You know how I feel about trenches. And you know that Burberry make THE trench.
I've loved many trenches over the years. It began with a stint in Paris as an Erasmus student 10 years ago. Everyone wore them. Men, women and children. I found one with pleats and puffed shoulders (it was 2006) in a boutique near Rue d'Assas and I wore it to death. It elevated basic jeans, ballerines, and a scarf to perfect Parisienne chic. Three things* happened after I bought that coat which cemented my love for it.
1.I was stopped by an Australian photographer on Rue Soufflot beside the Pantheon. He was shooting for a travel magazine and he asked me to pose, as he needed a "classic Parisian look" and my black jeans, loose black shirt, silk polka dot scarf and trench fit the bill. If you know me you'll know that's basically my uniform! "Vouz-parlez Anglais?" he haltingly asked me. "Yep" I replied cheerfully. "I'm Irish!" He was thrilled. Now this could have been a scam (and perhaps my face is out there superimposed into all sorts of awful pictures!) but he showed me the magazine he worked for and he had one of those huge umbrella-like things and professional lighting so I'm inclined to believe him.
2. A man who looked like a cheap imitation of John Galliano complimented me on the metro one morning on my way to college. He told me he was casting models in his apartment and I had a very classic look that he wanted to shoot. Now that one I obviously didn't believe, so I thanked him and went on my way!
3. The most compelling evidence that the trench made me look like a local: a French man stopped me and asked for directions. He was mortified when he realised he'd asked a foreigner but I obliged!
But back to the Burberry. My recent conversion to ethical fashion and rejection of fast fashion (I'll be writing a lot more about this soon) plus my impecunity on unpaid maternity leave mean a new Burberry trench is out of the question. I wanted a coat that I would keep and wear for years. Previously I was in the habit of buying my annual trench - usually from Zara or similar shops. They're always fine but after a year or so they're tatty and my old mentality was to simply replace them with a new one. I would spend around €100 - €120 on a tan coloured trench each Spring. Imagine if over the last 10 years I had taken that money and invested in a new Burberry? I'd still be wearing it and I would have saved 10 or more coats from landfill.
I found my pre-loved classic Burberry ladies trench in a UK based online vintage shop which operates through Ebay. It cost me about £80 STG. it needed to be shortened so I visited my favourite tailors in the Zipyard Ranelagh and as ever, they knew exactly how to alter it without losing any of the shape. Well worth €60.
So I'm pretty happy with my first foray into vintage.
Trying vintage is a new direction for me sartorially. And it was fun! That thrill of finding what you want at a good price is like a drug! Hopefully I can inspire you to be more adventurous, to seek out the unusual and make it your own. Vintage for style's sake is great but when you consider the ethical advantages too it's a winner. Let me know how you get on!
* Writing this has reminded me of so much! The time an Algerian man asked my then boyfriend (now husband) if he could buy me from him. The time a man pulled down his trousers and flashed me in the Palais Royal metro station late one evening and then chased me (unsuccessfully - the trousers around his ankles slowed him down) to the metro. I was understandably upset but things work in a funny way and when I jumped into the carriage I happened to sit down beside two Irish guys over for a conference, one of whom had grown up near my Dad and knew him! I relaxed then and felt a bit safer.