November 26, 2013

Guest Post | Forever Fashion: How to Pick a Trench Coat You'll Wear Again and Again

Megan Barnes is an experienced stylist. She enjoys blogging about the tips and tricks for a flattering and beautiful style.
(image: weheartit)

Who would have dreamed that a coat inspired by the necessity of keeping soldiers warm, dry, and mobile during WWI would still be a hot fashion statement in 2013? According to Gina Coole at HubPages, even the trench coat's classic details hark back to its military beginnings. The shoulder straps, for instance, were for attaching epaulets or other military rank insignia, and the D-ring was probably for attaching map cases.

Somehow, this iconic foul-weather gear (also affectionately known as a "mac") has made it from the trenches of war to the runways of modern fashion with its character intact, despite dozens of little tweaks made in the name of style. Let's take a look at the hottest trench coats for this winter - the best choices for particular body types as well as the trend-setting details we're seeing.

Double- or single-breasted

Most trench coats - or macs - are double-breasted. In fact, Redbook is running a slideshow that features Kate Middleton looking elegant and beautiful in a double-breasted mac. But for those of us who don't have Kate's smashing figure, there are single-breasted options that are more slimming.


Macs traditionally hit about mid-knee. This season, they're shorter than ever, with some making it to barely hip-length. Tall women can pull off longer versions for a more elegant look, but petite women should always stick with the shorter styles - no lower than mid-knee. That's also the best length for women concerned about chunky legs.

Other details to flatter your body type
  • Macs are supposed to be rather form-fitting. But, if you're plus-size, look for flowy fabrics that will help hide bulges. Other fashion experts suggest stiff fabrics that will actually provide structure and shape instead of camouflage.
  • If you're pear-shaped, look for shaped macs that won't pull at the hips.
  • If you're busty, go for small lapels. They won't add the appearance of bulk that larger lapels do.
  • Petite women should always take the time to find a mac made for petites. Not only will the length be the best fit, but the other details will be scaled to fit, as well - epaulets that actually fit your shoulder, for instance. If they hang down to your upper arm, you'll look like you're wearing your big brother's trench coat. Petites should also keep it simple and avoid too many details that could overwhelm their small frames.

(image: weheartit)

Now let's talk about function and fashion (which often, but not always, work together).


Forget traditional khaki and black; this season's macs feature both prints and solids, or even a combination of the two - a print with side panels in a coordinated solid, for instance. And don't be surprised if you see other fabrics, running the gamut from leather to gold lame. Just be aware that, with leather, you're choosing fashion over function; leather won't hold up too well to being repeatedly drenched by storms. And since you'll probably need to both walk and sit in your trench coat, look for one that has a fantail pleat in the back.


For the best protection from the elements, choose collars that button or hook to keep your neck dry and warm. On the other hand, popped collars look awesome. Gwyneth Paltrow rocks one in this picture.


Some macs come with removable liners; some don't. You'll get the most use out of a coat with a removable liner, so you can wear it through several seasons.


The belt should be long enough to either stay tucked through belt loops or to tie in a bow.


Trench coats traditionally have tab buttons on the sleeves so wearers can roll or scrunch them up. Some work, and some are decorative. Look for a coat that has functioning buttons so that you can lengthen the sleeves during truly nasty weather. Buttons that fasten at the wrists also keep longer sleeves from riding up.

There are certain things a woman knows she will turn to again and again, year after year. A trench coat, or mac, is one of those items. Even if you go for this year's latest style, the coat itself is such a cultural mainstay that you can consider it a long-term investment in your wardrobe.

Interested in being a guest blogger? Please let me know!

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