Reader Question: Trench Coat Length for an Hourglass Figure
Can I ask a question about balance in design here? I have a silky dark navy raincoat with white pin dots. I like the contradiction between the feminine fabric and the full-out trench detailing. It isn't my best look - the fullness, the belted trench, the epaulets and belted sleeves, the full cape back bodice, the half cape front bodice, the semi-dolman sleeves - but I like it.
Here's what I'm wrestling with. It was an 80's style with the rounded extended shoulder pads. I replaced these with smaller and somewhat crisper. The former length balanced all this "design." But it was ankle-length on me - I'm 5 feet with that all around hourglass.
My first thought was that I had to be careful how much I shortened it because of needing to balance the top fullness. So I have it around mid-calf, perhaps a bit higher. Looking at runway pictures I see many similar full cut trenches that are knee length and even above the knee. It gives a very wide poofy effect even on the slender models.
What do you think?
My off-cuff-answer was "not above the knee", but here's what I found after a bit more research.
- Generally these looks measure two "units" above the belt and three below. That is in accordance with the basic laws of proportion governing the universe.
- But I think some of them are belted above the natural waist. Okay for a skinny model, not actually workable for a genuine Type X figure.
- And then there is the matter of the sleeves. Nearly all of them were 3/4 length or at least pushed up. I suppose that is merely parenthetical to the actual point here.
- But shape is the elusive element. If you belted the coat at the first natural-looking spot below the bust and then hemmed the coat to a length (from the belt) 1 and 1/2 times the length from shoulder to belt, would the "skirt" of the coat poof or drape? Would the overall silhouette be an hourglass, a figure eight, or a mish-mash? And would the length be above the knee or below?
If it worked, it could be fresh, pretty, and springy.
Picture "borrowed" from Elle.com. Subscribe here for even less than Vogue.