It seems I have a weakness for coats, or so my Mum says an ‘obsession.’ I have woollen coats, boyfriend coats, quilted jackets, topcoats, a navy peacoat. I even have a ski jacket, but despite my clear infatuation with outerwear, there still remains a key piece missing from my wardrobe: the trench coat.
The sheer deprivation of the perfect trench coat has hung over me for years. You see, I’ve always been a true devotee to ‘le style parisien’ and as Ines de la Fressange states in “Parisian Chic”, the trench coat is one of the “magnificent seven” pieces that you’ll need in order to achieve the oh-so-desirable made in Paris look.
Saying that, the trench symbolises our British past, when Burberry created the first trench coat for the soldiers in WW1, popularised with its raglan sleeves and garbadine fabric, it was an instant success. Since then the brand took off and the trench coat has never really gone out of fashion.
I wouldn’t say that my trench coat requirements are too complex. All I ask is that it not be polyester (heaven forbid!), as a trench must be waterproof and hardwearing. However, it mustn’t be too thick, or ‘crunchy.’ You see when I walk I don’t want it swishing or making noises!
The perfect trench is light, yet will keep you warm. It’s rain-resistant, yet not shiny. The perfect trench has a waist belt, yet not a big buckle – that’s too much. The prefect trench has buttons on the front, usually between six and 10 but four may be acceptable if the coat performs in other areas.
The trench coat can be dressed up or down, which is why it is such an investment piece, due to its versatility. It can be worn in spring with dresses and sandals, then again in winter with jumpers, scarves and loafers.
Though you’ll want to avoid the hideous stereotypical detective-type look. You know, like Inspector Clousseau in the Pink Panther Movies or Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca. You don’t need a billowing trench, in say; a bowler hat grey. A classic chanterelle beige trench is all a girl needs.
We’re looking to achieve that classic female androgyny that is both modern and timeless, like Audrey Hepburn, in the last scene of Breakfast at Tiffany’s or Jackie Kennedy with her big round shades.
It’s taken a long while but here are the five lucky coats that made the cut, I hope you approve.
1-5 left to right:
1. Jaeger Jaeger Double Breasted Trench Coat £199
2. French Connection Smart Catch Belted Trench Coat £165
3. Gant Perfect Trench Coat £147
4. Zara Trench Coat £70
5. Topshop Trench Coat £79