For most people, a trenchcoat is a utilitarian garment. A place to stow keys, commuter card, building pass, iPhone, see you later, out the door. And that's as it should be, otherwise economies would fall, for good.
But for individuals who are rather ridiculously attuned to small inflections of personal style, the trench offers a cornucopia of possibilities for self-expression.
I recently spent a very happy hour soaking up the sights on Burberry's brilliant Art of the Trench album. Featuring hundreds of photos by Sartorialist Scott Schuman and laymen trenchcoat fans, it's a worldwide tour of how to wear this classic garment in an up-to-the-minute way.
The models, pros and non-pro alike, all look great. Hopefully, with an ongoing upload of amateur shots, older and wider wearers will be less of a minority.
What interests me most about how to wear a trenchcoat? It's got to be the belt, and how you knot or tie it.
Purists, citing the trenchcoat's military origins, insist on buckling. As Tom on the Ask Andy About Clothes trenchcoat forum puts it:
If you don't buckle the belt, the grenades hung from the grenade rings on the belt will drag the belt out of the loops and you'll loose both belt and grenades! So always buckle the belt either in front or back!Others there and elsewhere vehemently disagree. Possible alternatives include:
1) knotted in front (twice in the case of Bogey, above)
2) knotted in the back
3) buckled in the back, as per grenade-mindful Tom (tricky!)
4) tied in a pretty gifty-type bow in front
5) left loose, with ends tucked into pockets
6) left off, with belt loops cut off for tidiness' sake (eeek!)
7) knotted with coat left open just a shade
There are probably more, and some enterprising blogger needs to get some images up. In the absence, if you too are a bit nutty about how to wrench your trench, have a look at the Burberry pics and then spend some quality time in front of the mirror working something out. But--and this is key!--wear it like you didn't.
Like Bogey. Come on, two knots. Here's looking at you, kid.