The trench coat is hard to beat for its sophistication, versatility, and polish. This jacket can be dressed both up and down, but still manages to portray a well-dressed individual either way.

Today the sleek, belted silhouette of the trench coat is considered a luxury essential and as such has spawned many variations, including long and short cuts, single- and double-breasted, and even modern colour-pop styles.

The Trench Coat in Film
The Trench Coat in Film

Maskuline and feminine at the same time, this ultimate classic will take you far. Icons such as Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman in “Casablanca”, Audrey Hepburn in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and Peter Sellers in “The Pink Panther” all suited up in this coat of coats.

Anatomy

Front

Epaulettes – Single / Double Chested – Breast Gun FlapIIntroduced in World War I but rarely seen on the modern model – Storm Pockets – Half / Full Belted Cuff – Self Fabric Waist Belt

Rear

Wide Collar – Storm Flap – Self Fabric Belt Loops – Thigh / Knee Length

Minimal is Key

Styling a trench coat is quite easy as it goes with so much. The trench is a must-have addition to a work wear look, however, the versatile coat can be worn over your casual pub attire for an instant splash of style. Keeping it minimal is key and with this coat it’s best to avoid any heavy prints or loud logos. The trench makes for a more sophisticated approach to dressing and allows your focus piece to work its magic.

Worth Concidering Before the Trench…

Removable Lining

Invest in a trench coat with detachable and removable inner lining. As mercury rises your trench will serve you almost all year.

Versatility

You want a versatile design. Pay attention to looks and fitting both as buttoned and belted as well as open.

Life Expectancy

A trench coat is an immortal classic. Long lasting season after season. Pick a colored version as opposed to black. This will add French dekadence to your wardrobe.

Underplayed, Sexy or Leather

Concider alternative versions such as underplayed, sexy or design in leather.

History

Belgian Machine Gunner in 1918
Belgian Machine Gunner – 1918

Men’s fashion and military clobber have been close allies for so long that the origins of individual pieces are sometimes murky. As is the case with the trench coat, with fellow countrymen Aquascutum and Burberry both staking a claim at it’s invention.

Rubber Coating

However, the early 1800s saw inventors and designers (particularly in the rainy U.K.) desperately seeking to produce a truly waterproof fabric. In 1823, a Scottish chemist named Charles Macintosh discovered that he could melt a novelty material, now called rubber, and laminate traditional textiles with it.

Aquascutum - Water & Shield
Aquascutum – Water & Shield

His first iteration of the Mackintosh raincoat had essentially just wrapped wool in this new rubber material. Though this made for a truly impermeable raincoat, the wearer would be left miserable with their body heat both trapped by the wool and then fully sealed in by the rubber. Macintosh would later partner with Thomas Hancock, the man who had patented a now-legendary process called vulcanisation, and, in 1843, the pair were able to fabricate a lighter, yet still waterproof “Mack”.

There was clearly room for improvement in the world of waterproof jackets, and another man named John Emery took a crack at it in 1853. He invented another version of waterproof wool and combined the product with his experience as Regent’s Street tailor, which made his brand, Aquascutum, a runaway hit. What began as clothing for town and country quickly took on a military bend, and officers in the Crimean War frequently bought his hard-wearing overcoats.

Burberry

Burberry can safely be credited with inventing the modern trench coat, although it would still be some time before his invention won its current name. For Thomas Burberry of Basingstoke, England, the great discovery was gabardine, a tightly woven twill, made from chemically treated, long-staple cotton threads. The new fabric was waterproof, but far more breathable than any wool/rubber configuration that other brands were using. The Mack coats, with their rubber component, were famously stinky and actually had to be regularly perfumed. Thankfully, gabardine was easier on the nose.

Initially Mr Burberry named the coat the “Tielocken” and it was made from the then innovative fabric gabardine cotton. This type of cotton was able to keep the wearer dry whilst still allowing air to circulate, and therefore became the perfect choice for British Army officers to put to the test in extreme conditions in World War I.

Though utilized in World War II and in civilian life, the cause for the trench coat’s next real popularity bump would be a fictitious and glamorous one, the silver screen. In film, the trench coat could handle a slouchy Humphrey Bogart gumshoe, a beautiful Audrey Hepburn out in the rain and anything in between.

The iconic design of today was originially designed for British officers, that wore it in the trenches of the first World War, but even today the trench coat is still the center piece of any Burberry collection, whether it is for women, men or junior. Every year it is re-interpreted to reflect mood and flavor of the season, meanwhile, the coats preserve their integrity in design and function.

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I.Introduced in World War I but rarely seen on the modern model