In connection with the trench: everything you need to know about the most fashionable coat of all time!
Beige or colored. Mid-calf or long like a bathrobe. For always and for every occasion. A trench is the best investment not only for spring.
A trench at the trade fairs
I can’t remember whose show it was, but looking at the guests, I got the impression that I was the only one who didn’t get the outfit instructions required for that evening. Almost everyone was wearing beige trainers. It was reminiscent of a Pink Panther fan convention — regardless of gender, almost everyone looked like Inspector Clouseau. I looked up at the sky. It wasn’t looking like it was going to rain. Did these people have better weather apps than I did? I looked at my black wool coat, which I had effortlessly squeezed into for the second winter in a row. Well, yes, undoubtedly — and regardless of the weather — everyone around me was more stylish than I was. At a certain age, a trench is one of those things that verifies your adulthood, like the right handbag or perfume. Could I write this article without referring to terms like closet classics? Probably not. All the more I can’t do it when Lisa Aiken, fashion director at Net-a-Porter, in exultation points out the great importance of these classics.
“There aren’t really many clothes that I could call an investment. The trench is one of them. It’s a real gem — relaxed but never boring, tailored but rarely formal. Few fashion gadgets have so many uses,” she says.
What is more, women increasingly want things that will stand the test of time, which is why they shop across seasons. In fact, designers themselves are blurring the boundaries between the traditional seasons of the year. So if you’re looking for something to last forever or hunting for something for every occasion, a trench is the way to go. For the ultimate in trench nirvana, I turned to Jo Ellison, fashion director at the Financial Times. She is one of those women who can be photographed at every major show. She’s always wearing the right coat. No, not the same one. She has several of them. It’s very possible that all these shows are held just so Jo Ellison can showcase her trench collection. In the interview, she confesses that she recently added another one: a chestnut-brown leather coat from Prada (she says it’s to die for).
Workout: Beige is not everything
“A pale beige trench is an essential. It’s like a big, neutral blanket that you can throw over anything,” she continues.
It softens black and navy blue, looks good with grey and can even be chic with lighter colours. Jo Ellison recommends paying attention to the fabric — it should not be stiff or heavy. Otherwise, you may end up looking like a detective in a trench coat. Sometimes a trench coat can be risky because of its length. The length can vary but is always in a straight line. Flat moccasins or shiny shoes look much better with it than slippers or ankle boots — in such a combination the silhouette often loses proportions, is optically shortened, even overwhelmed by the coat. And again comparisons to a detective may appear. I sometimes throw my trench nonchalantly on the back. Most often I tie it with a belt. Ellison is right about the importance of a straight line.
The coats I’ve been envying others for lately all had one thing in common — they were long. Or even longer, and certainly much longer than the one I have in my closet. The only one I own — the one from Burberry — ends in mid-thigh… And although putting it on made me feel fashionable and elegant, not once did it make me seem grown up. It’s all about the length. My trench is a beginner’s, almost adult option. This year, unless your coat’s hemline runs mid-calf or even down to your ankle, you’ll be looking enviously at all the stars, celebrities and closet mavens parading around town in just such models. Yes, they have something you lack. A metre of extra material to make your beloved trench longer. I kid you not — we love the oversize version in a longer than usual edition. “It creates a modern look,” confirms Lisa Aiken, comparing a transparent trench from Miu Miu and a beige Gucci signature classic with a raincoat in floral motifs. According to Lisa Aiken, these are products that will be sold out in no time.
This trend has been created and perpetuated by those who know how to wear clothes from great designers not only on the catwalk, but above all in everyday life. At the same time, it has been accepted and adopted by influential, opinion-forming experts. They have these items in their closets. Leandra Medine — writer, blogger and author of the fashion and life style website Man Repeller — wears a satin and silk trench from Michael Lo Sordo that reaches almost to her ankles on no special occasion. This seemingly exclusive look has proven to be very popular. These arguments appeal to me — and I am a person who is a few, if not several inches shorter than the average model. Just like Leandra Medine. If her petite figure looks great in a long trench, perhaps others can look chic in one too? Does Lisa Aiken have any styling tips for shorter people?
“Don’t worry about your size or whether you are short or tall. The trench is designed to cover the entire body, like a cape,” she says. — she assures. “Add something sporty to your look, such as a hoodie. Or try a bold combination with shoes in a striking color: white or red.”
Indeed, some of the world’s most stylish women wear a hooded sweatshirt under their trench. Of course, the hood sticks out from behind the collar. I think it’s a clever way to soften the formal aspect of the coat and also a successful attempt to break away from its military connotations. Surprised? The first versions of the trench were born around 1850. To this day, two respected brands, Aquascutum and Burberry, are credited with introducing it to the fashion world, although it was originally intended only as an alternative to the outer garments worn by British and French soldiers during the First World War. It is both a strength and a weakness of the trench that it has changed so little over the years. In fact, all its variations, regardless of color, length and cut, and what it is paired with, have a very similar effect. Its power lies in its classic cut and timeless form. In turn, the disadvantages arise from the fact that you need to wear it in the right way to gain originality and look contemporary. Here everything depends on the ingenuity and courage of the owner. When the coat is such a versatile element of clothing, the right hood, shoes or bag become an indispensable accessory.
Where to buy the perfect trench?
After several fittings in different stores and too many wasted hours online, I finally found my prince at Marks & Spencer. In fact, I saw it first on Instagram. Luckily the owner tagged the brand. It was a company called Autograph. Not only is this trench terrifyingly — sorry, wrong word — satisfactorily long, it’s also the right shade of beige. As a bonus: waterproof thanks to patented Stormwear technology. So does the ideal exist? Oh yes. Designers create designs that appeal to our imagination above all else. Marni has a trench in denim, Wanda Nylon in rubber and Valentino in pink leather (ooh la la!). More practical brands offer models that can be worn every day. Besides the one mentioned from Marks & Spencer, look for your types at places like Topshop, Asos and Zara. In fact, I can’t remember a season that was so rich in trainers. Perhaps that’s why the last word should belong to Angela Ahrendts, former CEO of Burberry, now Vice President of Retail at Apple, who, while giving a speech on the new strategy at Apple Inc. was wearing (what else…) a pink lace trench from Burberry. It was she who threw in a dreamy tone:
“Everyone in the world should have a trench. Believe it or not, this season it most likely will.”