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How To Style A Trench Coat Now That You Have The Classic Outerwear On Your Radar

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The trench coat may have begun as a military necessity, but today it's considered a classic — often preppy — cold-weather staple. But while a simple tan trench remains practical, the newest evolution of the iconic piece is going beyond keeping the traditional khaki as a weather protectant. Designers are reimagining the outerwear with unexpected materials, prints, and colors while trendsetters are showing off new ways to style a trench coat for fall that make the jacket feel fresh.

For the classicist, minimal iterations still exist thanks to brands like Totême and The Row. Others are straying slightly by playing with material and texture. "I’m seeing a trend of trenches in coated fabrics like wool and linen. Lemaire makes a particularly beautiful one," stylist Sissy Sainte-Marie Chacon explains. But, there are bolder adaptation too. Burberry may be the name most closely associated with the original design, but the house is embracing a streetwear-inspired iteration and stamping its updated logo across the front of its signature piece.

When it comes to styling, Sainte-Marie has two outfit suggestions, both of which are easy to recreate. "One of my favorite hacks is to wear a trench coat with nothing under it, as a dress," she notes. As an alternative you can try without any new purchases necessary, she suggests simply switching out the hardware. "When I want more of a look, I like swapping out a trench’s matching belt for a more dramatic one from my arsenal."

Whether you're in the market for a new coat or looking for ideas on on how to make your go-to style a refresh, ahead find new, unexpected ways to test out the classic coat this season.

Mix Prints

Mixing prints isn't necessarily a new styling trick, but it's certainly a fun one. Opt for a checkered trench with simple boots and jeans, but add a contrasting leopard bag for extra texture.

Stick To Neutrals

For a modern, minimal approach, stick to an entirely neutral color palette, then throw in a pop of color via a vibrant accessory.

Switch Materials

Switch things up and try one of the biggest must-haves of the season, a leather trench coat in a bright, eye-catching color like candy apple red. Keep the rest of your ensemble simple to let the outerwear shine.

Play With Proportion

Try a playful take on proportion and opt for a trench that has an oversized fit. Then, balance out your look with an equally oversized headband and chunky loafers.

Embrace Rainbow Bright

Since this is the year to swap jewel tones for bolder hues, try a trench silhouette in neon pink. Layer with a rainbow-stripe sweater and a statement bag to finish.

Swap Out The Belt

For an easy way to update a trench, simply swap the standard belt for one that is oversized or has statement hardware.

Vest + Trench Coat

'80s tailored vests are making a comeback this season. For a polished weekend ensemble, skip the shirt altogether and style a fitted vest and trousers with a trench coat.

Playful Layers

Use a trench coat as a cool layering piece. Try a sheer style with another coat underneath, or simply let a contrasting collar poke out.

Double As A Dress

Test out Chacon's tip and double your trench as a dress. To accessorize the neutral piece for cooler temps, throw a silk scarf in your hair and sport a pair of cool printed boots.

Caped Crusade

Transition your trendy summer staples — like Bermuda shorts — into fall by pairing them with a sleek trench coat worn draped over your shoulders. Once it gets colder, swap out the shorts for a pair of cool black leather trousers.

All-Weather Ensemble

Don't abandon a trench's practical purpose. On rainy days, pair the jacket with rain boots and stay dry (or at least look cute trying to).