With so much attention paid to the suit and what goes under it, it's easy to give short shrift to the final piece of the equation. The overcoat isn't something you just throw on in transit; it should be one of the most important items of clothing you own.
When it comes to length, every man has his sweet spot. Find yours—or have a tailor find it for you. Overcoats traditionally drifted past the calf, but these days they should stop just above the knee.
Shorter guys (under five feet seven) should ignore conventional lengths and choose something that looks more like an extended jacket, which helps create the illusion of height. The abbreviated coat should hit mid-thigh and be long enough to cover your suit jacket.
Miuccia Prada has never been one to follow rules. For fall, the fashion doyenne delivered aggressive outerwear, including this sweeping coat. Not for the faint of heart, the gray number is designed for men with a penchant for the dramatic.
Material: There are coats made from woven camel hair, which is an exceptionally warm and opulent fiber. And then there are camel-colored coats. If you're still confused, the difference will become perfectly clear at the cash register.
Sleeves: They should end at the point where your wrists become your hands, or about an inch past your suit sleeves.
Photographs, from top: By Kevin OBrien; courtesy of MCV Photo. (1) Coat ($2,295) and suit ($2,630) by Dior Homme, diorhomme.com. Shirt ($295) by Dolce & Gabbana, dolcegabbana.it. Belt ($198) by Brooks Brothers, brooksbrothers.com. Shoes ($649) by Dries Van Noten, driesvannoten.be. (2) Coat ($935) by D&G, store.dolcegabbana.com. Suit ($1,970), shirt ($455), and tie ($210) by Prada, 888-877-1900. Shoes ($649) by Dries Van Noten, driesvannoten.be. (3) Prada, fall 09 runway.