How Long Should A Trench Coat Be And How Should It Fit (For Men And Women)

Trench coats have made their way back into the world of popular fashion. If you're looking to add a new coat to your wardrobe, you may not know where to begin. After all, how long should a trench coat be, and how should it fit men and women?

Trench coats come in many lengths. You can choose the length of your ideal coat based on your height and build. Your gender, too, can influence the nature of your coat's lapels and waist cut.

The trench coat that suits you best is the one that makes you feel comfortable in your body. You can experiment with a coat's length and cut to determine which look will best accentuate the style you've built for yourself. Read on!

A young attractive woman in trench coat with little black cross bag, How Long Should A Trench Coat Be And How Should It Fit (For Men And Women)

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How Long Should A Trench Coat Be And How Should It Fit 

If you're adding a new trench coat to your wardrobe, you must consider how your build will impact its appearance. Your height, weight, and gender can all play a role in determining which kind of trench coat will suit you best. None of these factors can bar you from experimenting with a trench coat. All you need to do is find the style that suits you best.

Woman wears sunglasses and a yellow trench coat

The Length of the Average Trench Coat

If you want to embrace a more traditional trench coat look, you should consider purchasing a longer trench coat. The trench coat's longest variations tend to hit the wearer at the ankle. You do not want your trench coat to drag on the ground if you intend to make it look fashionable. Instead, you can work with a local seamstress to hem your coat so that it grazes the ground as you walk down the street.

Make sure that any longer trench coat you purchase is made out of a light or sturdy material. If your trench coat isn't made out of the right fabric, or if it doesn't have the proper supports, it can sag against your frame.

The Fit of Today's Trench Coats

Today's trench coats still boast the same broad shoulders as the trench coats of old. You can also find trench coats that draw in at the waist and emphasize length over breadth. To put it another way: today's trench coats tend to emphasize a person's height more than the breadth of their shoulders. The tapered waist also transforms your silhouette, even as the trench coat remains somewhat loose.

When you first look for a trench coat that suits you, consider where you want the waistline of the coat to hit. Ideally, you want the triangulation of the waist to focus on your narrowest point. It's challenging to have this cut modified, so make sure you like the way the trench coat tapers before you purchase it.

Similarly, make sure that your trench coat's hem hits you at a spot that suits your build. For example, if you have shorter legs, a hem that hits you at mid-calf will only make your legs look shorter. Petite individuals should consider longer trench coats for their wardrobes, while taller individuals can experiment more effectively with shorter cuts.

Gender and Trench Coat Wear

Portrait of a fashionable woman in her 30s

Because older trench coats tend to exaggerate the wearer's shoulders, many fashion critics asserted that they better-suited men. Nowadays, the make of the trench coat is flexible enough that it can suit anyone. Even older trench coats that are still in circulation can look as good on women as they can on men.

That said, men's trench coats tend to be more versatile than women's trench coats in their cuts. Men's trench coats often have a looser silhouette, making them easier to pair with a wider variety of wardrobes. Women's trench coats, comparatively, tend to universally taper toward the hip, emphasizing an hourglass look even as the cut of the coat remains roomy.

Neither of these cuts is better than the other. Similarly, neither cut needs to be limited to a particular gender presentation. Instead, it's up to you to determine which cut suits your style and body type. Once you find a look you like, you can tailor the rest of your outfit to accentuate your best qualities.

What Elements Make Up a Trench Coat?

Trench coats come with a variety of identifiable elements. Originally part of military outfits, today's trench coats tends to boast double-breasted collars and back vents. Trench coats for men and women come with sizeable pockets and wider lapels. 

Today's trench coats can be worn for practical purposes and fashionable ones. Because these coats can be made out of various fabrics, they can shuck off the rain as easily as they can make a fashion statement. Wool trench coats, for example, tend to add a pop to your winter looks, but they make less-than-comfortable additions to your wardrobe during the summer.

Are Trench Coats Supposed to Be Long?

When you think of a trench coat, you most likely think of a coat that comes down to your ankles, if not your mid-calf. In reality, you can find trench coats in a variety of sizes. The most common include:

  • Full length
  • Knee-length
  • Three-quarters
  • Upper-thigh

While also being traditional, long trench coats often tend to flatter shorter, curvier builds. If you carry your weight in your stomach or hips, you'll find that a longer trench coat directs an onlooker's eye down toward your legs. Comparatively, short trench coats attract attention to their hemlines, making them ideal for shorter wearers. 

Can You Wear a Trench Coat if You Are Short?

Young businesswoman using a mobile phone in the urban environmen

There are no rules of fashion that dictate whether you can or cannot wear a trench coat. Your height, in particular, shouldn't influence whether or not you consider adding one of these coats to your collection. You will want to consider the length of your ideal trench coat before you style your next look.

Shorter individuals may want to consider wearing longer trench coats so long as those trench coats are tailored to their height. Ideally, you want a longer trench coat to hit your ankle or mid-calf. Don't invest in too large of a trench coat if you want to retain an identifiable silhouette. 

How Long Should Trench Coat Sleeves Be?

While trench coats can vary in length, the length of a coat's sleeves should be consistent. On average, you want your cuff to stop at your wrist. If you need to get your cuff hemmed, you can work with a local seamstress to better fit a sleeve to your body. Alternatively, if you have a sewing machine on hand, you can experiment with DIY hemming.

That said, you can find some trench coats with modified sleeves. There are some variations of the coat that have three-quarter sleeves. It's rare, however, for a trench coat to have short sleeves.

Why Are Trench Coats So Long?

Trench coats originally protected their wearers from the weather. The lighter fabric combined with the length of the coat made it ideal for layering. Soldiers could wear their uniforms and additional coats under their trench coats to keep away the cold.

Nowadays, trench coats can serve a more fashionable purpose than they used to. That doesn't mean that they're not still good at keeping out the cold, though. Come the cooler months of winter; you can use a trench coat to create a layered look.

You can also wear trench coats during the spring and fall. While these coats may not be ideal for wearing in the heat of summer, the temperate temperatures of the spring and fall make them ideal single-layer additions to a comfortable wardrobe.

Should You Wear a Single or Double Breasted Trench Coat?

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Traditionally, trench coats boast a double breast. Men's trench coats tend not to waver from this make, as the double breast tends to widen the appearance of the chest and the shoulders. However, women's trench coats can often be seen with a single breast or no breast at all.

If you want to accentuate the size of your shoulders, double-breasted trench coats help you get the job done. You can alternatively opt for a single-breasted trench coat if you're concerned about how a traditional coat's cut may impact the appearance of your chest. Buttonless or breastless trench coats tend to look more informal than their cousins, but they can still make a good addition to a casual fall or spring wardrobe.

In Conclusion

The original design of the trench coat remains iconic to this day. However, designers have long moved away from a single, military-style trench coat look. You can find trench coats in all manner of lengths and fits. As a result, you can explore the different available styles to determine which suits you best.

There is no right or wrong length for today's trench coat. Instead, look at your wardrobe and play with how an extra layer - particularly one as generous as a trench coat - may add to your look. The more experimenting you do, the faster you'll find ways to make a trench coat part of your everyday look.

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