Welcome back to another instalment of Making My Wardrobe Work Harder, my ‘once a month’ series that definitely doesn’t happen once a month. It’s official – I’ve scrapped the idea of trying to do it that frequently. In fact, next time, when I inevitably take ages to do another one, I don’t think I’ll even bother with this whole ‘Oh gosh, what a long time it’s been’ stuff.
So, you might possibly know the drill if you’ve been around these parts before, and if you don’t it’s not exactly a difficult concept to grasp; I choose one item that I already own and style it four ways with other items that I already own, with the aim of making the most of my existing wardrobe. It’s my attempt at a ‘regular’ feature amongst the rambling that happens in my usual posts, combined with my attempt to stop haemorrhaging money.
The item I’m styling this time is the humble trench coat – specifically, this camel one from Marks & Spencer. Now, I feel like I should say here that I actually haven’t done this for anyone else’s benefit, because everyone knows how to style a trench coat, don’t they? It’s a classic, it’s a staple, it goes with everything..but do you know who didn’t know how to style a trench coat? Me. That’s right, I’ve had this thing over a year and I’ve barely worn it, because for some reason I just couldn’t get my head around what to put it with. That’s why actually having to incorporate it into some different looks made perfect sense – it gave me an excuse to get my little brain into gear and start styling it up. Here’s what I wore it with:
Look one: The most basic of the basics
Let’s start easy, with what is probably the most basic outfit of all time. I mean…jeans, a long-sleeved Breton tee, converse, and trench coat? All staples. This is super casual, super easy weekend dressing at it’s most classic really isn’t it, and there’s nothing wrong with that in my book. When it gets a bit chillier (it was so weirdly warm this weekend, when we took these) I’ll just switch the Breton for a plain, striped or colour block jumper and the converse for Chelsea boots until we hit ‘proper coat’ season.
Look two: Werk werk werk
The trench coat, it transpires, is a skilled beast; it can do weekend casual and important day at work with ease and pretty much works for any occasion. I absolutely love the combination of red and camel and really wanted that to be one of the looks, but it turned out I didn’t have any red tops or jumpers, so I added just a little pop of red into the work outfit instead. The frilled hem trousers were in my first ever post and I love them, and this shirt was an H&M sale find at the beginning of the year. If in doubt with a camel trench, a light colour on your top half with black or denim on the bottom is a colour palette I always think works.
Shirt: H&M | Trousers: Zara | Shoes: River Island
Look three: “The sixties costume party is that way, love”
Okay, I’m not sure how this happened. One moment I was contemplating a high necked black jumper with the trench coat, the next I was swanning out of the house in this ensemble. And, despite the fact that I might look a little like I’m going to some kind of ‘through the decades’ themed party, I felt pretty good in this combination. I really liked having something shorter than the coat on my bottom half but still having the sides and backs of my legs mostly covered, and the boots and jumper keep it season appropriate – for now at least, until tights become an absolute necessity. This is why (when I remember to do them) I love these posts, because they get me trying combinations I haven’t considered before.
Jumper: New Look | Skirt: New Look | Hat: H&M | Boots: New Look | Bag: New Look
Look four: One for everyday
Because trench coats and denim are a match made in heaven, there was no way I was going to be sticking with just one outfit incorporating them both. I actually saw the denim shirt and camel trench combo on Pinterest, and since I had a barely-worn denim shirt lurking around in the back of the wardrobe, thought I’d give it a go for myself. I paired it with coated black jeans – I love the ridged knee detail on these – and studded ankle boots, and I loved it so much I wore it again the next day. I can get away with this at work and it’s also perfect for shopping, brunch, and generally doing day to day life when you want to be comfortable but not go for the trainers and jeans vibe.
Shirt: New Look | Coated jeans: H&M | Boots: H&M | Bag: Primark
Turns out the trench coat is a staple after all – who knew?! Well, the answer is…just about everyone, except me. I’m fully on board now though, so this baby is no longer going to waste. Which look is your favourite?
Photos: Rob Poor