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A 1909 fashion plate of the new Chesterfield

The Chesterfield is a formal, dark, knee-length overcoat with a velvet collar introduced around the 1840s in the United Kingdom, with prominence attributed to its namesake George Stanhope, 6th Earl of Chesterfield, then a leader of British fashion.[1][2]

The Chesterfield coat, with its heavy waist suppression using a waist seam, gradually replaced the over-frock coat during the second half of the 19th century as a choice for a formal overcoat, and survived as a coat of choice over the progression from frock coat everyday wear to the introduction of the lounge suit, but remained principally associated with formal morning dress and white tie.

A less formal derivation is the similar, but with a lighter fabric, slightly shorter, top coat called covert coat.


George Stanhope, 7th Earl of Chesterfield, circa 1860, is wearing an early example of a Chesterfield coat (1860).

The dark Chesterfield, which comes with a defining velvet collar[2] has no horizontal seam or sidebodies, but can still be somewhat shaped using the side seams and darts. It can be single- or double-breasted, and has been popular in a wide variety of fabrics, typically heavier weight tweeds, or charcoal and navy, and even the camel hair classic, although such fabrics may be more associated with a more casual polo coat. These variations make it extremely versatile, so it can be worn with a city suit or even semiformal dress, as well as casual sports jackets. It was a staple of smartly dressed men's wardrobes from the 1920s to 1960s, and has become a classic style for both men and even women.[2]

Popular culture

See also


  1. ^ "A Man's Guide to Overcoats". December 11, 2012. Retrieved 2013-11-03.
  2. ^ a b c Cumming, Valerie; Cunnington, C. W.; Cunnington, P. E. (2010-11-15). The Dictionary of Fashion History. Oxford; New York: Bloomsbury Academic. p. 46. ISBN 9781847885333.