Our fashion editor Krissy is an expert in shopping smart on the high street. She knows which pieces are worth spending that bit more on, and in this fortnightly column, she’ll be making the case for investment staples. This week, the perfect trench coat is on her hit list.
I don’t play around when it comes to buying coats and jackets. Often they’re the most expensive things in my wardrobe so I have to make sure a new one meets every point on my non-negotiables list before purchasing.
Peak Trench Season usually begins in April. Bright but chilly, and when you want to be wearing something that looks and feels lighter for the new season, it’s the ideal cover-up. The sheer volume of them on the high street at any point in the year would have you believe a great one was easy to come across, but in fact, a truly flattering, versatile style requires extra consideration, and a great one isn’t as easy to find as you’d think, trust me.
What style of trench coat should I buy?
Length and fit are first up. Having my dress or skirt hem swinging below my jacket is a pet peeve, so I always look for a trench that hits mid-calf. It’s the most flattering point for my figure and works with the hem lengths I like to wear.
I’ll always try a trench on with a chunkier knit, too: tight Michelin man arms are a no, so a little room in the sleeves is a must. That little detail could be the difference between wearing it all year, or vacuum-packing it into storage come September and cooler temperatures.
Then, there’s the belt, and its placement is just as important as the width. Too high and your top half looks and feels fussy; too thick and you feel tight and restricted when it’s done up. Comfort is key for me, so I’ll always do the belt up and move my arms up and down to check the fit.
Is it worth spending more on a trench coat?
I realised a few years ago that because there are so many elements to finding the perfect trench, it made sense to splash out a bit more on a great one. It’s not always the case that with a higher price point comes a higher quality, but with all the design elements that come into play, if you can afford to splash a bit more, you won’t regret it.
What colour trench coat should I buy?
On the hunt for my Perfect Trench Coat, I discovered two things. The first was that colour was a new entry on that non-negotiables list. The overwhelming offering meant I really had to hone in on what I really liked, and it turns out a deep, warm camel, rather than a pale beige, is right up my street. The second was that an Inspector Gadget-esque straight shape wasn’t for me – I needed a slightly A-line silhouette, or an oversized shape that looked (and felt) more relaxed.
It took a while, but I trawled the high street for chic investment styles so you won’t have to. Here’s my expert edit of the best:
The belted beauty
This navy number is the definition of classy, and I think it would look super luxe when styled with smart trousers and loafers. The mid length and simple, sleek shape mean this one would be very easy to dress up or down.
The modern trench coat
I love the contrasting plaid on the arms of this one from British brand Paisie. The utility detailing and tailored fit keep things classic, while the pattern adds a modern twist. It also comes in navy and both are currently 50% off.
The new classic trench coat
This is the perfect shade if you feel like classic camel is too deep (or ubiquitous). Looks great with all-black outfits.
The timeless trench
If you’re keen on the timeless trench shape, this one is ideal. The large lapel collar and double-breasted buttoned front make it look even pricier than it is.
The olive number
Olive is just as versatile as beige, but feels a little more modern. I’d wear this one with a bright cardigan underneath.
The black trench
What’s more versatile than black? This one from COS should be your go-to. Even though it’s long and black, it’s made of cotton-blend fabric so lightweight enough to wear throughout spring.