Closet Constructor: Tame the Trench Coat With This $500 ‘Fit

Spring showers bring sick outwear

March 1, 2024 11:26 am
a collage of items on a polaroid background
Need a little weekend fitspo? We've got you covered.

Nota bene: If you buy through the links in this article, we may earn a small share of the profits.

Welcome to Closet Constructor, a weekly series where I (a style editor) help you (a well-meaning person who likes clothes) discover new, interesting and affordable ways to really start dressin’.

This week, I’ve been diving into the personal archives — Not those archives, definitely don’t look at those ones — for some moodboard-masterminded afflatus as I embark on the personal journey that is polymerizing some semblance of a transitional closet out of my winter wardrobe and not-quite-unpacked spring stuff. Even style editors need some inspiration once in a while, especially when it comes to the ficklest time of the year for weather. NYC, for example, has been oscillating between a balmy 60 and a frigid, oft-slick 25 over the past week.

What I keep coming back to, is, naturally, the trench coat. I’m obviously aware that I’m not reinventing the wheel here, but until some Scandi dude with a point to prove can come up with a better way of repelling wet March weather without causing a reactor meltdown when the temps kiss 50, it’s where we’re at. Nor is it lost on me that it’s a bit of a storied item in the annals of menswear history: from WWI officers to football hooligans to Bogart types to Pasadena dads, the trench remains the go-to spring style when days get damp.

I also totally understand being a tad intimidated by the style, especially if terms like sartorial or sprezzatura sound unfamiliar and slightly fishy to your virgin ears. A long coat, especially one sans the creature comforts typical of a cozy wool-blend topcoat, can seem excessively formal, if not a bit unnatural.

But pulling off a trench is easier than it might seem at first glance. Naturally, it all starts with the right coat — Uniqlo’s affordable take on the iconic style is a great jumping-off point, as it trades in the buttoned-up double-breasted tradition for a sleeker but still relaxed frame, complete with a water-repellent finish and removable liner vest. (You could similarly scour the resale markets for a used Burberry, which can be found for $100-$250.)

Boom. Glad that’s squared. But don’t think you can just toss on anything under your newly purchased grail. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from many bricked fits, it’s that you sleep on the rest of the seasonal uniform at your own peril. Skirt any potential ‘fit-blowing flubs by trusting the transitional basics you already wear all the time — well-fitting sweater polos, relaxed workwear pants, derby-style footwear, a beat dad hat, the works. If you think you’re ready for the advanced version, the shorts-under-the-trench move is particularly intriguing, but know thine limits…and whether or not going thighs out will get you reported to HR.

Another rainy day fit in the books. You’re welcome, chief. Shop our picks below, and enjoy your weekend.

The InsideHook Newsletter.

News, advice and insights for the most interesting person in the room.