Longevity, functionality and the trend of Slow Fashion; the Ulster coat has evolved since its Victorian roots into what you see today. Our Ulster coat remains one of our best selling coats and for this winter, we wanted to create a new Look based on this iconic design.
The Ulster coat was commonly worn by coachmen who would be seated outdoors in bad weather for long periods but needed to use their arms to hold reins, hence the inclusion of the cape. After the Edwardian period it lost its cape but continued to be used as a heavy-duty overcoat, often in a double-breasted style.
The design kept evolving over the decades, responding to the fashion trends of the day. Looking back at the origins, today's design is quite different in some ways but similar in others. Gone is the cape, the length now shorter and the cut much slimmer but the swelled edges, large cuffs and flap pockets remain - in our AW21 coat, at least.
Read on to learn how we made some the decisions during the design process bringing together aspects such as fabric, lining and styling, and then the pairing with other garments to create the complete look.
(L) By Unknown author - 1903; Originally published New York : Jno Mitchell Co. 1910, Public Domain | (R) Victorian gentleman circa 1870s, sketch. By Gionale Dei Santi on wikimedia commons; public domain
When making our garments we go to key bunches for that particular garment type. For coats this includes Dugdale No. 138, Loro Piana No. 654 and W.Bill Classic Coatings. Each of these bunches has its own strengths, however, for this Look as we knew we wanted to use tweed our attention was always going to be on Classic Coatings.
Various fabrics caught our eye including this reasonably light blue, heavy wool overcheck.
Yet it was a client commission from 2019 and a particularly memorable Holland & Sherry tweed that ultimately led us to the final fabric choice for our AW21 Ulster coat. Searching for a more pronounced herringbone we settled on the blue/grey herringbone tweed, #21717. Not only does tweed work very well for the Ulster coat design it also tied in nicely with our direction for the season: longevity, sustainability and practicality.
|2019 commision using the Holland & Sherry Tweed, 8919005||
More pronounced blue/grey herringbone tweed, 21717 from W Bill, used in the AW21 Look
Having decided on the fabric we began to think about the other pieces. We wanted to illustrate this as a Look for the weekend, so paired it with our blue Heavy Melange Knit and Lightweight Flannel Drawstring Trousers in taupe.
Once the these were chosen we could then think about the trims. Trims are often used to link garments and for this Look we settled on a brown horn button and bronze/brown lining to tie back to the taupe trousers. This was after playing around with a metal silver button, similar to the one used on the 2019 commission and whilst this would have been a great fit we decided against it, choosing to further accent the brown instead.
|Metal House Button BM02-0037 used on the 2019 commission||Final Trim Selection | House Lining 1109 (top left) and House Button 603L|
The final step was choosing the shoe. In this case we chose the traditional chukka boot, selecting this pony suede from Cheaney. In brown, of course.
Cheaney Jackie III
The result is a Look for the weekend - a coat using the classic Ulster design with a striking brown lining, paired with knitwear, trousers and boots that lean the Look towards the casual, hence its inclusion in the PLAY Collection.