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An overcoat is a type of long coat intended to be worn as the outermost garment. Overcoats usually extend below the knee, but are sometimes mistakenly referred to as topcoats, which are short coats that end at or above the knees. Topcoats and overcoats together are known as outercoats. Unlike overcoats, topcoats are usually made from lighter weight cloth such as gabardine or covert, while overcoats are made from heavier cloth or fur, because overcoats are more commonly used in winter when warmth is more important.
In many countries, coats and gowns reaching below the knee have been worn for centuries, often for formal uses, establishing either social status or as part of a professional or military uniform. In the 17th century, the overcoat became widely stylised and available to the different classes.
Tweed is a rough, unfinished woolen fabric, of a soft, open, flexible texture resembling cheviot or homespun, but more closely woven. It is made in either plain or twill weave and may have a check or herringbone pattern. Subdued, interesting color effects (heather mixtures) are obtained by twisting together differently coloured woolen strands into a two- or three-ply yarn.
Tweeds are desirable for informal outerwear, being moisture-resistant and very durable. Once worn in, tweeds are commonly worn for outdoor activities such as shooting and hunting, in both Ireland and the United Kingdom. "Lovat" is the name given to the green used in traditional Scottish tweed. In Ireland, tweed manufacturing is most associated with Magee of Donegal, a world-famous company based in County Donegal in the Province of Ulster. Tweed has recently come back into fashion with many high street shops and designers adopting the material.