Out Of The Trenches…
When I think classic, I think cars – can’t help it, I grew up in a car family.
In the fashion world classic means a trench.
The classic definition of a trench is a raincoat made of waterproof heavy duty cotton gabardine, leather or poplin with detailing such as a removable lining, raglan sleeves, ten button double breasted, wide lapels, epaulettes, pockets that button close, wrist straps that buckle up and a storm flap in case the other details weren’t enough. Whew, can we talk details – details? That could certainly overpower most female forms. So we must be extra careful to interview the raincoat before we just jump into the trenches with it.
Here are a few styling tips for shopping for a classic trench!
Look for tailored lines, don’t buy a coat that overwhelms you. Try on several sizes and styles including regulars and petites before you hand over your credit card.
Avoid unusual colors, we are talking hot pink and lime here. Khaki’s and tans will easily assimilate into any wardrobe, so of course those are a safe bet. However all your choices do not have to be in the khaki realm. Other members of the neutral zone such as navy, olive, eggplant, and even red will work nicely as well.
Let your personality shine in the details, with unusual buttons, trims, tailoring and even color blocking as shown in the Ann Taylor trench below.
Trenches can be bulky or slim – it all depends on the look you are going for and the weather conditions you are trying to ward off. The classic trench in the windy city of Chicago would not be what Floridians would shop for.
Those of you in the lower climates might want to consider a removable liner. Shop carefully for that, I have always preferred the zipper option as the buttons create extra little bumps and hard spots head to toe – no need for any more of those!
Budget wise – you can be all over the spectrum here with the cream of the crop obviously being Burberry. If you are looking at the trench as one of those investment pieces then by all means take the plunge. A classic piece like that will travel with you for years, keep you warm and dry, bump up your image and no worries, that cost per wear will go down to next to nothing because you will wear it for decades as it comes with a payment plan.
If you are considering going down that road, be sure to buy the authentic trench, steer clear of any obvious timely fashion details like perhaps a voluminous swing coat – who knows 20 years from now if you are going to want to own anything voluminous! Think ahead, think about potential body changes, and will there be a bit of room to grow to speak? I mean you can’t really plan what car you might be driving but landing in the driver seat with a full-on lined trench coat five years from now when the mommy van has been down sized to your dream mini cooper could be a consideration.
The coat should not be shapeless. Be sure you have a substantial belt – a key detail in the trench. Decide if you are a belt buckle type of woman or a tie it up gal.
Then there is the single breasted or double-breasted decision. If you are petite and slight of frame, a well-proportioned, proper length coat in a double breasted style will beef you up a bit and add shape. Be sure to cinch the waist to accentuate the hourglass proportion.
If on the other hand you are petite and full-bodied, the double-breasted styling will add pounds to your frame. Choose the single breasted here.
The same applies for regular sizes, if extra fabric, bells and whistle, epaulettes, belts and buttons are not needed on top of frames that are bigger-on-top or extra-in-the-middle, then avoid that fashion challenge.
Do opt for the classic trench in a single breasted, clean line. Trust me, you will still look classically ‘trenchy’ with your belt knotted and your collar popped; you just wont feel like the coat is wearing you as opposed to you wearing the coat.
Be sure to treat your raincoat with respect. It is shocking how few times women dry clean the coat category. When you think about it, it really should be cleaned more often that you dry clean your dresses! It is the barrier between you and your morning coffee on the commuter train, the unspeakable things you might sit on in the subway, the unpredictable weather elements and oh yes, don’t forget the oils from the back of your neck as you pop the collar Pink Panther style!
When you make an investment in a classic trench you must take care of it properly so it can take care of you!
Doreen Dove empowers women to use style as a tool to take strategic control of their image. She is an image consultant, personal stylist and professional speaker. Her extensive background in all aspects of retail has uniquely qualified her to work with women of all ages and professions, coaching them to personal style success. www.DoreenDove.com
Book a complimentary Boost Your Image Breakthrough Session with me. We’ll chat about buying the perfect trench! Then we’ll move on to your closet, your image and whatever else comes up! I look forward to ‘meeting’ you on the phone!