Amongst a tube carriage uniform of dark tones, the simplest short beige trench coat can stand out; a welcome beam of light-coloured style amongst a dark sky of commuters staring into their laps. The trench may be a fairly basic, classic piece, but against a background of black anoraks, khaki parkas and dark suits, it proves that fashion doesn’t have to be outlandish to make a statement of style. Choose a true classic design that suits you and your body shape and, whilst you might not envisage it, you could be turning more heads than the Street Style blogger taking her daily outfit photo, kitted out in galaxy print, neon faux fur and colour block high tops.

The trench coat is a classic designs that has become a style staple for many women around the world. It has a long history beginning in the military as early as 1901, when Thomas Burberry submitted the design for an Army Officer’s raincoat, although Aquascutum claim that they came up with the idea as many as fifty years earlier. It was developed as an alternative to the Greatcoats worn in the First World War, which were heavier and often made of rubber and takes its name from the trenches used by the soldiers on the front line. The original trench was long, double-breasted with 10 buttons, self-belted and had adjustable cuff straps and button-down shoulder straps and was an optional item of military dress for the British Army. There were also waterproof and weatherproof elements to the design that made it so practical for its military use, but it was the classic, belted shape that made it popular for both men and women to hold onto as an item of fashion after their service. As the design developed into the one that we know today, the hemline became shorter, the fabrics lighter and the range of colours available much wider, although the traditional beige is still the most iconic and recognisable.

Even after over 100 years, it is probably still fair to credit Burberry with keeping the classic trench alive as the coat lined with their now infamous check pattern is still their signature piece, although it has had a major facelift for Spring/Summer 2013. You might remember the debut appearance of the new look trenches at London Fashion Week when a metallic rainbow of coats paraded down the runway; some fashion commentators even likened them to Quality Street wrappers. Although not quite as understated as the beige trench, they are still the classic shape that means they don’t just stand out for their fabulous colour. The sharp tailored military look and nipped-in belted waist allow the modern trench to be both smart and feminine, making the style ultimately wearable for anyone; men or women, for work or at play and whether you choose from the metallic rainbow at Burberry, a classic beige, or even a black or grey from your favourite brand, the modern, lighter trench makes the perfect Spring/Summer cover up, especially as it is beginning to look like we might not see an evening this year that doesn’t require some sort of jacket!

Louise Hayward

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