Here is a rather popular question for you fashionistas.
What is the difference between a coat and jacket? Are the two
terms interchangeable. According to some people the words can be
used interchangeable, but some experts say that they should not be.
When thinking of the word coat, it may be best to think of an
overcoat. This is something that men wear over a suit, blazer, or
tuxedo in cold weather. Women can wear them over tailored clothing
When thinking for the word jacket, it may be best to think of a
leather jacket, ski jacket, denim jackets or down jackets.
Coats and jackets are both garments worn by men, women, and children
for warmth or fashion. They are both clothing used for the upper
Coats have tended to be longer than jackets. The most common
understanding is that a jacket goes to approximately
the waist. A coat typically goes approximately down to
your thighs or longer.
As with most things in the world of fashion, their is not one "exact"
answer to this question. Unfortunately, the industry does not have
standard sizes for items. Therefore, we can't say that a jacket is
"x" number of inches long and a coat is "y" number of inches long.
Regarding the weight, consumers often think of jackets as being
thinner and more appropriate for fall weather and a coat, would be
thicker and more appropriate for the colder winter months.
However, a jacket & coats can come in various weights. As far as
we know, their is not a specific weight to the garment that separates a
coat from a jacket.
Coats or jackets typically have long sleeves and are open down
the front (sometimes toward the side), closing by means of buttons, snaps, toggles, zippers,
hook-and-loop fasteners (velcro), a belt, or a combination of some of
these closure methods.
Other possible features of a coat or jacket include
collars, shoulder straps and possibly a hood.
Some jackets or coats can serve as protective clothing.
Bot jackets & coats can be outerwear. Outerwear is clothing
What is your opinion on this subject? Let us know your
thoughts. Please help us answer the question, "what
is the difference between a coat & jacket?" (this link will take you
to the Fashion Industry community question on Google+).
Without trying to make this issue more confusing, it is important to
at least point out that a "sports coat" or "sports jacket" is another
type of garment to consider. Those are more similar to a blazer or
If you would like to read more on this subject, the following may
also be helpful to you.
Coats, jackets and overcoats
In the early nineteenth century, coats were divided into under-coats
and overcoats. The term under-coat is now archaic but denoted the fact
that the word coat could be both the outermost layer for outdoor wear
(overcoat) or the coat worn under that (under-coat). However, the term
coat has begun to denote just the overcoat rather than the under-coat.
The older usage of the word coat can still be found in the expression
"to wear a coat and tie", which does not mean that wearer has on an
overcoat. Nor do the terms tailcoat, morning coat or house coat denote
types of overcoat. Indeed, an overcoat may be worn over the top of a
tailcoat. In tailoring circles, the tailor who makes all types of coats
is called a coat maker. Similarly, in American English, the term sports
coat is used to denote a type of jacket not worn as outerwear (overcoat)
jacket in British English).
The term jacket is a traditional term usually used to refer to a
specific type of short under-coat. Typical modern jackets extend only to
the upper thigh in length, whereas older coats such as tailcoats are
usually of knee length. The modern jacket worn with a suit is
traditionally called a lounge coat (or a lounge jacket) in British
English and a sack coat in American English. The American English term
is rarely used. Traditionally, the majority of men dressed in a coat and
tie, although this has become gradually less widespread since the 1960s.
Because the basic pattern for the stroller (black jacket worn with
striped trousers in British English) and dinner jacket (tuxedo in
American English) are the same as lounge coats, tailors traditionally
call both of these special types of jackets a coat.
An overcoat is designed to be worn as the outermost garment worn as
outdoor wear; while this use is still maintained in some places,
particularly in Britain, elsewhere the term coat is commonly used mainly
to denote only the overcoat, and not the under-coat. A topcoat is
generally slightly shorter overcoat, if any distinction is to be made.
Overcoats worn over the top of knee length coats (under-coats) such as
frock coats, dress coats, and morning coats are cut to be a little
longer than the under-coat so as to completely cover it, as well as
being large enough to accommodate the coat underneath. The length of an
overcoat varies: mid-calf being the most frequently found and the
default when current fashion isn't concerned with hemlines. Designs vary
from knee-length to the ankle length briefly fashionable in the early
1970s and known (to contrast with the usurped mini) as the "maxi".
Speakers of American English sometimes informally use the words jacket
and coat interchangeably.