Runway to Real Way: Dig Into Fall 2011′s Top Trenchcoats

Like all good things, summer is coming to an end before we are ready to say good-bye. Luckily, there is one silver lining in the impending storm of colder weather: fall fashion. A bit more buttoned-up than breezy sundresses though not as burdening as winter coats, fall is fashion’s candy store chock full of stylish separates, layering pieces and—best of all—chic outerwear.  The trench coat, for example brings to mind an Old Hollywood, Katherine Hepburn sense of glamour. And while it’s tough to make a great thing better, recent runways have been showcasing more modern and updated versions of this timeless classic, which would do wonders for any fall wardrobe.

One iconic image often associated with the trench is Ingrid Bergman in Casablanca with the bottom of her coat flapping in the night breeze. These days, trenches don’t necessarily need length to be a stylish staple. Haider Ackermann’s avant-garde coat comes belted and wrapped in succulent leather, which is great for the runway but may not be as practical for the street. Diane von Furstenberg, however, makes a sweet and sassy cropped trench that comes complete with an eye-catching button-front collar and a nylon exterior for those unexpected showers.

Prints on trenches are often a safe bet for those looking to edge outside the box a bit. From bold bursts to little pointillism dots, prints can turn a trench from a protector of the elements to a full-fledged accessory. Valentino took a subtle route for this fall, choosing to punctuate their ladylike silhouette with small expressions of gray, black, and tan (neutral patterns can make a printed trench that much more versatile). But we love Kate Spade’s Watercolor Rose Lauren Trench for it’s big, beautiful blossoms that have an almost pop art-like aesthetic. Who says the flowers need to be put away just because it’s fall?!

Louis Vuitton has been known for decades to push the envelope into unconventional territory. Their full-length patent leather trench is not for the fashion faint of heart. Since the high-gloss finish provides plenty of attention both coming and going. For one looking to make a more subtle statement yet still wanting to stand out, opt for Burberry London’s patent and cotton number with patent epaulets, sleeves and trim. Perfect little punch of panache without the overly shiny, space voyager look.

Lastly, the best way to get noticed on a gray and dreary fall day is with a pop of color. The classic trench is often seen in khaki or black. Stylish? Yes.  Mandatory? No! Spice up those rainy days with a splashy shade of any color in the rainbow. Purples were seen on the fall runways, as was red and this shock of yellow from Blumarine, the perfect shade to match your sunny mood even if the weather isn’t. If primary colors aren’t your thing, why not edge it up a bit with a little neon? This vibrant (and wildly affordable!) trench by Gallery can be seen even through the thickest cloud cover.

Whatever your style—belt it, button it, crop it, print it — but get your hands on one of these stellar trench coats and start getting excited for fall!

—Alia Rajput

1. Cropped Trench
Runway: Haider Ackermann Fall 2011 RTW
Real Way: Diane von Furstenberg Shane Short Trenchcoat, $495

2. Printed Trench
Runway: Valentino Fall 2011 RTW
Real Way: Watercolor Rose Lauren Trench
, $695

3. Funky Fabric Trench
Runway: Louis Vuitton Fall 2011 RTW
Real Way: Burberry London Patent & Cotton Trenchcoat, $1695

4. Colored Trench
Runway: Blumarine Fall 2011 RTW
Real Way: Gallery Trench Coat, Now $64.90

—Alia Rajput

Runway Photos: NY Mag

Image Layout: Molly Murphy

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