Town and Country Donegal Topcoats: Nino's of London
I returned to Nino’s this week for the first fitting of my new suit, update to come. While there I spotted these beautiful coats which are now on sale –down from £695 to £395. Fashioned from 11-12oz Donegal tweed they come in rust, cream and fawn -with green and brown arriving soon.
I have something of an obsession with Donegal cloth at the moment, it also being the cloth for my bespoke suit. A classic cloth originally hailing from Donegal in Ireland, almost all cloths with the distinctive mottled, or heathered, pattern attract the name even though they may not come from Donegal. I had a stab at explaining exactly what Donegal was but got in a frightful mess. I suggest a read of this from Molloy & Sons website, and if you have time a rather nice article and video from Put-this-On. Well worth a perusal over your lunch hour.
Suffice to say, the beauty of Donegal cloth is that it isn’t just one colour but a mash of contrasting and complementary colours which make it an extremely versatile option for pairing with most other cloths, clothes and colours. It really is the simplest thing to pair up, which was why I opted for it as a suit.
Back to coats.
Nino’s coats are in the style of a classic crombie, and are cut with just a slight tailoring around the midriff and fuller chest. There really is little in the way of structure and as such the cloth drapes over the body and adorns it as opposed to cocooning it. I’d describe them not as an overcoat but a topcoat; what’s the difference? An overcoat is generally heavier and comes below the knee. A topcoat sits above the knee and is lighter, it is literally a top covering. A covert coat would be a good example. As a rule an overcoat is warmest.
So why would you want a topcoat? Good question, let me give you an example. I travel to Cambridge from London twice a week, outside of Wellington (New Zealand) it's possibly the windiest place on earth. I want a heavy thick coat to get me from the station to my office, about a 20min walk. For that I use this. A vintage coat from the 1950s it’s conservatively about 25oz +. It could stop a Howitzer shell. However, for use around town it's quite cumbersome and while travel the tube there is a tendency to overheat. Additionally, it is so thick and heavy that I couldn't contemplate traveling abroad with it. So I've had in mind what I've come to call a city coat. Something lighter in weight and more suited to the kind of perpetual inside-outside on the move existence of those living in a big city like London. Nino's Donegal tweed topcoats certainly fit that bill. Had I not just paid for a flight to Miami or needed to settle some tailoring bills I'd have had one -probably the cream.
Of course if you want a more conventional overcoat then you might consider the classic cashmeres crombies he has on sale -reduced from £695 to £550. Cut in a similar style to the topcoats these have a little more solidity, structure and of course weight. Cashmere is also substantially more warming than wool, although you do need to take better care of it more. Available in black, navy and charcoal