We were thinking about wardrobe staples the other day, musing on why these essentials become so necessary, and suddenly it hit us. Much like Madonna, the high priestess of reinvention, these pieces gain their timeless, universal appeal through their ability to adapt and evolve with the latest trends. Today's subject-the trench coat-illustrates this point perfectly. Officially designed in 1901 by Thomas Burberry, the original trench was simple in silhouette and decidedly utilitarian in both use (a raincoat for British military officers) and material (gabardine). Since then, however, designers have updated the trench in countless ways, which explains why it's always one of the most in-demand outerwear options on the market. Currently worn by tastemakers like Julia Restoin-Roitfeld and Kate Moss, this coat is still the coolest, which is exactly why we're focusing on it in today's How They Wear story. We've got a fabulous roundup of some of the best trenches available now, as well as tons of outfit ideas involving this must-have piece, so surely you'll find something that works for you!
One of the best things about the trench coat is that you can really personalize how you wear it-left casually open, buttoned all the way, knotted, or belted-plus there are a slew of chic styles to choose from too! For example, if your fashion tastes tend to be a bit laidback, you'll definitely want to look to Kate Moss and Amber Heard for some easy-to-execute styling guidance. Heard opted for a weekend-ready ensemble while running errands in Los Angeles late last month when she paired her Armani Exchange trench coat with a white lace top, vintage Levi's, and Jeffrey Campbell's Elegant Slipper with Studs ($170). Left undone, the outerwear functions as the perfect lightweight layer and neatly finishes Heard's easygoing, off-duty outfit. Moss, on the other hand, went for a more polished look out in London last year, wearing her khaki Burberry trench coat buttoned-up and with the belt knotted. Her decision to pair the jacket with slim black jeans by Craft, Tabitha Simmons' lace-up ankle booties, and a vintage black wide-brimmed hat kept her on-the-go ensemble feeling sleek and stylish-perfect for a winter stroll in the city!
While traditional trench coats, as seen on Heard and Moss, are a wardrobe essential and universally appealing, we also love styles a bit more of-the-moment too. Take, for example, the Burberry Prorsum Stretch Gabardine Trench ($3195) Lou Doillon wore in Paris early last month. The trench's orange leather trim and Doillon's Burberry Prorsum Coloured Leather Belt ($495, available here in Bright Saffron Yellow) bring a nice pop of color to the understated khaki hue, making it a great transitional piece come spring. If unconventional bright accents aren't your thing, but you'd still like to achieve that modern look, try a trench in a pale dove gray hue a la Naomi Watts, who was snapped en route to the Calvin Klein Collection S/S 12 show. To make your outfit even more au courant, take a page from Watts' stylebook and pair your pale trench with a sleek snakeskin clutch and peep-toe ankle booties for a very uptown-meets-downtown look. .
Of course, if you'd really like to push the envelope and go for a truly statement-making trench this season, look no further than Julia Restoin-Roitfeld and her cool pick. The model showed off her edgy sensibilities at the Burberry S/S 12 show when she wore the British fashion house's covetable black Leather Trench Coat ($3995). To keep the focus on her sleek outerwear, Restoin-Roitfeld accessorized with only a pair of simple black pumps. Keeping with the textured trench coat theme, we also noted that Harper's Bazaar Australia's Fashion Editor Christine Centernera has sported Burberry Prorsum's Cable Knit Trench Coat ($3995), as seen on Stockholm Street Style. The cozy fabric and crisp white color give the trench a luxurious, fashion-forward appeal that's perfect for women with sophisticated taste.
Seeing as it's never too late to invest in a trench coat, we've gathered a handful of options sure to satisfy your shopping desires! If you're searching for a classic style, we recommend checking out London Fog's Double Breasted Trench ($109) and Express' Classic Trench Coat ($138), both of which come in a traditional khaki hue, as well as Reiss' Eden Chalk Belted Trench Coat ($332), available in a cool crisp white. If you're seeking a version with modern updates a la Doillon and Watts, we love Kenneth Cole's Faux Fur Collar Trench Coat ($230)-the classic silhouette and khaki shade combined with the luxurious look of the faux fur collar is very chic indeed-and Dover's Trench Coat with Leather Sleeves ($486), which is perfect for the girl who loves a little edge! Last, but certainly not least, you definitely don't want to miss out on Calvin Klein's Double-Breasted Tweed Trench ($100), Preston & York's Leather Trench Coat ($239), or for those of you who can afford to invest a little more, Burberry Prorsum's amazing Textured Metallic Trench Coat ($1695), all of which are visually intriguing options and surefire crowd-pleasers this season!-Jessica Baker
Photos of Amber Heard and Lou Doillon, courtesy of INF; Photos of Julia Restoin Roitfeld and Kate Moss, courtesy of Getty; Photo of Naomi Watts, courtesy of Pacific Coast News; Street style photo, courtesy of Stockholm Street Style.