If you’re looking for one investment piece to keep in your wardrobe for the rest of your life, look no further. The Trench Coat is an iconic, historic, and essential item to own. From the trenches of World War I to the closet of modern day men and women, this wardrobe piece serves as a staple in the fashion world. Owning a trench coat symbolizes ones part into this stylish and historic realm of fashion.
Although the beginnings of the trench coat are muddled (possible invented by two different people and tow different times and as early as 1823), the trench coat rose into fame in the 20th century during WWI when designer Thomas Burberry designed coats for officers in the trenches. (Source)
The trench coat featured weather resistant material, a storm flap, and buckles at the waist and wrists. It was lined on the inside and helped keep both civilians and military members dry and warm. Trench warfare was a messy business – men needed a coat that would be multifunctional.
If this wasn’t proof enough that the trench coats of the time were useful, you’d be pleased to know that Captain Earnest Shackleton and his crew wore Thomas Burberry’s coats to a trip to the Antarctic and even camped with them.
After the war, Burberry was kept in good business, designing coats for both men and women civilians. The coats transformed into more consumer friendly options and soon enough, this style of coat became the staple we now today.
Functionality in the Modern Day and Age
In this modern day and age, the trench coat still serves the same function. It works quite well in cold and rainy weather conditions, although it’s not perfect. I personally find todays trench coats to be made pretty poorly. Of course, I can’t speak to what Burberry’s trench coats are like. But modern day trench coats focus less on the fabric and how warm you are. They are mainly focused on the look – some made with cloth and some with plastic.
I personally don’t feel warm in trench coats, except for this one which has a quilted vest that comes with it. It’s important to note you will still be quite chilly unless you bundle up underneath. Trench coats in this modern age are not that weather friendly.
How to Style A Trench Coat
How you style a trench coat is rather a personal choice. But I know my readers come to The Petite Bijou for more elegant yet wholesome styling tips so I will share with you how I would recommend styling a trench coat. The main rule = keep it simple.
The easiest combination for an effortless look is a trench coat with pants/trouser/jeans and heels, boots, or flats. After all, it’s just a coat and not meant to be the main styling piece. However if you do want to make it the highlight of your outfit, you can never go wrong with a little black dress and heels under a trench coat. It’s such a chic and elegant look!
The biggest issue I hear from women who want to wear a trench coat is how to style it with midi or maxi skirts and dresses. Because of the difference in lengths, this can make someone look very staggered. My suggestion is to either wear it unbelted and unbuttoned or make sure the length of the skirt is only 1 inch longer than the trench end. You don’t want a long flowy dress with a trench coat and boots. That can look very staggered.
Otherwise, the biggest trick to styling a trench is how you tie it. My favorite way to wear a trench is not belted but rather by tying the belt in the middle or to the side. More often than not, trench coats are oversized so belting them may look very loose. Tying the belt to itself is much more effortless and does the trick!
A Trench Coat for All Seasons
Since trench coat weather is all year round in some parts of the world, why not own one of these classic staples? You can wear it all year round (minus summer) and it looks very elegant and timeless. Whether you wear it in classic beige, grey, black, or red, a trench coat can suit every body size and shape.
Here are my favorite trench coats that are under $200 and perfect for cold weather!
What is your favorite way to wear a trench coat? Do you own one or are planning to own one? Let me know in the comments below!