Dating back to the early 20th century, trench coats are among the oldest army garments, signifying that soldiers still wanted to look smart when going to war. At that time, however, no one other than military officers was allowed to wear them. Now that you’re free to wear them anywhere, take the time to study the different types of trench coats available in the market so you can choose the one that suits you best. Let me first shed some light on what a trench coat looks like:
What Does a Trench Coat Look Like?
In simple terms, a trench coat is a long, three-quarter length coat that will keep the rain and grime off your finer clothes when traveling outdoors. In terms of functionality, it works much better than a gilet.
Interestingly, many of the original details that were seen in the earliest trench coats still remain. Examples include the back vent and the storm flap on the shoulder (that was also used to soften rifle coil), both of which prevent rainwater from entering into the coat and allow it to run off away from the body. But the D-rings or metal rings affixed on the belt from where ammunition pouches and grenades were suspended, and the epaulets that served as insignia of rank, are hardly seen in the present-day trench coats.
When you need an extra layer of warmth for your torso, the double-breasted cut in the trench coat comes to your rescue. Thanks to its cuff tighteners, throat latch, and belt, you can batten down all the hatches if the weather gets trickier. Its raglan further helps you get over the layers too. If not keep you warm, a trench coat will certainly keep you fairly dry during wet weather conditions.
There exist various different types of trench coats designed for different genders and body types. Other than style and design, the biggest distinguishing factor among different trench coach varieties is the fabric used in them.
Trench Coat Styles for Men and Women
Most of the following can be found for both men and women.
I much prefer single-breast over double-breasted garments including trench coats. The single breast design is a simpler, more elegant style IMO.
The double-breasted trench coat has overlapping flaps with buttons exposed on both sides. It’s a common style with suits and trench coats. It’s not my favorite but it’s an option.
Okay, a pea coat is really an overcoat or just a regular coat but I’m including it because it could possibly be classified as a trench style coat. Despite my not being a fan of the double-breasted suit or trench coat, I do like the look of the pea coat which is a double-breasted overcoat made of coarse wool. It’s a classic coat style. It’s high up on my “to buy list” which I kind of exhausted this year buying tons of Canada Goose wear.
For the Rain
The rain trench coat is made of material that somewhat repels rain. It’s long and designed to keep your clothes dry.
Hooded Trench Coat
Since trench coats are viewed as a solution to rainy weather, it’s not surprising to find a style containing the hood. Not only does this type of trench coat exhibit versatility and elegance, but it’s also quite convenient. When it comes to protecting your clothes from heavy monsoon, the hooded leather trench coat proves to be a lifesaver.
Styling guidelines: The gothic appearance of the hooded leather trench coat makes it ideal for a Halloween night too. Be ready to scare the hell out of other ghosts that turn up. To prevent any rain damage, consider pairing it with Nike rain boots. As an extra layer of protection, I’d recommend you to wear a polyester shirt under the coat.
Lapel Collared Long Coat
If you want to elevate a casual outfit, lapelled collar coats are the ideal solution for you. It’s among the few pieces of outfits that serve users who want to avoid over-layering. Plus, the trendy lapel collars go on to deliver a sense of comfort to fashion lovers around the globe.
Styling guidelines: Pair the coat with a pair of Uggs and black denim to exude an innovative look.
Leather Duster Coat
If you believe that a regular belted trench coat is too dull, you need a more dynamic solution. Perhaps the leather duster coat is a much better option for you. At first glance, the trench coat tends to give out a bad boy attitude. But its long length will personify royalty, and its shoulders are broad enough to address your boy-next-door needs. When it comes to vogue fashion, the coat strikes a definitive fashion statement. By striking the perfect balance between classy and massy, the duster coat is certainly a convenient option to upscale your casual look.
Styling guidelines: Pair the coat with loafers and fitted pants, and you’ll become the dream boy in a flash. If you want to awe the audience with minimal effort, simply add a Smartwatch to your outfit.
Distressed Leather Trench Coat
As vintage as it gets, the distressed leather trench coat is designed for all the antique lovers out there. Its distressed texture gives your style a prime touch without compromising the coat’s supremacy over the rest. Sealed with a statement belt, the front closure improves the overall aesthetics to facilitate a formal outing at night. Plus, its shearling makes it perfect for a cold, breezy night. Not to forget, when it comes to current fashion, shearling coats are met with an incredible amount of appreciation.
Styling guidelines: At first, it might seem a challenge to accessorize this outfit. Trust me, neatly laced supreme suede boots would make a classic, stylish match.
Lined vs Unlined Trench Coats
Another trench coat distinction is lined vs. unlined trench coats. Some lined trench coats have a removable liner which is best of both worlds.
Trench Coat Lengths
Full-Length Trench Coat
Full length trench coats range from knee-length to ankle-length. Ideal for tall people, the full-length trench coat balances their figures amazingly because the belt around the coat will cinch their waist rather than their height. They can work for shorter folks too by creating a long line that will lengthen their legs, it proves equally flattering.
Styling guidelines: The full-length trench coat is compatible with business attire, formal attire and even more casual wear such as t-shirts, jeans, sweaters, and heels or sneakers. If you’re looking to achieve a completely professional look, pair the coat with a tailored suit, tie, and a v-neck sweater, and dress it down with khakis instead.
Medium Length Trench Coat
Expect a mid-length trench coat to hit somewhere around your knee. For your information, the length happens to be the most universally flattering. To avoid the extremes, most ladies prefer this trench coach over the short or long one. Moreover, the mid-length trench coat suits all body types, which further explains why it’s the most popular option among women.
Styling guidelines: To style this trench coat, pair it with trousers and loafers, a neck scarf, classic denim, and a silk blouse, or go for high-waisted jeans and heeled sandals. Both styles should lead you to some of the best casual looks of the season.
Short Trench Coat
According to the traditional view of a trench coat, it should typically reach just below your knee. However, if your tastes are way too modern, you may need to consider a short trench coat. A typical short trench coat will fall somewhere between the hips and mid-thigh length. This type of trench coat works best for petite women so that their legs don’t seem too short, and the coat itself doesn’t appear too bulky on them.
Styling guidelines: While trench coats are highly versatile in terms of formal and casual styling options and for different types of weather, short trench coats typically work for moderately warm days. All it takes to achieve a casual look with short trench coats is to pair it with a bold-colored wrap dress with heels, jeans and sneakers or heels, or long sleeve tops. In either case, you should be able to get an elegant look with minimal effort.
While an understanding of the different types of trench coats should influence your purchase decision big time, it’s important to gain some idea about the color options too. So here is my take on color options for trench coats:
Trench Coats Color Options
Colors are particularly important when you need to determine how to pair a trench coat with another outfit. The present-day trench coats come in all sorts of colors, ranging from classic camel to neon pink, so you enjoy a lot of flexibility.
In the case of trench coats, grey turns out to be the most versatile color option that works with all seasons, while beige or pale blue matches perfectly with light-colored clothing. But if you’re looking for something for traditional early colors like green and brown, go for beige and camel. The gabardine version featuring a neutral color like camel, black, navy, or grey is easy to style. But again, it entirely depends on your unique preferences and tastes.
Most trench coats are a solid color such as tan, navy blue, black and to a lesser extent gray.
Trench coats come in a variety of patterns as well. Check out a few examples:
The ever-classy black and white plaid trench coat is a beauty. Check it out:
Commonly Used Fabrics Used in Trench Coats
While a myriad of different materials is used to produce trench coats, the three most commonly used fabrics include:
As a modern variation of trench coats, leather is an iconic fabric that’s considered as a durable and toughest material promising utmost protection. Not only is it warmer and heavier than other fabrics, but it’s also the most flexible option for trench coats, so you can find the right style for yourself. The internal linings in leather trench coats can be detached to adapt it to the summer season.
Apart from this, leather trench coats possess the ability to repel dirt and are a lot easier to clean and maintain than other trench coats made from other fabrics. All in all, a leather trench coat certainly deserves a spot in your wardrobe.
Wool gabardine was used to create the earliest trench coats introduced to the military. Since it’s made from wool blends, gabardine coats tend to be denser yet lighter than leather coats. As the strongest fabric to protect from wind and rain, gabardine is most suitable for harsh weather. Gabardine coats are warm and comfortable to give you a relaxed feeling.
Other than that, the material is well-insulated and water-resistant. Woven with careful consideration, this fabric is plain royalty. With high production costs, gabardine is only used for customized or high-end trench coats and is not produced or sold at a mass scale.
Cotton is the lightest and most commonly used fabric in trench coats. Densely woven with twill and poplin weaves, cotton is lightweight and less warm when compared to gabardine and leather. Trench coats made from cotton are relatively easy to style and look awesome with casual dressing. When chemically treated, cotton trench coats will offer water resistance too. They’re also an inexpensive option and can be worn on breezy days.
Now that you have a fair idea about the different fabrics used in trench coats, I’ll now introduce you to the different types of trench coats to choose from as well as some insights into how you can style them for a perfect, desired impact:
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How does a trench coat differ from an overcoat?
As a lightweight coat, a trench coat serves as a windbreaker while also protecting you from rain. In contrast, an overcoat is made from thick fabric and designed to ensure protection against the cold. You can wear a trench coat over an overcoat to guard it against rain, snow, and dust.
Will a trench coat keep me sufficiently warm?
If the weather in your region tends to be generally windy, a trench coach should be able to keep you warm, but if your area has a cold climate, you’ll need to wear something underneath the coat to keep yourself warm.
On what occasion should I wear a trench coat?
While they were originally created for the rain, trench coats have become a popular fashion trend, which is not just worn at formal and informal special events, interviews, and during travel and tours.
Wrapping it up…
Whether you’re looking forward to a formal event, an interview, or a casual day out with friends, a trench coat would be a great addition to your outfit, especially if the days are cool, breezy, or even rainy. Consider choosing a neutral color that makes for a good combination with the rest of your outfits, and pay attention to the styling suggestions I’ve shared in this guide.
As long as you stick to these guidelines, there’s no reason why your new trench coat won’t make you shine in your upcoming events!