Though I like a bit of graphic pop and edge to a lot of my looks, I’m also a huge fan of beautiful, classic pieces. I can’t think of a better timeless piece for spring than the trench coat.
You may have seen me living in my wool camel coat all fall and winter, and I think of the classic trench coat as its spring cousin. The neutral tan/taupe shades of most trench coats work well with just about anything you throw on underneath, and the structured, chic style of a trench makes any of those looks more elevated.
In Search Of The Perfect Trench Coat: A Try-On Sesh
Perhaps I’ll pull together a styling post soon, but first I needed to see what was out there in stock right now. I have a beautiful Banana Republic trench coat from a previous season, and so I started there with a few of their current options. Then, I also ordered up a J.Crew trench, a couple of classic London Fog coats, and two nylon jackets for some really lighter-weight choices. Out of the eight coats I tried, here’s a quick overview of my favorites… or keep scrolling for more details on each.
Best Short Trench: J.Crew New Icon Trench
Best Maxi Trench: Banana Republic Journey Trench
Best Under-$200 Trench: London Fog Hooded Double Breast Trench
Best Nylon Trench: Sam Edelman Double Breasted Nylon Trench
Most Elegant, But Probably Not-For-Lots-of-Rain Trench: Banana Republic Soft Trench Coat
Trench Coats Over $200
I decided to break down the trench coats I tried into two groups, by price. These trench coats, from London Fog to J.Crew and Banana Republic, all ring in between $200 and $300. Most of them are stunning and feature a classic structure and timeless details. A removable hood is key (wink).
Let’s just go ahead and start with one of my favorites. This Journey Trench from BR is SO stunning. The collar is incredible and the orange under the collar is a really beautiful detail. It even comes with what I can only assume to be a rain-guard bib at the neck haha. It’s cool, trust me (but it’s also removable). The buckles in leather are a gorgeous detail, and it’s perfect for a classic, very structured look.
The fabric is water-repellent, 100% cotton, and it has a hidden double-breasted button closure. I’m really impressed with Banana Republic coats and the construction is phenomenal. A really great find.
The Essential Trench is another beautiful jacket from Banana Republic. They really know how to create a stunning trench coat. This one is slightly more fitted than the Journey Trench above, so perhaps size up if you plan to layer heavier sweaters underneath. The color is a beautiful alternative option if the classic tan trench doesn’t work well with your skin tone. I prefer the lighter tone above for myself and my hair color, but this is a really stunning shade. (I think Julieta would approve!)
The construction on this trench is also really lovely. It has the classic double-breasted button style on the outside, which I love. The shorter length is great for every day. Both of these from BR are very structured, and look really sharp and classic.
OK, so. I didn’t think I would necessarily hang on to any of these, but then I put on the New Icon Trench from J.Crew. It’s a great spring weight (lighter than my older, heavier BR trench) without being too light, has phenomenal details like classic epaulets and leather on the buckles AND…it has a hood (which is also removable). The fabric is also water-repellent.
I’m wearing my regular coat size 6 here, and it fits over my thick hoodie just comfortably, which is perfect for me because I love my hoodies. If you plan to wear it over thinner layers you could probably size down.
(As a reminder for fit, I’m 5’4″ and a size Small/6, rarely petite, straighter through the middle and a slightly shorter torso. 32DD bra size.)
While not the most rain-proof of the bunch (an understatement), this soft trench coat from BR is the most stunning. If you need a dressy coat for work or events, THIS. It’s so beautiful and even more so in person. This is the ultimate spring coat if you need it more for warmth than for rain.
My mom ordered it after I showed it to her and she (as you may have seen around here occasionally) has excellent taste. And soft is the correct descriptor. It is SO soft. It’s made of mostly rayon, a little spandex and has a poly lining. The site says it feels like more of a dress than a trench and I’d agree.
I would own this already if I lived anywhere besides the Northwest. TTS. Wearing a S.
Talking about classic, well-made trench coat options…I had to try out a couple of London Fog coats. This maxi coat is beautifully made and has all the classic details AND a hood, which I do wish my own trench coat had. We’re not umbrella people here in Portland and a hood would be a handy addition. (Hence the love for the J.Crew Icon above!)
Trench Coats Under $200
It’s tricky to find a good classic cotton trench under $200, but some of the above will occasionally go on sale, with the caveat though that the classic cotton style almost always sells out…even in the really high-end options. I tried to order a Burberry trench to review but hardly any sizes were left! (Shana did a Burberry trench coat review a few years ago.) That being said, this first one below is definitely worth a try AND under $200.
This London Fog double breasted trench with a hood is by far the best of the under $200 options, friends. So well-made, but a bit lower price because it’s not the maxi version like the one above. It is a little bit softer than the Banana Republic structured trench coats above, so if you want structure without a stiff fabric this might be your fav. Style-wise this has all the classic details, and as long as you can nab it while it’s still in stock, it’s a seriously good one.
I wasn’t impressed with the nylon versions at all, but IF you really need a nylon version for where you live, this one was the best IMO.
I was frustrated that these options were so wrinkly because while I’m all about ironing/steaming most things, it seems like one shouldn’t have to steam nylon, right? Yeah. I think it might hang out or release with the rain, but…The length and styling on this one from Sam Edelman are really nice features though, as is the sleeve detail. It makes it feel more stylish than your typical rain jacket. And this would be a good packable option if you aren’t going to wear your trench on the plane, etc. (That’s what I do when I travel with mine.)
I did have trouble getting the belt to tie like I wanted on the nylon coats, but I’m sure with a little more work one could figure out a better-looking knot, heh. I’ll be honest, I was a little over figuring it out by the 5th or 6th trench coat.
The slightly annoyed look on my face below is because at this point I was really tired of tying trench belts, friends. Haha. The nylon coats were not my friend in this regard, but I’m sure could be managed if you only had to tie one per day. This was not my favorite of the bunch by far, but if you need a nylon option under $50 (currently on sale at Nordstrom Rack) that’s packable, this will work! It’s cute snapped all the way up but I don’t love it open as much.
Shop More Trench Coats
And there we have it, friends. If I somehow missed a favorite trench coat of yours that’s in stock, let me know! I know this isn’t an exhaustive list but I feel like there were some really solid finds if you’re looking for a classic trench style.
I’ll forever fan-girl that combo of sporty meets preppy, and the trench is a phenomenal piece for pulling that off.
Would love for you to say hi over on my Instagram @laurajansenstyle where there are mostly odes to snacks, OOTDs, and everyday mom life stuff in Portland, Oregon. xoxo