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21 June 2017

How To Style a Trench Coat

It's that time of year when everyone's wardrobe gets a revamp in the hope of a little sun; out with the jumpers and jackets and in with the skirts and short sleeves. However, one item that you can keep at the forefront of your wardrobe, whatever the weather, is the trusty trench coat. Yes, this timeless piece of apparel is the ultimate adaptable item, with distinctive double-breasted button fastenings, wide lapels, belted waist and cuffs, epaulettes and storm flaps. The ways of styling this iconic piece are limitless. 

Connoisseurs of stylish contemporary fashion with a classical twist, Jack Wills, know the power of a statement piece and have put together a guide for mastering the art of the trench this season. To get all their great tips and tricks, carry on reading...

The History of the Trench

 The trench’s history dates back to its invention in the 1850s, but it was at the turn of the 20th century that it became the indispensable civilian piece of outerwear it is today. Thomas Burberry, the founder of what is now the global British fashion house, developed a water-repellent cotton gabardine fabric in 1879. The cloth was used in a design for an army officer’s raincoat that he submitted to the United Kingdom War Office in 1901. During WWI, the coat shielded military officers from the unrelenting weather as well as the mud in the trenches; this is where the overcoat adopted its name. Beloved by officers for its weather-proof qualities and functional design, it soon became popular with male and female civilians after the war ended – and the modern trench was born. 

Over the years it became more and more popular, entering the fashion hall of fame on the backs of 60s sirens – like Brigitte Bardot, Marilyn Monroe and Twiggy – and later Jackie O and Audrey Hepburn. All of these incredibly famous women adopted the originally masculine style as their own. The design was slimmed down and simplified over the years - no longer required to be worn over another warmer coat or for the military function it once served - and its place in fashion was cemented. Now a staple in the wardrobe of influential figures such as Kate Moss, Cara Delevingne, Alexa Chung and the Duchess of Cambridge, among countless others, it’s easy to see why this century-old outer layer is here to stay. 

How to wear it now

 With the ability to be styled with almost anything, it’s no surprise that the trench coat has transcended every season. While a waterproof jacket is the requirement, only the trench can fit the bill of looking just as chic with sharp tailoring as it does with rolled jeans, sneakers and your favourite vintage tee. Offering just the right amount of protection from the elements without the sacrificing any of your style points, throwing on a trench is never a bad idea. But which style is right for you? 

The Classic

 The Duncombe is Jack Wills’ most classic trench coat, with the essential elements all intact. Choose from this season’s fresh pink or one of the neutral tones – stone and navy – and wear the double-breasted style with anything and everything.The most versatile piece in your outwear armoury, a classic trench coat is at home over a suit or with your most sophisticated looks. It’s also at home over tea dresses and boots when the unpredictable festival weather calls for it. Or you might choose to really dress it down with a sportswear twist or ripped jeans – there’s a reason it’s been a favourite of everyone from Emma Watson to Kurt Cobain. 

The Swing

 For the Dollyhill, we’ve taken the swing coat shape made popular in the 1950s, and incorporated features from the trench – a style 100 years its senior. The perfect marriage of classic and contemporary, the shades of pale powder blue or signature stone allow us to focus on the detail that makes this coat unique. Double breasted with storm flaps and a large collar, the hybrid of pretty details – like the tie cuff straps, pleated back and swing shape – make its styling possibilities vast. The super versatile Dollyhill doesn’t have any issue with being styled like a classic trench; worn over simple summer dresses or a modern androgynous ensemble, this coat really speaks for itself. Let it elevate your look. 

Trench Tips

 It’s firmly established by now (we hope) that the trench, whichever style you choose, is prepped to be your go-to, wear-with-everything outerwear essential. You could be of the persuasion to just throw it on as you head out the door, knowingly assured that this tried and tested piece is in fact foolproof and you’ll look good no matter what. Or you could be the kind to have one in every colour, every shape, just to ensure that each time you finish your look it is the epitome of perfection and the “wearing black with navy” conundrum can be avoided at all costs. Most of us are somewhere in between. From unstudied nonchalance to unabashed prim and proper elegance, we’ve listed our favourite trench coat styling tips. Pick one, pick none, mix them all up; how to wear your trench is up to you. 

Summer Sun

 There will (hopefully) be days in the summer where no coat is required, but for the rest, a light trench is the perfect accompaniment to your laid-back summer look. 
Worn with denim (or any) shorts, a knee-length trench will elongate your legs and give a mismatched charm. Team with a delicate summer top, flats and your choice of sun-drenched location.   

Which trench will you be wearing this season and how will you be styling it? My favourite is definitely the Duncombe- it's so chic and effortlessly goes with everything. 

To check out the full guide on how to style a trench coat, visit Jack Wills' website here. And if you would like one of these beautiful trench coats for yourself, then you can find those here.

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