Trench coats are kind of a big thing this year. Timeless, sophisticated and chic, the Trench is always in style of course, but the designers have put their fashion spin on the original utilitarian Trench Coat and they were all over the catwalks for 2017-18 and in all manner of guises and have had street style trend setters, fashion press and their followers going wild in the aisles. With huge puffed power shoulders at Balenciaga, luxe-y fabrics and detailing at Bottega Veneta, fun, sporty ties at Marni and exaggerated cape-style sleeves and lapels at Rosetta Getty and stripped back simplicity at Celine, there was a huge variety of styles, but oversized was definitely the fit of choice.
Left to right: Beautiful sleeve detailing at Rosetta Getty and cut out details at Maison Margiela
Pared back at Celine
Street Style photo from Media Marmalade
All year-round, the Trench Coat is an effortless style item, and if you choose wisely, it will be a versatile wardrobe staple for many years to come. There aren’t many outfits that wouldn’t benefit from the addition of a good trench coat and particularly in the case of the Burberry Heritage, a suitably cared for trench is Heirloom worthy and will serve the lucky hand-me-down recipient for many more years to come.
A LITTLE BIT OF HISTORY
Made in England, the iconic Burberry Trench coat was originally submitted as a design by Thomas Burberry as an alternative to the heavy ‘greatcoat’ and meant for officers’ wear in the trenches during the First World War – hence the name. Burberry had earlier invented the lightweight, but heavy-duty Gabardine in 1879, and the smooth & durable weave of cotton was adapted for the military and has been used for the classic style ever since.
With a detachable warm lining, the waterproof, double breasted coat with functional features like a storm flap and button close pockets, shoulder straps and adjustable buckled wrists (to prevent rain pouring down the wrists while using binoculars) made the stylish coat highly functional. Like Mary Poppins – Practically perfect in every way!
IN THE MOVIES
The low-key, incognito choice of the secret agent and private detective (think Humphrey Bogart’s Rick Blaine in Casablanca, Micheal Caine in The Ipcress File, James Bond – or Inspector Clouseau!) the Trench has featured in many a movie icon’s wardrobe, such as Catherine Deneuve’s Belle Du Jour, who actually wore at least three versions of the trench, in black patent, brown, fur lined leather and wool. Meryl Streep in Kramer vs Kramer, Marlene Dietrich in A Foreign Affair and Kill Bill’s Daryll Hannah in Moschino Trompe l’oeil to name but a few.
Greta Garbo, A Foreign Affair. Humphrey Bogart, Casablanca
Daryl Hannah (in Moschino) Kill Bill
Meryl Streep, Kramer vs Kramer
And although the Trench is (generally) waterproof, that was the last thing on Holly Golightly’s mind during her rain soaked kiss in Breakfast at Tiffany’s and with her bare legs, drenched hair and belted mac, Audrey Hepburn couldn’t fail to look ravishing could she?
George Peppard and Audrey Hepburn ‘Twinning’ in Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Fit for a Princess. Lady Diana working two looks in her faithful mac
HOW TO WEAR RIGHT NOW
If you are splashing some cash and making an investment with your Trench coat purchase, go with a classic style and fit to suit you. For instance, the Burberry Heritage mac comes in three silhouettes; slim, which is short and fitted with punky tighter sleeves; tailored, which is slightly longer and with a regular sleeve; and the longer classic, worn as a loose fit. Three styles which are literally built to last and will stand up to both the rain and fashion’s fickle changes, but whether you are going for a new ‘fash-on’ shape, or sticking with a classic, you can style up your trench to work the trend right now…
Dare to leave the top buttons open, throw the collars off the shoulder and belt into a coat dress?
Play with sleeves and textures, with shirt cuffs, or long knits hanging out from three quarter length sleeves and hems. Deconstruct and mess with fastenings and ties to create different sleeve shapes and fits.
Off the shoulder at Balenciaga (left) Beautifully knotted at Margiela (eau de nil and white, centre) and street snaps by Jonathon Daniel Pryce.
With its exaggerated proportions, the storm flap on a classic trench also has magically waist flattering powers and it’s nothing groundbreaking to say that the trench can be buckled or knotted in the front and nipped in to accentuate the waist, but mess around with different belt styles too – take off the self belt and add a skinny leather one, or feed a printed silk scarf or men’s tie through the back loops and tie a big silky bow at the back.
And if in doubt, go BIGGER!! Slouchy, oversized, roomy and laid back. Dare I say it again? OVERSIZED is best for styling right now also and very handy for layering up for the work commute in winter.