Differences in Pea Coats and Trench Coats

Pea coats and trenches are meant for different kinds of weather.

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When cold weather is approaching, it's time to pull your sweaters out of storage and find a coat that will last you through the season. From fur-adorned pea coats to classic, streamlined trenches, choosing the right jacket can sometimes seem overwhelming. It has to keep you warm, stylish and fit with the rest of your wardrobe. Varsity jackets and leather bombers grace the shoulders of the most on trend fashionistas, but if you want to get the most wear, a pea coat or trench is a timeless wardrobe staple.

The Fabric

Trenches and pea coats have a lot in common -- they're classic, frequently double breasted and overwhelmingly popular. Where they differ lies in the small details. Trenches are typically made out of a lighter, more water-resistant fabric like nylon or patent leather, while pea coats are made from wool, polyester, cashmere and even cotton. Because of the difference in fabric, trenches are more suited for autumn and early spring, and pea coats are more suited for winter. Of course, there's no hard and fast rule; there can be lightweight pea coats and thick, warm trenches.

The Details

Pea coats and trench coats come in a wide variety of colors and styles, but there are some details that help differentiate the two. Trench coats are almost always double breasted, meaning they have two rows of buttons instead of one. While many pea coats are double breasted, they can also have a single row of buttons. In general, pea coats come in a lot of different shapes and sizes. They can have varying fits, from nipping in at the waist to falling straight down the body, and different accents like Peter Pan collars, belts and cuffs. Trench coats have a more distinct, uniform look. They are always nipped in at the waist with a belt and have a larger collar like a men's blazer.

Choosing the Right Pea Coat

A pea coat that nips in at the waist will flatter the smallest part of you and looks good on all body types. If you're curvy on top, a double-breasted pea coat will help shrink your large chest, but if you're petite and have a boyish figure, a pea coat with a thick belt that falls at the top of your thigh will create curves without overwhelming your small frame. If you're tall, you should pick a longer pea coat that falls mid-thigh or slightly above. Choose a pea coat that's at least 85 percent wool if you plan on wearing it on the coldest days of winter. If not, choose a light cotton or polyester for autumn and spring.

Choosing the Right Trench

According to "Glamour," the right trench should be simple, elegant and in a classic color like camel or black; however, a bright pink trench coat or a sleek, black patent leather trench can help you stand out among the tired earth tones and gloomy shades of black and gray that overwhelm the streets during winter. If you choose a trench in a bright color or wild fabric, you won't get the same amount of wear out of it, but it will be a great statement piece. If you're tall you can choose a longer trench that hits at your knees, but if you're petite you want to go mid-thigh or above. A trench should also fit close to your body. It's not meant to be a thick coat that you layer underneath, like a pea coat. It's meant to be worn in rain or in-between weather.

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