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How French Women Wear Their Trench Coats Stylishly

How French Women Wear Their Trench Coats Stylishly

french trench coat

The trench coat (or simply “un trench” in French) is definitely one of the key pieces of the French wardrobe. Thanks to its timeless details and neutral color palette, the classic beige trench coat is a French wardrobe staple that will never go out of style. It’s the one item you can wear and hold onto forever! Also, the trench coat is much more than just simple transitional outerwear. Indeed, if because of its water-resistant fabrication it’s a style choice for spring’s rainy days, this coat will see you through almost every situation, in any season!

Being French, I do love this style of coat. There is just something so classic and stylish about a trench, that I find myself wearing mine whenever the weather permits. But it’s in spring and autumn that I wear it the most. A trench coat is the perfect chic outwear piece for transitioning between seasons that goes with just about everything. And on one of those I-have-nothing-to-wear days, the trench makes everything better. Whether you decide to team it with jeans and white sneakers, or a summer dress and heels, the trench coat has the ability to make every outfit instantly more elegant and polished. You can put it over just about any ensemble, throw on a great pair of sunglasses and a nice scarf and you are instantly fabulous.

A Brief History of The Trench Coat

The invention of the trench coat is claimed by two British luxury clothing manufacturers, Burberry and Aquascutum, with Aquascutum’s claim dating back to the 1850s. In 1879, Thomas Burberry invented gabardine fabric —the weatherproofed cotton textile the coats are known for— and submitted a design for an Army officer’s raincoat to the United Kingdom War Office in 1901.

According to Vogue France, the coat began to shed its military utilitarianism in the 1940s. Worn in some of the most iconic scenes in film history —Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca, Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Marlene Dietrich in A Foreign Affair, Meryl Streep in Kramer vs. Kramer— the trench began to be romanticized by Hollywood.

4 French Style Tips To Wear Your Trench Coat With Class And Flair

how to wear trench coats the french way

French women of every age have worn the trench coat forever. Here are a few tips on how to properly wear this French wardrobe staple with class and flair.

An Investment Piece

First, I’ll recommend investing in something with longevity, a quality trench coat that will stand the test of time. Pay attention to the buttons, the seams before purchasing, and try to go for a heavy-duty fabric wherever possible. If you’re not sure, opt for a heritage trench coat, there’s no better item to invest in! This classic beige and black double-breasted belted, and collared style is as timeless as ever and is a staple when it comes to outerwear.

The Color

For a classic style, opt for beige, camel, and khaki, basically one of these coloring that makes the trench considered a very versatile garment. You can also consider different colors that feel just as timeless such as navy, olive green, dusty red, or pale pink.

The Length

In terms of length, both short and long are great options. For a classic style, I’ll recommend opting for a standard trench coat length, especially if it’s a first-time investment. The shorter length is more casual and relaxed. This season trench coats are going even shorter and called the “trench jacket” like this Victoria Beckham belted cotton-blend trench coat.

The Style

This is exactly the way French women wear their trench coats. Basically, warp your trench around your body and knot the belt in front or behind, rather than buckle it in a conventional manner. A slight push-up of the sleeve, hands in the pockets and that’s it.

See Also
french style jeans

“Never, ever buckle the belt properly like a good little girl. Tie it in front or behind with the buckle hanging loose.”

Inès De La Fressange in her book Parisian Chic

8 Timeless Trench Coats To Get Chic French Style

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Et voilà! I hope this French-style guide will help you find the perfect trench coat! If you have any questions, please let me know in the comments below.

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View Comments (5)
  • I have a very long trench coat purchased many years ago and was thinking it was not quite right as I’m only 5’3”. However I was encouraged to see you mention the longer length, so I’ll dig it out and try it again. Thank you.

    • Bonjour Clair, thank you very much for your comment! Yes, long (and short) trench coats are both very fashionable 🙂 Just tie it in front or behind with the buckle hanging loose. You can pair it with a white t-shirt, high waist jeans, and a pair of white sneakers, it’s the perfect uniform to wear this spring!

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