A trench coat is a sartorial staple deserving of a spot in every woman’s wardrobe. Both Burberry and Aquascutum are often believed to be the first brands to invent the coat adopted by officers during the First World War to provide protection from the elements. But, it was in fact Macintosh and Hancock who designed the first long, rubberised cotton waterproof jacket in 1823, which influenced the designs we know and love today.
One thing that is undisputed, however, is this outerwear item has an enduring place in fashion. From a wartime staple to a linchpin in the modern capsule collection, the classic trench has barely changed in terms of design, and many people consider theirs to be their most worn outerwear – testament to just how investment-worthy they are.
This versatile piece, which will see you through the transitional period from season to season, can be worn over a padded gilet and roll neck on cold wintery days, or when the frost thaws, thrown on as a lightweight jacket over a midi dress.
Despite being a true all-rounder, it’s worth noting though that not all trenches are created equal, so we’d recommend nailing your desired criteria. For us, we looked for those that were neutral in hue, had an oversized and timeless design and a long length to prioritise warmth as well as style.
Whether you’re looking to splash the cash or for something more affordable, prepare to meet your new favourite staple (and its ability to transform even the most ill-thought-out outfit into something chic).
You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.
Asos Design check spliced oversized trench coat in stone
Asos is winning once again when it comes to outerwear, and we urge you to consider this trench for your next spring purchase. With a slight weight to the woven fabric and a loose cut, it falls perfectly for a relaxed, oversized fit when left undone. Once tied though, it’ll cinch you in at the waist, providing the best of both worlds. Plus, you’ll be thankful for the deep pockets on your daily stroll. The checked paneling at the back offers a more contemporary take on the classic design, adding another dimension to an outfit. We’re touting this as a hero buy for spring and beyond, and suspect you’ll be seeing it all over Instagram very soon.
Saint + Sofia trench coat
A relative newcomer to the scene, independent fashion brand Saint + Sofia was founded in January 2020 and uses only natural or recycled fabrics to create its clothing, which arrive in plastic-free packaging. Brand credentials aside, the first impressions of this trench coat were excellent – it’s made from a soft cotton and the cut offers a timeless, fitted silhouette. Slightly different to the others in this round-up, it features storm flaps for extra protection from the elements, which worked a treat. An investment at £350, but if you’ve got the money to spend, this is a great choice.
Musier trench dorothee
From the moment we took this mid-calf skimming trench from French It-girl brand Musier out of the box we fell in love. After good first impressions, it didn’t disappoint when we tried in on either – with a weightiness you’d expect from something with this price tag, it hangs perfectly. An oversized fit, it’s the ideal additional layer and can be thrown on over woollen jumpers on chillier days. If you’re looking to make an investment, this is another great trench to do it with.
Uniqlo women Uniqlo U trench coat
Uniqlo’s latest U collection instantly caught our eye thanks to its range of spring-ready wardrobe essentials, and this trench is no different. Despite being designed to have an oversized fit, the tie waist makes you feel well and truly wrapped up – ideal for days that are slightly blustery. As for the colour, it does look slightly different in person to how it does online, more of a navy with green undertones, but this didn’t put us off.
Nasty Gal let’s take this outside longline belted trench coat
Despite being the most affordable trench coat in this round-up, quality is not sacrificed here. With its double breasted design with button-down closures and a length that skims the lower calf, this is a great option for those looking for a classic trench coat at a low price point. The fabric has a slight softness to it and the cut means it’s nice and fitted on the arms. Coming in beige or black, there’s something for every taste.
Alexa Chung x Barbour Julie jacket
This is the fourth collection to come from the Alexachung x Barbour collaboration, and this time there’s a serious nod to equestrian design. This particular jacket has been designed with timelessness in mind – when left open and unbuttoned it’s free flowing and slightly oversized, which we loved. But, should you be looking for a more accentuated silhouette, there are tie strings at the back, which will create a tailored look and pull you in at the waist.
Everlane the drape trench
While a cream coat might not seem like the safest option, it’s quickly becoming the most fashionable one, with the likes of Hailey Bieber and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley donning them on their daily strolls. This particular style from sustainable brand Everlane features the signature exaggerated collar you’d expect from the standard trench design and four double-breasted buttons. A chic number that’ll always make going outside that bit better.
Reserved classic trench
From one of our favourite high street brands, this jacket is slightly shorter and thinner than others in this round-up, making it ideal for the days when the sun is giving its all. Use the belt to tie around you and create a form-fitting silhouette. We’d suggest sizing up to give extra room for any additional layers.
La Redoute long lightweight trench coat
An easy throw-on-and-go jacket, this trench has a crisp, oversized fit and is ideal for the ever-changing weather conditions – for when the temperature is a little lower, it’s roomy enough to wear a gilet or thick jumper underneath, making it a versatile addition to any wardrobe. The khaki colourway is a great alternative to the classic beige we so often see with trenches.
The verdict: Women’s trench coats
Opt for any of the trenches in this round-up and you’ll certainly be making a wise addition to your outerwear collection. If you’re searching for a relatively affordable, yet failsafe jacket, it’s got to be the Asos Design check spliced oversized trench coat in stone thanks to its contemporary take on the classic design and ability to truly transform even the most dowdy outfits.
After a truly investment piece? Look no further than the Saint + Sofia trench coat; the weighty fabric and fitted silhouette give it a high-end formal look we can’t get enough of.
IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.