Updated: Mar 7, 2019
Bespoke tailoring is all about being personal. Not only in the sense that the fit of the garment fits you exceptionally but more importantly it allows you to create something which is unique to your needs and character.
And so this is clearly reflected on this polo coat I've designed.
I should start off by saying this, by far, is my best bespoke tailoring experience. That's because most of my initial vision for the overcoat is materialized, if not ended up being even better.
And of course, thanks to the exceptional craftsmanship offered at Whitcomb & Shaftesbury as well.
Anyway, let's start by looking at the structure of the Polo coat.
In the piece on the fitting process for the overcoat, I mentioned how the cut of the garment is quite English.
I pointed out how not only are there a noticeable amount of shoulder paddings, but also the shoulders themselves are quite extended, in the sense that you feel like there is enough room to be narrowed down.
So I had a conversation with Suresh on this matter.
He advised that it wouldn't be a great idea since it would be very difficult to slip on the coat if the shoulders are made too close to the garment inside.
On top of that, whether I am wearing a suit jacket or something more casual like a turtleneck sweater plays an important role as you could imagine.
And he's quite right. The feeling of having too much room only occurs if I am wearing a jacket with heavily-padded shoulders underneath, not when I am wearing a Neapolitan jacket or a sweater (as demonstrated above).
Elsewhere you may notice how the lapels are kind of unusual.
Definitely nothing close to the current on-trend peak lapel Ulster coats, but also different from a conventional notch lapel Polo coat; the lapels are actually specifically designed to angle downwards to have more of a trench coat look.
The reason behind, really, is to give space to the rather extended collar and the fur on top of it.
After all, it is always easier to adjust the proportions of lapels than the fur while the garment is still being crafted.
Speaking of the collar, you may recall how I originally intended to use the collar in two different ways. Specifically, I wanted both options of having it laid flat or turned up so it could be more versatile.
Then, in the update about the second-fitting, I mentioned how it was no longer possible to have the collar turned up because the fur is in the way.
However, things took an interesting turn again when I went in to pick up my overcoat.
Now having seen the coat with the actual fur attached to it, my tailor Emily suggested that I could still have the option to pop up the collar given the fact that the fur is thick enough to stand properly, something which couldn't be done with just the collar itself.
So while I have the option to make the collar sit flat when I actually button my coat and tie the belt in front, I could also turn up the collar when I tie a trench coat knot at the back (as shown in the picture above).
It may not be straightforward in the sense that once you pop it up and it will look great instantly, but it is not particularly challenging to get it to the perfect shape either.
By the way, in case if you are wondering, the fur collar is a detachable one. It currently has 10 buttons along the inner collar that sticks them together. I could always remove some of them, but I don't think I would be doing that anytime soon.
Again, because the fur itself is quite thick to start with, it is unnecessary or even impractical to hook it at the tip of the collar anyway.
When it comes to the choice of fabric, I should say I ended up being more satisfied than before.
For a period of time, I wasn't so sure about the color of the cloth I have chosen, namely because I realized this shade of camel is rather like ivory and shares a rather similar yet clashing pallet with my other cream ensembles, or even the trousers I had Whitcomb made for me previously.
I can't deny this. But at the same time, I figured it is still quite versatile; and more importantly, it resonates with the texture and the color of the fur perfectly.
Same applies to the weight. Despite being a very lightweight overcoating fabric (in just 570g, being something that could get creases whenever I sit on it); the cloth in return cinches very nicely, as exemplified by the knot from above.
Moving onto the little details at the back.
Usually, when people look at a coat, they often pay too much attention to the front that they inevitably overlook what's happening at the back.
It's not the case for this coat. I am particularly fond of the features on the back, especially how well the sprat's heads resonate with the inward pleat.
I know some people may find the sprat's heads to be too showy and rather oversized for the coat.
My personal take on this is that as long as the sprat's heads share the same color with the rest of the coat, it would sit well regardless. After all, it's a nice little feature that shows the level of craftsmanship which you just can't resist.
Nonetheless, I am actually having second thoughts about my choices for the buttons and the belt.
While the buttons are essentially cream and dark brown, the shades aren't very visible in normal lights, making them look more like ivory and charcoal.
Now by itself, this isn't really an issue. However, by featuring a medium brown shade of the leather buckle for the belt, there seems to be a clash between them; or rather, too much of different brown shades for one single coat.
However, I wouldn't say this is a serious issue that would make me want to re-do the belt. In any case, I would probably just treat it as a highlight to the existing pallet.
One final point. I was concerned about the issue of sustainability when I create this coat.
As much as I would enjoy having a shearling or a fur collar for this lovely coat, the issue of ethics and how the material is sourced always come first to me.
That's why I'm particularly glad that the fur is made by Yves Salomon, one of the best fur workshops in the world that emphasizes sustainability and ethics.
A whole topic on the relation between fur and sustainability would take more than just this little section to address, and so as the whole background of Yves Salomon.
But for now, you could click here to check out the philosophy of the company.