The trench coat: how to wear this classic style
Hardly any piece of clothing is as legendary as the trench coat. The style first appeared in the form of coachman coats in the 18th century, but it was only through the use of new materials and a waterproof coating that the trench coat was adopted by the masses (thanks to Thomas Burberry and the British label Aquascutum). Since then, it’s had its fair share of Hollywood glamour as well – I associate it straight away with actors like Alain Delon, Brigitte Bardot, Marlene Dietrich and Gary Cooper, but my favourite movie moment of a star in a trench is Audrey Hepburn in „Breakfast at Tiffany’s“, desperately searching her cat in the pouring rain.
So, what types of trench coat are there, and can anyone wear them? First of all: trench coats are incredibly flattering no matter which shape you are, so they are already a winner for every woman out there. In terms of design, you can choose from several variations:
1) The classic trench
The traditional trench coat comes in beige or khaki and has all the classic details such as a storm flap, epaulettes, a back yoke and a belt. This version works with pretty much any outfit and can be styled smart or casual. It looks particularly elegant with slim-cut tailored trousers, a fine knit jumper and heels. Or swap the jumper for a sheer lace top after work to show some skin under your coat.
On the weekend, I like my trench coat with wide-cut trousers, a simple T-shirt and Converse trainers. Or use a plain trench to tone down a brightly patterned dress or metallic pieces.
2) The trench made from luxe materials
Traditionally, trench coats are made from robust, functional materials such as gabardine because they give warmth and are water-repellent. Since that can get a bit too utilitarian for my liking, I love trench coats made from luxe fabrics such as silk crêpe which drape beautifully. I think this looks especially modern if you continue the flowing silhouette with wide-legged trousers and a silk blouse (top it off with masculine brogues for a bit of attitude). This look works best if you stick to one colour palette, for example silvery grey or beige.
If you are really up for it, try a leather trench coat, preferably in black. Since this can look quite heavy, slip over a feminine chiffon silk dress and wear with strappy sandals or flirty mules.
3) The trench with unusual details
Like any classic style, the trench coat has been reinterpreted numerous times throughout the decades. Labels such as Comme des Garçons or Preen by Thornton Bregazzi have reworked the style with individual details such as voluminous sleeves, standout buttons or ruffles (you can find a great high-street version in the shop). Even trenchcoats with leopard or check patterns, tie-dye print or flower appliqués show their face from time to time. If you choose this kind of trenchcoat, it‘s wise to let it speak for itself and style with a pared back outfit in black, white or any other neutral colour. Or forget about the rules and choose a printed dress for a full-on pattern mix.
I also really enjoy trenchcoats with athleisure elements such as contrasting stripes. If you choose a sportier trench, try turning up the sleeves for a cooler vibe.
4) The trench in pastel and bright colours
The trench coat is also the perfect choice for colour lovers. The classic style doesn't only come in khaki or beige – you will also find variations in raspberry pink, mustard yellow, rust brown and many other hues. I personally love a bright red trench, combined with white jeans and a striped top for a bold maritime look. Or go for a sweeter aesthetic with a pastel-coloured trench in candy pink or sky blue, refined with a seductive pussy bow blouse and tight leather trousers. Meow!