A 1903 fashion plate of an Ulster

The Ulster is a Victorian working daytime overcoat, with a cape and sleeves. It is often seen in period productions of Victorian novels, such as those of Charles Dickens and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The Ulster coat was referred to in Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories A Study in Scarlet, The Sign of the Four, "A Scandal in Bohemia", "The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle" and "The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor".

The Ulster is distinguished from the Inverness by the length of the cape; in the Ulster, this cape only reaches the elbows, allowing free movement of the forearms. It was commonly worn by coachmen who would be seated outdoors in bad weather for long periods, but needed to use their arms to hold reins.

Often made of hard-wearing fabrics, such as herringbones or tweeds, it was not a formal coat at the time, though in the 20th century a cape would be seen as such. After the Edwardian period, it lost its cape, and continued to be used as a heavy-duty overcoat, often in a double-breasted style.[citation needed]

A lightweight version of this coat is called an ulsterette.[1]

In the 2015 Broadway musical Hamilton the lead characters of Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton (as portrayed by Leslie Odom, Jr. and Lin-Manuel Miranda respectively) are seen wearing Ulster coats in the final duel in the song The World Was Wide Enough [2].

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Lewandowski, Elizabeth J. (2011). The Complete Costume Dictionary. Scarecrow Press. p. 304. ISBN 9780810840041.
  2. ^ http://tyrannyofstyle.com/costume-design-hamilton-broadway