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How To Wear A Full Leather Trench Coat

Updated on January 15, 2011

A leather trench coat is a knee or calf-length coat, double or single breasted and still considered to be a fashionable piece of outerwear. When bought in the right style, fit and color, they're a great addition to any wardrobe. Despite the origins of the design, they remain as popular and versatile as they ever were.

How To Wear A Leather Trench Coat


Knowing how to wear a leather trench coat is pretty simple. Take away the fact that the material is leather and simply view it as a coat. Then bear in mind that certain styles should be avoided - like with any other form of clothing, and you're good to go.

The leather trench coat was developed as a modern day version of the standard outerwear designed and worn during the First World War. They were originally manufactured as a means of protecting individuals against rain and were predominantly made of a waterproofed material: gaberdine, wool or cotton drill.

Now manufactured in leather, they've gained in popularity due to the fact that they've appeared on the backs of various characters from the world of popular culture. From The X-Men films (Dr Jean Grey) to Humphery Bogart (who's looking at you kid) to The One himself (Neo), the trench coat has, in recent years, lurched back into the forefront of the fashionistas mind.

But - there's both a right and wrong way to wear one. As much as you may want to look like Trinity from the Matrix ... most individuals will end up looking less like an ultimate warrior sidekick and more like a dominatrix, if they too hard.

Leather trenchcoat 101: look before you buy.

Full Length Leather Trench Coat


Leather Trench Coat

You are neither Neo, Trinity nor Morpheus. This is not the look to aim for ...
You are neither Neo, Trinity nor Morpheus. This is not the look to aim for ...

A full length leather trench coat is any style that ends below the knee. Ankle length (and yes - they do exist) are extremely hard to wear, no matter who you are, so stick with the calf-length styles. As with the shorter lengths, there are two variations: double and single breasted.

Aim for one that is slightly A line, unless you're a male. Straighter lines look better on men, so do bear that in mind. The curves of the female form look far more flattering in styles that nip in at the waist and then have a slight flare down to the hem.

Most tend to have a belt. If you're uncomfortable with what to do with a belt, either avoid such styles or tie the belt, loosely, at the back of the trenchcoat.

Mid-Length Leather Trench Coat


Mid Length Trenchcoat

This is a beautiful mid length trenchcoat. And some way towards what you should be looking for. Well designed, sharp and adaptable.
This is a beautiful mid length trenchcoat. And some way towards what you should be looking for. Well designed, sharp and adaptable.

A mid length leather trench coat differ from the longer type simply due to the length. They're often designed the same way ... they're just shorter. However, you can get away with straighter lines with a shorter version but an A line design remains the most flattering for women.

The shorter styles give a more conservative look and are easier to wear in general. Most people struggle to wear any coat that is longer than knee length and can easily end up looking a little overpowered.

Worn with too much dark clothing ... you could find you're mistaken for a middle-aged goth. Check in the mirror on your way out the door. Head to toe black, topped with a black leather trench coat staring back at you?

Either add black lipstick and call yourself done or head back upstairs and start again.

How To Wear A Leather Trench Coat


Trenchcoats - What To Wear

How to wear a leather trench coat is relatively straighforward. Assuming you've picked a color, style and length that suits you, you can dress a trench coat up or down, depending on where you're going and why.

As most of the leather styles tend to be black - avoid wearing too much black underneath. You really will end up looking quite funereal (with amazingly little effort) so consider brightening up your overall look with a color flattering top and accessorizing to match.

Jeans are a great starting point - or similar casual trouser styles. The 'smart casual' look is easy to achieve where denim is concerned and you can easily dress up or down your intended look. Don't forget what's on your feet - especially if you choose a longer trench coat style.

Shoes are part accessory part item of clothing. Remember: attention to detail. Don't make everything above the ankle co-ordinate then slip into a pair of multi-colored wellies. No matter how much the fashion magazines are telling you they're the latest must have.

A leather trench coat works well with tunics (both top and dress style), anything that's well tailored and sharp. This will give you a more structured, conservative look. If you're wanting to appear casual, aim for soft knits, loose lines and cute ankle boots.

Last word: Unless you're a Barbie wannabe and don't care what anyone else thinks, do not buy one in pink leather. The same goes for guys (I'm not gender biased ... ). Stick with black, browns, taupe or even white (if you really know how to dress well) but pink is a huge fashion faux pas.

Remember: when it comes to leather - do not Think Pink.



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    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Hi frogdropping,

      I am kind of confuse of what to wear with my black leather coat. It's a bit straight, the A only shaped when I buttoned. It has two buttons. Nevermind about buttons I like wearing it loose. Anyway, I am a vocalist and sing rock classic, pop rock, modern rock, you name it, me = rock chick. Not too girly, nor boyish. I need your advise what top should I wear, and should I pair it with denims?what color? I am 159cm tall, 59kg weigh, I hope you get the figure. Far from skinny, a little bit off the

      I need help with shoes too, I don't have boots and not planning to buy one (budget),and simple accessories too. This event I am going to is my best friend's birthday party. We are going to celebrate it partying in a café, and it will be full of musician invitee with jamming etc ofcourse I'm going to sing a song or two. I want to stand out, and I need your help. Help!!

      Sorry about the long post, I need you to have the picture of event. Thank you in advance :)

      By the way, I'm 30 years old. And the coat is 7cm down half of my thigh.

    • frogdropping profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago

      Hey Mike :) I'd avoid the Matrix look ... unlike you can pull it off! I reckon being taller and well built will lend to the overall look. Leather trenchcoats are slimming and if you were slightly built, it could make you look angular.

      I have no idea re your sense of style, your prefernces. Jeans and sweaters? Sports wear? Smart casual or full on smart and trendy?

      Not knowing, I'd aim for smart casual. Avoid a belted style, unless you're going to use it. elt up when belts are attached!

      If you think a full-lenght leather trench coat a bit too much, buy a cropped one. Knee length or mid-thigh.

      Tailored shirts and pants work. As do jeans and shirts. Think about your feet - no sneakers/trainers! Shoes, the either classic designs or trendy styles. You know ... think leather, black, cool looking.

      Avoid: fedoras, hats in general. Adding bulk ... all will create a gangster look. No!

      In the event you don't think you can carry a leather coat off, opt for one in an alternative material, but stick with the classic trench coat outline.

      Hope that helps!

    • profile image

      Mike Hackett 

      9 years ago

      im a man, and i really like the idea of a full length trench coat, however i am hopeless in terms of knowing what will suit me, assumeing i were to man up and get one do you have any reccomendations how to wear it? and more to the point where from?, i am 6foot 2 and average-larger in build should that matter

    • More2luv profile image


      10 years ago from UK

      Great leather coat hub here frogdropping! Love leather myself so was a joy to read thank you

    • Runway profile image


      10 years ago from New York

      Great points! I love fashion and I'm always on the look out for new tips. thanks!

    • frogdropping profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago

      Candie - hey! And nope ... avoid pink leather. It really is vile! And like you, my thing is for the full length ones. So far I've owned two. Loved both and now miss both ;)

      Keira - lol thankyou! Au revoir --- then até logo, minha amiga!

    • keira7 profile image


      10 years ago

      I agree with you for the pink leather.:) Great hub my dear and thanks for the tips. Au revoir Madame Frogdropping.:)

    • Candie V profile image

      Candie V 

      10 years ago from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure!

      No pink? Hmmm.. well you are the frog o'fashion.. I'll take my cues from you!

      To be sure The Matrix put full length trench coats into high fashion! I've always loved the leather ones the best! Thanks for a great hub frog!


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