10 best women's trench coats to see you through the spring showers
Stuck on what to wear during transitional weather? Stroll through seasonal changes with one of these stylish options
Trench coats were developed in the late 19th century as an alternative to heavy twill greatcoats for soldiers. Both Burberry and Aquascutum claim to have invented the garment – either way, it got its name during World War I because its large pockets and convenient metal loops made it practical for soldiers on the front line.
The trench has been a wardrobe staple ever since and is regularly worn by stylish women including the Duchess of Sussex, Victoria Beckham and Anna Wintour.
Traditionally they’re made of waterproof cotton, twill or gabardine, and while they come in all manner of fabrics today, including wool and cashmere, we’re going to focus on the traditional water-resistant kind that come into their own around this time of year, when the weather is more likely to be wet than biting cold.
We enlisted others testers to help us with this – women of various sizes, some more influenced by street style than others, though we all expected versatility, value for money, a flattering cut and that they last more than one season. These are the ten that met our exacting demands.
Boden whistable trench coat: £160, Boden
The contrasting black grosgrain ribbon side stripe and belt of this otherwise classic beige cotton trench makes it look really different without being showy. It feels like a really nice quality coat, which is impressive for the price, and has a fun Union Jack lining. It’s on the long side, but there’s a petite version available.
Harris Wharf London dropped shoulder woven coat: £375, Selfridges
This nylon-elastane blend coat is unlike any other. Apparently co-founder Giulia Acchiardi loves this fabric as it is breathable, soft and very comfortable. We found it super lightweight, crease-proof and a little stretchy, but critically, the belt isn’t – so it ties nicely. We like that the cut is generous in its use of material, making it look expensive. The coat isn’t lined but doesn’t seem lacking for it.
Burberry detachable hood taffeta trench coat: £750, Burberry
"Buy once, buy well, buy Burberry", one of our tester's friends told her when she asked for trench recommendations – and if you have some budget, she’s right; the heritage brand has coats for every body shape and preference, and they last decades. This taffeta trench has a classic, tailored fit, falling to mid-thigh with a detachable hood. It’s lined in that distinctive check and looks ultra-polished – as long as you can keep that pale pink hue clean, though it is machine washable.
Topshop boutique twill trench coat: £160, Topshop
For a coat that makes you look like street style bait at London Fashion Week, this is your best bet. It’s oversized in the style of brand-of-the-moment Vetements, and the structured fabric makes it look polished whether it’s worn open or buttoned and belted. It’s just the right shade of dark taupe too. Seriously impressive for the price.
Uniqlo U blocktech belted trench coat: £109.90, Uniqlo
The price may be low, but don’t let that fool you. This longline coat is designed by former Hermès artistic director Christophe Lemaire, and he knows what he’s doing. The fit is slightly oversized, with hidden buttons for a minimal look. It’s also truly weather-proof as it has a hood and it’s made with Uniqlo’s waterproof, windproof, and moisture-permeable "blocktech" technology.
Hobbs saskia trench coat: £199, Hobbs
The wide belt and slightly flared shape make this more flattering than most trench coats, and is a smart choice for wearing to and from the office. It falls to the knee on our tester (5ft 4in) but it looks just as good on the 5ft 9in model online. We particularly love the range of colours, including lilac and a mustardy yellow.
ROKH double-breasted checked twill trench coat: £755, Net-a-Porter
We were drawn to this trench for its original navy and green check, though it’s the cut, quality twill and details that earn it a place in this list. ROKH designer Rok Hwang is inspired by second hand and vintage clothing that he takes apart and reconstructs. It’s interesting, but not so loud you can’t wear it every day.
Warehouse patent trench coat: £89, Warehouse
The glossy finish of this tan trench is both bang on trend and genuinely waterproof. It looked sharp buttoned and belted – the belt sits at the narrowest part of the waist, making it surprisingly slimming. Avoid using the pockets to maintain a streamlined look.
M&S Collection checked double-breasted trench coat: £49.50, Marks and Spencer
We reckon Holly Willoughby would approve of this cheery pink check trench, which is ideal for throwing over more muted basics and denim. The longline design has a nice weight to it and looks best worn open. Bonus: the polyester fabric is water-repellent as it has been treated with M&S’s own "stormwear" technology.
Club Monaco Claudine trench: £339.62, Club Monaco
This is a more relaxed take on the trench in a soft mid-blue, with the traditional storm flaps and belt offset by a waterfall collar. It does have double-breasted buttons so fastens as normal, but looks best worn open. A great piece for layering with shirts, tees and knitwear.
The verdict: Trench coats for women
People’s requirements are so different when it comes to trench coats, it’s hard to pick one that will satisfy all comers. We don’t think anyone will regret a Burberry trench if they can stretch to it, but we were really impressed by the quality of some of the less expensive options available, particularly from Boden. That grosgrain ribbon stripe makes it.
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