The above the knee overcoat, often called a car coat in America, came about to accommodate the restricted space in automobile seats. All right for spring and fall, on truly cold days chilled knees make the wearer realize what a compromise a short coat can be.
A car coat is probably a fifth or sixth coat in the wardrobe, for men like Charlie Watts who may enjoy having that many. Most of the rest of us should start with a raincoat and liner, adding a day overcoat, a topcoat, an evening coat and a tweed according to our need and our circumstances.
Accompany the coats with a selection of scarves which, like the necktie next to the suit, are a relatively inexpensive way to add variety to the daily look. Unlike the necktie, they also serve the practical purpose of keeping the upper chest warm and dry.
Nothing they can do about the temperature of the knees though. Short coats have that problem.
Photo: Fulvio Iazzaro