So last week I showed you how you can wear your trench coat in the spring/summer seasons. We broke down 6 different outfits, showed you why they worked, and gave you some ideas about how to go about styling your new trench.
In part two today, we will concentrate on outfit options and combinations for the autumn/winter seasons, whilst giving you some tips about mixing a trench with your formal/work wear.
Before We Start
Again, I am not here to tell you WHY you should have the trench coat in your wardrobe, so in case you need it reinforcing for you, have a browse through these relevant articles on site:
- The Ultimate Trench Coat Guide – A complete guide by Ashley Cover which shows you exactly what to look for (size, cut and colour) when purchasing a trench coat, as well as an amazing section on how to modify your purchase to make it a one-off.
- Burberry Clothing: Behind The Brand – A brand history piece by Jos Kelly which has a large section dedicated to the trench coat, along with the history of the garment.
- What Is Timeless Style – Joseph Aaron tries to define timeless style, as well as give examples of the men and clothes that embody it.
Current Season Trench Coats
Here is a selection of trench coats on the market right now. There is definitely something for everyone; whether you are looking for cropped, long, military inspired, single breasted or double breasted.
For autumn/winter anything goes when it comes to the trench. You are not limited to colour or length, as trenches are made for protecting from the elements and darker neutral colours such as black, navy and khaki are very much prominent throughout both seasons. In autumn they become a great lightweight finishing layer to protect you from rain showers and the brisk winds. You can create your typical layered outfits and not worry about your jacket adding bulk to your frame – perfect when you want to mix tees, shirts, and chunky knitwear together without losing your slim silhouette.
For winter they can be thrown over thicker layered outfits such as a shirt, cardigan and blazer combination; keeping you dry as well as surprisingly warm and insulated. You could opt for darker neutrals (such as navy or black) in winter in order to keep the trench looking pristine at all times, but a camel, stone or beige option is still my personal preference.
So let’s dive into the look book and see just how versatile this jacket is.
How To Style
So first up we are going to look at what would be defined as an everyday autumn look each and every year. The outfits on the top row of the look book all utilise key knitwear pieces which you should have in your wardrobe, in order to create a variety of different looks. First we have the deep v-neck (if that is not your style opt for a mid v-neck or scoop neck knit) paired with a denim shirt [top left], finished off with a great khaki coloured trench.
The great thing about this outfit is the way the layers create sections in the outfit. You have a splash of blue denim, mixed with a neutralising grey knit, which is all compartmentalised by the trench coat. The shirt becomes an interesting focal point, whilst the jacket is the statement piece. By finishing it off with black leather gloves and military boots, it plays on the military aesthetic of the jacket; both through the green khaki colour and clean, sharp lines it creates.
Next along we have our trusty Fair Isle knit [top centre]. This is a trend that has been massive for the past two autumn/winter seasons, and shows no sign of slowing down. This time we have a Fair Isle cardigan left open and layered over the top of a scoop neck t-shirt. This is a very wearable everyday look that you might see many males rocking come this autumn. However, the introduction of a great statement military trench in beige transforms it from everyday casual, to a much more sharper and refined aesthetic. Again, the jacket becomes the statement, and also has a neutralising effect on the bold Fair Isle print. If anything, this is just a great layering technique.
Separate yourself via the details; tie your belt loosely at the front but don’t button your trench or cardigan up – it creates much more informal lines and gives it a much less structured silhouette - perfect for looking like you are not trying. Boots, brogues or a nice leather chukka boot would look great with this particular outfit.
Finally we have our thick funnel knit [top right]. This has been a classic piece of knitwear for a couple of years now and on a brisk autumn day, it might be the only layer you need. This is simple layering, and the majority of the outfit has been styled in dark neutrals, so you can see just how much of a statement a beige/camel trench can look when paired with typical autumn/winter colour palettes.
The key detailing I like here is the fastening of the trench coat belt in order to give a streamlined appearance – it looks sharp and formal, even if the items it is paired with are not. Again the buttons are left undone to show the knitwear underneath, which also pans out over the top of the trench coat – a nice finishing touch that draws attention to (and frames) your face.
For those of you who like to separate yourself from the crowd and experiment with new techniques, the belt here is the key. In this outfit you could quite easily sub out your standard trench coat belt and use one of your own leather or canvas belts in order to keep the trench fastened. You could opt for a great tan coloured belt with a cream trench, or go the other way with a statement red belt with a black trench. It is something to think about, and if you pull it off then it is bound to garner attention.
The next two looks make use of a key combination that is a winner every autumn/winter season. A shirt with a lightweight knit layered over the top is a basic layering technique every male should know, whilst at the same time being the perfect balance of smart and casual. In these two particular outfits the key piece is the cream knit in either a v-neck or crew neck finish. Perhaps my favourite outfit of the whole article is the combining of neutrals [bottom right]. We have touched upon this technique in my article on using bold tailoring, and the spring/summer trench coat look book last week – by pairing these neutrals together which have just a slight difference in tone, you can create beautifully coordinated outfits which still have enough contrast between layers and pieces in order to make them stand out individually.
In the autumn you will want to make sure your neutrals edge towards the darker camel, khaki, beige and browns, as white is a big no-no with the weather. By introducing some brown/grey boots, you create two focal points within this outfit which are both military inspired. I particularly like the pleats and formal nature of these trousers, meaning they clash nicely against the more relaxed boots, casual shirt and light low v-neck knit. A sharp but relaxed formal look that many would not even consider once the weather turns for the worse.
The next outfit uses the same colour knitwear [bottom left] but changes the whole aesthetic of the look with just a simple switch of trousers for jeans, and the introduction of a slick black trench. Again we have the simple jumper over shirt layering technique, but the jeans relax the outfit and make it a suitable everyday look.
Here for footwear you could choose leather trainers to really bring it down a notch, or keep a refined and sharp look by using some great vintage brogues or loafers.
Our final look is one that really caught my eye due to its individuality and flair [bottom centre]. Following on from the last two outfits, we again are pairing a shirt with a v-neck piece of knitwear layered over the top. This time the shirt can be kept white in order to anchor the bold coloured knitwear we are going to be utilising. The introduction of a bow tie is interesting but the main consideration is how it contrasts perfectly against the mustard coloured trench and the yellow tone v-neck.
This goes back to what we have previously learnt about colour combinations, and shows that you can pull off fun and bold knitwear even in the dreary autumn/winter seasons. If you picked your trousers and footwear correctly (anchor with grey, black, navy or brown), this is a look you could wear if you work in a relaxed dress code office, or definitely something you could use for parties and events.
So make sure you read up on these great colour articles:
- Men’s Fashion Basics – Part 41 – An Introduction To Colour
- Men’s Fashion Basics – Part 43 – Combining Colours
- Men’s Fashion Basics – Part 45 – Shirt & Tie Combinations
Then take a look at some colour combinations you could work together:
The trench coat and mac have always been the perfect compliment to formal wear; the clean lines, slim silhouette, and the lightweight nature of the trench lends itself well to being thrown over the top of your suit, in order to keep your clothing looking pristine on your way to the office, and the commute home. I truly believe that there is no better jacket for this purpose, unless you are looking at a quality thick wool overcoat, but that doesn’t have the versatility the trench coat has shown in adapting to seasons, trends and personal styles.
Obviously for work you should opt for a full length trench coat in order to protect yourself from the elements – it can be the difference between turning up at the office looking professional and ready for work, and looking like a drowned rat. As for colours, the choice is totally up to you. Some like to stick with black, as it is slick, sharp and gives you a nice slimming effect – others opt for grey or navy, as both colours are extremely versatile and can be easily coordinated with most suit colours you own in your wardrobe.
However, my personal favourite will always be the stone or beige trench. It coordinates perfectly with black, navy, brown, grey and even lighter shade suits, whilst it is suitable during the spring/summer seasons as well as autumn/winter. This is the definition of a transitional piece that will serve you well throughout the year, no matter what the occasion or weather.
Finally, should you need any more convincing, take a look at the look book below to see just how much of a statement the beige mac is on its own, and how great the contrast is when it is paired with darker suit colours.
How To Style
There are many articles littered throughout FashionBeans dealing with every aspect of formal wear and office wear. Today I just want to bring to your attention a few key points:
- The trench can be used over the top of more casual formal wear for the spring/summer seasons [top left and top right]. By losing the socks, and utilising smart basics such as a white crew neck tee or shirt, you can pull off relaxed formal looks which are emphasised by the trench coats’ clean and refined cut.
- The khaki green trench is a great option for the younger males (16-24) who want to add a bit of an edge and creativity to their office wear [top centre]. It is a non-traditional colour but looks great with black and brown suits in particular.
- The navy trench should never really be paired with a black suit, but looks amazing with all shades of grey, browns and other blue hues [middle centre and middle right].
- If you want to separate yourself from the crowd, why not invest in some headwear [bottom left]? The beige/stone trench has connotations with mobsters, the mafia, mad men and eras past (50s/60s), so a fedora would be the perfect finishing touch to a work outfit. Paired with a pinstripe or check suit and pocket square, you can really hit the 60s trend that has become very prevalent within menswear as whole these past couple of years. However, remember to take your hat off when you step indoors, we are gentlemen after all.