Women’s Trench Coats

Useful for at least three seasons, this versatile garment has stood the test of time and deserves its rightful place in our pop culture. For decades, our trenches have weathered the storm, so to speak, and they continue to dominate the racks of department stores each season. There are long trench coats and short ones, waterproof trench coats and ones that are purely fashionable. Properly fitted, trench coats can flatter almost every figure. If you are ready to buy your first, or twenty-first women’s trench coat, here are a few tried and true buying tips.

Consider fabric

Depending on your current location and how much time you spend outdoors, fabric is going to be a huge selling point! If you walk from a warm car through a parking garage into a warm office building, it may not matter whether your coat is toasty. But, if you walk seven blocks from the subway through rain, sleet, snow or slush, you know the value of a warm material. Consequently, if you just need something to take the edge off a crisp fall morning, a heavy coat can be little more than a burden that you carry home each day. Lighter fabrics such as cotton blends, rayon, silk and polyester are great for mild temperatures or when the days begin cold and gradually warm up. What’s worse than freezing in the morning and roasting in the afternoon? A lightweight material will give you a balance that works in these conditions and also for spring in most areas. Conversely, heavier fabrics are a must for the colder regions or in most other areas when it is late fall or early winter. Tweed, condensed cotton and wool blends are great for these climates. They provide an extra layer of warmth and wind protection.

Waterproof trench coat or not?

Likewise, consider if you require a waterproof or water resistant material. If you live in an area of heavy humidity or obviously, high levels of rainfall, a material or treatment for water resistant is a definite must! If you are choosing a trench with a hood; ensure that it covers your head with enough room for the water to bead and fall behind you; not dripping into the coat itself.

Long coat or short coat?

Another factor to consider with your trench is the length. Undoubtedly, you have seen 30  different women wearing trenches that seem to be of 30 different lengths. Of course, this has something to do with the individual height of the ladies; but it also bears notice that there is no universal length of the women’s trench as there was in the early 1940s. While length is more of a style option and sometimes will depend on your dress or pants selection, there is a standard for trench length. Typically, a trench is defined as a coat that comes to at least mid-calf; however the last few seasons have produced progressively shorter versions that commonly fall at middle to upper thigh level. While these are not historical versions of the classic trench; they are acceptable to wear with casual trousers. The longer trenches should be at or below hemline for dresses and skirts. Dress pants allow the most flexibility for trench length and can accommodate almost any level. Dress boots that come close to the knee offer the same flexibility as dress pants and can work with either a skirt, dress or pants. Functionally, the longer trenches provide the most protection against the elements, especially wind gusts. Here again, the belt becomes especially important as you barrel down the street, nose to the ground, fighting the wind and trying to hold yourself with some semblance of order and keep your bags organized.

Trench coat features

Depending on your personal style, you may want more or less accessories on your trench coat. Trenches were designed to be belted so all traditional coats on the market include the belt. Optional features include zippers, double breasted lapels, elongated collar, double rows of buttons, hoods, detachable hoods and pockets; just to name a few. Your individual needs will undoubtedly vary. Many people feel incomplete without pockets and some must have an inside hook for easy hanging. Whatever your pet peeves or uncommon requests, there are sure to be several trench coats that meet your approval.

Choosing a quality trench coat

Last but certainly not least, price is an obvious factor for choosing a women’s trench coat. Depending on your budget and the amount of use you expect to get out of your new trench, where you shop can make a big difference. If you are planning to spend small to moderate amount and need your trench to last through several seasons; go with a longer length (mid-calf or nothing higher than just below the knee) and choose a very neutral color such as black, grey or navy blue. Steer away from beiges, creams or ivory as they tend to “get old” quickly and are not useful for three seasons. Quality is going to be your biggest concern so choose a reputable merchant . Most large chain stores will carry high quality brands and have sales often so you can receive a hefty discount on your purchase. If you are looking for a more whimsical approach and may possibly purchase several trenches in different styles or colors, consider lower end retail chains.

Trench coat care

Caring for your trench is just as important as the initial purchase. All outerwear should be dry cleaned at least once per season. Keep the bag from the dry cleaners and use it for storage when not in use. Remember to tie the bottom securely to prevent odor or mold production. If you live in an area where it could be a potential problem; consider adding moth balls or other deterrent for insects who love to snack on our fine clothing. Women’s trenches should never be folded or hung near natural light sources. These can cause a fading effect and ruin the symmetry of the design.

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