Walk to work in style with these Fall trench coats

It's getting colder, and soon it'll be time to put a trench coat on over your suit. Learn how to maximize the style potential of this classic piece.

For many, the transition to September is a quieter version of New Year’s Eve. The weather outside will make the most noticeable transition it has months, and people settle back into their routines as the excitement of Summer dies down and cooler weather snaps us back into focus. This time of year, fashionable layers become the hallmark of both business and casual style. When it is too soon for your winter wool but too cool for just a blazer? And what is the best outerwear to sport on your commute?

The answer is the trench coat. The trench coat can be refined and simple, and while many associate it with rainy Spring months, there are a few simple rules to follow that make the style a perfect option for Fall weather.

1. Color

Avoid khaki or tan colored coats when selecting a trench coat for Fall. Cooler weather and darker tones are naturally simpatico, as evidenced by Winter’s plethora of black jackets to choose from, but we’ll get to that in a few months. For now, transition into winter darks with a navy or grey trench. It mirrors the slight solemnity of the season but also suits the sunny afternoons we can hope to enjoy for a few more weeks. For an added flair and a nod to your grammar school days, a subtle tartan is a suave choice too, and offers a color palette to base the rest of your outfit’s layers on.
Brooks Brothers Black Watch Reversible Trench Coat – $598

2. Length

Shake off your association of trench coats with the British gangsters in Lock, Stock and Smoking Barrels, who pulled blazing guns from inside their ankle length Burberry coats (though they are pretty badass). Let’s assume that you sport your trench coat for matters of legal business. How long should it be? A good rule of thumb is no longer than knee length. Any longer and you’re bordering on the type of insulation that’s only really needed in Winter, plus you avoid being mistaken for a Jason Statham character on the train.
Britton Burberry London Double Breasted Trench Coat – $2768

3. Modern Touches

Trench coats are a classic piece of clothing, but there are some of us who prefer to be a little more off the beaten path, understandably! There are plenty of options out there for the businessperson looking to put their own signature twist on a tried and true wardrobe staple. For a more youthful edge, find a trench coat with a little extra something, like a hood, or play with different types of collars and necklines (some retailers even sell detachable collars for just such experimentation). The small, quirky potential modifications definitely won’t be lost on the trench coat’s familiar canvas when you’re out in a crowd. A small personal touch goes a long way to make your style more memorable and unique.
Left: Diesel Hooded Gardine Trench Coat – $565; Right: Zara Hooded Cape – $290

Nicole Edwards

Nicole Edwards is a fashion and lifestyle writer based in Toronto. She has worked as Associate Publisher of Private Islands magazine and Lifestyle Editor of Style Empire, and has contributed to NOW Magazine.