fashion women

A Guide To Trench Coats – How To Style and Wear

A classic trench coat is a staple in any wardrobe. With the right styling, you can wear a trench coat for everything from a dinner date to a weekend walk, whatever the season. And being French, we love a good trench here at La Redoute. In France, the trench coat is the ultimate ‘throw on and go’ piece – that extra layer to keep you warm and dry on cool, breezy days. They’re also known for being transitional, so perfect for seasonal style that’ll last all year round.

With roots in military wear, trench coats have always been a practical choice – they feature hardwearing fabrics and added details that make them far more than simply stylish. But they have fashion prowess, too – developed by mega brands like Aquascutum and Burberry, they’re a staple in wardrobes of stylish people all over the world. We love them for their mix of form and function, adding instant style and practicality to any outfit.

Take a look at our top tips for wearing and styling this quintessentially French fashion piece.

What is a trench coat?

Trench coats evolved from the waterproof ‘macintosh’ coats created by Charles Macintosh and Thomas Hancock in the early 1820s. The style of coat became popular with Army officers during the war and were adapted by British brands Aquascutum and Burberry to be worn in the trenches – hence the name.

Since then, Hollywood has helped give the trench coat its fashionable status – trench coats have been worn by Humphrey Bogart, Audrey Hepburn and Meryl Streep in some of their most iconic scenes.

These days, trench coats are often made of water-resistant fabrics like coated cotton or poplin. They usually have 10 buttons to the front and wide pockets, often with a belt to cinch in the waist and lapel detailing on the cuffs and shoulders. Trench coats come in many colours, but the light beige is still the most recognisable.

Are trench coats waterproof?

Trench coats are designed to work throughout the seasons. They’re often made of heavy cotton, which is not waterproof but will protect you from light rain and high winds. You shouldn’t wear a trench coat in a thunderstorm, but it’d be perfect in a short spring shower.

Look out for styles with a storm flap and hood to protect from inclement weather – this windproof trench coat is both stylish and practical.

The best time to wear a trench coat

If you’re wondering what’s the best time to wear a trench coat, the answer is easy – all year round!

Ok, so you won’t be reaching for your trench in sub-zero temperatures or when it’s scorching hot outside, but for those grey and breezy days that make up most of the year here in the UK, it’s perfect.

Our rule of thumb is if it’s too cool to go without a jacket but too warm for a big coat, the trench is the ideal solution. And with clever layering, you can make your trench coat work for more extreme weather, too – pair with a thick chunky jumper when it’s really cold and throw over a simple vest when it’s warm for a chic, pulled-together look. 

Some of our favourite trench coats for the new season

If you’re looking to invest in a trench coat, we have some brand new styles for the upcoming season that will work for a wide range of occasions, whatever the weather’s doing. If you’re a true trench coat fan, it’s nice to have a few options in your style arsenal so you can pick and choose the one that works perfectly with your outfit. If you’re looking to add to your collection and want some inspiration, we’d recommend one classic mid-length trench coat, one shorter style, one in a luxe fabric like leather or suede and one in a brighter shade for a fun pop of colour.

Here are some of our favourite trench coats and how we’d style them.

Perfect for casual work style

This Iconic Cotton Trench Coat is the epitome of Parisian chic – that laidback, casual vibe that oozes sophistication. For an off-beat work look, we’ve paired this trench with another timeless French piece – the Breton tee. Finish off with a midi skirt and pointed boots for serious cool girl points.

Perfect for a weekend exploring

A comfy and casual style, great for a day out and about exploring. This mid-length trench is a paired-back version of the classic style to give that off-duty look. Pair with your fave denim jeans and some chunky loafers for ultimate comfort while you're pounding the pavements. 

Perfect for an important meeting
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The beauty of the trench coat is that it works just as well for a formal look. In deep navy blue, this structured trench coat has a sleeker finish that’s perfect for important work days. Team with tailored trousers and a loose silk shirt for that no-nonsense professional vibe.

Perfect for a coffee date with friends 

We love the long, oversize fit of this trench – it’s the perfect statement piece that's bound to get the compliments rolling in. A crisp white t-shirt and classic denim jeans combo is finished off with chunky sandals and your fave sunnies.

For spring/summer style 

For warmer weather, this short cut trench is super lightweight with less fabric, making it a breezy option. Throw it on over a maxi dress to play with proportions, or keep it classic with loose linen trousers and a simple striped tee.

For autumn/winter style

When it’s colder outside, go for something a bit more substantial to work with your heavier autumn/winter pieces. This checked trench coat has real cosy vibes, with a colour palette that’ll mix and match with chunky knits and cord trousers to perfection.

Whether you’re buying a new trench coat or just looking for ways to style the one currently lurking in your wardrobe, we hope you’ve now got plenty of new season inspiration to draw from.

Author Name
Leanne,
03/09/2023