A contemporary classic providing all the right amenities, the trench dress combines the ultimate staple outerwear with the eternally feminine fashion garment; the dress. The result? A streamlined multi-wear piece for the modern woman with a penchant for polished statements and heritage style. There is nothing quite as British as wearing a summer dress that prepares for rain.
Regardless of its appeal, the trench dress can bring various styling difficulties. Choose the wrong cut and pair with the wrong accessories and you risk looking like you’re returning home from a cheeky night with Mr. Wrong. On the other hand, style it well and the trench dress oozes sophisticated chic with a contemporary twist.
Here is how to avoid looking like the punchline to a haughty joke and master the ultimate British spring/summer dress.
Tailored to turn heads
Pioneered by Burberry but available on the high street, the trench dress is punctuated with high-fashion authority whilst simultaneously achieving off-duty flair. Even when paired down into a flimsy frock, the touches of trench coat identity – muted beige, military-inspired buttons, double-breasted silhouette, epaulettes – emulate a touch of no-nonsense, action-stations attitude, regardless of the weather. Therefore, when it comes to styling the trench dress well, elevating the tailored persona is an infallible direction to take.
Double up with a blazer to throw off onlookers and flex those fashionista skills. Keep your beauty regime natural. Go tonal and keep the whole outfit in the same colour with different shades- muted works best. Follow all the common tailoring tips and your trench dress styling is guaranteed to look on point.
Instead of thinking outside the trench, why not think inside it? If you own a well fitted trench coat, then consider turning it into a dress and save some money and space in your wardrobe. Sure, this runs the risk of being the punch line for an an easy joke about trench coats and flashers. However, with controlled caution and an ounce of sartorial confidence, the timeless outerwear staple can work wonders as a daytime dress.
This is a fun and exciting way to venture outside the fashion norm. If you haven’t invested in a trench coat, read up on my style guide and find the one for you.
Follow the fashion pack
As the trench dress garners more popularity, the fashion world is bestowed with celebrity A-listers and star-studded admirers wearing this contemporary icon with their own personal twists. With Meghan Markle leading the fashion pack and favouring the trench dress in various takes, this hybrid piece is taking the spotlight. From flirty cold-shoulder cuts to modern pleated styles, there are countless sources of styling inspiration to help understand what works well with the trench dress.
Alternatively, look at how brands themselves style their models. Labels to watch include Karen Millen, Max Mara, and Burberry.
Accessorise all areas
My ultimate style rule when wearing the trench dress is to stick to a ration of accessories:length. To elaborate, the shorter the hem, the more accessories are required to balance out the look.
The ratio goes as this: Maxi:one | Midi:two | Mini:three.
As a bag and pair of shoes are essential when leaving the house, (unless you are making some odd barefooted statement, then go for it!) I don’t count these in my accessories list. Therefore, simply styling with a pair of shoes and a clutch would require one accessory if sporting a maxi. This could be a diamond necklace, pair of earrings or a velvet ribbon to tie your hair. However, it is advisable to only choose one as wearing too many accessories can cause an imbalance and decrease the timeless appeal the trench dress naturally emanates. This does mean that I often only wear one piece of jewellery from a set.
When it comes to wearing a mini trench dress, I always wear a pair of patterned tights to ensure the outfit upholds its classic profile. As exemplified in this shoot, styling up with a maximum amount of accessories works well with the trench. The key is to colour co-ordinate in neutrals to avoid a look that is over-the-top.
The trench dress is the statement addition to transeasonal wardrobes when embracing ever-changing weather. Perfect for making a statement during the day and ensuring timeless decadence at evening endeavours, this is a crucial classic that belongs in your wardrobe.
Dressed up or dressed down; the trench dress will always ensure a sophisticated edge whilst telling the world that you are a true fashion cognoscente. Follow this guide for ultimate styling and rest assured, you’ll never be the punch-line of someone’s tasteless joke.