The trench coat can sometimes be an outerwear piece that goes overlooked. Designed to protect military soldiers from the elements while in the trenches – where it gets its name – those same soldiers continued to wear them when they returned home, cementing their place in fashion history.
It was first conceived by Thomas Burberry – the founder of Burberry – after he invented the gabardine fabric in 1879. Gabardine proved crucial to the trench coat’s success, as its tightly woven, tough and water-resistant properties meant it was well-suited to life in the trenches.
Most trench coats should follow similar style rules: double-breasted button fastening, wide lapels, a storm flap, front pockets and a belt. And while trench coats of old would have only been available in khaki green, today there are numerous colour options, with navy and stone being among the most popular.
Where trench coats can vary from one another, however, is with their length. Coats can range in length from stopping just above to the knee to stopping just above the ankle. The length that best suits you will come down to personal preference, and your height.
The trench coat can often be confused with the mac (or Mackintosh), but they are in fact two separate pieces. The mac is actually older than the trench by roughly 100 years, with the very first mac coats being made, by Mackintosh, from a fabric that combined naphtha and crude rubber in a two-layer construction to make it waterproof.
Mac jackets also tend to forego any excessive use of external buttons and shouldn’t feature a belt. As you’ll see below, however, some brands like to tear up the rulebook.
Since the trench coat has become such a popular outerwear piece, several fashion labels have taken it upon themselves to produce their own versions, and online fashion stores such as SSENSE and Farfetch have large ranges under one roof. We, therefore, felt it our duty to provide you with a guide to the very best trench coats available to buy right now.