Finding the Best Coats in Australia: The Relaxed Balmacaan

The hardest coat to pull off. Presenting the Balmacaan. Part 6 of our series on the best coats in Australia.

I’ve been in love with the Balmacaan ever since I caught Yasuto Kamoshita rocking one. With its relaxed shape and simple details, there’s no other coat that’s easier to wear and harder to master.

Jean Michael Basquiat probably picked up his Balmacaan from a thrift store. He's also probably cooler than you will ever be. | Photo via. widewalls.ch
Jean-Michel Basquiat probably picked up his Balmacaan from a thrift store. He’s also probably cooler than you will ever be. | Photo via. widewalls.ch

The Balmacaan (named after an estate near Iverness, Scotland), is a simple overcoat with rounded Prussian collars, a single breasted fly front, slanted hacking pockets, and is made of either thick wool or tightly woven gabardine.

It’s a strange looking coat that kinda resembles a wearable sack. Firstly, the coat has a loose fitting cut that accommodates several layers of clothing. Secondly, it has soft, unstructured shoulders that are super comfortable to move around in. This makes the coat strikingly similar to the English Mac, although its silhouette is more cloak like.

Another difference between the Balmacaan and the Mac is its raglan sleeves. Unlike regular (set-in) sleeves, raglan sleeves are attached to the body with slanted seams that allows rainwater to drip off of them. This results in a lower armhole that gives the sleeve a drooping appearance. The coat also has a long seam that runs along the top of the shoulder and down the outside of the arm, which is weatherproofed too.

Sebastian McFox, one of Australia's most stylish men, wears a modern interpretation of the Balmacaan. Notice how its relaxed shape complement the lines of his tailored trousers. | Photo courtesy of @sebastianmcfox
Sebastian McFox, one of Australia’s most stylish men, wears a modern interpretation of the Balmacaan. Notice how its relaxed shape complement the lines of his tailored trousers. | Photo courtesy of @sebastianmcfox

Despite these outstanding features the coat is actually quite difficult to style. Its relaxed lines and pear shaped silhouette require a certain je ne sais quoi to pull off. And even then, the coat usually works best when worn over classic tailoring. Anyone who owns a Balmacaan is likely therefore to have inherited it, be a fan of Japanese-Scottish Sukotora style, or bought it overseas.

But for men who have mastered the game and no longer care about it, the coat’s unconventional beauty is its greatest asset.

Photo of dark moss Balmacaan via S.E.H Kelley
“Ok, son where the hell were you last night?” | Photo via S.E.H Kelley

Where to Buy.

To be honest, I have no idea where to find a good Balmacaan locally.

I’ve been searching for one for ages and have accepted that I’m just going to have go bespoke or look overseas.

SSense is a good place for something more contemporary but American department stores like Barney’s and Neiman Marcus usually have a good selection too (ranging from classic tweed versions to slim fit stretch wool blends that we see from Theory). I’m also big fan of Cording’s old school Balmacaan’s (even if it’s just me and your granddad who end up copping one). On the avant-garde end of the spectrum Margiela via Mr Porter have a houndstooth coat that combines elements of the Balmacaan and a Car Coat.

 

Yasuto Kamoshita, Creative Director at United Arrows in a Balmacaan at Pitti Uomo |Photo by Tommy Ton via Style.com
“Hold my beer.” | Yasuto Kamoshita, Creative Director at United Arrows in a Balmacaan at Pitti Uomo |Photo by Tommy Ton via Style.com

 

My favourites though are from Camoshita, United Arrows via. No Man Walks Alone. His coats have a refreshing focus on unconventional fabrics, such as large houndstooths or Ivy League-style glenplaids, meaning they go with nearly everything and look remarkable everywhere. Trust the Japanese to come up with something this sick.

Read the Rest of our Best Coats Series:

Part 1: The Top Coat

Part 2: The Chesterfield

Part 3: The Polo Coat

Part 4: The Ulster Coat

Part 5: The Loden Coat

Cover photo courtesy of Sebastian McFox

Gallery photos via. Sebastian McFox, The Sartorialist, Die Workwear, S.E.H Kelly, Romantic PiratesB&TailorDrake’s of London