London, 1912. At the time Thomas Burberry probably didn’t expect the hype he would cause by innovating a raincoat. A coat, that sets trends in the most different variations. And whose original version never became old-fashioned even after over a hundred years.
This is the name of the first trenchcoat of its kind. It had neither a button placket nor epaulettes. It was made out of garbadine. A worsted fabric, which is water-repellent due to its dense weave and which still stays breathable. Burberry himself invented this cloth in 1879 and used it for raincoats. A breakthrough. Raincoats had been heavy and uncomfortable until then. The light, functional Tielocken with its – in those days – atypical waist belt became revolutionary and an it-piece of its time.
Trench Coat, a Coat for the Trenches
Just in time for 28 July 1914 – the beginning of World War I. the English soldiers needed equipment. Warm, functional clothing, that protected them from getting cold and wet in the trenches. The trench coats have been adapted to the needs of English soldiers by Burberry: Robust button placket for a secure closure for combat mission. D-rings on the waist belt to attach military equipment. The so-called Goller, a fabric flap on the shoulder, to protect from gun barrels and shoulder epaulettes to bring on the respective rank. The scientist Sir Earnest Shackleton also wore the light Burberry gabardine for three of his polar expeditions.
A Star Thanks to Hollywood
Today, the trench coat isn’t primary associated with its military background. Probably that’s because of the image makeover through various popular gentlemen and ladies of the film history. In 1942, for example, it was Casablanca with Humphrey Bogart in his characteristic trench coat and Fedora as bar owner Rick Blaine. In the beginning of the sixties, there were Audrey Hepburn and George Peppard dressed in trench coats in Breakfast at Tiffany’s in rainy New York. The image of the detective in the trench has been cemented by legendary Peter Falk as Inspector Columbo in a seemingly scruffy coat. Currently the trench coat is worn by a pleasantly messed up trench affine angel played by Misha Collins in the american TV-Show Supernatural. The English raincoat became a fashion statement and is loved as status symbol and textile allround talent, thanks to the popular film appearances.
How Can I Recognzie a Trench Coat?
The characteristic rain coat was never truly out of style and became an absolute fashion classic. For many people he’s the ultimate addition to every closet. So understandably, there are many variations and interpretations to match just about any Fashion taste. But when is a trench coat really a trench and not just a coat?
As a matter of fact there are some basic characteristics with which you can identify a genuine trench coat:
The striking epaulettes are a remnant of time when the trench coat was used as equipment for the english soldiers in the first world war. You could recognize the rank of the soldier on his epaulettes.
The koller is a kind of back rain shield that fitted upon the shoulders of the coat. It’s one of the more prominent Features of a classic trench coat.
The Double-Breasted Button Placket
The classic double button row on the front of the coat reaches back all the way to the beginning of the 20th century.
The Tie Belt with Buckle
Even though he’s a classic element, the tie belt shouldn’t be buckled. It’s typical to leave the belt open or knotted behind your back. This underlines the wanted nonchalance of the coat.
The Walking Slit
Then as well as today, the walking slit is an integral part in the wearing comfort. It’s a never changing characteristic of the classic trench.
The Trench Coat Trends 2018
Wether a classic with the characteristic Elements or modernised without koller or inspired of the original Tielocken … There’s something for every taste. Loving the minimalistic chic? Then you’re well-advised with a classic design in sand, khaki or black.
You’re more into colorful trend pieces? You’re in luck. Wether popping shades of red or soft pastel colors, classic cotton or shiny patent leather … The trench coat being a trend this year inspired the labels to be creative with their designs. The most important thing is that you’re having fun.
Header photo: Classic trench coat by Fuchs Schmitt