How to Mix High and Low Fashion When Styling A Trench Coat

It feels like spring is finally here! And with this new season, it’s time to cast aside your heavy wool coat and change into a crisp new trench coat. Sure, you still may need to stay under wraps, but now you can forego your socks, hats and gloves for easy styling. I’m going to show you how to mix high and low fashion with an outfit that all begins with a trench coat.

What Is High and Low Fashion?

High low fashion is styling a look with a mix of high end and high quality designer pieces with low-price pieces. I like to do a side-by-side comparison using designer pieces and finding cost-effective alternatives to get a similar look. That way you can pick and choose high and low purchases by brand. You can choose all high or all low, but I always think it is best to mix it up.

The trench, white shirt and black jeans for this outfit are really very basic, but the accessories are a bit more on the trendy (yet covetable) side and give this combo its flair. The basics you will wear quite a lot, like a white shirt or black jeans, so you may want to invest in a quality brand. Or maybe not – f you can find the right fit, the black jeans from H&M don’t look very different than the premium denim pair. No one will know the difference when you do high low styling right!


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Tips For High Low Styling

1. Spend money on one or two pieces that matter most to you. These must-have Proenza Schouler shoes or this Gucci bag can carry the whole look since the rest of the outfit is very basic. Wearing basics is always a good way to make your it-bag or shoes stand out.

2. Select low cost pieces that are fairly well made, fit correctly and are constructed with fabrics that drape well. Avoid clingy, sheer, shiny or other fabrics that look cheap. Black and white pieces are a good bet to buy low, because often you can’t see the top-stitching, or the exact fabric, and these colors hide any flaws.

3. Save money on super trendy pieces. However, if you know you will carry that Gucci snakeskin bag for 5 years and you absolutely adore it, then get it. If you think snakeskin is just for one season, then get the faux leather bag. Buying low is a good way to try something out. If you find yourself wearing that faux snakeskin bag a lot, then you may later decide to invest in a higher quality designer bag.

Now let’s shop!

Shop High And Low Fashion 

The Trench

This season’s trench coats have a lot of fresh details and style. This Isabel Marant coat has an interesting lapel and extra fabric. The Club Monaco coat is a bit more classic and very well-made and not terribly expensive. It is not wise to go too low price/end for a trench coat or it may look flimsy.

High: Isabel Marant Jamelo Belted Cotton-blend Gabardine Trench Coat, $1,025

Low: Club Monaco Janney Belted Trench Coat, $429

The Black Jeans

If you are looking for a slightly more forgiving cut in jeans try a stovepipe or straight leg style. I actually own a few pairs of the H&M vintage jeans and I like how they are looser in the legs than most straight legs.  Fit tip: When you purchase from H&M you may want to go up one size, especially since the denim does not have any stretch!

High: Re/Done High-Rise Stove Pipe Black Jeans, $235

Low: H&M Vintage Slim Ankle Jeans, $29.99

The Oversize White Shirt

A crisp white shirt always looks sharp under a trench coat. The Matthew Adams oversize shirt has a gorgeous high collar and oversized cuffs and may be well worth the investment if a white shirt is your trademark. Otherwise, go for the Treasure and Bond shirt for a lot less money.

High: Matthew Adams Dolan Oversize Shirt, $670

Low: Treasure & Bond Oversize Shirt, $69

The Snakeskin Bag

Invest in the real deal or try out a snake print for a tiny fraction of the cost. The ASOS bag is actually 102% less than the Gucci bag.

High: Gucci Arli Snakeskin Medium Shoulder Bag, $4,900

Low: ASOS Stradivarius Snake Print Chain Shoulder Bag, $48

The It-Shoes

Evey season there is a shoe style that will work with everything from dresses to denim. These Pronza Schouler mid heel pumps fit the bill. If the high price is not in your budget, these Yuul Yie slingbacks have a few similar features. The quality is just as excellent but at a more affordable price.

High: Pronza Schouler Ring Tie Pointy Toe Pump, $995

Low: Yuul Yie Reve Velvet Slingback Pumps, $380

Which pieces of this trench outfit would you choose to mix high and low?

Carol Calacci

You may also like to read more of Carol’s high and low styling posts like How To Style A Chic Cocktail Party Outfit For Women Over 40 and 5 Best Investment Shoes for Women Over 40.

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How to Mix High and Low Fashion


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