Vancouver designers pick the perfect trench coat

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      Spring is in the air, and all the stylists are telling us to invest in cropped tops, sheer skirts, and mesh dresses. Problem is, we still have April showers and cool evenings to contend with.

      So what’s a girl to do if she wants to bust out some of those easy, breezy springtime threads? Her best bet is to find the perfect trench coat that can take her from day to night, and who better to turn to for a super-chic, water-resistant one than some long-time Rain City designers? Here are our top-three spring jacket picks, along with some style pointers from the people who made them.

      Lena Jacket by Allison Wonderland

      As a 15-year vet in the Vancouver fashion scene, Allison Wonderland designer Allison Smith isn’t afraid to step outside the neutral-colours box. That’s why this water-repellent belted beauty—which retails for $238 at Dream (356 Water Street) and Little Dream (130–1666 Johnston Street, Granville Island)—comes in a gorgeous royal blue and a cheeky cherry red (left).

      “I’m a sucker for colour,” Smith tells the Straight by phone.

      When it comes to rocking a standout piece like this, less is best.

      “One of my favourite ways to wear this is with bare legs and sandals,” she says. “I just think it’s such a cute look.”

      That said, Smith admits you may have to wait till it’s a bit warmer before dusting off anything mini in your closet. For now, she’s all about layering—think cute blouses, cardigans, and jeans. For shoes, she recommends those classic flat lace-up boots that were everywhere this past winter—only you might want to switch out your dark leather pair for a tan suede version.

      “They look great with skirts, jeans, and dresses,” Smith confirms.

      Butternut Jacket by dace

      Opt for sophisticated street cred with dace’s water-repellent Butternut Jacket.

      Ah, Dace Moore—queen of the understated. Her label, dace, has been around for 12 years, and the Butternut Jacket ($375) is really an evolution in design of all her collections to date. This tailored piece of sophisticated street cred—which is sold at the Block (350 West Cordova Street), Eugene Choo (3683 Main Street), and Oliver & Lilly’s (1575 West 6th Avenue)—comes in a water-repellent black fabric. As well, there’s a linen-cotton tan option. The genius of this oversized, unassuming design is in the details: drop shoulders, triple welt pockets, a curved hem, and of course the all-important hood. It’s so sleek, you can wear it with a dress and platforms or kick it SoMa style.

      “I would rock it with a white T-shirt, sneakers, and jeans,” Moore says, calling from her appointment-only studio (725 East Hastings Street).

      But if it’s pouring outside, Moore isn’t above wearing rain boots (as long as they’re not tall boys). Yes, the big, bold rain boot craze seems to be on its last legs.

      “There’s so many ankle boots that you can get away with wearing without looking like you’re wearing rain boots,” she says, citing Aigle’s selection of rubber cuties ($155 to $185 at Gravity Pope [2205 West 4th Avenue]).

      Discover Jacket by Nicole Bridger

      Stay stylish and environmentally friendly with Nicole Bridger’s water-resistant Discover Jacket.

      Leave it to Nicole Bridger to offer a water-resistant staple that’s both environmentally friendly and stylish. The eco-minded designer’s Discover Jacket ($248)—which she’s selling at several locations, including her flagship store (2151 West 4th Avenue)—is made from a recycled polyester fabric that boasts a smooth suede-like finish. It comes in basic black or stormy blue and can be worn loose and billowing or fitted with a belt. It’s clear from this design that Bridger has mastered the art of making elegant cover-ups that can take on the Vancouver elements.

      “For me, outerwear is so important,” Bridger says, calling from her home. “You see people and they’ll have this great outfit, and then they throw on, like, a MEC jacket and it just destroys the whole look.”

      As for footwear during this puddle period we call spring, Bridger is liking all those smokin’ hot cowboy shorties out there (again, Gravity Pope is the place to be for this style). That’s why she has the following advice: “Shoes are so important, so don’t cop out and get a big rain boot.”




      Mar 18, 2014 at 5:12pm

      Lots of great trench coats at thrift stores.
      Wanna spruce up the usual beige? Team it with a leather belt, hot pink or electric blue gloves and you are set to go!