Burberry Trenchcoat: The origins of the trenchcoat

Fashion the 9 October 2009 by Joe the "tire-remover"

On this rainy day, I invite you to think about one of the great men’s fashion classics, and a perfect mid-season option: the trench coat. Although we’ve spoken about them few times before, I realised (with surprise) that we’ve never devoted an article to its origins and its creator: Thomas Burberry.

burberry vintage-ad

The story starts during the first world war. In 1914, Thomas Burberry created the first trench coat to meet the needs of British Army officers. Lord Kitchener was an early trench coat amateur and helped make this cult item popular today. Compared to other military coats of that time, heavy mackintoshes waterproofed with rubber, the trench coat was made of cotton gabardine a lighter and more comfortable fabric. It also had a d-shaped buckle which allowed military equipment to be attached to it.


After the war, former soldiers continued wearing trench coats in their civil life. Although the d-shaped buckle is now purely decorative, it still remains along with all other details a key feature to keep the trench coat true to the original. The Burberry trench coat has slightly been re-interpreted from one season to the next according to the current trends. It has also adapted to new fabrics and colours that didn’t exist a century ago.


The trenchcoat has become so popular over the years that it has been widely copied, particularly by the Americans, the French and other British brands. Its lightness and protection make this coat a mid-season must-have, when temperatures aren’t too low, and the weather is changeable. Its stylish, casual look suits different styles as shown above. Price-wise, expect to pay between €800 and €1,000 for a Burberry trench coat. However, while you’re saving for a brand new one, check out vintage stores! Expect to pay €150-€200. And wait for the sun to return!

Details of the styles shown above:
1st style (tie + grey trousers): Ref. 3456669 – DK/05700 – “Dark Mushroom fully lined DB cropped trench”
2nd style (cream jumper and white trainers): Ref 3459362 – MIWL/25200 – “Taupe garment washed trench coat”

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