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As with many of Britain’s finest garments, the Chesterfield overcoat was designed by an aristocrat, the Earl of Chesterfield, around the mid-nineteenth century, and it remains the top winter’s coat for the man who wants to be elegantly warm.

One of the dandies of his day, Lord Chesterfield was in the smart set that included Lord Byron, the Marquis of Londonderry, Count D’Orsay and Lord Lichfield, all noted lads about town. They were instrumental in changing menswear at the time from the flamboyance of the Regency era into the more practical reticence of the Victorians.

Chesterfield’s coat caught attention at the time for having no waist seam, having a fly-front and set-in sleeves.  Initially, it was very long, reaching to the ankles  It was in effect the first proper topcoat, made to be worn outdoors rather than in, unlike the Frock Coat or the Formal Morning Coat, which did not go over a suit jacket and so therefore could not be taken off without leaving the wearer looking ‘undressed’.  Great coats were for heavy outdoor duty.

It has evolved into the classic winter’s coat for all occasions, single or double breasted, fly fronted or not, short or long.  It does not have to have a velvet collar as some claim – that was added by British nobility during the French Revolution as a mark of mourning for their aristocratic cousins being decapitated across the Channel by Madame Guillotine.

Chesterfield also designed the Chesterfield sofa, which by the 1870s was being featured in furniture catalogues, the button-back style still popular today.

Tailored in a variety of cloths, it is the coat for all town occasions,as shown at top. From left, classic chesterfields by Scabal and, centre, Henry Poole, with Timothy Everest giving a flash of contrast in the light undercollar in the coat on the right.


  Winter 08 edition

:: SAVILE ROW Style Magazine ::




contact Home – Contents in brief with pictures
contact Style 1 – Party Time - Row razzle dazzle as well as trad
contact Style 2 – The Younger Set - youthful outlook for the Row
contact Style 3 – The Younger Set continued
contact Style 4 – Winter's Top Topcoat - the Chesterfield
contact Grooming - Easy tans and protected pates
contact TextilesWool fights back
contact VSOP Very Special Opulent Presents for those with "a distaste for the mass produced".
contact VSOP 2 - Book the world plus erotic chocs
contact VSOP 3 - Liquid gold and fine champagne
contact VSOP 4 - Lord Cardigan's luxury with French undies


contact Drink – Its Cocktail Time
contact Gifts Bustieres and Best Book
contact Travel – New film inspires Indian travel
contact Culture - Photography art form spawns books.
contact Contact Details and registration
contact Tailors of Savile Row – listing of top tailors and interviews
contact Archive – Back Issues



WATCH for a new website from Welsh and Jefferies, soon to be online, under www.welshandjefferies.com

This prestigious firm, with directors Malcolm Plews and James Cottrell, has resumed travelling to the U.S., and to other overseas markets.


GRAHAM Lawless, longtime stalwart at Dege & Skinner, is moving to Davies & Son. He joins that company at the beginning of 2008.