There’s a particular reason that I love polo coats. They do something that relatively few men’s garments manage successfully: they’re both effortlessly cool and supremely geeky.
They take their name from the early 20th-century polo fields on which they were first worn, by rugged, sportive and invariably minted young Gatsby types, who’d work up a sweat galloping about with their polo mallets in the chukkas and then jump from their horses for refreshments. The players would pull on generous, double-breasted camel overcoats to keep the chill off after each match, while the Moët popped and hip-flasks of Scotch were passed about with aristocratic abandon.
That’s where the cool part comes in; the geeky part is the fact that they’re pretty tricky things to tailor. Traditionally, they’re made with an all-singing, all-dancing pleated back, ‘post-box’ pockets (basically patch pockets with flaps inset into them at the top), wide lapels that buttoned on the neck for extra warmth and a rolling front that could be fastened to either the middle or top button. It’s a very complicated work of cutting and tailoring to get the whole thing balanced and sitting correctly on the body, and that makes authentic ready-to-wear examples hard to come by.
The Anthology, in partnership with esteemed sartorial authority and Permanent Style penman Simon Crompton, have just changed that. The Anthology — is a high-end bespoke tailor based in Hong Kong co-founded by Buzz Tang and Andy Chong. Chong himself is a fully qualified tailor, which has allowed The Anthology to start producing limited edition ready-to-wear clothes that benefit from bespoke quality of construction and impressive design details.
This coat has the lot. It’s cut in super-soft pure camelhair, with the aforementioned pleated back that’s finished with some lovely silk embroidery detail. There’s a buttoning vent, post-box pockets and a generous collar—the works. The body is fully canvassed and the lapels are properly padded (that is, sewn by hand to roll generously across the body, normally a bespoke-only feature), as are the button-holes. The benefit of this is obvious when you slip the coat on; the chest canvas hugs the body in a way that most ready-to-wear garments simply won’t, and the lapels stand tall when you pop the collar. Size-wise, the fit is spot on, neither too generous nor too trim, although both The Anthology and Crompton suggest sizing up if you plan to wear the coat over a sport coat or suit jacket.
It’s a lovely thing to behold, well-fitted and handsomely made. Moreover, it’s the kind of classic coat you’ll be able to dress up or down with ease, and bring out each fall for years to come. Thanks to Compton’s expert eye and The Anthology’s tailoring skill, you too can now dress like the man of the match.