Classic trench coats in cashmere, wool, leather and suede are leading the way this season.
By Stacia Friedman
Judging from the Paris runway, the classic trench coat has morphed into the leading style for outerwear. I’m not talking about the water repellant rain coat in your closet. I’m talking about cashmere, wool, suede, and leather coats that have all the basic elements of a trench coat, along with warmth, elegance and, in many cases, bright colors.
The key details to look for are double-breasted, military button closures with wide lapels, a tie belt to create a cinched waist, flap pockets and epaulettes. Some versions have no closures other than a tie belt.
Speaking of oversized, that’s one of the major trends that separates last year’s coats from this year. Yes, you can find traditional, fitted coats in all lengths. But the head-turners are longer and looser than ever. The Maxi is back!
High Priced Spread
Above, left to right: Valentino sets the pace with a trim Double-Breasted Wool Coat that hits just above the ankle and has incredible back detail, including a self-belt, inverted pleat and tiny buttons. Black, of course. Where did he discover the design? Looks like he rifled through a vintage military supply store. This coat could have marched across the Russian Front in WWII. $4,800 at Barneys.
The oversized, man-tailored “Boyfriend” coat is captured by Acne Studios in its Lucie Polished Twill Trench Coat in green. $900 at Barneys. Note the wide lapels, fingertip-concealing sleeves with belted detail and ankle-length hem.
Above, left to right: Now that you know the hot styles, let’s go shopping. First stop, Nordstrom’s. London Fog (who else?) nails it with an unlined Double-Breasted Trench Coat in olive, $258. London Fog also hits all the right notes with brass buttons, flap pockets, epaulettes, a back storm flap and four-button sleeve trim.
For a large selection with the lure of seasonal sales, head to Macy’s. All the usual suspects—Ralph Lauren, Ann Klein, Kenneth Cole, Michael Kors—have their own versions of the double-breasted, militarized trench in wool and cashmere blends. Don’t be thrown by the listed prices. At this time of year, there’s always a sale with deep discounts!
Start by slipping into Ralph Lauren’s wool and cashmere blend Military Maxi Coat, in black or navy. Regularly $420 (now $290, on sale). This is almost the same coat as the one that pranced down Valentino’s runway. The differences? Just a self-belt in the back. No button detail. This version has a really nice fitted shape that compliments your waistline and forgives your hips. Note: Anne Klein has an almost identical coat on sale for $190.
While you’re at Macy’s, check out Kenneth Cole’s asymmetrical Maxi Wrap Coat in coffee or black, $360, but often on sale for as low as $180. It hits mid-calf and has a convertible funnel collar and a trim fit.
Remember that $900 oversized trench at Barney’s. Scoot over to Zara for its version of the Oversized Trench in camel, on sale at $130.
Above, left to right: The three-quarter trench, pea coat and the “car coat” offer lots of variety this season for those who find shorter lengths more versatile. Calvin Klein’s wool cashmere double-breasted Pea Coat will go everywhere and anywhere. Pair it with jeans, trousers and pencil skirts. In crimson, camel, navy and black. A terrific value at $130. Now at Macy’s.
Ralph Lauren’s Draped Coat stops short of the knee and signals another major trend: the loose fitting, asymmetrical coat with wide lapels. Somewhere between your favorite robe and 1930’s chic with Lauren’s signature equestrian leather trim closure. In black or mink, on sale at Macy’s for $170.
London Fog does it again with a three-quarter length Quilted Down Trench Coat that has all the right bells and whistles. This isn’t last year’s puffy. It captures the military look with double-breasted metallic buttons, banded cuffs, flap pockets and a tie belt that cinches in your waist to avoid the Michelin Tire Man look. In black or metal with insulated cuffs and detachable hood, on sale for $160 at Macy’s.
Shaggy Dog Stories
Above, left to right: Fuzzy, nubby textures are the other hot tickets straight off the runway. Diane Von Furstenberg’s three-quarter length Avril Angora-Blend Oversized Cardigan Coat, in a rust color she calls Carnelian, sets the pace with its shaggy angora blend, loose fit and asymmetric closure. $598. at Bergdorf’s.
The same can be said of Helmut Lang’s Long Shaggy Alpaca-Blend Coat in cream. An unpractical color for Manhattan winters, you say? If you can fork over the $1,390 price tag, you can afford to keep your dry cleaner in business. Note the nubby fabric, loose fit, asymmetric belt closure and unstructured design. At Bergdorf Goodman.
Get the same shaggy look with a three-quarter length Round Neck Nubby Coat, on sale for $90 at Zara in multi-hued neutrals that can go from Sunday brunch to the office. Or snap up a fabulously Soft Faux Fur Coat in Ecru, on sale $70. It perfectly mimics the furry over-sized coats we saw on Paris runways. Also at Zara.
How do you wear that?
As a former fashion designer, I’m going to spill the beans. All of this year’s coat trends were inspired by what “kids” wear on the streets of Paris, New York City and Rome. The vintage military look, oversized trench and nubby retro shapes all came straight from thrift shops. But young students have a way of putting old clothes together that makes them look fresh and new. So, take a tip from the kids. Pair oversized coats with tight leggings or jeans, chunky booties and keep accessories simple. If you’re petite, stick to fitted styles and avoid maxi coats. If you are full-figured, belted coats will give you a waist, but don’t go for voluminous styles that may create a bulky appearance.
Best protection from winter chills? A condo in Sarasota!