Put away those puffers – it’s high time for the resurgence of the trench. But before you slip one on and head out into that springy breeze (or, err, April shower), discover these tips for finding the right fit for men and women.

The Fitting Room

Does my trench have to be the same length as my skirt?

The age-old rule is that a woman’s coat should never be longer – or shorter – than the hem of her skirt. In fact, they must match exactly. But in order to prevent the need for fifteen trillion coats in different lengths to match each and every skirt in your closet, look for a trench that’s no more than a few inches longer or shorter than your skirt. A longer trench creates a streamlined, unbroken line (read: it’s slimming!). Wearing pants? The world is your oyster – just make sure the trench is longer than your top layers. Which means no short trenches and super-long cardis.

How large should a men’s trench be? 

The Art of Manliness has this style down pat, noting that trenches should be long (and large) enough for you to wear over a suit or thick sweater. “A good measure,” they note, “is to try on a coat and button it up fully – the shoulders should extend out past your natural shoulder by .5 to 1 full inch (to allow room for a suit jacket)….  Next look at the sleeve length – they should be worn 2 to 4 inches longer than a suit jacket’s sleeves, to about the pinch on your hand.”

Do I choose double- or single-breasted? 

In general, I think single-breasted coats are more flattering across both genders, but in the end it comes down to personal preference. What makes you feel good? For a look at the benefits of both for men, peep our Double- vs. Single-Breasted Guide.

By Joanna Berliner, Editor

Have a fit tip you want answered? Check our The Fitting Room column every Monday, or tweet us at @ruelala

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March 25, 2013