Kings of Vintage: How to wear a trench coat The trench coat: An iconic garment for vintage lovers and secret detectives alike. It’s been worn by Humphrey Bogart as detective Sam Spade in The Maltese Falcon; by Peter Sellers as the Pink Panther and by, err, Inspector Gadget on his momentous detective cases. This year the trench coat is once again a big trend, with the likes of traditional trench makers such as Aquascutum and Burberry enjoying the resurgence in popularity. Here at QueensOfVintage, however, we’ve got some vintage finds and style tricks to get a dashing trench coat look without the brand new designer price tags! George Walker guides you Vintage Kings on where to buy- and how to wear- the trench coat. The trench coat was first made as a military jacket during the First World War. With waterproofing, military epaulets and deep pockets for supplies, the trench coat was the ideal garment for conditions in the trenches. Funnily enough, it was the high-fashion labels Burberry and Aquascutum who first produced the trench coat for the military during this period. Now the two companies use the trench coat style as one of their iconic garments in boutique shops across the world. From the trenches to the catwalk- strange old game fashion, eh? Due to its smart military legacy, the trench coat remained popular after the Second World War, with fictional detectives belting up in lightweight khaki styles that were ideal for sneaking about in. This is the style of trench coat we are now most familiar with, and the style that many designers have adapted for the highstreet over the decades. To wear a vintage trench today, it’s best to go for slim double-breasted styles that include a belt. Many highstreet versions of the trench coat currently do shorter cut styles- but why not get a proper vintage look and go for the authentic, knee-length trench coat? The vintage styles to avoid, however, are the baggier, single breasted offerings in some poorer vintage shops. These may well make you look like a flasher. And no one wants that, apart from- perhaps- flashers of course. Vintage King of the Week I bumped into this week’s vintage king, Hugo Davis, in London’s Soho. Here he is, showing how the traditional longer cut of a trench coat can look extremely cool (even in a London downpour). Tying the belt, as Hugo has done here, makes the trench coat look a little more relaxed and modern. You could also add a bit of distinctiveness to the look with a bright scarf or shirt. This trench coat is the type of design you should be looking for in vintage shops across the land: smart, well-cut and knee-length, this coat has it all! Style Tip No.1: Go Designer, Go Vintage Burberry and Aquascutum are brands that have made the trench coat their iconic fashion item. In specialist vintage shops and online you can find a fair few second-hand designer trench coats, which have pretty much kept to the same design over the decades. To see how Aquascutum are combining vintage inspiration and modern cuts today, watch this brilliant video. Style Tip No.2: The Military Legacy As we now know, the trench coat was named after the place where it was first worn: the trenches. Variations of the trench coat have been worn by the military service since this time, but more for formal functions than for combat. This means that many vintage shops stock army surplus trench coats. Style Tip No.3: Get Creative If you already have a khaki trench coat, or the style just isn’t for you, how about experimenting with different materials? Designers have been experimenting with the trench coat design for years, with some better outcomes than others. This tweed trench for example, however, definitely succeeds in adapting the conventional trench coat design. With a great mix of colours and the use of a heavier material for the colder months, this trench coat could be worn to the office or with more casual gear for a quirky going out look. What’s more, it’s also very cheap at the moment! One Response Bix Belanger February 3rd, 2010 Oh so right….the trenchcoat was featured in many films of the 40’s. It was the working man’s outerwear. Just cast a glance at Dana Andrews in ‘Laura’. There are numerous scenes with him wearing a ‘trench’ like no other…even ‘Waldo Leidecker’ ( Clifton Webb) shows up in one towards the end of the film. Perhaps a touch of empathy towards his bedraggled character. But…when all is said and done…even he looks great. I found an olive green one at an SA recently and the length and girth were right….not the color I would choose normallly. But after a few seconds of thought I realized that a returning war-vet would probably have held on to a coat of such a practical nature and worn it regardless of the color. With a little modification (this one has plastic buckles and I will replace them with bakelite ot perhaps steel) a trenchcoat with the right length and lapel size from the 60’s or 70’s will do just fine for that “film noir” impression. Long live the trenchcoat!!