The classic trench coat has a deep and rich history that has seen the coat changed from a utilitarian apparel to a stylish fashion statement. The history of the classic trench coat dates back to the 1900s when it was worn by army officers. Thomas Burberry created a fabric called gabardine which can be described as a twill that is resistant to water. In the 1900s he was given a commission to design a raincoat for officers of the British army. This coat was utilized by officers to great effect in the Boer War, it help to keep them warm and dry during the conflict.
The World War I version of the coat saw some new additions that include shoulder epaulettes, storm flaps, D-ring belt, and a lighter weight. This coat was used by over 500,000 troops that fought in the trenches in World War I hence it was called the trench coat. The trench coat received mainstream appeal when it was worn by Hollywood stars (Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca- 1942 and Meryl Streep in Kramer vs. Kramer- 1979) both in and out of movies. Eventually women would adopt this coat and make it into a fashion statement (Valet, 2011).
The lightweight trench coat, ideal to be worn in the fall season, can be a stylish part of any women’s wardrobe as it can be paired and matched with a variety of outfits. Trench coats have five distinguishing features: silhouette, fit, length, materials, and details.
The silhouette of the trench coat provides a classic design featuring double breasted pockets and a belt that is flattering to any body type.
The coat must appear fit but also allow free body movement as well as being able to be worn over a jacket. Shoulder seams should be located the fartherest from the shoulder tips. The closure button placket should not gape. The backside vent must always stay flat.
The length of the coat will vary with the average length being two inches above the knee. The longest length a coat should have is that it reaches the mid-knee. The sleeve length of trench coats also are of varying lengths. The sleeve length should not be shorter than the wrist bone or longer than the fingers.
Trench coats should be made of nylon that is water-resistant and durable cotton that has the quality of being rain/wind resistant.
The coat should have a extra long belt buckle with buttons not placed in an awkward position. These should be roomy with functional side pockets. The coat should be versatile as seen in its removable coat linings. The last detail of the coat is of course its traditional khaki color which dates back to the coat’s British origins. The khaki color is perfect for any season and will present a stylish look to many outfits (Corporate Fashionista, 2013).
There are certain tips that will help women to select the right trench coat that will compliment their figure and appearance. The coat should neatly fit the women with lapels that are not too wide. Hemlines should end just above the knee. Coats that end at mid-calf will look ill-fitted on short women or those with thick legs. Trench coats should not have an overload of details. Additionally petite women should opt for simple details eschewing large lapels/epaulettes. Full-figure women should avoid trench coats that are double-breasted because it would make them look wide. A blended cotton trench coat is ideal for a appearance that is free of wrinkles and can conceal certain questionable aspects of a woman’s figure.
Epaulettes should follow the shoulder line and have the storm flap in proportion to the body shape. Women that seek trench coats that are wind/water-resistant should ensure that they have adjustable cuffs. A fantail pleat allow women to move easily whilst wearing the coat. The color of the coat such as beige, grey, black, and camel can lend a classic/timeless quality to the coat. Those that opt for a different/sassy style may prefer coats in red, purple, coral, or orange colors. Lastly, while a leather coat is fashionable, it should not be worn too often in rainy weather because leather will become damaged by exposure to water (Hart, 2010).