The History of the Car Coat

At Gloverall, the car coat is a favourite, balancing both style and practicality. Made from a lightweight showerproof cotton, it’s ideal for Spring layering and protects from the unpredictable weather.

James Car Coat in Mustard

Originally created in the early 1900s, car coats were designed to protect drivers and passengers from the elements when riding in open-top vehicles. These early styles were often long and made from heavy fabrics like tweed or fur. In summer, lighter fabrics like cotton and linen were adopted to protect clothing from the dirt and dust on the road.

French racer Guy Bouriat, at the Nürburgring in 1925French racer Guy Bouriat, at the Nürburgring, 1925

Although functional, the car coat was also seen as a status symbol – showing you owned or knew someone who owned an automobile - and were often worn outside the car. The style grew in popularity as cars became more affordable.

Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn in Charade 1963Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn in Charade, 1963 // Stanley Donen

As cars changed to have roofs and heating, the car coat followed suit becoming shorter and lightweight. The style we recognise today is a mid-thigh length A-Line shape with a flat front. The shape allows room for movement, the length ensures there's no fabric getting in the way of using foot pedals and the flat front stops the coat from bunching and creasing when sat down.

Iris Car Coat in Petrol

This season, our James Car Coat and Iris Car Coat are available in new bright shades of Ginger and Petrol. The timeless and practical design make it a wardrobe staple.