I personally believe the trench coat is an item that almost every woman should have in their closet. It’s something you wear throughout the seasons and we’re reminded season after season by magazines that it’s a wardrobe mainstay. I’m a huge fan of trenches and outerwear in general, and wanted to share some tips on trench coat shopping I’ve picked up over the years.
1. It’s better to pay full price and have your #1 first choice perfect trench than a bunch of weird second rate sale finds. Be very selective and picky over which trench you buy. A trench is meant to be lived in and loved over a long period of time, so make sure it’s a piece that has longevity. There’s a zillion different kinds that just Burberry alone makes every season and it’s better to buy the perfect one for you at full price, than one you don’t like as much, just because it’s on sale. In trenches there can be multiple colors (even in just the shade of khaki used), cuts, lengths, and details. I still don’t have my classic Burberry trench because I’ve been holding out for the perfect one.
2. Try out a bunch of different styles. I never would have picked up this little nylon, balloon sleeved parka if a particularly bossy saleslady at Burberry hadn’t literally shoved it on to me while I was distracted translating for a bunch of Chinese tourists in the New York store. But it’s become one of my favorite pieces and I love it because it isn’t as common of a style (worn here).
3. Figure out exactly what you like. Know what details are important to you, how much you want to pay, and what will be comfortable for you to wear. This includes questions like whether you prefer double breasted or single breasted styles, and whether or not you want a belt. This is really key. The classic trench style is double breasted, with a belt – and I love how it looks. But sometimes I find belts really fussy as I’m constantly taking my coats on and off – and quite often I like to wear my trenches open, and then I have to tie the belt in the back. I prefer single breasted, non belted trenches sometimes for ease of use in my lifestyle – however I know lots of women who feel the same way about the classic belted trench.
4. Don’t be afraid of color! This is advice that I have to take myself because as you can see in the first photo, most of my trenches are very muted colors like black and tan. But a trench is color like red, or yellow, navy or purple can be a great addition to your wardrobe, especially if most of it consists of largely neutrals. I love wearing my red trench and I think it always adds a colorful detail, especially if I’m feeling like the rest of my outfit is boring.
5. Don’t get hung up on the brand, or think you have to spend a lot. I feel that sometimes because we are told so often that “trenches are classics,” we get it in our heads that trenches have to be expensive, and from certain brand names. But honestly I feel that you can find quality trenches these days at any number of price points – from Gap, to J.Crew, to A.P.C. to Burberry and Chanel. Sure there are certain quality differences such as whether the trench is lined, and the materials, the buttons, the stitching, and if you can afford a high end trench I would think it’d be a worthy “investment”. But there are chic trenches available to suit most budgets out there, and for you to love and make your own. I’ve included some of my favorites below – all interpretations of the classic tan double breasted and belted trench. Happy trench shopping!
ASOS trench – $100
J.Crew Icon trench – $298 (25% off right now with code SURPRISE)
APC trench – $575 (50% off now at $288)
Burberry trench – $1,195
Valentino trench – $2,490 (50% off now at $1245)