Buckle up: how the trenchcoat went from classic to cool


The trench has always been a staple but, in 2017, it gained fashionability. Thats thanks to off-kilter styling at Cline and Vetements, and celebrity wearers

Worn by Kate Middleton, Audrey Hepburn and Marlene Dietrich, the trench coat has long been a perennial clothing item filed with jeans and the LBD as must-have items for every woman to own. In 2017, however, the trench’s style status has shifted. It has gone from classic to cool.

A trench on the Burberry catwalk in February 2017 Photograph: James Gourley/Rex/Shutterstock

Buzzy catwalk brands including Vetements and Céline have brought the trench on to the catwalk this year. Meanwhile, Burberry, often thought of as the home of the traditional trench, played around with the design, placing the iconic check on the outside and reworking it in coloured shearling.

A trench on the Vetements catwalk in January 2017. Photograph: WWD/Rex/Shutterstock

The high street has followed. For the trench 2.0, Asos has designs in vinyl while Topshop’s are in metallic fabric. “We have seen popularity rise this season for trenchcoats with our customers looking to new fashion styles to update the classics,” says Sian Ryan, head of womenswear design at Asos. The site had already sold 6,700 trenchcoats by the end of October. Meghan Markle wearing a white trench for the announcement of her engagement to Prince Harry will no doubt have boosted sales, too.

Meghan Markle in a white trench for the announcement of her engagement to Prince Harry. Photograph: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

At the designer end of the market, the trench has certainly been a strong seller as the year comes to a close. “We have increased our buy on trenchcoats and we’ve seen a strong reaction to styles from Burberry this season,” says Natalie Kingham, the buying director of Matchesfashion.com. She says the different fabrications – PVC at cult brand Wanda Nylon, rubber at Burberry – have given the trench a boost, which adds “a point of difference and updates a classic item”.

A classic trench at Asos, £65 Photograph: Asos

At Asos, Ryan says that the most popular trenches are still the classic ones – in khaki, with epaulettes and storm flaps. This may be because part of the success of this trend is that it’s not a trend at all. Instead, it is a rediscovery of a perennial by a new generation. “The influencers are showing ways to wear it,” says Rebecca Lowthorpe, fashion features director of Grazia. She points to the Balenciaga trenchcoat worn by Kim Kardashian late last year as a key moment: “That did more for macs than anything.”

Kim Kardashian in a trench at the Balenciaga show in 2016. Photograph: Swan Gallet/WWD/Rex/Shutterstock

The rediscovery of a classic factor suggests this is more than a flash-in-the-pan trend – its versatility means consumers will like to wear it longer than a season. There’s no doubt the trench is weather-friendly in different climates – it protects its wearer from rain, and the loose shape allows layers to be worn underneath. “It’s a great thing that will live on,” says Lowthorpe. “It’s one of those rare items that is classic while being interesting, too.”

Read more: www.theguardian.com


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