Its name originally derived from the trenches where military personnel were stationed in WW1; the original, in a gabardine fabric, was designed by Thomas Burberry in 1912 to keep officers protected against the harsh elements. Epaulettes were added to distinguish officer ranking and pleats were added down the back for ease of movement when riding horses and operating machinery. Since then, the garment has evolved and has become a classic.
Versions have been produced by most designers, including Gucci and Chanel. The classic Burberry trench has evolved many times and has been worn by Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe and Brigitte Bardot to name but a few. Classic trench coat colours are typically caramel, beige or black. Buy one in any of these colours and you have an investment wardrobe piece that you will be wearing year after year – it will partner equally well with a pair of jeans, Breton t shirt and converse or a little black dress and heels.
Modern twists on the mac by companies such as Boden and Collectif have seen the introduction of acid brights, pastel colours and patterns, all of which bring a fresh update to the trench.
The military look, of which the trench coat takes its origins, is also timeless. Epiaulettes, badges and sew on patches are a way to ring the changes to your mac, to give it a totally different look. Camouflage colours are a fun twist too, especially worn with statement jewellery and heels, which add a feminine slant to a utilitarian outfit. Now, we’ve established that the Trench Coat is a must have, but like me, if you don’t have a Burberry budget, where are the best places to get one?
My first port of call would be charity and vintage shops. As we all know, these places are full of treasures and macs can be picked up at very reasonable prices. My mother, a few years ago stumbled upon an Aquascutum biscuit coloured mac from the 1960s, which still looks wonderful. Ala she guards it fiercely and my attempts to ‘borrow’ it are futile!
For reproduction lovers, I’m a huge fan of Collectif, who bring out their classic Marlena trench year after year. Marks and spencer also do an amazing one, unlike the 1912 original version, it has cool down fabric and Teflon coating! The joys of modern technology!
So whichever way you choose to wear yours, make sure a trench coat is on your Autumn shopping list…it will be one of the best clothing purchases you’ve ever made.
Words – Emma St Roas
Photographer: Emma Wainwright – @emmawaiuk
Stylist: Danielle Dinten – @wherestylelives
Model: Morganne Wray – @morgannewray
Vintage Boutique – The Vintage Twin – @thevintagetwin