The olive PS Trench is back

Wednesday, September 21st 2022
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Three weeks ago, I received my new olive PS Trench Coat. I did have one years ago, but it was a size 3 and I’m definitely more of a 4. I also prefer the belt system on the new model. 

Wearing that coat over the past couple of weeks has reminded precisely me how versatile it is. 

I wore it with a grey suit and white shirt to town, with a brown jacket and beige trousers, with a knit and flannels, and with a sweatshirt and jeans. 

The little test period also showed how well it can bridge the seasons. Even when it was pushing 20 degrees (68 Fahrenheit) it was fine on a rainy day, without the liner. 

Coats that show this kind of versatility make me particularly happy - I think because I know from talking to readers so consistently that this is something they prize in such an expensive item, and value especially in a coat. 

In this latest shoot of the Trench, I added one more look to the ones we shot years ago, to demonstrate that full range. 

So alongside the suit, the jacket and the jeans, there’s now a simple cream knit (from Rubato) and charcoal flannels (above). 

I think it’s a lovely outfit on its own - simple and elegant - but it looks especially nice under the trench. On the feet are suitably water-resistant boots. 

The combination could be a navy knit with cream trousers, a grey knit with brown, even green trousers seem to work ok, I guess because the olive colour has so much brown in it. 

Of course, all of that would mean nothing if the cut of the coat wasn’t great. But I think all classic-menswear enthusiasts will appreciate that collar shape, the size of the lapels, and the overall length.

It is dramatic but extremely practical style, like most of the best menswear; certainly outerwear. Form follows function. 

The silhouette is of course emphasised by cinching the waist of the Trench, which is easier now we have the simpler, pull-through-and-tuck belt at the front. (For details on that, see the launch article for the navy version here. Most sizes in that are still available too.)

At the same time, I’ve found I equally like wearing the trench buttoned up just at the neck and chest, leaving the rest open (above). 

The advantage of this buttoning is that you have easy access to layers underneath, and it still protects against the vast majority of rain. It’s a little like a cape in that respect.

More significantly, it’s a different style - a different look. And perhaps one that’s a little less traditional. 

It might seem a little geeky talking about buttoning orientations, but with something like a raincoat I find I put it on quickly and want to fasten it without much thought. It’s nice to have one or two defaults, and not need to play around with it.

Everything else about the PS Trench has been said before, in the launch article here and subsequent relaunches here and here.  

If you would like more detailed information, you can find it there. But the essentials are that it is a waterproof coat made in cotton Ventile, with taped seams. 

Its design combines the best (in my view) of a traditional despatch rider's coat (like the angled chest pocket) and a traditional trench coat, which contributes the button orientation, the back yoke and the length. 

It comes with a removable grey-flannel liner which makes it wearable most of the year. 

Various small updates have been made since the original in 2017, including a more secure liner, studs to fasten the throat latch, and a removal of the D-rings on the belt, which seemed a little antiquated (no function to drive form there).

The cotton Ventile is entirely waterproof once the seams are taped, and it doesn’t have the nasty rustle of synthetic waterproofs. Ventile also ages really nicely - softening and fading slowly at the seams, like other cottons.

The length is crucial. Trench coats have been cut shorter and shorter in recent years, which not only denies them the swish and swagger of a long coat, but is highly impractical. In the rain, water simply streams off the bottom and onto your knees.

Throughout the design process, the guiding philosophy was not to skimp on detail. Details, after all, are what a good trench coat is all about.

So it has:

  • Big hip pockets, with wool/cashmere lining in the front
  • That angled despatch chest pocket
  • A great throat latch on the collar (giving protection right up around the chin)
  • In-set sleeves on the front of the coat, to give a cleaner appearance, but raglan sleeves on the back, to aid movement
  • Gun flaps on the shoulders at the front, and a saddle piece across the back
  • Dark-brown horn buttons, fastening that double-breasted front all the way up 
  • All put together in the Private White VC factory in Manchester, England

Sizing and delivery 

The sizing measurements are set out below. Note that in these images I am wearing a medium (4) whereas in previous shots of the olive I wore a small (3).

I think this demonstrates how much most people can wear two sizes with this kind of coat  - given its raglan fit and ability to cinch the waist as much as you want. 

It's really a case of how close you want the coat to be, and what you will wear under it most of the time. I liked the small, but it was tight over a suit. The medium is better, and never looks big (as you can see with the thin Rubato knit here) because of that belt at the waist. 

Measurements in cm XS/2 S/3 M/4 L/5 XL/6 XXL/7
Chest 104 109 116 123 130 137
Shoulder to shoulder 42.5 44 45.5 47 49 50.5
Centre back length 118.5 119 120 121 122 123
Sleeve length 67.5 68 69 70 71 72
Waist circumference 100 105 112 119 126 133

Alterations

I know that I'm above average height, and that therefore the coat might be a little too long for some people. This is easy to alter, as the coat is unlined (and the removable lining considerably shorter than the full coat). 

At least 10cm can be taken off the length of the coat without causing any issues. Private White VC offer a great service for this, or it can be done by a local alterations tailor. 

The sleeves can also be shortened, but only by about 1.5cm. More than this and the end of the sleeve gets too close to the cuff flap and will look odd. But 1.5cm will make a noticeable difference.

They can also be shortened by more than 5cm if you want to remove the flap, but I doubt many people will need that. 

The sleeves can be lengthened slightly too, by around 1.5cm, though there is a small chance of a mark where the fold was. Adjustments to the body are not really possible unless you are willing to give up the taped seams.

The coat is available in olive now, in size XS to XXL, on the PS Shop here.

There are also three navy coats left from last year in most sizes.

Photography above, Milad Abedi; below, Jamie Ferguson. 

Note: Images below are of the first version of the coat, which has been updated in small ways. Most obviously, the belting system is different at the front, and there are no longer D-rings on the back. 

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Matrix.RX1

I second the “not too small” advice. I had the S and ended up giving it away, as the shoulders were too tight. Unfortunately, being very slim, the S was still wide on the chest/waist (buttoned up) and thus going M is not an option for me. Still, a great peace of clothing!

Matrix.RX1

I removed the lining from the start and it made it more comfortable, but me being slim, the too narrow shoulders made it look funny. However it still is a great overcoat for whom it may fit.

Aaron

Top and chest button done up with the rest undone akin to a cape is certainly better than how I’ve seen some do it – there are some images floating about of people wearing balmacaans with only the collar button done up, often without the arms in the sleeves! It’s even more of a cape look and tends to look a bit affected. I definitely think the way you propose avoids the affected look.
I’m still not 100% sold on the flapped pocket myself but I think this is a great alternative to a traditional trench coat.

Gary

The navy PS trench is available in more sizes on Private White VC’s website. Are the colours/shades of the trench coats the same as PWVC’s ventile bucket hats? They would be smarter (and offer more rain protection) than baseball caps. I often wear my olive ventile flat cap, from Purdey, in wet weather.
The website also has, in the new arrivals section, the Melton Motor Trench. Can you also tell us if it has a similar design to the navy or olive PS Trench? It could be a warmer alternative if he have a cold winter. Many thanks.

Julian

I ordered mine yesterday! (olive) Very curious to try it on. I normally find it difficult to buy outerwear online, but after experiencing the PS Bridge coat and PS Wax Walker I have so much trust in PWVC and PS, that I am sure this garment will become a favorite piece as well.

Thomas

That is a magnificent piece of clothing which as i found more and more would make for an ideal investment where i live in Normandy. It rarely gets that cold in Rouen during the winter, but most days of the year are clouded by some heavy rain, especially during autumn and winter. 
Cheers

Matt L

Absolutely wonderful semi-formal coat Simon, the colour is fantastically balanced. It really looks perfect for all but the most formal office situations, definitely more appealing than the blue. I might not get it this season but it’s on my list, I hope you’re still selling it further down the line.
Incidentally I’m always glad to see you talk Private White away from those bright copper buttons and zips they usually do. I’m the biggest cheerleader for the brand and was crushed when they closed their London shop. I have loads of stuff from PWVC and would love to own loads more, but that bright hardware has scared me off repeatedly.

Rob O

I love the copper hardware, but find it a little too bright at the beginning. It quickly dulls down nicely though

Rik

Very cool Simon. Would you always tend to wear a trench with the collar popped up?

CK

Lovely coat Simon, I love that slanted chest pocket, it adds a nice edge to an otherwise very classic trench, Private White do that very well.

I think you made the right call sizing up to the size 4, looks very flattering.

I’m torn between both the navy and the olive. I have a PWVC harrington in the same navy Ventile that you use for the trench and it’s ageing like a dream. I wear it out in the pouring rain on dogs walks around the forest and between the slight cotton fading and the copper hardware tarnishing, it already feels like one of a kind.

There’s something nice about this olive though, I think as you mention perhaps the fact there’s so much brown in it. Usually I prefer a good amount of green (yellow technically?) in olive because I love how it looks with black (I have a thing for green and black), however I think this particular olive you use stands alone as a shade apart.

Michael

Hi, Simon
What boots are you wearing?

Matt L

Sorry Simon, what are the shoes you’re wearing in those photos where you’re wearing jeans by the waterfront?

Martins

I dont think its you being slim… trench has like 2-3 sizes smaller shoulders than the rest of simons pwc outerwear, and as slim sleeves as v1 donegal… i have bridge coat size 6, vax walker 5, im looking for v3 charcoal donegal size 5 (maybe someone will send back a v3 and i manage to snag one), but trench size 6 shoulders feel smaller than size 5 everything ive tried, while being too big everywhere else. And cinching belt on size 6 didnt really work for me.

P.s. yes, Simon, trench has half raglan shoulders, but so does donegal!

Martins

hmmm… would you mind if I approach you during pop up for this point to discuss it in person because from all of your trench articles I never got impression that for a same shoulder size it’s supposed to be even more roomy than Donegal! if that is so, my apologies!

for me part of a problem is I’m quite broader and shorter than you, so sizing up sometimes just looks wrong due to all the details ending up too low.

I do have size 6 v1 Donegal pictures on me, size 5 brown trench and size 6 navy one.. sleeves look really similar slimness on sizes 5. by my memory, size 5 trench fits really similar to v1 Donegal but with smaller shoulders.

to be honest, last year I got really surprised when I tried on size 5 V3 Donegal and by the looks of it, making sleeves less slim was the key for me! maybe that was somekind of one off display model, so I’m looking forward to trying on size 5 this year just to confirm!

one last question! assuming someone sends back size 5 charcoal for exchange… when would be the latest it could happen and what are chances of it showing up in store? I do like last year’s one, but I’m a bit afraid it might stand out too much for a coat to keep for a decade.

n. David

I’ve enjoyed the content on Permanent Style for the last 5 years, but this is the first time I’ve commented. I’m extremely happy to see this return, and hope that my size will still be available during my upcoming trip to London (size 6/XL). Yet despite the beauty and functionality of the coat, I’m still left wondering about maintenance. How on earth do you clean something like this? Or for that matter, can you?

From my discussions with Private White VC, the blue coat was “wipe down only” (the old trench seems to be made from the newer wax-coated Ventile rather than the old fluorocarbon-coated; please correct me if I’m wrong). Because I live in Canada, while the autumn largely isn’t too bad, the winter and spring both tend to involve copious amounts of dirt and road salt (which is to say nothing of a careless driver in Toronto dredging up something unpleasant out of one of the many local potholes on a rainy day). If I were to take the plunge and order one of these, I would be worried about ruining it within the first year, particularly if it cannot be dry cleaned or even cleaned at all.

Can anyone (perhaps someone with experience with the older models) set my mind at ease?

n. David

Thank you, Simon.

Based on that, could I potentially use a mild detergent with the warm water to spot clean/air dry in the event that the coat were particularly soiled? Or would that be too harsh for the coating?

Howie Gelbtuch

Hi Simon: with half of your readers in the United States (if I remember correctly), would you consider adding measurements in inches to your postings? In the same vein, a size 6 for example means little to many American men typically used to 42, 46, etc. thanks for listening .

Alex O

I eagerly await this trench joining my beloved PS Herringbone Donegal Overcoat in the overcrowded outwear closet. The comments thus far give me some trepidation on size, but my shoulders are narrow for my chest measurement (38″), so the same size (3) may be best. On the other hand, my suits are 44-45 cm at the widest part of the shoulder, so it could be close.

The color looks fantastic in these photos – a perfect match to my favorite fedora.

Alex O

It arrived this evening and fits well over a suit, even with the liner. I understand why some would prefer more volume on top, but after spending a lifetime in oversized clothes I appreciate a closer fit. I agree that tightening the belt is essential to getting the right profile. Also, as the photos suggested, the color is nearly indistinguishable from my hat.
If I can break loose for an afternoon, I hope to stop by in NY.

Ian A

To be honest i find the fit on their Ventile Mac to be way better for my averagely short medium built frame! I’ve had that Motor trench rip on me several times and as a MTM product. I love the design though such a classic and perfect from now until deep winter in the UK, and PWVC are a very amicable company to buy from and have repaired it on those occasions. I own many other coats from them with only perfect satisfaction.

Ben

Hi Simon,

The coat looks great. It seems that the sleeves are fairly slim – any particular reason for that?

Joe

Hi Simon,
I bought the Size 5 Navy Trench last year on PS. I am 5ft 8inches in height – so the coat hangs a little lower on me (down around the calves), than it does on you in the pictures you posted. I thought about having it shortened to that same knee length where it hangs on you, but the advice I got from the alterations people was to leave the length as it was, and that making is shorter by a few inches was not generally worth it.
I appreciate that this is quite a subjective decision, but I was wondering if there is any guideline or rule about the length coats like this should hang on individuals?

Thanks
Joe.

Joe

Thanks Simon.
I think the alterations people didn’t think a few inches were going to make all that much of a difference aesthetically. But I’m going to take your advice and follow my initial instincts and shorten it up to (just) below knee-cap level.
It’s a fantastic coat Simon. I actually had a single breasted from aquascutum that I gave away to make room for the PS Navy – and boy what a difference in functionality and quality! Thanks as ever for making it available.

Pedro

It’s a little like a cape in that respect.”
This is what wearing outerwear is all about.

Drew

Simon, the coat looks fantastic! What do you think are some of the advantages of an olive coat over a traditional khaki?

Drew

Thanks, Simon. Yes, I meant like a traditional Burberry. I appreciate the explanation!

Christopher

Dear Simon,
I am like you between the sizes (3-4) and normally wear the same size like you (Runato, PS). But here I am not sure. It seems that the coat is bit loose in the waist area, but in regard to Matrix comment on shoulder sizing I tend to follow your size.
Do you recommend to wear it for commuting by bike? Cause that’s what I would need it for. Honestly I dislike the waterproof functional clothing and looking for something smart like this.

Christopher

Thank you for your fast response! I am wearing a custom made trench, but that one is shorter and not waterproof….If there is heavy rain, I use a jacket from Rains, but this is like cycling in a plastic bag. On days with lighter rain my Barbour jacket is okay….
Do you have a recommendation for cycling jackets?

PeterHall

Christopher
My wife cycles everywhere(she is Dutch)and she swears by her Barbour International jacket. I know you said you have a Barbour.
But,
The advantage being the International have a motorbike heritage, are fitted,with belt, plus have the neck closure. Go up a size as they are close fitting.
We regularly receive biblical level of rain in the Netherlands and if she declares something is waterproof…it is.

Christopher

Dear PETERHALL,
thank you very much for your careful and kind recommendation! I will have a look immediately and maybe order one!

Initials CG

Alas, this beautiful color will have to wait for another season as I am waiting for the donegal coat in brown this time around.
I do have the navy motor trench and I do really enjoy flaunting it’s style as the first drops of rain hit… it is a looker, not flashy at all. Just that slight dramatic flair that attracts a longer stare from others.
It is a bit tight on shoulders and chest but I love how retains a slimming line to the silhouette overall. It’s just when I’ve got loads of hardware underneath that it’s pretty tight around chest and shoulders all buttoned up. Harris tweed jacket, Shetland fair isle vest, wool/cotton under shirt and Manchester Oxford button down all with the trench’s flannel liner – maybe I am exaggerating ?

Simon, rather than altering the body and losing the seals, which I wouldn’t do really…
Could shifting all the buttons to the left a couple of centimeters be practical? Or maybe just the two or three buttons around the chest. It seems like it would create just a little more room around the chest without altering the line or messing with the seams…two centimeters may not sound like much, but In tailoring terms it might make all the difference. Seems like a minor alteration instead of always thinking to myself that I should’ve gone up to the size 5 every time I load up on layers.
What do you think?

Actually this thought came to me after one of your permanent style videos on sewing a jacket button. The tailor you were interviewing said that if one had gained a bit of weight around the belly, you could also move the button closer to the edge of the jacket rather than having the tailor let out the jacket a bit. It is the same concept I thought about for the trench.

Chancellor

My PS trench coat ended up being probably a size too small, and I moved all the buttons over. It’s been fine. You can see the holes for the old button locations if you loo carefully, but I don’t think others can notice.

Initials CG

Thank you ! Didn’t consider the holes! Hmm… maybe I’ll try the tightest point without touching the rest.., or maybe I’ll rethink the layers!
I meant the preorder, sorry. Coming next week, and very excited!
Thanks for your thoughts

David

Simon, I encouraged you to design the perfect trench and you did. I’ve had the V1 from the get go and had it made MTM by PWVC. It is the versatile coat I own.
It is superb in every regard and the Olive has aged like a dream. I can’t believe it is 5 years old. I’ve worn it on dog walks, to the city and every occasion imaginable. It straddles the formality divides perfectly whilst keeping me as dry as a bone.
Personally, the blue didn’t float my boat. I think it’s fine in the city but not for the country. My absolute desire is to now is to have one in PWVC’s ‘Stone ‘ as I think it would be stunning. I have a holiday home in Cornwall and think it would be great for the beach. In fact I have a PWVC Ventile Windbreaker in this colour which I use for summer rain and think the trench would be a knockout in it.
I’m going to approach PWVC via their London store to see if they’ll do me a one off MTM in this colour but I can’t for the life of me understand why you haven’t ditched the blue and introduced ‘Stone’ as your second colour.

Robert M

Good to hear sleeves can be lengthened, although probably still too short for me. Maybe if I size up to XL… Anyway, can the body be lengthened too? If yes, then by how much?

Robert M

Oh what a shame. If I remember your height correctly, I’m 11 cm taller than you, so I don’t think the coat will finish low enough on me.

Robert M

194, plus arms longer than average for my height. No RTW for me.

Ruth Hand

Do a ladies version please.

Stephen

I know a question on the PS Donegal is a little off topic, but wanted to get ahead for when the new navy one goes on sale.

I tried version in the (now closed) Private White VC store – pre lockdown- and found it disproportionately narrow- more akin to a traditional tailored coat / suit jacket that a more casual raglan. Perhaps is was a lining thing?
Have you noticeably increased the sleeve width since version one?
Thanks

Stephen

Hi Simon, apologies I meant to start out mentioning the sleeve. That’s what I was asking about. It felt looked (and felt) a little narrow in relation to the overall style. As you mentioned the body has that changed at all?
Subsequent versions looked a good size on you and we are a similar size.
Thanks also for coming back on the separate courier point.

Stephen

Sorry another question. Which courier do you use for orders. My area of London does suffer from porch thefts. Couriers like DPD who have delivery slots, delivery tracking and day change facilities are good, but not those who turn up without warning and leave on the doorstep. Thanks again.