How to Choose the Perfect Timeless Trench Coat

How to Choose the Perfect Timeless Trench Coat

trench coat
© Kirsti Alexandra Reid

Dressing for the changing season can be extremely difficult when you have to be prepared for spontaneous rain one minute and splitting sun the next. But, one item that can help during this fashion dilemma is the timeless trench coat. Your mother probably owned one; even your grandmother probably had one.

Dating as far back as 1850, the trench coat has been a staple in many fashion guru’s closet for over a century. It is one of the most versatile and wearable coats you will ever own. Combining its ageless style and trans-seasonal design, the trench coat takes you from day to night, from work to the bar with styles and cuts to suit everyone.

trench coat
© Olga Batalova/123RF

Your trench coat is your best outerwear

What gives a trench coat its flexibility is firstly its potential to keep you warm when the sun goes down yet also be light enough to layer up your outfit during the day. Secondly, the trench coat is the chameleon of outerwear. It can be worn with just about anything except a wedding dress – although I’m sure it’s been done!

Whether it’s to work in a high profile company where a professional look is key, or whether it’s just to nip to the nearest Carrefour for milk, the way you style your trench can change its attitude.

Although there are many variations of the trench coat, the aesthetics should remain the same. It is actually a very practical coat, not a word we often associate with fashion. A quintessential trench should be made from a lightweight, breathable fabric to transcend the seasons, have well proportioned pockets and often a striking collar. Traditional trenches will also incorporate a storm shield at the back but new designs are seen without them.

How to choose a trench coat that suits you

Which style to choose from varies with personal preferences. Trench coats come with wide lapels and thin lapels, belted, buttoned and open front, long, short and everything in between. But, choosing within some guidelines to suit your frame never hurts. Short or cropped lengths tend to suit average to short heights, as the opposite will often dwarf a smaller stature. Those blessed with legs that go on forever can pull off the long length coats; but one that finishes just above the knee is the go-to length for most. If you want to draw attention to slender arms, consider one with belted wrists and to draw in that waist, the belted middle is a must.

The greatest factor to consider has got to be color and tone. Traditionally, trench coats were produced in earthy tones of khaki and beige as well as black and navy; but today it can be found in every hue of the season. If wearability is important to you, stick to the traditional palette for maximum compatibility with your existing outfits. However, if bold is your middle name, don’t be shy. Take the plunge with an on-trend color like a spicy mustard yellow or an airy blue for this Fall. These vibrant shades work best on big personalities and darker skin tones; but if you have an English rose complexion you’ll find that pastel and jewel tones will complement you more.

Stylize your trench coat

Now that you’ve picked your ideal trench coat, how to style it is all part of the journey. If you choose to wear your trench coat in a professional setting, keep it minimalist with simple hair and an oversized tote bag. The neutral palette works best for this occasion and looks effortlessly chic with a skirt suit or shift dress. Unless wearing pants, a good tip is to make sure the hem of your coat finishes before your skirt or dress and pair with quality, comfortable heels. A trench coat can also be the perfect throw on over jeans or a gypsy dress for a day date. This is prime time to show off that bold color and a slightly A-line shape, which pairs beautifully with knee high boots. In this case, consider a chunky necklace and well-styled hair to really make your coat pop.

trench coat
Kate Moss on Vogue Cover March 2015


… whichever trench coat you choose, it should be an extension of your personality, a staple in your closet and your go-to coat for any occasion.

For those days when you just want to throw some clothes on and get out into the world, you can also wear your trench coat loose with sneakers and a beanie hat for a relaxed and casual look. The effect is minimal effort, maximum style and if you feel daring, why not try some jazzy printed leggings underneath. Lastly, perhaps you feel these styles just don’t suit you, or maybe you want something more provocative. Nothing is sexier than bare skin underneath a trench and, after all, who’s to know unless you want them to!

Overall, whichever trench coat you choose, it should be an extension of your personality, a staple in your closet and your go-to coat for any occasion. Look after her, treat her well and she will provide you with years of timeless style.

Kirsti Alexandra Reid is a freelance fashion designer and fashion writer based in Paris. Originally from Northern Ireland, she moved to Paris three years ago on placement with university and never wanted to leave. After finishing her degree and briefly moving to Thailand, the city of lights called her back home. Kirsti writes for online platforms, luxury fashion magazines and produces design tech packs for suppliers under her brand K Alexandra. She is a self confessed Paris addict and can often be found finding her Zen in Bois de Boulogne with her little Boston Terrier.


  1. Kirsti Alexandra has skill in fashion designing I like the designs made by Kirsti. I am from LeathherChase firm and mostly I hunting for the new design to make my store more attractive and here I found what I was looking for. Thanks dear


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