How to wear a trench coat

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Practical and forever chic, the trench coat is a wardrobe essential. It was first created for military purposes by Thomas Burberry (yes, that Burberry) in 1912, but has since become a womenswear staple.

It hasn’t changed much in those 100 years. And that’s because it was so well-designed in the first place: with a double-breasted silhouette, storm flaps, epaulettes and a buckled waist belt to keep the wind and rain out.

The trench isn’t just famous for its practicalities though; it’s culturally iconic, having been represented through history and Hollywood by glamorous women and men since the ’30s. It’s still the outerwear on every fashion editor’s wish list and most designers create a reworked version every Autumn/Winter season.

We’ve chosen to spotlight Boden’s Whistable design because it’s a best-seller for the retailer, and has been re-stocked for several seasons due to its popularity. A playful twist on a classic, this coat has all the necessary bells and whistles enhanced with a sporty grosgrain stripe and a bold Union Jack lining. If you don’t believe us, just check out how fans are wearing it on Instagram.

And while a quality version like Boden’s is made to last, we’re here to convince you that any trench coat is an excellent investment because of its versatility. The neutral colour palette, showerproof gabardine fabric and easy-to-layer weight means you can wear one anywhere and everywhere, all year round. Keep scrolling to find out how…

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Meryl Streep in Kramer Vs Kramer, Diane Keaton in The Godfather, Karen Lynn Gorney in Saturday Night Fever – some of the trench coat’s most stylish representations were in ’70s film. Move beyond your boring black skirt and shirt combo, and channel this feeling at the office with wide-leg trousers, heritage checks, pussy-bow blouses and chunky shoes (also available in patent black, we predict M&S flared-heel loafers will be a sell-out this season).

By contrast, if you’re looking for something simpler, get inspired by the clean looks of the ’60s (Audrey Hepburn famously wore a trench coat in Breakfast at Tiffany’s). The magic combo of a Breton top, black jeans and loafers will never go out of style – just add a quilted black bag for a nod to Parisian elegance.

Thought the trench was merely a transitional piece? Think again; with the right amount of layering, this coat can serve you all year round. Knitwear on knitwear is a key trend for AW19, so invest in neutrals to mix and match. You can keep on wearing Jigsaw’s asymmetric skirt well into the colder months, with the help of some knee-high boots.

This staple coat is ideal for toning down evening looks (it’s lightweight enough to keep on when you first arrive at a party, while you suss out the dress code). The olive green hue of Ghost’s bias-cut midi chimes perfectly with the neutral tones of the trench – finish it off with animal print accents.

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