Move over, Bogart. The trenchcoat has had a very modern makeover

<span>Photograph: Suki Dhanda/The Guardian</span>
Photograph: Suki Dhanda/The Guardian

Alongside a suit, a trenchcoat is a loud and clear declaration of menswear intent. It’s less of a look, more of an entire uniform in coat form. A trench bellows its classicism with every crease and belt loop. From Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca to the simpler macs worn by Peter Falk in Columbo and George Peppard in Breakfast At Tiffany’s, the silhouette has long been synonymous with ice-cool dudes who know what they mean and mean what they say.

For decades, the idea of wearing a trench was too intimidating for me to even consider. I mean, it’s so confident and definitive: how could you opt for any other coat after that? It doesn’t help that the mac also had some grotty associations, too (hello, flashers everywhere). How do you carry it off without a whiff of dodginess?

The coat I’m wearing today is from Simone Rocha’s H&M collaboration, and she has updated this symbol of alpha maleness in a very smart and subtle way. By adding a stitching of pearls to the collar, she has swiftly subverted the trenchcoat’s stereoptypical image and updated a classic for a generation of men like me, who don’t balk at wearing pink.

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It reminds me of Prince’s trenchcoats, which were also slyly radical. His bright purple 1999-era trench had a guitar-strap-sized panel of diamond studs on the shoulder, while he wore his beige Dirty Mind-era one with bikini briefs and a neckerchief, totally upending the traditional look.

A key element of the coat is its length: too short looks a bit undignified (the one I’m wearing feels just right). Burberry and JW Anderson have taken the trench to amazing places on the catwalk, but this one is both interesting and affordable. I’m in.

• Priya wears trench, £149.99, by Simone Rocha x H&M, from Jumper, trousers and boots, his own. Stylist: Melanie Wilkinson. Grooming: Sophie Higginson using Oribe and Dermalogica. Stylist’s assistant: Peter Bevan