Into the Trenches

Q: Isn’t a classic trench coat in every fashion obsessed person’s closet by now? A: Not my closet, unfortunately. Now, I’m good and obsessed with adding one this year. If not the classically sewn, at least a version with a distinct Trench aura. Be sure to read this post to the end so you can see how major designers have stretched the trench look to the nth degree.

Thomas Burberry is said to have designed th e trench coat in 1856 for soldiers who fought wars in the trenches (the muddy kind). So, 135 years later, here we are.

Features that qualify it as a Trench coat.

Classic Trench.

Fabric: Cotton twill, wool gabardine. Those are classic old school fabrics and in today’s fashion world can be replaced by any other fabric including lace. Oh, and the classic is lined, the Burberry trenches being lined with their signature plaid.

Color: We all know the regulation khaki and it’s derivative colors in the classic trench. Now, nothing can stop any fashionista from wearing a bubblegum pink trench coat or a lace trench dress made by my friend Ann Ngo. Follow her on Instagram @youtiquebridal_lifestyle and on YouTube at Youtique Bridal and Lifestyle.

Details, the most important qualifiers, in my opinion: double breasted, belt, epaulettes, welt pockets, front shoulder flaps on one or both sides, back flap ostensibly to protect from the elements, long sleeves with wrist ties or belts on each wrist. Long length at knee or below. There are more details in the classic Burberry trench, which you can find in this excellent article. Good read by The Cutting Class.

What will be my take on a not-so-classic trench? Well, I found this in my pattern stash, dated 2010. Views A and B are the reason this pattern stayed in the stash. View A (which I’m leaning toward) has the look with the taupe color, front flaps and the sleeve tabs but with raglan sleeves; View B is a cape with the same front flaps. Watch for updates as I make progress with it.

However, I am tempted to buy this classic Isla Trench pattern by Named Patterns since it has all the essential details.

Okaaay, having said all of the above, I admire the following design houses for stretching the “trench” concept. Enjoy! All images from

Carolina Herrera
Jean Paul Gaultier Couture
Sacai went crazy with the shoulder flaps.

See you next week! —- Samina

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