08 Aug 2022

Fashion Fix: Trench coats: From old classics to new twists

Tips, trends and advice from a host of industry experts

Fashion Fix: Trench coats: From old classics to new twists

Erdem SS2020 trench coat

Spring is a strange time for your wardrobe. With the weather changing so quickly, it’s hard to know whether you should be dressing for blazing sunshine or a drearier day (even if you’re only able to venture as far as the garden right now).

That’s why you need to be armed with the perfect transitional coat. This is the kind of jacket which is lighter than something you’d wear in winter, but can still protect you from the elements when needed.

Even if you’re only popping to the supermarket or corner shop for absolute essentials this spring, you still need a weather-appropriate outfit – and with all the stress and uncertainly in the world right now, you might as well look cute too.

Transitional coats are the Holy Grail of outerwear. They’re the hardest working item in your closet, after all, because they need to be able to look good with a summer dress underneath but also work with jeans and a jumper if the weather turns. And with fast fashion on its way out, and everybody wanting to shift towards more conscious consumerism, it makes sense to invest in something that works with multiple looks, both casual and smart.

This season, the catwalks made a strong case for the trench coat, which is the perfect weight for changeable springtime weather. And while some designers championed the classic, no-frills beige trench, many also offered up twists for something a bit different and more fun.

Here’s how you should be wearing your trench this season…

Alexa Chung trench

The classics…

You really can’t go wrong with a classic trench coat in a neutral or light brown shade – there’s a reason it’s an icon of English heritage style.

As it does every season, Burberry sent some covetable classic coats down the runway – but that’s not the only place we saw them. Plenty of designers showed us how timeless a trench can be when tailored to perfection. A whole range of big names – from established American label Michael Kors to famed French house Dior – designed their own version of a sleek and simple trench coat. This is the kind of item you buy once, because you know it will last forever.

Oversized croc trench coat in orange from Asos

Interesting colours…

If you want to be a bit more experimental and go for something a bit more out-there than the fail-safe classic trench coat, there were huge amounts of variation in the spring/summer collections to take inspiration from. While a trench coat might be a solid, timeless option, designers are equally keen to reinvent the wheel with this look.

A major way to give a trench a twist – and one which is particularly wearable – is by injecting a bit of colour into your jacket. Alexa Chung’s show had a particularly stand-out bright mustard version we instantly fell in love with, and Balenciaga designed a rather fetching green version.

Lots of people are reluctant to choose a coat in anything but a neutral colour.

However, fashion rules are made to be broken, and you just have to remember that your coat doesn’t have to match your outfit. In fact, it’s a particularly cool look to wear a brightly coloured jacket, purposefully clashing with the rest of your look.

OTT lapels…

Want to earn some serious fashion points this season? Then it’s all about playing with the width of your lapels. This might sound like a relatively minor twist on the look, but it can make a huge difference to the overall effect.

Uber-wide lapels were the style of choice for designers like Michael Kors and Valentino. Don’t worry though; this is a modern, fashion-forward way of doing wide lapels – it doesn’t look like a dodgily cut suit from the Seventies.

Experimental cuts…

We see trench coats hit the catwalk every year in preparation for spring – it’s practically guaranteed. But we can’t help but feel some designers are a bit bored with churning out the same, safe formula year after year, too.

That’s why labels like JW Anderson and Marta Jakubowski ripped up the rule book for this season. They played around with silhouettes, used bold cut-outs to alter shape and created bulbous sleeves – the final product is always instantly recognisable as a trench coat, but it’s certainly a fresh take on the old favourite.

The high street has followed suit, making coats with batwing silhouettes and cut-outs. Some versions are even as simple as using drawstrings for an extra nipped-in waist, showing that ‘experimental’ doesn’t always have to mean ‘unwearable’.

ASOS DESIGN Extreme Sleeve Trench Coat in Khaki, €103.69

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