Autumn is the best time to invest in a trench coat. Besides being worn with almost everything and on every occasion, it is an all-time classic choice, while it has a high style index. And of course, every self-respecting wardrobe has at least one.
By Vana Antonopoulou
Catwalk photos: Yannis Vlamos
Trench, a short story
The trench coat, one of the most elegant and timeless pieces of men’s and women’s clothing, was born not in the living rooms of a famous fashion man, but in the trenches and battlefields. More specifically, our story begins in 1853, during the Crimean War, when the tailor and businessman John Emary dressed the British soldiers in coats made of a waterproof cotton material he had created himself for his company, the now known Aquascutum (in Latin, the name means “shield against water”).
A few decades later, in 1895, Thomas Burberry (yes, founder of the well-known English Burberry) launched the trench of the eponymous company for the army and specifically for the Boer War in South Africa. It was made of a waterproof, durable and innovative fabric for the time, which was very successful. In fact, the same fabric is used to-date for the construction of the famous trench coat of the house.
The transition, however, from a piece of military wardrobe to a basic, everyday part of our wardrobe took place sometime in the 1940s. In 1944 Marlene Dietrich was photographed wearing a Burberry trench coat, while Hollywood stars such as Lauren Bacall or Katharine Hepburn did not hide their preference for the stylish overcoat. And of course, women everywhere imitated them.
What this year’s trends say
As early as last season, fashion decided to bring out the trench coat and from an anonymous hero of style to make it the protagonist of the catwalk. As a result, interesting and original variations on the classic trench, playing with volumes, proportions, materials, but also the image we often have in mind when we hear the word “trench coat”.
From the Gucci Trench-Cape by hand of Alessandro Michele to Richard Quinn’s impressive imprints and the plaid XL version of the Givenchy house or the almost militarily strict trench coat signed by Stella McCartney, almost all the shows for autumn/winter 2020-21 had at least one modern proposal that certainly won’t go unnoticed.
Did you know that?
The classic tint of trench coat is “khaki” and is an Indian word meaning “powder color”.
Burberry’s characteristic plaid was first used in the house’s trench coats in the 1920s and has been one of the most beloved motifs ever since.
Both Burberry and Aquascutum seek the originality of the trench coat. However, Thomas Burberry is considered to be the inventor of the fabric that became synonymous with the classic trench coat.
How to wear it
Obviously with everything, since it never goes out of fashion. From your jeans and a mariner’s blouse to the little black dress, with ballerinas, rainboots, high heels or with your ankle boots-platforms, a classic beige, dark blue or even black trench coat is considered a piece of all purposes.
Its length depends on your silhouette. A very long trench coat will look exuberant in the small, while the length just above the knee lengthens the legs. However, don’t limit yourself, but dare to reverse the classic proportions for more… fashion appearances.
Roll up the sleeves for an unpretentiously elegant look.
Looking for a fresh way to put it in the office? Try combining it with a classy shirt and an elegant cardigan on top, while underneath you’ll wear a well-tailored pair of trousers and heels.
Prefer to combine it with complementary tones in the shades of espresso or, alternatively, combine a trench coat in neutral color with darker pieces, such as a black leather pants (we saw it on the Off-White catwalk and were impressed).
As far as gentlemen are concerned, it is a good thing that the trench coat is not in tight shape, especially if you wear it on top of a suit. Caution: the length of the sleeve should ideally reach the base of the thumb, so that as you move the sleeve cuff does not appear.