when must-haves are no-go’s…the trench coat

They never fail to suck me right in…those wardrobe “must have” lists and articles. And while I’ve found that they might be helpful overall for building a capsule wardrobe, there are always a few items on every list that are “n/a” (not applicable) for me; either they don’t work for my body, my style or my life. Perhaps you’ve had the same experience. I thought it might be fun over the next few weeks to take a few of these and explore alternatives. 

Part 2 – The Trench Coat

variations on a theme: trench coats in Paris

variations on a theme: Parisiennes in trench coats

 

There’s no denying that a trench coat is a classic for a reason. It’s a great transitional season piece, the cut and shape are timeless, and you can throw it over anything and look casually elegant. And if you live in a wet climate, a waterproof version may be the only raincoat you need.

I’ve been searching for the Mr. Right of trench coats for decades now. The look has always appealed to me, yet I’m beginning to resign myself to the fact that like a few other “must-have” items, the iconic version is never going to work. Double-breasted styling, too much detail for my frame, and of course the belt may be too many style challenges to overcome. I’ve tried low-end and high-end, structured and soft, but now am looking for variations with a similar classic look (and that will also be water-resistant).

If you’ve also found this style challenging and are looking for alternatives, think about what you want to achieve. Is timeless style your goal? Water-resistance? Warmth? Is the rest of your wardrobe classic, casual, creative, or eclectic? What length works best for you? Do you want the classic khaki color, or something lighter or darker?

If belting is a non-starter, look for styles labeled as “A-line” or “mac,” or an open front style if you don’t need to fasten for warmth. Or perhaps a single-breasted as opposed to double-breasted trench style is just the tweak needed to make it work.

Are you a die-hard trench coat wearer? Or have you found your own “alternative classic” version?

A few options to consider…

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60 Comments

  1. rukshanaafia
    February 3, 2016 / 2:46 am

    I love trench coats , particularly the longer ones I associate with the heroes of b&w movies . And my mother could always pull off the look . Me I can’t manage khaki at all . The best colour I ever had was a blue/green reversing to a sort of orangey red . The belt was difficult tho’ , without a true buckle it would work loose . I tend to cinch the belts and never worked out how either men or women could belt to define the waist without crushing anything underneath ?

    • Rita
      February 3, 2016 / 9:20 am

      You have to tie a trench coat belt. I agree the long ones look best.

  2. February 3, 2016 / 3:01 am

    I, too, have searched for this “must-have” for decades. I finally bought the black Michael Kors single-breasted raincoat shown above on sale at Nordstrom. I still can’t decide if this is a keeper. I do like the fact that both the hood and liner and even the belt are removable. The quality is nice. It is functional, fits well and can be worn casually or a little dressier. But it just doesn’t bring me joy. I’ll try it a few more times but will probably end up giving it to my sister. Perhaps I’m just not a trench coat person.

  3. February 3, 2016 / 4:06 am

    I have tried in vain for years to find the perfect trench coat. I am small boned and they all seem to swallow me. You have presented some wonderful alternatives that I will definitely look into. I still can’t get over how chic you looked in that beautiful black trench coat on the cover of “My French Life.” That’s definitely a look we could all aspire to.
    Sam

  4. susanburpee
    February 3, 2016 / 4:19 am

    I love a trench coat, but maybe only in theory. I’m always struggling with the belt, tying it in the back, to get it out of the way. I once got in my car with my trench coat belt trailing behind me. It caught in the car door, and as I drove away I heard a pop, stopped the car, opened the door; the belt had trailed all the way back to the rear tire, been run over, and the “hardware” was a teensy bit smushed. Ha. Never liked that darn belt anyway. Over the years I’ve seen women drive past me in cars with the belt from their coat flapping merrily outside the car. Guess it’s not just me, then.
    I now try to stick to buttons, or zippers and no belt. I’m pinning shots of spring coats in preparation for my yearly futile search for a new one. Thanks for the inspiration.

    • Susan
      February 4, 2016 / 12:59 am

      I think I have the exact coat as yours. I bought it from Nordstroms a couple of years and have worn it twice, bith times to a military service held at dawn when the weather was cold. It feels bulky, stiff and uncomfortable And much prefer my quilted, shorter Burberry jacket which is easier to throw on and is so easy to wear on a cold day. I think trench coats suit certain body types only and are vastly over rated.

  5. Adele M.
    February 3, 2016 / 4:22 am

    I feel fortunate that this is one of the few “must have” staples that works for me! I almost always have a short version and long version (these years, both in black, both ages old) in my closet. London Fog seems to fit me particularly well. Where I struggle is with the fabric options in khaki — I don’t like the slippery feel of some of the water resistant styles. Last year Ann Taylor had a version in khaki with black leather sleeves and details and I bought it during a 50% off sale. Love it, and always get nice compliments when I wear it.

  6. Jacqueline
    February 3, 2016 / 4:43 am

    Until I read this post, it hadn’t dawned on me why I bought the “must have” trench coat and have worn in only once in three years. I really don’t like the feel of it. I’m small but it makes me feel big and lumpy even though it’s the right size. I thought maybe I should buy one in black, that a black trench might have more allure but I never did. In fact, I’ve stopped looking and having read your post, I realized that you articulated what I was feeling and didn’t realize!

  7. Val
    February 3, 2016 / 4:48 am

    I love a trench, and over the years have bought a couple of keepers but my requirements are specific. Single-breasted, a must for a curvy woman. No belt– because nothing looks good dragging behind me! And I lead a busy life. I want my clothes to add to my day, not detract from it. I am also very careful about the color. The classic khaki makes me look like I’m wearing mud. But a cool beige works. For fall and winter right now, I have a great 3/4 length, black, hooded (detachable) trench with great silver-tone buckles that my daughter-in-law refers to as my Paddington Bear coat. I’ve worn it in the U.S. and in London. It’s very practical for serious rain and looks great with jeans or over a nice dress. I ordered 11 black raincoats the fall I purchased it, determined to find what I was looking for. But my favorite trench is the one I’m currently trying to replace (I’ve worn it so many times, it’s looking ragged) and it’s green! I love a colored trench in the spring in the mid-Atlantic because it’s still rainy and cold here when I’m dreaming of summer. And as a redhead, green is my color. I love throwing a green trench over my winter clothes on a dreary day in March or April.

  8. February 3, 2016 / 4:56 am

    I can’t pull it off either. I love the look of the Inès de la Fressange for Uniqlo navy blue coat (https://www.pinterest.com/pin/547609635917040437/), so I bought it and have worn it a lot, but hélas pour moi, I am not 8 feet tall like Inès, so I just look slightly frumpy. Oh well. Some day I’ll try again.

  9. February 3, 2016 / 5:31 am

    I have a short version of the trench by Winserlondon which I bought last year and it is a great little summer coat. I had a fantastic grey one many years ago with a detachable lining (so useful) I have never been able to find a similar one since.

  10. Nancy
    February 3, 2016 / 5:42 am

    I too have an unworn khaki, double breasted, belted, not-at-all-waterproof trench. The coat I always reach for in wet, cool or cold conditions is Eddie Bauer’s Girl on the Go Trench. It is waterproof, breathable, windproof, quite warm with its removable insulated liner, and best of all, has a sleek, unbelted look that goes anywhere. It also is available without the liner. Unfussy high performance that looks great. Perfect for my Mid-Atlantic, roller coaster climate. I have it in black.

    • RoseAG
      February 3, 2016 / 10:09 am

      I’ll have to look for one of those. I don’t like belted coats and I need one that can be washed. I have another Eddie Bauer coat for super-cold weather that looks as good now as it did when I bought it years ago.

  11. Jeanne
    February 3, 2016 / 5:43 am

    For some reason I find epaulets ridiculous except on military uniforms. I only recently realized that you can remove them or get your tailor to do so. Meanwhile my husband had a lovely Armani raincoat without epaulets that he never wore, so I had it cut down for myself, only not shortened. It’s a ‘boyfriend’ coat, and great for wearing over long skirts when necessary. The reason my husband didn’t want it, however, is that far from being water repellant, it seems to attract and absorb the rain. So this coat may not have epaulets but it’s still ridiculous.

  12. February 3, 2016 / 5:45 am

    I love my black trench coat…I wear it more than anything since our climate is warmer. It will always be a must have for me.

  13. nell
    February 3, 2016 / 5:58 am

    It’s a look that I admire on others. Best wearer? Maybe Ingrid Bergman in “Casablanca”, along with a slouchy fedora. But she was tall, rather big-boned and imposing.

    My “version” seems to be the slight A-line you reference. Clean lines, unfussy, not too wide at bottom. I have a Dennis Basso raincoat in sky blue that I feel great in. And a violet one that also looks good. My old red “spring” coat has too many bells and whistles, flaps and such.

  14. MJ
    February 3, 2016 / 5:59 am

    Living in New York, I need a lined raincoat. I bought a Burberry black trench some years ago, but neither the color nor the style works for me. In theory the style should be fine since I’m tall and skinny, but it just feels too cluttered. I’m also enormously frustrated by the fact that manufacturers seem to think that a coat does not need to be long enough to cover a dress or skirt – if I’m wearing a raincoat, do they think that I’m willing to let my clothes get wet? Maybe that works okay if people drive everywhere, but for those of us who walk, it just doesn’t work. Can you tell that you’ve hit a sore point?

  15. Penny
    February 3, 2016 / 5:59 am

    I love the look of trench coats but the classic double-breasted belted style does nothing for a short, short-waisted woman with a large bust like me,so I’m resigned to doing without!

  16. February 3, 2016 / 6:05 am

    I have had the Burberry classic trench for about 15 years, and I still love it. I bought it one size too large, which I think is key, having it roomy enough and a bit slouchy.

  17. February 3, 2016 / 6:07 am

    While I like trench coats, I like mine to have some element of pizzazz, not the traditional stone color. I had one that I liked a lot in black watch plaid, different but still neutral enough to go with most anything. Sadly, it eventually wore out and I have not yet found a satisfactory replacement.

  18. February 3, 2016 / 6:29 am

    I’m still holding my breath hoping that one lucky day while thrifting I will come across a Kensington Burberry. My girlfriend found two in her size one year at consignment stores.

    I’d love one in a brighter colour rather than oatmeal/beige. That’s not a brilliant colour for me.

    Right now I own one black dress/trench from H&M that works fine. I have many more coats that are more suited to the Canadian climate.

    bisous
    Suzanne
    http://www.suzannecarillo.com

    • Sheryl Anne
      February 7, 2016 / 4:44 am

      Glad to hear from someone who also “thrifts”. Some of the best items in my closet are cast offs from others. If I was looking to buy a new trench, I would look to Land’s End, LL Bean, Eddie Bauer, etc. I think they have become style conscious enough now that you can find a chic and functional coat, if that’s what you are looking for.
      I do own a Gap trench that I found on clearance several years ago. It is a mid thigh belted style, which works well on my petite and curvy frame. The longer versions tend to overwhelm.

  19. happinessatmidlife
    February 3, 2016 / 6:38 am

    I feel the same way about the white shirt and my sentiments are the same for the trench coat. I recently ordered one from Ann Taylor that had raving reviews and hoping it’s the one.

    Alice
    http://www.happinessatmidlife.com

    Hope to see you Thursday for TBT Fashion link up.

  20. February 3, 2016 / 6:51 am

    I don’t know what it is about trench coats, but I can never find one that works, whether single- or double-breasted. I’m looking forward to trying the Stella Carakasi’s “A Fresh Coat” asymmetrical trench. It looks feminine and flattering. I hope it works!

  21. Lori
    February 3, 2016 / 6:59 am

    I have tried to find a suitable trench coat for decades. I have had a dozen different colors and patterns and textures and not one of them has worked. I have also gone through about 3 to 4 dozen white shirt incarnations and have finally found one that is acceptable!(cloth and stone purchased from Anthropologie) I am realizing that very few “must have” items work in my life.

  22. Linda B
    February 3, 2016 / 7:20 am

    What a fun series! I am short, short waisted and large busted. A belted trench makes me look like a tank. I choose either fingertip length or mid calf that hang from the shoulder. Khaki is not my best color either, but if I add color by face it is passable. I do love a white shirt, though. I just have to have a soft fabric and never tuck anything in. Thank you for all of your wonderful insight!

  23. Melissa
    February 3, 2016 / 7:22 am

    I had one that I bought in a petite size on sale and it just never fit quite right was the right color, I finally gave it to a girlfriend. Then last summer in Poland I found one at M & S on sale, while the beige color isn’t my best, it is the exact right size, fit and it is long enough to wear with dresses and skirts.
    I bought it had the hubby stuff it in his suitcase, cause crazy me I didn’t do a check in bag for on the way back. Silly girl what was I thinking??? Me not shop?! mwhaaaahahahaha no.

    sorry coffee is kicking in:(

  24. alice
    February 3, 2016 / 7:46 am

    Like Jeanne above, I dislike epaulets, plus the classic trench swamps me. My alternative is an a-line, raglan sleeve, navy Aquascutum, which goes with everything – I also find white shirts very difficult (in fact shirts generally are not my thing) – so far I’m not doing very well with the list of ‘must-haves’!

  25. bomm
    February 3, 2016 / 7:51 am

    I look like a stuffed sausage in the classic trench — the belt, the double buttons are fattening, the khaki deadly to my coloring. I bought a printed, lined, hooded raincoat from Boden that gets lots of compliments but is playful and casual, definitely not chic. For rare dressier rainy occasions, I also own a long black raincoat from Bloomingdales that is now thirteen years old and still going strong. Do yearn for chic and always fall for the French list, but my body disagrees. I have decided that I am Italian in body type. Is there a list of Italian must-haves, I wonder?

  26. Sisty
    February 3, 2016 / 7:57 am

    Sighing sadly, remembering the simple, dark khaki, almost brown, single breasted A-line raincoat from London Fog with a zip out wool lining. I had it for 30 years at least, but finally purged it last year when I realize I had “outgrown” it (that is, gained too much weight over the decades and it was too tight on me). It had a large-ish face-framing collar, too.

    Belted raincoats don’t work well on the busty among us — illustrated by the picture on the top right. So I’m still idly searching and making do with an un-lined light khaki single breasted raincoat with a detachable hood. I tie the belt ends together in the back.

  27. Deborah
    February 3, 2016 / 8:04 am

    I always enjoy une femme’s thoughts revolving around our constant fashion quests. I am particularly enjoying her examination of the list of the ‘top ten’ items. I took the opportunity this past winter to finally ditch the white blouses and go with winter white, which is much kinder to my age and complexion. I, too, struggled with the perfect trench for my busty, short waisted, straight body type. Finally I found an aubergine trench at a NAS July event a few years ago. It had a decent lining, removable hood, and no epaulets (which I am not enamored with on my body type). Since beige sucks the life out of me, I brought this little number home. I removed the belt and belt holders, tucked the hood into the pocket, and changed the buttons to a style that looked much more expensive. I have loved this coat ever since. Living in northern New England gives me ample opportunity to wear it. The aubergine has become one of my favorite neutrals, and I have collected other pieces in the way of jeans, flats, boots, etc. that look fab with this coat. I love the hunt! Thank you, une femme, for the time and thought you dedicate to your blog.

  28. Debra
    February 3, 2016 / 8:13 am

    I’m with you on the white shirt, but my trench is one of my best wardrobe friends. I have a shorter Burberry in stone and am ready to invest in a longer one (invest being the key term here as they are so pricey). The Burberry is one of my key travel pieces because it is perfect for the time we usually travel (early June) and I think instantly smartens up anything I am wearing. Now, I am tall with broad shoulders so the silhouette works well for me; I can see how the classic trench cut would not suit all.

    I really like this series; you’ve greatly eased my guilt for ignoring the white shirt requirement!

  29. Cathy D.
    February 3, 2016 / 8:25 am

    Khaki makes me look ghastly and the belt never hits in the right place. I much prefer the LL Bean H2OFF rainwear to a trenchcoat. It comes in many lengths, is totally waterproof, and looks terrific with my Hermes scarves.

    • February 3, 2016 / 8:38 am

      My H2Off coat is my go-to rainwear. I’ve had it more than a dozen years and water still beads up and rolls off. I have a black unlined one and it is roomy enough for warmer layers underneath if necessary.I got sucked into the “must have a trench coat” line and have regretted every attempt at making that a part of my essentials.

  30. February 3, 2016 / 8:27 am

    I’ve discovered that nothing about the traditional trench coat works for me ; all of the above are problematic as well as the color. I have chosen colorful light pea coats as my basic instead! I have sage green, navy, and red. One of them goes with everything and adds personality as well as warmth.

    The white shirt doesn’t work for me, either. I don’t have a single one in my closet and probably never will. How did these “must have” lists come into being when so many of the items aren’t universal needs at all?!

    • Melissa
      February 3, 2016 / 11:35 pm

      Hi Christie,

      I think because these “must haves” look great on tall thin women ie: models. When we see it on them it looks great on them. Also some of the cities in which fashion is derived from New York (business white shirt), London (a great trench coat), Paris…..
      You get my point, they really use these items in everyday life and these cities through out history are leading in fashion.

      Also, the movies, especially the classics, the actresses that alot of us look up to for classic fashion wore these items so well and most of them were tall and/or thin. Such as Audrey Hepburn, Katherine Hepburn, Ingrid Bergman, and our more recent actresses/models, Ines de la Fressange, Juliette Binoche, the list goes on. They all have that masculine/feminine classic elegance look we seem to like on these blogs.
      Most of us don’t fit into the category body shape they have, but we all want to look like that. Just like I have straight hair I want curly, some women want to be tan while others want to be lighter, we all want what we don’t have. (the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.)
      This is just my humble opinion. But you know Susan is doing a great job in showing us how we can rock some of these styles to fit our body type. It is a great post that has got us all sharing our stories/ideas.

      Maybe the next classic looks post could be some clothing styles that epitomize the looks of the curvier hollywood types, Sophia Loren (wrap dresses), Kate Winslet (love how she dresses her curves), the lady from Mad Men (the red head).
      It is all about finding a way to dress our body and color type to show ourselves at our best and if we like a look on someone else seeing if that works on us.

  31. Alison M.
    February 3, 2016 / 8:56 am

    Thank you for absolving me of the need to add this item to my wardrobe! Those women’s magazine articles really beat it into you that you MUST have one. I think we must have the same body, as white shirts are also no-go for me. Keep ’em coming.

  32. February 3, 2016 / 9:46 am

    I love a classic trench coat. It’s not for every body shape but I happen to be lucky. I paid way too much for mine, but it’s paid for itself many times over because I’ve been wearing it for 25+ years.

  33. February 3, 2016 / 10:17 am

    Living in Seattle a raincoat is a must. I found the perfect one at Nordstrom Rack. Single brested, Midnight blue with silver buttons, the epiilets have this silver beaded design. Always get comments when I wear it. It has a belt and I just tie it. I also have a short blue one with a hood to wear with jeans.

  34. February 3, 2016 / 10:26 am

    Nope, I have a packable thin navy rain jacket.
    Khaki shows dirt too easily.

  35. Marilyn
    February 3, 2016 / 10:50 am

    I have a black shorter length one from MnS and love it. I can’t wear the beigey khaki colours so grabbed this one while I could.

  36. Sheryl
    February 3, 2016 / 11:23 am

    I have have a classic Burberry trench in black that I’ve owned for about ten years. Their tailor moved the buttons for me, and even though I can’t usually wear double breasted, this coat turned out to be the happy exception.

  37. Melissa
    February 3, 2016 / 12:01 pm

    I am so with you on that. I also fall victim to the curse of the wardrobe staple, and like you, cannot wear a crisp white shirt unless it’s tailored and it never stays crisp and goes right to the cleaners. Not worth it! Same with the trench. I love the belted look but I’m short waisted and not slim in the middle so I look, well…. dumpy. My solution is a straight, slim, knew length black raincoat with a cheerful pink lining. It always looks good and polished and I feel slim in it. And black seldom needs cleaning!

  38. Cara
    February 3, 2016 / 12:02 pm

    I have a Burberry trench that I have worn three times in 10 years. It has extra details and a slight sheen to the khaki fabric, which I thought made it a bit more updated. But no, double breasted did not work for me! Also, why do I own a raincoat that doesn’t have a hood?? When I have worn this coat to NY, I get lots of attention from sales help at art galleries and shops. They assume I am wealthy! So this coat on me has an awful combination of being bulky, frumpy, flashy, and not waterproof.

  39. Pam
    February 3, 2016 / 12:47 pm

    There’s a mystique about the trench…. My black trench is a go-to because of its versatility, comfort. Found it at Nordstrom, made by Gallery, classic double-breasted trench style, but NOT “crisp”. Fabric is soft, comfortable, also forgiving of / flattering to my horizontally expanding body shape. Looks fab buttoned or open, belt tied in front or back. Absolute DREAM for travel – I’ve rolled, wadded, folded and stuffed it – never a wrinkle, doesn’t take up much space. I will always have some type of soft trench in my wardrobe.

  40. February 3, 2016 / 1:24 pm

    Now that I read all of this, I wonder, what exact IS the definition of “trench coat?” Because I like my raincoat, but I am not sure if it counts as a trench….

  41. February 3, 2016 / 1:28 pm

    Another one of the busty, short-waisted, epaulet-loathing crowd here (although I am tall). I’ve always seen trenches on the “must have” lists, but never have managed to find one that looks good. I finally got rid of the two raincoats I shrank out of by 50 pounds (both black), and now, with El Nino on the way, am desperately trying to find something suitable. In Los Angeles, there is so little real need for a coat that they tend to last forever. I find this one of the most challenging items to find. I appreciate some of your suggestions.

    • February 28, 2016 / 1:06 pm

      I have the same figure as you. But I just had to have that trench coat polish. I actually was able to make it work by choosing a knit fabric trench with some weight and drape and not too much detail, and then always tying the belt in the back.

  42. February 3, 2016 / 1:38 pm

    Oh yes I’m too short, too curvy, too everything for a classic trench. Like the reader above I need something for a temperate part of the world where it rarely rains but when it does ….!

  43. Susan
    February 3, 2016 / 2:49 pm

    J’adore my JCrew Icon Trench! I bought it recently and can’t wear it often enough. I actually look forward to the rain. 🙂
    http://bit.ly/1R3rAZ4

  44. M M
    February 3, 2016 / 5:01 pm

    I’m 5’3″ with a 32 D chest and after a lengthy search, I found an H&M version that is drapey and fits beautifully. In fact, it’s so perfect I got the black and classic camel versions. It traveled beautifully to Europe and kept me surprisingly warm.

  45. Hadilly
    February 3, 2016 / 10:00 pm

    I am 5’5″, curvy and I love my Patagonia trench/raincoat. It is very tailored and sleep, so the belt is more decorative than anything. The traditional trench makes me look like an indented sack of potatoes.

  46. Hadilly
    February 3, 2016 / 10:01 pm

    Hmm, make that “tailored and sleek.”

  47. Andy
    February 4, 2016 / 6:02 am

    I picked up a black satin trench coat from Target a few years back. It’s not perfect on me, but because it’s a classic cut I’ll be able to wear it as a dress coat for decades.

  48. Sookee
    February 4, 2016 / 6:39 am

    I am so in the same boat as most the other gals posting here; 5’4, 130 pounds, curvy athletic build with long legs and a stubby torso…so, the classic trench looks absolutely dowdy on me, moreover, I seem to fit the boho chic descriptor with my naturally curly mop of hair and attitude…so I’ve been told at least. As a devotee to your blog, I abandoned my search for the perfect trench and followed your recommendation for the Mycra Pac Designer Wear Reversible Pleat Hood Packable Travel Coat from Nordstrom (quite the mouth full) and chose it in the color Oak. All I can say is voila! This is the perfect pairing for my capsule wardrobe (grey, tan/beige, cream, black with aqua/teal splashes) and looks fantastic with jeans/leggings, trousers, skirts, and the occasional dress. My staple/uniform is jeans/leggings, sweater/tunic, boots/booties…and this just simply works. I recently sported this coat on my autumn trip to New England and a trip to London and Normandy… It’s a two for one deal as reversing it gives you twice the number of possible looks or as I used it; oak for day and black for evening.

  49. StellaA
    February 4, 2016 / 8:50 am

    I am enjoying this series. I became obsessed with the “must haves” several years ago. Now I have mixed feelings. At one point I had eight trench coats in my closet.. different colors, lengths, materials, etc. I became overwhelmed and bored and donated all but one to Goodwill. In retrospect, too much of a good thing. Same with my white shirts. Looking forward to your next post.

  50. Juli
    February 5, 2016 / 7:31 pm

    And I thought that I was the only one who has tried all the “must haves” and failed miserably. The classic white shirt, the double-breasted trench, the black sheath dress; none of them have ever worked on my 5’2″ curvy build. For me your blog post is reassuring and affirms what I’ve known for years; my “must haves” are unique to me, my life, my body, and my own signature look. It’s no less “classic”, but what works for me is also simple, fluid, and comfortable. I’ve made peace with the “must haves” being “must nots” for me, and now my wardrobe is no longer a source of frustration. Dressing is a joy for me now, and my streamlined wardrobe makes my morning routines a breeze. Thank you for this post, Susan!

  51. February 10, 2016 / 12:09 pm

    Seems there is a common theme in the ‘no’s. If you are short and somewhat lacking waist definition or have a larger than average bust I’m guessing most of us, including me, have decided to admire the trench from a distance and choose other wet weather options. Loving this series:)

  52. May 2, 2016 / 9:18 pm

    Being a slave to fashion is the real problem. There are so many kinds of coats out there that you could trip over the best one and not realize it because it’s not a “trench coat”. I think trench coats look messy. I found a denim duster at a thrift store for $4. This is basically a long, unlined coat made of denim fabric, and the one I found was very well tailored in a classic A-line. I took it home and treated it with Nikwax to make it water resistant. It is also warm and quite chic. I could put a belt around it, but that’s not necessary. It still makes trench coats look boring. I’m always keeping my eyes opened for interesting bargains and this fits the bill.

  53. Boot addict
    May 26, 2017 / 3:27 pm

    “Real” trench coats make me look like a squat little old mushroom-woman, but I recently (still has the price taqs on it) bought one that is unlined, midi length and cream-coloured. It’s weirdly flattering on me, so despite the impracticality of it I might keep it. It’s a good cover-up for those hot sunny days when I want to polish up a dull summer outfit of pants and a tank top or a too-exposing sundress.

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