Ask Allie: Adding Spring to a Black Coat

Dear Allie,
I just bought the Lands’ End SunShower coat you mentioned on your blog, but in black. Any ideas on springing it up?
– Phyllis

lands end sunshower
Lands' End SunShower coat (left) and trench (right)

What a great purchase! I hope you love the coat, I think it’s a classic style and Lands’ End is always known for their great quality and customer service.

Black is a great choice for outerwear as that it is versatile, can be worn many seasons, doesn’t show dirt, and can dress up better than tan or a color. However, it can seem dreary when all the trees are beginning to bud and the birds are chirping. Here’s some ways to add spring to your black trench:

Spring up a Black Trench


1. A Cheery Umbrella. It’s so easy to get a basic black or navy one (or carry the random swag umbrella you picked up at the last conference), but a colorful umbrella will help you stand out in a crowd and add a pop of color to your black rain coat. This year Pantone says the hot color is Honeysuckle Pink, but the runways have shown all sorts of cheery hues and designers have had a soft spot for tangerine this spring (which is lighter than orange and won’t make you look like a Jack O’Lantern).

2. A Springy Scarf. For this time of year I am not thinking a cashmere muffler, but a cotton voile scarf in a sherbet color or a cheerful print. Florals as well as optic prints are hot for spring, and both would really pop against a stark black background. Tuck into the collar so just a bit peeks out, softening the look of the trench.

3. Switch out (or add) a Belt. The SunShower trench has a self-belt, the coat is sans belt but nips in at the waist. Both would work with adding a wide elasticized belt in a springy hue. This is a look I would have never considered until I started seeing women this winter wear their wool coats with belts that are obviously not for outerwear.

A wide belt will work with the fabric of the coat; choose a patent or leather buckle to balance the textures of the trench. You could do something simple like an ivory belt with black or wood buckle, or switch it up with a spring-like shade. To keep the proper line of the coat, don’t cinch the belt too tight – just enough to keep it in place and show off your waist.


4. Think Spring with your Accessories. Come spring, a black leather bag can look dreary, tall boots heavy, big plastic sunglasses overwhelming. Think spring when purchasing new accessories and you will be amazed how just a change to peeptoes and a canvas bag can make a black trench suddenly look light and fresh!

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6 Comments

  1. March 24, 2011 / 6:26 pm

    Thanks for the tips, Allie! I’m going shopping with nectarine in mind tomorrow!

  2. March 24, 2011 / 6:26 pm

    What bag is that? I love it!

    And I think your additions are spot on. I think the chic-est thing you can do to a trench is add a scarf just edging out.

  3. March 10, 2011 / 5:09 am

    What bag is that? I love it!

    And I think your additions are spot on. I think the chic-est thing you can do to a trench is add a scarf just edging out.

  4. March 10, 2011 / 2:43 am

    Thanks for the tips, Allie! I’m going shopping with nectarine in mind tomorrow!

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