The Trench Coat. A true fashion icon for a reason. This storied layering piece that can make even the most paired down look instantly chic. Name any other style in your wardrobe that can do this. Go ahead, we'll wait. The trench coat wasn't always an essential closely connected to effortless style. Not just any old plain winter coat, the trench coat exudes a bit of mystery most likely due to its old Hollywood mystic. We know this special outerwear style as a classic made famous on the likes of Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Burberry. The fashion house has long understood the power of an icon and harnessed this power in their signature Burberry trench coat, with standing retail trends for decades.
This fashion staple is world famous, but perhaps not as well known is the trench coat origin. The classic trench coat packs some significant history. Like many of our fashion icons, the trench has a background based in functional utility for upper class gentlemen. The trench coat earned its name on the battlefields of World War I. Heavy and cumbersome wool coats used as military outerwear in the past were no longer practical in the modern trench warfare of WWI. Here comes the trench coat with a more functional shorter length and lighter weather-resistant gaberdine fabric. It was Thomas Burberry years earlier in 1879 that created the lightweight unique textile called gabardine. During World War I, the more effective trench coats were issued to Officers. It wasn’t available for soldiers of lower rank. This helped establish the trench as desirable and of upper class.
True to form and function, a trench had these elements which are still carried into today.
- Shoulder straps so soldiers could attach epaulettes
- D rings to hold equipment
- Essential large pockets
- Wide Lapels
- Storm flaps keep the coat breathable
- The collar and double-breasted buttons were designed to tuck in gas masks
- The cuff straps were used to make the coat more waterproof
- Water resistant fabric to function as a raincoat
These classic coats and details were so amazing, as soldiers returned from war to rejoin civilian life they brought home with them their reliable trench coat. As time went on the trench cemented itself in the gentleman's wardrobe and occasionally 'borrowed from the boys" by women integrating into everyday wear.
By the 1940s, we see the trench start to reach further beyond a gentlemen wardrobe staple and into Hollywood film driving the outerwear style toward omnipresence. Humphrey Bogart wears a trench in Casablanca making it part of his signature look on and off the screen. Then we start see women take part in the trench coat trend. The women’s trench coat was a new concept during the golden age of Hollywood. Marlene Dietrich wears a stylish dark trench coat as legendary cabaret singer Erika von Schlütow in the 1948 post-war film A Foreign Affair. It wasn’t until Hollywood romanticized the trench that we see it as androgynous fashion. Much like early trousers and pockets in women's clothing, the trench symbolized a sign of intelligence and independence in women's fashion.
As shown by the long list of people who have worn and popularized the iconic trench from royalty to the Hollywood elite there are so many ways to wear a trench coat. A versatile piece, the trench coat can be paired with anything. Inevitably taking on whichever persona you choose to portray. Like Kim Novak in the 1957 Pal Joey as a naive chorus girl or like Daryl Hannah as a fierce assassin in 2003 Kill Bill the trench allows you to create the attitude. If you’re looking for some trench coat-style inspiration, look no further. Here are outfit ideas to pair with the classic trench coat. You bring the attitude...
The Casual Look
To be honest, a trench isn't just for spring anymore. With crazy weather these days, it makes sense to keep a trench coat handy to amp up a running-out-the-door outfit. For dog walks and coffee runs, layer a trench over coordinating sweatshirt and joggers then add a lifestyle sneaker. Our go-to fashion hack, try a total monochrome trench coat outfit. Beige pull over hoodie + beige joggers and a traditional beige trench coat is a guaranteed polished look tried and true by fashion bloggers the world over. If sweats are too casual for you, try a white t-shirt and white jeans for spring. The play off shades of neutrals adds a refreshing lightness. For a winter outfit sub in a darker skinny jeans or legging and a loafer. Invest in a timeless trench then congratulate yourself on money well spent as you grab it everyday, casual outfits to business casual too.
With a Dress Code
When a dress code is in order the trench coat is still a practical go - to outerwear layer. It would not be as well loved if it couldn't be dressed down and up. Extreme dress up case in point, Priyanka Chopra's Met Gala look in 2017. But we don't need to turn a trench into a Ralph Lauren gown to it dress up. There are a couple key elements to kick it up a notch. First, fabrication makes a difference. A leather trench look alluring over a sexy blazer and trouser or maybe a sheer organza trench over an ethereal silk dress. Second, length. A few more inches go a long way. A long trench coat brings a dramatic play on proportion. Pair a long trench with a cocktail dress and high boots *chefs kiss*
A Pop of Color
This Spring is all about bright color. Because the style is so versatile, feel comfortable adding a bold trench into your wardrobe. It can still be worn over multiple looks and in multiple ways. If you are looking to incorporate more color into your wardrobe, this is a surefire way to do it. Be on the lookout this spring for our See ROSE Go Brillant Trench Coat in Poppy Red. A wardrobe staple reimagined with innovative tech material and tailoring guaranteed to make your outfit next level. Our Brillant Trench is made in a water resistant stretch nylon exterior with a loop back texture on the interior. If Poppy Red is not for you, we have it in a neutral Stone too.
This classic coat has endured through the decades, and is still seen as one of the most revered and iconic items of clothing ever made. We love the trench for its history, function and classic style for men and women and any body type. The timeless appeal is here to stay while lending polished comfort chic to our wardrobe for years to come. When you wear a trench coat, know you are part-taking in a rich story, while building your own.