. It’s much harder for people to make fun of you for big fat when you out-class them.