Trench Coats and Rain Coats
Q: My raincoat makes me look like I belong on the box of Gorton's fish sticks. How can I keep dry and find the right style for this season -- without trying to look too trendy?
A: There are raincoats, and then there are trench coats -- the trench has a belt, breast flaps, and epaulettes, but its less stylish stepbrother, the raincoat, can be beltless, flapless and epaulette-less.
Although generally more utilitarian than the trench coat, choice and somewhat stylish raincoats are available from MHL by, $400 to $1,000.
The Brooks Brothers khaki raincoat, $600, has two outer pockets, five inner pockets, a single back vent, and a removable cashmere-blend inner layer, making it the perfect year-round option.
Trench coats are usually belted, which makes you immediately look slimmer, and that's not always typical of a male garment.
There are a few things to remember when buying a trench coat: You should only buy one in black or khaki -- any other color is a trend, not a classic.
Most importantly, though, is to buy the right size. The coat should be large enough to wear over a suit, but should not be oversized or extend longer than knee-length. That's too long for a man's trench coat. It looks too feminine.
In my opinion, trench coats and raincoats should always be made of cotton or a cotton blend -- no leather or plastic. Cotton is a classic and is the most-used fabric for trench coats and raincoats. Burberry launched the trench in 1914, when it made its trench out of gabardine -- a tightly woven Egyptian cotton. I say stick to what works best. Besides, wearing plastic is always going to be considered tacky, and any shiny fabric looks cheap.
As for brands and styles, first and foremost in the rainwear category is the Burberry. It is the classic trench/raincoat, and it's still made of the same gabardine that was used in 1914. For the best fit of all Burberry brands: the Burberry Prorsum; $1,200 to $1,600.
Other designer trenches that you'll want to check out are from Valentino, $1,980; and Paul Smith, $378.
Photo Credit: @iStockphoto.com/slobo
Ian Gunter is a celebrity stylist who has worked with numerous film and television stars. He has also overseen multiple designer brands and men's fashion events for Nordstrom.
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