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 from – 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.
Men’s Trench Coat FAQs
What material are trench coats made of?
A trench coat is typically made of heavy-duty gabardine drill, leather, or poplin. Nowadays, most manufacturers use cotton, often mixed with man-made fibers to make it weather resistant.
What is the best length for a trench coat?
The standard length is two-inches above the knee or mid-thigh. For sleeve length, it must reach the center of the meaty part of your thumb and should be no shorter than your wrist bone.
What is the difference between a trench coat and an overcoat?
Your trench coat is designed to protect you against the rain, while an overcoat is just for the cold. Trench coats are also lightweight, while the overcoat is heavier because of the materials used.
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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.
Price: From $1,790
The very fact Burberry is responsible for the trench coat’s existence means it earns a place at the top of this list. Having remained a menswear staple over 100 years later, Burberry has remained true to the original design and style, of course, with slight upgrades here and there.
With multiple colours, and both classic and contemporary trench coats on offer, no matter which you choose it’s a fact that you’ll look polished and sophisticated when sporting a Burberry trench coat.
Price: From $905
Mackintosh is the brand that introduced a longline waterproof overcoat to the masses long before the trench came to be. It’s also the brand that spawned the colloquial term ‘mac’. Mackintosh coats are handmade with such an intricate process that only a limited number are produced each year and all coats are made at the factory in Glasgow, Scotland.
While the company obviously produces its own style of coat, they also have a few trench coats on offer too. All are made with a bonded cotton fabric, which sees two layers of cotton bonded and taped together with a water-resistant tape to ensure you stay dry.
Price: From $159
It feels like Japanese brand Uniqlo is getting ever more popular by the day, and for good reason. The fashion label ticks off all the menswear essentials, makes them out of durable fabrics, designs them well, and sells them for incredibly affordable prices.
That’s certainly true of its trench coat range, which takes the iconic design but updates it using modern materials, such as its Blocktech fabric technology. This utilises 2.5 layers to protect you from wind and rain while remaining breathable and cool.
Price: From $93
If you want to veer away from the tradition and invest in a trench coat that will have you standing out from the crowd, check out ASOS’ range.
The online-only retailer has an incredible array of colours, styles, and fits, all from its own ASOS Design label. No matter which trench you go for, it won’t break the bank, but it will up your style game.
Price: From $499
Canadian brand Arc’teryx is already known for its range of outdoor clothing and its ability to withstand the worst Mother Nature can throw at it.
You can rest assured then that the company’s trench coats will be just at adept at banishing rain and keeping you well protected with premium fabrics and technologies.
Price: From $250
Banana Republic originally started life selling clothing that fitted around a safari theme. That branding has changed slightly since its founding some 40 years ago, but the outdoors is still an inspiration. A trench coat was always, therefore, going to feature in its catalogue.
Banana Republic’s take on the classic style includes the traditional elements, including a waterproof fabric, but adds a modern twist by dropping the shoulders.
Price: From $278
British fashion brand Reiss has also taken it upon itself to provide its own variation of the trench coat, and that variation, for now it seems, veers more into the world of mac jackets.
As we mentioned in the opening text, trench coats and macs are technically different. And despite claiming them to be trench coats, Reiss’ current catalogue is full of macs. But great macs they are, being made from water-repellent fabrics and coming in classic navy and grey colourways.
Price: From $1,205
Founded in 2011 by then 31-year-old Alexandre Mattiussi, Parisian brand AMI has, and always will be, inspired by its city of birth.
The brand seamlessly blends street and sportswear styles alongside more smart and formal offerings, with its trench and Mac coats sitting somewhere in the middle. Minimalist yet functional, they’re a suitably stylish wardrobe upgrade.
Price: From $300
American menswear designer and former employee of Ralph Lauren, Todd Snyder certainly knows how to make a guy look good. We reckon it’s practically impossible to not look great in his trench coats.
Constructed from water-repellent fabrics, Todd Snyder’s trench coats are made to last and offer ultimate protection.
Price: From $160
The oldest clothing retailer in the US is also still one of its best. Founded over 200 years ago, Brooks Brothers has been an outfitter of choice for virtually all the US Presidents, as well as a number of America’s elite regiments.
Brooks Brothers has a great range of men’s trench coats, all of which will make sophisticated additions to any wardrobe.