The Topcoat originated around the same time as the overcoat in 17th century Europe. It was a strictly formal item, worn exclusively over an expensive suit to aid in its protection against the weather.
Topcoats had wide lapels, deep cuffs, and ran mid-thigh, to just above the knee in length. They were most commonly made of a single wool layer, with silk inner lining.
Days where you would find yourself outdoors in harsh enough weather to require layering, a Topcoat is a wise choice. Because it’s original function was to be worn for protection, it can be adapted just as well to a more casual setting.