Spring has finally arrived and with it comes the opportunity to put away my winter coats and start wearing the classic beige trench coat that I picked up for $4.00 at one of our local thrift stores a while back.
The trench coat first appeared in the 1850s and by the turn of the 20th century, it had become an enduring fashion trend. During WWI, the coat shielded military officers from the unrelenting weather and the mud of the trenches; hence its name. Loved by the officers for its weatherproof qualities and its functional design which included large pockets that kept maps dry and strategically placed flaps that offered ventilation, the coat became popular with both male and female civilians after the war came to an end. Brigitte Bardot wore one, as did Marilyn Monroe, Jackie Onassis and Audrey Hepburn.
In Hollywood, the trench coat became associated with detectives. Humphrey Bogart wore one as detective, Sam Spade, in The Maltese Falcon in 1941 and later as private eye, Philip Marlowe, in The Big Sleep in 1946. Peter Sellers wore one as Inspector Clouseau in The Pink Panther in 1963, as did Gene Hackman as a private investigator in The Conversation in 1974. Even Inspector Gadget, a 1980s cartoon detective wore a trench coat!
A perfect go to for spring and fall, the trench coat is amazingly versatile. It can be styled with almost anything from blue jeans and sneakers to a dress and heels. Here I’m wearing a lightweight pair of dark wash jeans that have been part of my warm weather wardrobe for the past few years, my favourite Breton tee, and my new Sam Edelman sneakers that I’ve also been saving for spring. Though the photos make them look like they’re the same colour as the coat, they’re actually a lovely taupe rose.
There’s an unspoken fashion rule that says that even when the belt of a trench coat has a buckle, it should be tied, not buckled. In fact, the “buckle” on mine doesn’t actually buckle at all. Google “how to tie a trench coat” and you’ll find numerous videos and tutorials showing a myriad ways to knot a trench coat belt. If you really want to use the buckle or you think it looks silly hanging there at the end of a tied belt, it is acceptable to buckle and tie as I’ve shown in the second photo above.