5 Rules for Wearing a Trench Coat in 2023

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Dasha Burobina

I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that a classic trench is one of the most beloved items in my closet. It’s basically an outerwear hero that pairs well with jeans, a dress, even sweats. But how do you style something so timeless and versatile? What are the details that make it really sing as part of your look? We turned to Katie Collins, an L.A.-based stylist for advice.

About the Expert

Katie Collins is a wardrobe stylist based in Los Angeles who has worked with a range of celeb clients including Jennifer Aniston, Kerry Washington and more.

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Rachel Bowie

1. Pick the Right Length for Your Height

The truth: There isn’t really a wrong way to wear a trench—in fact that’s one of the best parts about it, says Collins. Still, finding a flattering length is key so that you don’t get swallowed up by the silhouette. “A trench that hits mid-length—meaning knee-length—can work for most body types,” she explains. “Mid-calf is also a length that works for most, but if you’re petite, an above-the-knee style is ideal.”

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Rachel Bowie

2. Never Wear a Dress or Skirt That’s Even with the Hem

Collins’ rule of thumb when it comes to dresses and trenches: “The dress should either be shorter than the trench or a longer style like a maxi.” You don’t want it to hit right at the hem where it has a chance of peeking out just a smidge, thereby giving apron vibes. Proportions are also key. A body-con or fitted style dress looks great with an open trench, Collins adds.

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Rachel Bowie

3. The Belt May Have a Buckle, But You Should Still Tie It

Yes, the buckle is there. Yes, you should ignore it. “I’m a big believer in tying the belt in a knot in the front. It’s so chic and effortless and also creates shape at the waist,” Collins says. In fact, buckling the belt in front can add bulk in some situations. And if you choose to wear the coat open? Don’t just let the belt hang loose. “My advice is to tie a loose knot in the back to give the coat more shape.”

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Rachel Bowie

4. A Darker Color Makes It Easier to Transition from Day to Night

Whether it’s navy or black, a darker-hued trench pulls double duty when it comes to transitioning from day to night. For example, you can wear it during the day closed with a cozy sweater and jeans and a white sneaker, but come night, pair it with a monochrome set or a sexy camisole and straight leg jeans and patterned heel. It looks great for both, says Collins.

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5. Jeans Are Cute, But So Is Wearing a Trench with Tights or a Bare Leg

Collins says that, yes, trenches look great with jeans and trousers—that’s a no-brainer. But her styling preference is actually bare legs or tights in a dark hue to really up the elegance and stature of the look.

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Royal family expert, a cappella alum, mom

Rachel Bowie is Senior Director of Special Projects & Royals at PureWow, where she covers parenting, fashion, wellness and money in addition to overseeing initiatives within...