The Item I Wear to Death: My Free People Velvet Trench Coat

I get so many compliments on it.

marie claire's what i wear on repeat
(Image credit: Tyler Joe)

In our biweekly series, editors share "the item they wear to death," whether it be a basic white tee or a super-trendy jumpsuit. Prepare yourself (and your credit card) for some guilt-free shopping.

When I first moved to New York City from Florida almost three years ago, it took me one-and-a-half winters to buy a coat. (Do not ask me how I survived getting to and from work in a turtleneck and light down jacket—my co-workers thought I was insane.) I couldn't believe how impossible it was to find a long-lasting, warm coat that wasn't $1,000 and didn't make me look like a burrito, so I just...stopped looking. They say love finds you when you least expect it, and that's exactly what happened when I received Free People's Bryant velvet trench coat a few weeks later.

My coatless self couldn't believe how lucky I was when I opened the box containing Free People's beautiful trench coat (a gift from the brand). With a shiny navy/charcoal gray velvet exterior, the coat looks (and feels!) like a dream. It has pockets at the hips, and could easily be taken for a duster if you don't utilize the three embroidered metal buttons. The best part? When you button it up, there's still a slit at the bottom, giving passersby a peek at the paisley interior lining.

Since the coat became mine, I've worn it to my team's holiday party, to dinner with friends, to the bar, you name it. And, I receive compliments on it every time. So many, in fact, that I often decide to not take it off indoors and instead make it the main focus of my outfit. I recommend wearing the outerwear with a sweater dress, a slip dress over a long-sleeve shirt, or with a light turtleneck and jeans. You don't want to layer too much underneath because the coat runs a bit small in the underarm area, but otherwise you're golden. Even though it's technically not my warmest piece of outerwear (I'm happy to report that I do, in fact, now own an acceptable winter coat that I wear in 40-degree-and-below weather), it's the only coat I have that makes me feel cute and put together. I just have to strategically pick the days I wear it, like when it's not 20 degrees.

Unfortunately, my Free People velvet trench coat is sold out, but you can shop similar just-as-cute picks, below.

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Rachel Epstein

Rachel Epstein is a writer, editor, and content strategist based in New York City. Most recently, she was the Managing Editor at Coveteur, where she oversaw the site’s day-to-day editorial operations. Previously, she was an editor at Marie Claire, where she wrote and edited culture, politics, and lifestyle stories ranging from op-eds to profiles to ambitious packages. She also launched and managed the site’s virtual book club, #ReadWithMC. Offline, she’s likely watching a Heat game or finding a new coffee shop.