Car coat in cotton stay-wax in parchment

Prices exclude VAT, shipping is free of charge, and orders are sent within three working days.

Buying

£410.00 — ex VAT

Car coat, made in London, with crisp "stay-wax" cotton from Scotland — it's a high-count, high-performance cotton that performs like a waxed cloth with none of the sticky consequences — and with horn buttons from the West Midlands.

Sizing

The car coat fits true to size, and is cut to be worn over a shirt and jacket — i.e. like an overcoat. It will still look fine with just a shirt or t-shirt but there will be extra room inside. The wooden chap here is nothing if not a 38 (he has it stamped on his chest) and wears a size S.

XS S M L XL
To fit chest 36 38 40 42 44
Pit-to-pit 19 20 21 22 23
Back length 34½ 34¾ 35 35¼ 35½
Sleeve from centre-back 34 34½ 35 35½ 36
Behold cotton stay-wax, which is mid-weight cotton heat-treated with a blend of emulsified waxes. It behaves just like waxed cloth in wet weather, but is bone-dry to touch. Also like waxed cloth, it quickly acquires a parchment-like patina — "chalk marks", as some folks call them — from every fold and crease.
As overcoats go, this is a short one, but true to the spirit of car coats of the mid-20th century, it is plenty long enough to keep its wearer dry — along with their shirt and jacket — as they bound from car to office and back again. It is smarter than your average raincoat, marrying a large collar with a lapel.
While by default the front of the coat sits open, the lapel can be whipped across the front to better keep out the wind and rain. This effort is aided and abetted by a squat little latch, which in idle times resides under the collar, and which can pivot on its button and swing to the other side to keep the collar upstanding.
The pockets at the front of the coat are very large indeed. You really can't miss 'em. They are bellowed at the front, which augments their capacity with an extra dimension. The bellowing tapers off at the back of the pocket, below the sleeves, so their form doesn't jut out too much when seen from the front.
The aforementioned pocket runs round to the side seam of the coat, which itself opens up to present another pocket — one with sideways entry, this time, of the genus known as warmer pockets. The pocket is positioned and proportioned for a very deep and reassuring hand-plunging activity.
The car coat is charged with working hard: shielding its wearer from the rain, safely storing his or her possessions, and protecting from bump and scrape whatever is worn underneath. Bar-tacks therefore abound, reinforcing every part of the coat expected to undergo the most strenuous wear and / or tear.
The buttons are real horn, each with multifarious, nature-given colour and pattern, and each unique from one to the next. They're matte in finish, so are invitingly soft and tactile, and the only shame is that the three largest of them is entirely hidden from view whenever the coat is fastened.
The hybridisation of outerwear and tailoring at play with the car coat extends to the way its sleeves are connected to its body. While from the front the coat seems to have a classic set-in sleeve, it is split down the middle, and the back bears a raglan sleeve, which makes wearing a relaxed affair in both look and feel.
A deep vent runs up the back of the car coat, which make it swing nicely when worn, fans out elegantly over a chair so as to never risk plonking your posterior down on it, and — what with it being a car coat an' all — helps make climbing in and out of a car an altogether smoother experience.
The sleeves on the car coat are wide, and thus easily accommodate the sleeves of a shirt and sports jacket, or the chunkier, woollier sleeves of get-up which might be popular in winter.
Four pockets on the outside plus one on the inside — the one here, at the chest, on the left side as worn — gives a total of five, which research shows is the right balance of storage (the amount of space you have for personal effects — e.g. your wallet) and memory (recalling where you put your wallet at short notice).
The upper third of the coat is lined with a slinky satin, which makes sliding the thing off and on an exercise in frictionless grace. The sleeves, likewise, are lined with the same material. No matter the coarseness of the shirt or sweater worn underneath, then: the coat glides over it as rendered from Teflon.

As worn

The gent here is 6'1", tips the scales at 11 stone, and has a chest of 38. Here he wears a size S and with room aplenty underneath for a shirt and jacket.

Makers of

The coat is made in north-east London. It is a very specialised skill, assembling coats from heavy cloth, and every reasonable step — and the odd unreasonable step — is to taken to endure things are built to last, from the cutting of the pattern to the work on the machine, but without the results being stiff or bulky.
The cotton comes from Scotland, from a mill on the coast, where the making of heavy, waxed, and otherwise element-proof materials emerged in hand, centuries ago, with local seafaring trades. Industry-strength cottons finished in industry-leading ways is very much the order of the day here.
The horn buttons were cut, shaped, and polished by the last such factory in Britain (now defunct). It was part of a tradition in the Midlands first linked to the meat industry of the 18th century. "It is no easy task," said William Hutton in 1780, "to enumerate the infinite diversity of buttons made in Birmingham."

So they say

Just want to let you know that I have received the car coat, it is absolutely beautiful. Perfect length, lovely buttons, and nicely fitted as expected. I really like those iconic two-way pockets: they are very useful, in either storing items or sliding in my hands sideways, and they create a more casual look. A very happy purchase as expected. Thank you again for crafting it and delivering it so quickly with care.

This gentleman bought the coat in cotton stay-wax in February 2020.

The car coat is great. Probably the best-crafted piece of clothing I've ever held. Thanks for the help with everything.

This gent purchased a grey Ventile car coat in November of 2016.

I can only say things about [...] the car coat that you probably already know: they're really, really wonderful garments. I had imagined saving them for the spring, but realised they are both perfect for the weather that we are having right now in south Hessen. The coat is particularly kuschelig and really is like no other coat I've owned.

So said, kindly, by a man who bought the car coat in Ventile in the back end of 2014.

The fit [of the car coat] is good, like I hoped. My wife could not believe that this was newly made coat and not a vintage one, based on the quality of the stitching and the finishing.

High praise received with gratitude by a car coat owner in Canada back in December 2016.

I love the car coat. Beautifully made. And thank you the accompanying care advice. No doubt I shall buy again.

Comments from a chap who bought the car coat in Ventile in July 2016.

Just to let you know I have been putting the car coat through its paces over the past few weeks. Rain or wind, it has performed, as expected — spectacularly. The sizing is just about perfect, with or without a jacket underneath.

Few are the chaps who own the car coat in black Ventile — but here are the words of one such chap, from 2014.

The liner arrived in perfect shape yesterday, and is already at my tailors with the two coats to have buttons installed. I have had many button-in liners over the years, and this one is the best. The quality of the materials is amazing — most companies seem to use inferior materials for this sort of thing — and the workmanship is your usual perfection.

Sometimes padded woollen liners are made for the car coat. This chap bought one in February 2018, and seems, by all reports, fairly happy with it.