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personal stylist

Trench coat season is here – and they're not just for detectives

I love the idea of a classic trench coat, but I don't want to look like a hard-boiled detective. What are some options that will satisfy my desire to look neat and natty as we move into milder weather?

Céline's spring collection features a white leather trench. Monica Feudi

Céline's spring collection, in which designer Phoebe Philo's offering for the brand included a seductive white leather trench, proved all spring outerwear is not created equal. And luckily, you don't have to be a supersleuth to uncover the season's best options for keeping covered. If you crave a bit of the unexpected when you're getting ready to head out the door, there's a wealth of design-forward trench coats that will keep you cozy on cool March mornings.

Reiss's checked coat is bells-and-whistles-free with the exception of its pattern. Beautiful? Yes. Discreet? Not so much. The good news is, its classic silhouette keeps it from being too outré. If the look feels a bit too boxy for you, soften it with a long, printed scarf in chiffon or silk; these fabrics pair well with sharply cut pieces, softening the stiffness and adding a bit of ease instead.

If you're a frill seeker, perhaps Club Monaco's soft, ruffled lapel trench is up your alley? It comes in an array of colours and features a bow-tie detail at the cuffs. To avoid looking cloyingly sweet, wear it with a structured tote bag and knee-high boots with a block heel.

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Great outdoorsy types will gravitate toward J.Crew's utilitarian take on the trench coat, complete with a corduroy collar. It's rugged, yet refined. Columbo would approve.

Get the look

Ellayne trench, $298 at Club Monaco (

Field trench coat, $259 at J.Crew (

Mae checked trench coat, $595 at Reiss (

Have a style query that needs solving? Send your questions to

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