By Tashia Rahl

It’s RELENTLESS…each day now. Many roll their eyes and sigh with disgust…but I relish the grey clouds and windy water drops! It’s not just the peace and serenity of the atmosphere that fuels my excitement. My enthusiasm actually lies in raincoats. That’s right… Raincoats. And while I appreciate raincoats of all sizes and shapes, it’s the trench coat that lights my fire. The trench is my favorite article of clothing, by far. What translates elite style better than that luxurious gabardine fabric practically doubled around your torso? Not to mention the ‘high- ranking’ epaulettes, the large elegant collar evoking power and prestige summing it all up as militaristic haute couture…I feel like a four star general in dress uniform as soon as I tie my belt.

Although I didn’t love Fashion History 101 in college, I did love learning about trench coats. Developed in World War One for high ranking officials [apparently lower ranking soldiers weren’t allowed to wear them], they were commissioned by the war office to adapt its original coats for new combat requirements. The larger collars were to block cold winds, epaulettes were designed to hold their gear and cold weather accessories, gun flaps were originally designed to prevent water from running inside the coat, but later were popular with soldiers for wedging a pad of fabric to cushion the shoulder from recoil, and the D-rings were added to carry map containers, and other war paraphernalia. The soldiers in the front line later dubbed the design “trench coat” because it was primarily worn fighting in the trenches. Traditional trenches have ten crossover buttons, removable lining, sleeves belted at the wrist, and characteristically are earth tone neutrals.

The house of Burberry and the house of Aquascutum both provided trench coats during World War I & II. Both credit themselves with creating waterproof fabrics and lining the interior with their unique plaid. In the long run, Burberry became more of a household name due in part because of their brilliant marketing. Aquascutum [Latin for ‘water shield’] focused itself more on the aristocratic market, beginning with royal fashion leader King Edward VII. Although!!! It seems to me that certain aristocracies would lean more towards the Salvatore Ferragamo version of its unique trench: a crocodile skin, full length, double breasted [must weigh a ton] black one at $250, 000. Anyway, what’s important to me is that the design was modernized: the slim fit.

As I stride through the stores from Palm Beach to Boca to Bal Harbor, it is evident that fashion houses across the board have their own version of the trench.

They rarely sway far from the original design. It’s a classic staple that should be owned by all men and women who wish to up the ante on their image. Think Peter Sellers in the Pink Panther films, Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca, Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Colin Farrell in Daredevil, and Anne Hathaway in Get Smart. Those grey clouds aren’t looking so bad after all, are they…?!!

Owner of the HLN Company, Fashion stylist, Tashia Rahl has lived and travelled throughout the globe the majority of her life. After studying at the Universite de Strasbourg, France, she styled celebrities in st Tropez, dressed dignitaries in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and personal-shopped for a-listers at Bergdorf Goodman in new York City. Tashia Rahl began the hln company in 1997 in south Florida dressing professionals, high-powered families and singles. The hln company stands for [all about] the hottest, latest, newest. Its focus is to dress for who you are and what you want. At that moment, it’s not even about who you are, it’s how great you feel and how amazing you look – Tashia is also the newest addition to the WE Magazine for Women Editorial Team as our new Style Editor! You will be reading her story in the next few days…