I am not naturally a ‘coat person’.
Coat people are chic and refined. They drink long blacks (hold the sugar), buy their cheese from a delicatessen and their vegetables from a local farmers’ market. They have a number of jackets in their wardrobe, all of them serving a purpose: a Burberry trench for work, a faux fur jacket for Saturday nights, a teddy coat for Sunday mornings, and so on.
Coat people have spent years – decades, even! – refining their collection of outerwear and investing in warm, designer pieces to get them through this winter and next.
As for me? I grew up in tropical Queensland where a denim jacket or a loosely-knitted pullover is more than enough to see you through winter.
As a teenager, I longed for the effortless sophistication that comes with a well-tailored trench. So when I moved to colder climates as an adult – London and then Sydney – I approached coat-wearing with an overzealous enthusiasm… and yet, I’ve never invested in a trench coat. My coat-buying habits are akin to that of a sugar addict: see, want, buy, regret.
So today I begin my quest for ‘the one’. The perfect trench. The kind of coat that you’d see hanging in the closet of a ‘coat person’. One that fits just right and will serve me for years to come. Here goes…
Well, hello there, coat-I-didn’t-know-I-needed – I think you and I are going to get along just fine.
A white linen trench has never been on my list of things to buy – but it is now. This KITX coat makes me feel good. It is elegant and feminine and, despite being linen, it is deceptively warm, with a certain heaviness. This coat makes me want to put my shoulders back and stand a little taller.
The Fashion Trench: MAJE Belted, Chequed, Rubberised Trench, $340
Part trench, part rain coat – this is the kind of item I would expect to see on someone much cooler than me at fashion week. It’s quirky, very ‘farshun’ and practical during a downpour. (It actually repels water.)
As fun as it is, I’m not sure how much wear I would get out of it. If the price tag were on the more affordable end of the spectrum, I’d buy it for a rainy day. However, it’s a lot of money to fork out for a trench that won’t keep me warm.
The Class Black Trench: NA-KD Trench, $149
When I saw this coat hanging on the rack, I expected to love it. I wear a lot of black and old habits die hard. Plus, it was long, slightly silky and looked expensive. I had a sense it would be the kind of coat I would reach for when I was running late and wanted to look like I’d made an effort.
However, when I put it on, I feel… nothing. I don’t dislike it but I don’t love it either. I am not quite sure why. Is it too long? Not structured enough? Too formal? We’ll never know.
The Classic-With-A-Twist Trench: Incu Zanja Trench
Generally-speaking, I don’t think people discuss cuffs enough and I’d like to take this opportunity to right that wrong. This trench gives good cuff. To me, this detail alone is enough to elevate the entire coat and endow it with a fresh, modern appeal.
Cuffs aside, this trench ticks all the boxes. It’s classic, but slightly oversized (tick), the material is thick and durable (tick), and it has hand-me-down appeal (tick). The ‘coat person’ trench that I was searching for? This is it! I think I’ve found it! However, the show must go on…
The weekend trench: Zara Long Trench Coat, $159
And now, for my final act, here I am standing in a lightweight burnt orange trench by Zara.
Transeasonal dressing is my favourite kind of dressing. Twice a year, during spring and autumn, there is a short window of opportunity where you can wear your summer and winter wardrobes at the same time. The options are endless. A mini skirt and a 100 per cent wool turtleneck? Great! Jeans and a Bassike singlet? Why not! A dress over jeans? Weird but OK! This Zara trench would fare well during those times – it’s light and breathable but could easily be worn over a jumper for a little added warmth.
The old me would have bought this coat. However, the new me – the one masquerading as a ‘coat person’ – knows that it won’t serve me well through winter.