The trench coat has been a staple of men’s wardrobes since it first debuted as military garb prior to World War I. Originally designed by Thomas Burberry for British officers in the Boer War, the trench coat has remained almost unchanged for over 100 years. It’s the very definition of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” but that doesn’t mean you can’t mix things up. The trench is an iconic – but surprisingly versatile – garment, so here’s how to wear a trench coat in modern times.
Athletic Inspired Cool
Your trench doesn’t have to be formal. Use layers to create sections within the outfit and throw the trench over the top as a finishing touch. In this look, the hoodie serves as both a splash of contrast and an unexpected way to add a sporty feel to the coat. It acts as an interesting focal point, while the trench is the piece that pulls it all together.
If the introduction of vivid colour is one way to make a statement with your outfit, the absence of colour is another. A monochrome look is equally eye-catching, especially when accessorised this carefully. It’s impossible not to take note of this gentleman’s impressive wrist cuffs, choice in footwear, and eye-catching personal grooming preferences. Tie maybe slightly long though.
Belts & Utility Man
The trench coat’s detachable D-ring belt was originally designed to carry a firearm, sword, or utility pouch. We’re guessing you’re probably not using it for any of those purposes (we hope not, anyway), but that doesn’t mean you can’t put the belt to good use. Buckle it traditionally, cinch it around your waist with a knot, or tie it behind your back to keep the loose ends out of your way.
Of course the trench looks great when you dress it up. It isn’t hard to make your trench coat look office-ready. Smarten things up with a waistcoat, shirt and tie (no blazer needed), paired with formal trousers and dress shoes like double-buckle monk straps. Make sure your trench is properly fitted and unrumpled. Bonus points if you stand on a bridge and look meaningfully off into the distance.
Timeless Smart Casual
Turn your trench into an essential piece in an off-duty look. There’s something that just works about pairing a tailored coat with more dressed-down pieces. The key is balance. This guy matches the formality of the coat by wearing grey chelsea boots, then introduces a casual feel with a t-shirt, distressed jeans, and chain detailing for a very clean and cool look.