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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Spring is finally gusting through, bringing with it the need to wrap up, stay dry and still look cool. A trench coat, always so glamorously practical, can do the trick quite nicely, thank you. There's a lot to love about a trench -- a good, well-cut one is versatile, appropriate and can hang on longer than some wayward spouses.

But slipping into just any old beige thing can put you on the express train to Frumpville. This year's updated trench avoids all that. It's shorter and likes being young, flirty and feminine -- a well-dressed gal at the Gold Cup races with a mint julep in hand. The muted celery green belted coat from Simply Vera Vera Wang, the luxury designer's lower-price collection for Kohl's department stores, is a terrific example. Other "notice me" versions: Burberry's double-breasted polyamide/polyurethane fuchsia number with zip-off hood and drawstring bottom, quite the evolution from the label's classic World War I-era coat for British trench-bound soldiers; and Club Monaco's yellow cotton peacoat, sunny as a daffodil.

Trench coats also come in witty prints. Take Isaac Mizrahi for Target's cotton canvas toile trench coat, for example. For those days when the weather's more lion than lamb, Boden's hooded A-line Rainyday jacket -- all flowers and pop -- might be just the way to tame what's left of March.

-- Jill Hudson Neal


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