I’ll never forget the first trench coat I bought nine years ago. My friend convinced me it would be a purchase I wouldn’t regret because it would be an item I will wear for years to come. Nine years later, I still wear it every spring and fall. That’s exactly why I included a trench or utility jacket as April’s prompt for the 12 Months of Thrifting challenge.
First, let’s define a few fashion terms. A trench coat is a lightweight rain jacket, often lined on the inside. Originally worn by officers in the army, trench coats have been around for many decades. They are classy and timeless. A utility jacket is a military inspired cargo jacket. They often come in hunter green and tan. Because trench coats are such classic fashion pieces, you will always be able to find them secondhand. Although utility jackets emerged much later as an everyday trend, you can still find plenty of utility jackets but maybe not as easily as a trench coat.
How to thrift a trench coat
- A good fit: This is an item you’re going to have for many seasons so look for a classic fit. I try to stay away from embellishments or trendy features. Classic style trench coats will have a belt but you can also find some modern styles without belts. Trench coats look best when they fit properly. You want to be able to wear it open or tied with its belt comfortably. If you’re not a fan of the belt that the coat comes with, but still love the way a belt makes the look come together, consider going out and finding a belt of your own to customize your outfit with. If you’re on a budget but want a high-end look, consider this replica Louis Vuitton belt… you can’t tell the difference between this and the real thing! If you have trouble finding the right fit, consider thrifting a jacket and having it altered. This is one of those items where alterations are worth it, since this is going to get a lot of wear.
- Shop vintage: Vintage styles are also readily available at Goodwill. Play around with these styles and see how you can incorporate them in your wardrobe. Vintage styles run bigger and are a little boxier.
- Check out the men’s section: the men’s section has a huge variety of jackets and are especially great for those who need a little extra room in their coat.
A neutral trench is a must-have for any wardrobe. It’s classic and styling it is truly a no brainer. I also seek out pretty spring colors like pink, green, and blue to brighten up a simple outfit.
How to wear a trench
A trench is such beautiful and structured piece that it often becomes the focal point of your outfit. It’s the last piece you wear that ties everything together. The beauty of the jacket is that it can be dressed up or down. Here, I wore my $6 cobalt blue trench from Goodwill Akron with distressed jeans on the weekend and with a sweater dress for work. Make sure the trench hits right at the hem of your dress or skirt for a more streamlined look.
You want your trench to be perfect so be patient until you find the right fit. Already thrifted a trench? Show us how you styled it by using the hashtag #12MonthsofThrifting. Next month we’re thrifting a maxi skirt or dress to usher in summer!