Officially, it's trench coat weather, so what makes one good?
Breaking down the anatomy of a good trench coat
If you’re looking for a more shop-focused experience, try reading this story here!
Welcome to volatile weather hour. Formally, it’s trench coat season, but the idea of a trench coat is so often better than the trench coat in practice. So what makes one good? Key factors to consider:
Shape. A traditional trench is double breast, which is great but in this day and age, when pants are so baggy and shoes are so chunky and single breast button lines — like uniboobs — are coming back in fashion, said single breast compliments the rest of your outfit better. What I’m suggesting, basically, is a Macintosh/trench coat hybrid. Here’s a good reference.
A traditional Macintosh coat is a-line, which is great over a pair of straight pants or a skirt. Here’s one from Balenciaga/The Real Real that serves as a good example. It’s like the more practical version of a cape.
Collar. Clean and disassociated from the lapel. What is the opposite of a wide lapel? That’s what you should look for. A collar that you can button all the way up, which is a note that makes more sense if your preference is a double breast coat in spite of my campaigning for uniboobs. This is a good example of what that closure could look like. See how it buttons? Another example of that:
Length. Below the knee, like figure an inch or two and definitely above the ankle — like further away from your ankle for sure than the hemline is to your knee. But not too close to the knee either! Your pants are def longer than the coat, but your (Bermuda) shorts are shorter.
Sleeve. Semi-wide with no stop-gap strap at the hem of the sleeve creating a balloon effect. Makes it easier to pair over a sweater, is overall cleaner. Kind of like the below:
My general preference is no sleeve flap at all (that strap that buttons over the end of a sleeve), I found that between this flap and the belt strap and bla bla bla, the coat often just has too much going on. Something like this bothers me less.
But beware of the sleeves getting too long. That becomes a nuisance and the coat is already so much fabric so really, you want the simplest sleeve possible. This recycled nylon coat from Rodebjer is another good reference.
Fabric. The original trench coat was rendered in cotton gabardine, which basically means tightly wound cotton. Assuming you’ll want to wear the trench in the rain but that you’re not necessarily in pursuit of a full-blown windbreaker (nylon), I’d go for cotton, or some cotton blend and would stay away from rayon (v lightweight/wrinkles too easily/doesn’t look right with bottoms that are heavier).
Color. “Toasted coconut” is a good reference.
So which is the best one? I’l offer up three new ones and three vintage ones. Each comes with a concession.
I’m torn between Cos’ organic cotton trench with the back flap for $250 (sleeve straps! Blech) and the car coat for $285 (more beige than I’d like) and River Island’s trench for $120, also with sleeve strap. The latter is a more straightforward a-line, so doesn’t swing as much on one hand, but also has less fabric, making it a better contender for an outfit like this:
The beige Cos number would actually look p. great with the above outfit, but if you’re more prone to something like this:
(Which could totally mean a dress or a skirt, it’s just a different model from jeans,) I’d probably go with the back flap one. Everlane’s toasted coconut isn’t out of question either.
Alright, that concludes this edish of the breakdown. See u l8r,