Easy, Instant Updates Have a trench coat in your closet or on your shopping list? Here are five quick tips to keep it fresh.
Tweak what’s already there
“Tie the belt instead of buckling it, and try popping the collar.” ~ Ariane Lee of Nora and Nicky’s
Swap in your own accessories
“Remove the belt made for the trench coat and replace it with a two-inch wide leather strip that’s a shade darker than the coat.” ~ Suzanne Libfraind, Stylist
Try new color combinations
In the Trenches
Belt It, Pop It, Crop It: The Classic Coat with a Modern Twist
By Karlie Justus Marlowe / Photography By Davies Photography Early trench coats, created for Army officers on the front lines of World War I, were made to be functional: Waterproof, cut to the ankle and often made of khaki-colored cotton gabardine, the 10-button raincoat was made for duty. Fast-forward a century later, and the coat is being utilized in a different type of battlefield, topping off work wear, casual wear and everything in-between. “It has a classic blend of utility and chic outerwear that is hard to beat,” said Claire Roberts, a Raleigh-based wardrobe consultant. “Many consider it to be a foundational piece of a woman’s wardrobe because the basic trench coat will never go out of style – it just gets re-invented.” Each season brings new iterations of the trench coat style, with recent updates introducing fur embellishments and larger lapels for added drama, notes Roberts. Brighter colors and a decidedly more feminine flair also make the cut. “We recently had a hot pink trench coat in the store, and I own one in cobalt blue,” said Ariane Lee, manager of consignment boutique Nora and Nicky’s downtown Raleigh outpost. “I’ve seen designers add lace and ruffles and even pleats to give it a skirt-like feel and make it more feminine.” As a year-round wardrobe staple, trench coats don’t last long in the shop’s inventory, especially labels like Burberry, Calvin Klein, Karen 30 | midtownmag.com
“Combine navy fabrics with black trim, olive green with vibrant gold buttons, holiday red, vibrant blues and basic black.” ~ Suzanne Libfraind “Fall Fashion week in New York showed many beautiful iterations of the trench coat in winter whites.” ~ Claire Roberts, Image Consultant
Embrace the history
“Go for the timeless Audrey Hepburn inspired look – trench coat, black pencil pants, and a silk scarf tied over your hair for a bold color pop!” ~ Claire Roberts Kane, Pink Tartan and Milly. In the two years since Nora and Nicky’s opened on West Hargett Street, the turnover on trenches has been swift. “Trenches go super quickly in the store,” notes Lee. “It’s a classic, and a classic never goes out of style.” It’s that seasonless appeal that keeps the trench coat looking fresh – but it can also quickly leave the style feeling dated. “We all know that a trench coat is a great wardrobe staple and can be easily be refreshed by a seasonal pitch of accessories to keep it looking fabulous,” said personal stylist and shopper Suzanne Libfraind.