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Harry Palmer's Coat: the 'car coat' length mac

Edward

Bartender
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London, UK
It's funny the things you occasionally develop an interest in after never liking them before...


I'm a big fan of the traditional, DB, belted trench coat. Sometimes, though, the minimalism of the unbelted, single-breasted option - especially on a rainy day in Summer - is just the ticket. The term 'car coat' isn't much common here in the UK, but it's notable that the shorter, mid-thigh version of the SB mac was introduced in the 50s by Gloverall, as the Mansell Mac Car Coat. They're most associated with the Sixties here in the UK, in particular with Michael Caine as Harry Palmer in The Ipcress File and Funeral in Berlin. There's recently been a (rather good, and closer to the plot of the book, I believe) television serialisation of The Ipcress File, which has got me musing on the practicality of these shorter macs for Summer casual wear, albeit geared more towards the fifties than the early Sixties vibe.

This is the Gloverall, still in production:

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Michael Caine in 1966:

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I'm actually very tempted b y one made by Brighton-based "Jump the Gun" brand, though I'm leaning towards the olive green or mid-blue. Curious whether anyone else on the lounge wears coats like this, especially if combining with an earlier look. I have to admit to a bit of instinctive rejection of the Sixties vibe in the normal course of things, largely down to the excessive fetishisation of that decade in British-English popular culture.
 

Canuck Panda

I'll Lock Up
Messages
4,175
Olive green and navy will get the most wears. I like the light khaki beige but it rarely gets worn. These are really two season coats though, spring and early fall. Keeps the rain off the pants. Mine are just fast fashion copies, and the olive one uses snaps so it's not even authentic. I would go with a Gloverall or Mackintosh for sure but the sizes are never available when they go on sale.
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Edward

Bartender
Messages
24,771
Location
London, UK
Olive green and navy will get the most wears. I like the light khaki beige but it rarely gets worn. These are really two season coats though, spring and early fall. Keeps the rain off the pants. Mine are just fast fashion copies, and the olive one uses snaps so it's not even authentic. I would go with a Gloverall or Mackintosh for sure but the sizes are never available when they go on sale.
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Raincoats and trenchcoats are definitely somewhere where the big brands command a lot of cash, though often while they're still good coats, there is still a significant brand-tax. It doesn't always sit easy with me paying huge amounts for a brand when the attraction is the utilitarian vibe. But yeah, I have a couple of trench coats and longer, SB style macs in khaki / tan already, so it's definitely another colour would be ideal for me.

This is the one I have my eye on at the minute; I particularly like the mid-blue: https://jumpthegun.co.uk/category/coats-parkas/raincoats/ I'm not normally big on early Sixties style, but JTG have a few pieces that also echo the late fifties that would fit right in with my wardrobe. I'm seeing me in one of these in a wet, Summer day on holiday on the Isle of Wight or similar....
 

Canuck Panda

I'll Lock Up
Messages
4,175
Yeah the Mac coats are definitely more modernized than the Crombie styles or the double breasted styles. Still classy though. And very useful. I dumped my Barbour for these cheaper Macs because its a bit longer.
JTG has reasonable price and quality looks good (in photos). I shop at a lot of smaller UK shops. The non branded stuff always have a lot of value. Some are even still made in UK too which surprises me.
 

Edward

Bartender
Messages
24,771
Location
London, UK
Yeah the Mac coats are definitely more modernized than the Crombie styles or the double breasted styles. Still classy though. And very useful. I dumped my Barbour for these cheaper Macs because its a bit longer.
JTG has reasonable price and quality looks good (in photos). I shop at a lot of smaller UK shops. The non branded stuff always have a lot of value. Some are even still made in UK too which surprises me.

Yes, I'm hoping to get down to Brighton into the early Summer to have a look at their stuff in person. Been eying their Harringtons for some time, they look to be a good balance between quality and price. I have a couple of really crazy-cheap (like £20) Harringtons I have picked up over the years which are nice, but it's very hit and miss at the cheapest end of the market. JTG look to be in about the mid-price sweet spot that gets decent quality without getting into the sort of silly money the likes of Burberry demand nowadays.

The length always was the drawback with a Barbour. Grand for drizzle, but in heavier rain you really needs the waterproof trews too. Plus they never seemed to quite cover a blazer. Mid-thigh down is gold from that pov.
 

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