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Trench Coat Guide


October 28, 2015 / 55 Comments / in Clothing, Gentleman's Gazette,
Media, Our Best Articles, Outts, Overcoat & Topcoat Styles, Topcoats &
Overcoats, Videos, Wardrobe / by Sven Raphael Schneider
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Overcoats [http://bit.ly/trench-coats-for-any-budget] and


topcoats

[http://www.gentlemansgazette.com/overcoat-

topcoat-jacket-guide/] are an integral part of an elegant


gentlemans wardrobe yet few men know what pieces
they should invest in. Therefore, I started a series to reveal
the

dierent

overcoat

&

topcoat

styles

[http://www.gentlemansgazette.com/category/wardrobe
/clothing/topcoats-ovrcoats/overcoat-styles/page/2/] .
With a rainy fall in full swing, this is the perfect season to

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discuss the Trench Coat, to explore its unique roots and


variations and to help you to nd a trench that both suits
your style and your budget.

To jump directly to a paragraph, follow the links below:


I. History of the Trench Coat [#1]
II. What Makes a Trench a Trench? [#2]
III. Trench Coat Fit [#3]
IV. Where & How to Buy a Trench Coat [#4]
The Trench Coat has come a long way from the battleelds

of the 19th century. As far as coats go, the Trench Coat is

about as iconic as they come, appreciated for their classic

form and functionality by men of all tastes. In order to nd


the right Trench Coat for yourself, it is important to
understand its history.

The History of the


Trench Coat
As with many garments today, there are numerous

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theories about the exact origins of the trench coat, and


while it is impossible to nd out who is right, I will try to
outline possible scenarios you can then choose the
theory that pleases you the most!

[http://www.gentlemansgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/AmericanTrenchcoat-of-the-1940s-.jpg]
American Trenchcoat of the 1940s

The
Early
Days

Macintosh
&
the
Rubberized Raincoat
It seems, that the 18th-century coachmans coat which

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was

also

the

http://www.gentlemansgazette.com/trench-coat-guide/

predecessor

of

the

greatcoat

[http://www.gentlemansgazette.com/overcoat-topcoatgreatcoat-terminology-explained/]

was

likely

the

forefather of the trench coat. Unlike modern designer


garments, each characteristic feature of the trench was
born out of practicality.
Today, the trench coat is classied as a raincoat, which
brings us to our starting point at the beginning of the
nineteenth century. Back then, gas lighting was becoming
increasingly popular, and Glasgow, Scotland, the gas was
derived from coal. In 1818, the Scotsman James Syme
realized that the by-product, coal-tar naphtha, was
capable of dissolving rubber. As has occurred so many
times in history, the inventor / discoverer passed on his
information to a savvy business person in this case,
Charles Macintosh, who had successfully made a lot of
money with dry bleach.

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[http://www.gentlemansgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/CharlesMacintosh.jpg]
Charles Macintosh

By 1823, Macintosh had found a way to make use of this


adhesive rubber solution in garments. He applied it
between two layers of cloth, which resulted in a
waterproof raincoat that did not feel at all like rubber.
Despite the fact that this raincoat had a most unpleasant
odor, the Charles Macintosh & Co. was founded in 1824
Manchester, England, which was home to the cotton mills
that provided the raw materials for the raincoats.
Although Macintosh was able to sell quite a few of these
purely

practical

garments,

the

smell

was

not

its

only undesirable feature. With the charm of a potato sack,


the coat also became sticky like honey in the heat and
hard as a board in the cold. Also, the fumes where toxic

for the factory workers. By the late 1830s, the coat had
fallen out of favor. Advances in production were made,
and so by 1854 the company Hellewell advertised the ve

ounces

[http://www.gentlemansgazette.com/paletot-double-

Paletot

reversible

breasted-overcoat/] , which looked more fashionable and


hence was popular with anybody who had to face the

elements. Overall, the second incarnation of the raincoat


was so popular that they were referred to as Macintosh.
Today,

the

version

with

k,

Mackintosh,

is

more prevalent, and the company is now Japaneseowned.

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http://www.gentlemansgazette.com/trench-coat-guide/

[http://www.gentlemansgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/AquascutumGrey-Goodlake-Trenchcoat-from-1854.jpg]

Aquascutum Grey Goodlake Trenchcoat from 1854

Aquascutum
While the Manchester rainwear production was about to
reach its peak, two chaps from southern England were
working on their own interpretation of this very raincoat.

One of them was John Emary, who had opened a tailor


shop on Regent Street in 1851. He developed a special
raincoat

that

he

called

Aquascutum

[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aquascutum] (from the Latin


aqua = water & scutum = shield). Soon after that,
Aquascutum was producing coats for British soldiers.

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These coats reached to the ankle and were mostly made


up in a double breasted facon.
The raincoat was produced in larger numbers for the
British military beginning in 1853 and used in the Crimean
war [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crimean_war] , and it
even made an appearance during the American Civil War
(1861 1865), the Boer Wars [http://en.wikipedia.org
/wiki/Boer_Wars]

and

the

Russo-Japanese

War

[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russo-Japanese_War] (1904
1905). The oldest likely trench coat in existence today is
the Aquascutum on of Lt. General Gerald Goodlake
[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerald_Goodlake] , which is
preserved at Newstead Abbey, England. He wore this coat
during the Crimean war, in which he commanded a force
of sharpshooters. On one guerrilla sortie behind the
enemy lines, Goodlake, and a sergeant were cut o by a
large body of Russian troops. The two British soldiers
red, gun-clubbed their nearest attackers and ran into a
nearby ravine. However, the ravine lled with enemy
soldiers. To their surprise, the British found they were
ignored because of the gray raincoats coats they wore

they had been mistaken for Russians. This camouage

enabled them to march along in the ranks of the enemy

until they had an opportunity to escape and rejoin their


own men. The gray coat worn by Goodlake is displayed

next to his generals uniform. It was made of all wool cloth

by a famous West of England mill and waterproofed to the


extent then possible. As you can see in the photo though it

was an early predecessor of the trench coat, it does not


bear many of its trademark features, which would
develop later on.

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Thomas Burberry
In 1856, a 21-year-old drapers apprentice, Thomas
Burberry [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Burberry]
, opened an outerwear shop in Basingstoke. Since he had
grown up in the country, he noticed that the linen
garments of farm workers had certain properties that he
wanted to transfer to overcoats and topcoats. This
farmers clothing was lightweight and not constricting,
warm in the winter, breathable in the summer, and
shower resistant when damp, because the material
shrank once it got moist. Although Aquascutum was the
rst to produce weatherproofed raincoats on a large scale,
by the 1870s Thomas Burberry had developed into a
erce competitor.

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http://www.gentlemansgazette.com/trench-coat-guide/

[http://www.gentlemansgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11
/The-Tielocken.jpg]
The Tielocken Trench Coat from Burberrys

Unlike the rubberized version of Emary, Burberry


followed a dierent approach. Instead of wool, he used
sturdy fabric [http://www.gentlemansgazette.com/fabric-

guide/] that was woven of a long staple Egyptian cotton


yarn that was waterproofed before and after the weaving.
He

called

it

Gabardine

[http://en.wikipedia.org

/wiki/Gabardine] today also known as gaberdine which

was, in fact, an old term that had been outdated at the

time. The advantages were that it was lightweight, odor


free, hard wearing and waterproofed. In 1879, he

registered the term Gabardine as a trademark, which


would last for 40 years. World explorers like Amundsen
and Shackleton would use Gabardine for their exhibitions,
and it was widely used during the Boer Wars.
Many Boer war veterans would also ght in the trenches

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of WWI, and the most famous one was Field Marshal Lord
Kitchener

[http://en.wikipedia.org

/wiki/Herbert_Kitchener,_1st_Earl_Kitchener] , who cut an


iconic British gure with a mustache and a trench coat. His
preferred model was the Tielocken model, which had
been patented in 1912 as a coat with a strap and a buckle
instead of buttons and buttonholes. Many ocers aspired
to follow him, and when he died on a sinking ship during
the war, he supposedly wore his trench coat, helping to
cement the coats by then-legendary status. As you can see
from the advertisement, the trench coat was beginning to
approach its traditional conguration.
Despite, Burberrys prominent proponents, Aquascutum
also had a loyal following that would send back raving
letters from the front lines, which would go on to become
part of the Aquascutums advertising campaigns. During
WWI, trench coats were cut in dierent lengths; they were
generally shorter and sometimes they would just reach
above the knee. Moreover, they featured epaulets and
D-rings. Almost as famous as the sand, olive, and khaki
colors were blue & gray gabardine with a checked lining.

While some suspect that this was a designers invention of

the 20th century, checked lined rainwear was, in fact, the

standard in the 1880s and 1890s. There was a period in


the mid-twentieth century in which trench coats were

often lined in solid colors, but today the checked lining is

just as distinctive as the outer shell.

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[http://www.gentlemansgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/FamousCasablanca-Trench-Coat-Scene.jpg]
Famous Casablanca Trench Coat Scene

Some may wonder why this coat remained so popular


during the interwar years, and there are a few key
reasons. Firstly, in Britain, the government had ordered
thousands of trench coats and found itself with a hefty
surplus at the end of the war. They were distributed to the
public in the 1920s. Secondly, ocers were happy to
make use of their uniforms in civilian life, especially since
this garment were tough, hard-wearing and fabric

remained a scarce commodity. Thirdly, Hollywood stars

showcased the trench coat in lms across the US, many of

which are cultural treasures themselves; just think of

Casablanca and Humphrey Bogart, or the Maltese Falcon.

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[http://www.gentlemansgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/Soldierin-Over-Knee-Length-Trench-Coat.jpg]
Gary Cooper [http://www.gentlemansgazette.com/gary-cooper-gentlemanstyle/] as soldier in Sergeant York, 1941 wearing an Over Knee Length Trench
Coat

Since the combat strategies of WWII were dierent and


less trench-focused than WWI, shorter multi-functional
eld

jackets

[http://www.gentlemansgazette.com

/overcoat-topcoat-jacket-guide/] (some even camouaged)

were now the garment of choice, and the trench coat lost

its military signicance. Of course, many have probably


seen photographs of German ocers from the time in

black leather trench coats but these were worn to make

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an

impression

rather

than

for

their

practicality.

Nevertheless, the trench coat remained popular with the


public thereafter. Aquascutum blended newly-invented
nylon with cotton to create water- and wind-resistant
fabrics such as Aqua 5, long before Gore-Tex &

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Windstopper became household names. In the following


decades until today, the trench coat has been popular
with countless designers for men and women alike. Today,
Burberry Trench Coats are designer investment pieces
rather than practical garments. Anyone who knows a
thing or two about clothing might try to nd a vintage
quality Burberry or Aquascutum, because these were the
durable classics that contained all the dening [] details.

What
makes
a
Trench a Trench?

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[http://www.gentlemansgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/TrenchCoat-Hallmarks.jpg]
Trench Coat Hallmarks

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I can only repeat myself, but it is important to emphasize


that the trench was not invented. Rather than being
created on the whim of a designer, it evolved out of
necessity and practicality.

1. Trench Coat Fabric


100% Cotton Gabardine
For traditionalists, there is just one choice of trench coat
fabric: 100% cotton gabardine as invented by Thomas
Burberry. Tightly woven of a worsted cotton, it is both
lightweight and durable. As mentioned above, the yarn is
waterproofed as well as the nished fabric, achieving
remarkable water repellency properties during its heyday.

Rubberized
About 15 years ago, Mackintosh [http://en.wikipedia.org
/wiki/Mackintosh] reintroduced the rubberized coat as a
luxurious

item

particularly

in

ashy

successful

colors.

with

Since

Japanese

they

were

women,

the

company was sold to a Japanese rm. The prior owners


started

Hancock

[http://hancockva.com/]

which

produced rubberized garments in Scotland.

Modern Fabrics
Aquascutums original rubber coating invention is not
suggested, because one would easily overheat. If you want

ultimate stay-dry performance, fabrics like Gore Text or

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Event

fabric

[http://www.gentlemansgazette.com

/wintersport-clothing-1928/] would

be better

suited,

however I think they just dont look right on such a


traditional garment.

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Leather
There was a time when leather was frequently used for
trenches. German, WWII ocers were infamous for their
black leather trenches. Out of respect for the victims the
Third Reich, black leather trench coats should never be
worn.
In brown colors, a trench coat resembles the style of the
1970s and 1980s. Moreover, it is usually heavier, and you
will not get as much use out of it. Therefore, its best to
stay clear of leather trench coats altogether.

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[http://www.gentlemansgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/BrauchitschHitler-ain-Leather-Trench-Coat-at-Warsaw-Parade-1939.jpg]
Brauchitsch & Hitler in Black Leather Trench Coats at Warsaw Parade 1939

2. Colors

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The most traditional color is camel / khaki. Other popular


colors include sand, stone as well as navy blue or black.
Today, you can nd them in black, yellow red or and every
other color under the sun. Personally, I own three trench
coats the rst is a vintage coat in black from Burberry,
the second is a light khaki/sand color, and the third is a
darker khaki, also from Burberry. It may seem obvious,
but bear in mind the lighter the color the more quickly it is
stained. For that reason, I would never consider taking
anything but a dark trench coat with me for travel
purposes. Just like with any other garment, think about
when and where you will wear it before you buy.

3. Raglan Sleeves
The raglan sleeve made its debut in the 19th century, and
just

like

the

Chestereld

coat

[http://www.gentlemansgazette.com/chestereldovercoat/] , it owes it name to an aristocrat: FitzRoy


Somerset

1st

Baron

Raglan

[http://en.wikipedia.org

/wiki/FitzRoy_Somerset,_1st_Baron_Raglan] .

As

with

many

other

garments,

[http://www.gentlemansgazette.com/waiscoat-button/]
there are two stories here. During Waterloo, Lord Raglan
injured his right arm that had to be amputated.

One source indicates that he requested a coat designed so

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he could dress more quickly. His tailor obliged and


created a short coat with a simple diagonal sleeve seam
setting that extended from the neck to the underarm,
without a distinctive sleeve head.

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[http://www.gentlemansgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/Traditional5x2-Double-Breasted-Trenchcoat.jpg]
Traditional 52 Double Breasted Trenchcoat with Raglan Sleeves

According to Graeme Fidler, Lord Raglan wanted to help

soldiers to keep warm and hence devised a garment made

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from a potato sack, which was slit at the neck and slashed
diagonally across the corners to allow the arms to move
freely. Why anyone would want to imitate the style of a
potato-sack coat, I have no idea, but there you have it.

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In my personal experience, I havent noticed a huge


dierence in mobility between the two cuts. One might
feel the dierence in a bespoke trench, but o the rack,
raglan armholes are often huge and dont allow for more
mobility.
Overall, I think mobility is more a question of proper
tailoring than the choice of style. Of the two vintage
Burberrys trenches I own, one has a regular sleeve and
the other a raglan and to me they feel the same

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[http://www.gentlemansgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/Singlebreasted-trench-coat-ariation-without-raglan-sleeves.jpg]
Single breasted trench coat variation without Raglan sleeves by GG reader
Malcolm Kindness

However, I would agree that it is easier to put on a raglansleeved coat, which was the original reason Raglan wanted
such a coat (according to one story).
Again, the traditionalist would choose the raglan sleeve
while I would council everyone else to take whatever ts
best.

4. Double Breasted
By its military origin, a trench coat is traditionally double
breasted and features ten buttons on the front. Of course,
there are all kinds of double breasted and single breasted

versions

available

with

multiple

button

&

belt

congurations, but the rst coat has always been the 52

DB cut. Personally, I much prefer the look of this

silhouette over any others.

5. Epaulettes

The infamous shoulder tabs often seen on military

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uniforms also found their way on a trench coat, but they


were not added merely to indicate rank. Much rather, they
were

used

to

secure

gas

masks,

gloves

[http://www.gentlemansgazette.com/shop/leather-

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goods/gloves?limit=all] , or whistles.

[http://www.gentlemansgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/Gun-Flapor-Strom-Patch-on-a-Trench-Coat.jpg]
Gun Flap or Strom Patch on a Trench Coat

6. Gun Patch / Storm


Flap
The gun patch fullled two functions. It could serve as a
gun ap for the recoil of the rie, but more importantly, it
prevented rain water owing down the shoulders from
entering the inside of the gun. Personally, I rarely use this

feature but it can never hurt, I suppose.

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[http://www.gentlemansgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/Collar-

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Hook-on-a-Burberrys-Trench-Coat.jpg]
Collar Hook on a Burberrys Trench Coat

7. Hook & Eye


Throat Latch

and

Just below the large collar, you will nd a hook and eye
that allows you to keep easily your collar closed up all the
way. It is often secured with a strap and buckle system
that is hidden underneath the collar also known as a
throat latch. I nd it particularly useful to protect myself
from

cold

winds

in

combination

with

scarf

[http://www.gentlemansgazette.com
/shop/scarves?limit=all] .

8. Belt with D-Rings


Initially, the belt with its D-Rings was used to suspend
items of equipment, such as grenades or even swords.

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[http://www.gentlemansgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/Belt-with-DRings-Leather-Buckle-Storm-Pocket.jpg]
Belt with D-Rings, Leather Buckle & Storm Pocket

By time trench coat appeared, the sword was already

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merely decorative. Today, the belt enables you to create


an attractive silhouette by dening the waistline. In theory,
you could still use the D-Rings, though the belt loops
might rip o rather quickly.

[http://www.gentlemansgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/TrenchCoat-Throat-Latch..jpg]
Trench Coat Throat Latch.

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[http://www.gentlemansgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/Buttonto-Close-the-Wedged-Vent.jpg]
Button to Close the Wedged Vent

9. Sleeve Straps

The sleeve straps on the cus can be tightened to keep


out the elements. I rarely tighten these buckles because it

is a pain to get out of the coat after the fact, but I can see

why they are useful for a cold and rainy day.

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10. Deep
Saddle

Yoke

Back

The deep back yoke allowed the water roll onto the oor
rather than down the back of the wearer. This feature is
not seen on many other garments and as such, it is
unique to the trench.

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11. Wedge Back


For soldiers to be able to move quickly, every trench coat
had a vent. To keep you dry and warm, it was tailored with
a wedge.

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[http://www.gentlemansgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/TrenchCoat-with-High-Collar-Deep-Yoke-Back-Belt-with-D-Rings-Wedged-Back-Vent.jpg]
Trench Coat with High Collar, Deep Yoke Back, Belt with D-Rings & Wedged
Back Vent

I can attest from personal experience, that wedged vents

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are great because they continue to block the wind and


rain while allowing added movement. If you do not like
the look of it, you can always button it up.

12.
Through
Pockets

Storm

The storm pockets can be buttoned up from the outside to


keep out the rain. All proper trench coats have through
pockets than can be reached from the inside and outside.
I like this feature when traveling because I can wear the
coat buttoned or unbuttoned, and I always have access to
my wallet, passport, etc.

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[http://www.gentlemansgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/TraditionalLeather-Buckled-Sleeve-Straps.jpg]
Traditional Leather Buckled Sleeve Straps

13. Leather Buckles


Leather buckles were available back then, and I like the
look of them though technically metal buckles would
perform just as well, if not better in the long run. Since the
buckles are often handled , leather is often worn in this
location, especially on vintage garments.

14. Checked Lining

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[http://www.gentlemansgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/ThroughPockets-with-Classic-Burberry-House-Tartan.jpg]

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Through Pockets with Classic Burberry House Tartan

Traditionally, trench coats feature a checked lining.


Burberry now oers six dierent checks in various sizes.
The Equestrian Knight pattern is characteristic, but the
classic house check is probably the most widespread for
trench coats, and it features the tan, black, white and red
tartan without any branding.

[http://www.gentlemansgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/Aquascutum-

Club-Check-Lining.jpg]

Aquascutum Club Check Lining Club 92.

Aquascutum introduced their hallmark club check lining

Club 92 in 1967, which is now also known as

the Aquascutum Club.

For the cooler days, a removable wool lining can be

28 of 59

attached with buttons (for coats with this option), which


makes it all the more versatile. My old non-Burberry
Made

in

England

coat

has

lovat

green

[http://www.gentlemansgazette.com/lovat-green-summerjacket/] liner that is made of 95% wool with 5% camel

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hair, and I can recommend it.

15. Made in England


The original coats were made in England, but as you
probably know by now, quality is not limited to a
particular

country

[http://www.gentlemansgazette.com

/made-in-the-usa-quality/] , and you can nd both crap


and high quality just about anywhere.
Burberry makes most of their coats in Turkey nowadays
and Aquascutum in Italy. Both are fashion brands, as is
Mackintosh. Hancock provides rubberized coats, but I am
sure a tailor could make them for [] you too. Burberrys
Trench Coat from Pre 1999 were usually made in England
but take a look at the buying section below for more
details.

Trench Coat Fit

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[http://www.gentlemansgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/SteveMcQueen-in-Trench-Coat-1963.jpg]
Steve McQueen in Blue Trench Coat 1963

Most trenches are not worn skin tight since they were
worn over other garments, such as uniforms, suits, etc.
Just like with any garment, you have to decide how you
want to wear it.
If you wish to wear a suit underneath of it, bring a suit
when you try coats on, and wear it both with and without
your suit coat. Also, decide whether you want a
detachable liner or not, as it is not easy to add one in after
the fact.
The sleeve should reach to the root of your thumb, so

your sleeves underneath are covered completely, and


your shirt [http://www.gentlemansgazette.com/the-shirt-

guide/] cu remain out of view when you move around.

Anything longer than that will make you look like you

havent yet made it to the alterations tailor.

30 of 59

How To Choose the


Right
Trench
Coat
Length
Bear in mind, there is not one traditional length. Ads and
pictures from back in the day range from above the knee

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to the mid-calf and sometimes even to the ankle.


The most versatile coats are worn at about knee length.

Short Men
Simply choose what feels right to you tough bear in mind
that an ankle-length coat might be overwhelming for a
smaller

frame

while

an

above-the-knee

coat

will

help elongate your legs.

Tall Men
The opposite is true for taller men, who should avoid
short coats that would only elongate the legs further.
I am 6 / 183cm tall, and my Burberrys Trench coats reach
just below the knee, and my third coat is knee length. I
probably prefer the below-the-knee versions, but thats
just personal taste.
Trench Coat Alterations
As with most garments on the rack, keep in mind that you
can make them smaller by one or two sizes, but rarely

bigger. Never have extreme alterations done since it will

distort proportions of belt line, buttons, pockets, etc., and

you will look unintentionally [] awkward, despite all your


eorts.

31 of 59

Where to Buy
Trench Coat?

Basically, you have three options.

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[http://www.gentlemansgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/AquascutumKingsgate-Trench-Coat.jpg]
Aquascutum Kingsgate Trench Coat

1. Used coats. Old Burberrys or Aquascutum coats are


the real deal and should last you for years, as I can attest,
but it may be tedious or expensive to nd one in good
condition. I happened to spot my rst one for 125 EUR in a

mens vintage store in Germany, so its worth investigating

32 of 59

what you like and keep an eye for it. Alternatively, you can
take a look on eBay [http://bit.ly/trench-coats-for-anybudget] , where you can always nd a plethora of
dierent trench coats.
2. Off the Rack. Obviously it is the easiest and quickest
route to buy a new trench coat at a store. Burberry still

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carries their original styles, but it will set you back about
$1800

[http://us.burberry.com/store/trench-coats/mens-

trench-coats/london/prod-36548881-long-cottongabardine-trench-coat/]

or

750

[http://www.aquascutum.co.uk/] for Aquascutum. As I


mentioned in the used section, they do tend to last, so
they might be a good piece to invest in and treat with care.
In any case, there is a good resale market for Burberry
trenches. However, smaller companies like Francis
Campelli [http://www.franciscampelli.com/] , also produce
quality garments according to our British readers.
3. Bespoke. If your tailor can source the right kind of
gaberdine and the wool liner as well as the pattern, a
custom trench is certainly an option that is hardly more
expensive than the established brands.
 Click to see a selection of 80+ Trench Coats [http://bit.ly/trenchcoats-for-any-budget]

How To Buy A Used


Burberry
Trench
Coat
Burberry is the most well-known brand when it comes to
Trench Coats. Hence we pub together this mini-guide on
How To Buy a Burberry Trench:

33 of 59

Not All Burberry


Trenches Are Alike
Get A Burberrys
Its important to know that Burberrys to BURBERRY in

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1999. Most gentlemen prefer the pre-1999 trench coats to


post-1999 versions because they were almost completely
made in England. Today, BURBERRY is more of a fashion
brand than a provider of top quality garments.

Burberrys vs. BURBERRY


Fortunately, its very easy to distinguish the coats:
The pre-1999 trench coats have a label that reads
Burberrys with an s and at the end. The font is usually
white on a navy or dark blue label.
1. Trench coats with a BURBERRY label without the S are
post-1999 and mostly made in Italy, Turkey, Malaysia.

34 of 59

[http://www.gentlemansgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/BurberrysMade-in-England.jpg]
Burberrys pre-1999 Made in England Label

Other Burberry Labels


Tom complicate matters, the company has a number of
other labels which are also used for Trench Coats:
BURBERRY BLACK LABEL and BURBERRY BLUE LABEL
are made tailored for Japanese customers under license

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by Sanyo Shokai. While a few of them are made in Japan,


the bulk of these trench coats is made in China. I would
recommend you stay clear of those.
BURBERRY PRORSUM is the high-end label of the
company. It is generally more fashion forward with a price
tag to match. If you nd one you like, go for it, though it
has not much to do with the traditional British Trench
Coat Burberrys was famous for.

Recommendation go with pre 1999


Burberrys
My favorite trench coats are the ones made pre 1999 with
Burberrys labels. They are generally well made, last a long
time and they are simply the real deal.
The details below pertain to these pre 1999 trench coats
only!

[http://www.gentlemansgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/TrenchCoat-Guide.jpg]

35 of 59

Well fitting Trench Coat worn by Alain Delon


[http://www.gentlemansgazette.com/alain-delon-gentleman-style/]

Sizing
The sizing of Burberry Trench coats can be very confusing.

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On top of that, trench coat cuts have varied over the years.
Therefore it is extremely important to go by
measurements especially if you buy a trench coat on eBay
[http://bit.ly/trench-coats-for-any-budget] or online in
general, because otherwise you may end up with
something that looks like a potato sack.
Old Burberrys Trench Coats come in a rather unusual
sizing system that is a mix between the U.S./UK sizing and
continental European sizing. The size is always marked on
a white size label inside the left pocket in the NAME eld.
Size 50 equals U.S./UK size 40. The additions of REG, S or L
pertain to the length of the trench coat., For example tall
people should usually go with a L or REG version but
they can still go with S if you prefer a very short trench
coat. The problem might be that that sleeve length is not
long enough. On the other hand, a short person may want
to go with REG instead of S and have the coat and sleeves
shortened. Always bear in mind that changing too much
will make you look weird because the proportions of your
garment will be o.

To help you nd the right size, check out this table. Bear in
mind that exact measurements are more accurate than
any sizing!

36 of 59

REG
Burberry

44

46

48

50

52

54

56

58

Sizing

REG

REG

REG

REG

REG

REG

REG

REG

U.S. / UK

34

36

38

40

42

44

46

48

44

46

48

50

52

54

56

58

Sizing
European
Sizing

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S
Burberry

44

46

48

50

52

54

56

58

34 S

36 S

38 S

40 S

42 S

44 S

46 S

48 S

22

23

24

25

26

27

28

29

44 L

46 L

48 L

50 L

52 L

54 L

56 L

58 L

34

36

38

40

42

44

46

48

90

94

98

102

106

110

114

118

Sizing
U.S. / UK
Sizing
European
Sizing

L
Burberry
Sizing
U.S. / UK
Sizing
European
Sizing

Authentic or Fake
Burberry?
Due to the popularity of the Trench Coat and the Burberry
brand, you will occasionally counterfeited Burberry trench

coats. Fortunately, most fakes are of low quality and

37 of 59

relatively easy to spot. These are the things you should


pay attention to:
1. Neat Stitching: Genuine Burberry trench coats
feature neat seams and stitching. For example the belt
loops are carefully reinforced with a little square stitch
whereas fakes often feature sloppy stitching and little

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to no attention to detail.
2. Matching Nova Check Pattern: On genuine
Burberrys Trench coats the Nova Check lining
matches up neatly and it is always in the colors beige,
white, black and red. Dierent colors or mismatched
checks are a hallmark of fakes.
3. White Size Label: Genuine pre-1999 trench coats
have a white label in the left pocket with a Name and
Order eld. The size is always in the Name eld. On
the liner, the size label is hidden underneath the navy
blue Burberrys label. If you cannot nd these labels
and they were not removed, it is a fake.
4. Quality Gabardine Fabric: The Burberry Gabardine is
very hard wearing and anything but imsy. You can
nd it in 100% cotton, 51% Cotton 49% Polyester and
67% Polyester 33% Cotton. Every other compositions
are not genuine.

When to Wear &


When Not to Wear
a Trench Coat?
Today, I would wear it for all kinds of daywear activities,
except

formal

morning

dress

[http://www.morningdressguide.com] . It is appropriate

with casual wear as well as business suits, and it is an ideal

38 of 59

travel companion due to its moderate to light weight,


water repellency, and versatility. Despite its manifold uses,
please bear in mind that the trench coat is not appropriate
for formal evening wear such as black tie or white tie.

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[http://www.gentlemansgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/TrenchCoats.jpg]
Trench Coats

Conclusion
The trench coat remains a stylish raincoat for men and

women alike despite its unmistakably military origins. It is


versatile, tough-wearing and dashing if worn right.

Because of its weight and detachable liner it can be worn

during the spring and fall but also during mild or rainy

winters. It is an ideal travel jacket that combines multiple


coats in one. Before you buy one, think about where and

how you will wear it and what style would look best on
you. If you have any further questions, in case you think

39 of 59

I missed something or if you know a great source for


trench

coats,

please

let

us

know

[http://www.gentlemansgazette.com/contact/] .

Click Here To Learn More About

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Other Overcoats
[http://www.gentlemansgazette.com
/overcoat-topcoat-jacket-guide/]
Summary

Article Name
Description

Trench Coat Guide


Ultimate Trench Coat resource for
this famous raincoat, including
history, Burberry, Aquascutum, t
guide & How to Buy advice

Author

Sven Raphael Schneider

If you shop at amazon and we refer you, prices are the

same as normal, we just get a small commission. Thank

you! [http://target.georiot.com/Proxy.ashx?TSID=12980&

GR_URL=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com
%2F%3Ftag%3Dgentsgaze-20]

40 of 59

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/?banner=bottom_text_up onClick=]
Tags: overcoat, overcoats, Topcoat, topcoats, Trench Coat,
Trenchcoat

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55
REPLIES

guerras
November 9, 2012 at 7:15 PM

It is not Salvador Dali, it is Peter Sellers in Pink

Panther.
Sorry, but that is a silly mistake : )

Sven Raphael Schneider


November 10, 2012 at 11:11 AM

You are right. It stands corrected now.

42 of 59

Ahmed Sajeel
November 9, 2012 at 10:42 PM

Deliciously elaborate well done and thank you

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F-M Chaballier
November 10, 2012 at 7:09 AM

I think the soldier pictured in the 15th picture is


Gary Cooper. Can someone conrm?

Sven Raphael Schneider


November 10, 2012 at 11:12 AM

He denitely has a strong resemblance but I


dont think we ever fought as a soldier, so it
could only be a movie. Any hints in that matter
are appreciated.

M ark Hewitt
October 29, 2015 at 12:59 AM

My hunch this is from the movie


Sergeant York a 1941 lm directed by
Howard Hawks starring Gary Cooper (
he in the photo ) for which he won an
Oscar for best actor.

M ark Seitelman
November 13, 2012 at 9:33 AM

The photo of the soldier is probably Gary Cooper.

It could be from his famous lm, Sergeant York.

The trench coat has endured as a classic. In

43 of 59

comparison, another military coat, the British


warm, is rarely seen. It was once very popular and
was available in classic clothiers. This is no longer
the case, but all classic clothiers carry trench
coats.
I have a couple of classic English trench coats as
well as a few more fashion forward models

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which do not religiously follow all of the detailing


and fabric choices. For example, I have a couple of
Alan Flusser raincoats in a bamboo microber.
These were made in Italy.
It is interesting that in view of the detailing and
expensive materials (quality cotton exterior and
interior and leather buckles), an authentic trench
coat can be over $1,500.
Brooks Brothers and Paul Stuart oer excellent
trench coats under their own label. I would say
that Paul Stuarts coat is excellent.

Sven Raphael Schneider


November 13, 2012 at 10:14 AM

Thanks for your comment, Mark. We discussed


the Gary Cooper question on Facebook and
basically, two movies were suggested. I have
not taken a look at the myself yet, so I cannot
conrm

submariiner
November 13, 2012 at 10:11 PM

My navy color trench issued from the coast guard


does plenty of double duty work in the civilian
world.

44 of 59

James
November 15, 2012 at 1:20 AM

Hello, could you please answer this question


concerning where to buy a bespoke one?

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http://b.qr.ae/W8v7t8

Ray Frensham
November 15, 2012 at 6:04 PM

Excellent study I am still reading through it.


Bravo..
Eventually you should collate all these wise words
(on various garments) and bring them out as a
book.. (I bags write the Foreword!).

nik Ismail almurtadza


November 18, 2012 at 12:55 AM

What are other brands thats worthy of


mentioning?
murtadza

Brad
November 18, 2012 at 6:25 PM

At least two men seem to be dead in the trench

while others are stepping over their bodies But

sorry, were talking of Aquascutum and Burberrys.


We may appreciate those (too expensive)

45 of 59

garments but Im afraid the picture is quite


inappropriate.

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Charles
December 27, 2012 at 5:22 PM

I dont think the Bogie promo shot #13 is from


Casablanca. This still from Casablanca shows a
coat with set shoulders and two gun aps the
Aquascutum Kingsway while the shot of Bogart
has raglan sleeves and only a right-hand gun ap.
http://thechicspy.com/wp-content/uploads
/2012/03/Bogart-Bergman-Casablanca-1942.jpg

Sven Raphael Schneider


December 27, 2012 at 11:05 PM

Charles, thank you for your comment! Could it be


that he wore an Aquascutum and that he later
switched to Burberry? I am pretty sure that the
last picture is in fact from Casablance, see here

Nikolaos

December 28, 2012 at 10:48 PM

apart from the standard british trench coat


houses, one can nd excellent examples of the

garment at the italian allegri and american

japanese sanyo

46 of 59

Dan
January 20, 2013 at 3:00 PM

If you ever nd yourself in London then the


Burberry and Aquascutum outlets are great
places to pick up a trench coat for signicantly
less than the regular price. I bought mine
(admittedly in the sale) in for third of the price it

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should have been.


The two store are next to each other in the middle
of a somewhat run down industrial in Hackney.
Worth making the trip though.

Sven Raphael Schneider


January 21, 2013 at 12:05 AM

Thanks for the hint Dan, can you share a


specic address with us?

peter
October 28, 2015 at 9:13 PM

What about London Fog trench coats? They were


made in America, I have not seen them lately.
Thanks for the great article.

Sven Raphael Schneider


October 28, 2015 at 11:43 PM

You can still nd them on ebay occasionally. On


their website they seem to oer some trench
coats with double gun ap, so obviouly they

are more fashion forward now.

47 of 59

LAStyleGuy
October 28, 2015 at 11:05 PM

Loved your article on trench coats. But as an


owner of a vintage Burberry trench, Im afraid
youre incorrectthey no longer make their
traditional model . Everything today is higher style,
and above-the-knee versions. Im babying my real

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classic 100% cotton gabardine model, and hope it


lasts a lifetime, because Im afraid Ill never be
able to replace it.

Sven Raphael Schneider


October 28, 2015 at 11:41 PM

Well, they always had plenty of dierent


models with dierent cuts. Yes, they do not
make the pre-1999 style ones, but I would still
call them a trench coat. But as highlighted in
the article, the pre-1999 is my favorite too.

Old School
October 29, 2015 at 12:29 AM

Was the shop in Hamburg Rudolf Beaufays?


One of my favorites.
(Known to the local expat crowd as Dead
Englishmen)

Sven Raphael Schneider


October 29, 2015 at 9:53 AM

Yes it was!

48 of 59

Adam
October 29, 2015 at 5:16 AM

The one problem that I have with Trench Coats is


that I always seem to lose the belts.
I have a very hard time when trying to locate
replacements (even when contacting makers)
colour matching seems to be a particular problem
for me, and I do not like compromising on a belt

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that is not quite the same colour/shade as the


original.
Do you have any suggestions?

Sven Raphael Schneider


October 29, 2015 at 9:54 AM

Get one with D-Rings because that prevents the


belt from coming out of the loops.

Carl
October 29, 2015 at 7:47 AM

Great article.
At Burberrys HQ store in London you can have a
trench coat made up to your own design using
their old patterns, so you can add or subtract D
rings, gun aps etc or just choose an original WWI
design.
With anniversaries of WWI battles and the

Anglo-Irish War (where they were popular with


Guerillas operating as Flying Columns, many

being WWI veterans as well as Auxilaries and

Black & Tans) and 1916 Rising commemorations

coming up no doubt the trench will remain a hot


product in style terms.

49 of 59

Sven Raphael Schneider


October 29, 2015 at 9:55 AM

I am glad to hear they still do that! I wonder


how many dierent patterns they oer and if
they can supply the old fabric qualities etc.

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Frank Gadson
October 29, 2015 at 11:26 AM

Excellent information thanks so very much!

Greg from Chatham


October 29, 2015 at 8:44 PM

Absolutely an incredible amount of information


and great photographs in this article!
Well done!

Principe
October 30, 2015 at 11:35 AM

Dear Sven got my pre-1999 Burberrys at an


(Anglican) Church of England thrift shop for $1
(Cdn)! I highly recommend Anglican thrift shops in
Canada and the USA, plus the Oxfam shops in the
Home Counties (UK). Thank you for a most
excellent and informative article, I really learned a

lot for future expeditions.

Joe
October 31, 2015 at 11:48 AM

I tried to leave a comment on the Burberry

trenches earlier, but it seems to have gotten lost.

50 of 59

My apologies if this ends up being a duplicate.


Looking at Burberrys web site, I see the Heritage
collection prominently displayed and in that
collection is the Westminster, a long, traditional
trench. Here is the description they provide:
classic t trench coat, The Westminster is

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tailored to the body with a generous cut.


The coat is made in England from weatherproof
cotton gabardine, invented by Thomas Burberry in
1879.
https://us.burberry.com/the-westminsterlong-heritage-trench-coat-p39066901
Now, I dont know the older ones so Ill defer to
you folks who own them and know them well, but
this description seems to contradict the
comments above that say everything is high style,
above the knee, not made of cotton gabardine,
etc.
Id love to own a previously enjoyed, well cared for
classic Burberry for a song, but as with all such
things, getting my larger size, a genuine article, in
a color I want, with no rotting leather buckle
covers, etc all seems rather dicey. And while Ive
done some good business on eBay, its a
treacherous place sometimes. I wanted a Beck
Diplomat shoe polisher and I wanted to be sure it
would be something I would actually use and

enjoy before I spent nearly $300 on a new one.

eBay supplied a reasonable one for $60 and while

it isnt perfect, I now know how awesome they are

and if I want perfection, I will gladly pay full retail. I


dont have to do that with a Burberry trench as

there is a Burberry retail store nearby for me to

try them on with my suit on, etc., as this article

51 of 59

suggests. I like getting a deal but if Im wearing it


in public, it needs to be up to my standards. I think
the Westminster in Navy would be my choice.

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Sven Raphael Schneider


October 31, 2015 at 1:57 PM

Thanks for sharing Joe, this is indeed a made in


England coat. The old ones did not have the
undercollar check and $1895 is steep for cotton
gabardine but hey, it is an attractive cut for
sure.
That being said, its not dicult to nd big sizes
because they were often cut large
ps: when you post links, comments are held for
moderation because we get about 3,000 spam
comments a day and so we need to lter by
certain criteria.

Dennis
November 1, 2015 at 5:07 PM

Mate,
Thank you so much for the article! Armed with
this information, I went hunting for a trench coat

and you cannot imagine my delight when I found

a Burberrys not only in my size but also in near


mint condition for just over $200 at the very rst

op shop I visited! The label says Made in England

for Harrods, but Google tells me thats ne

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Sven Raphael Schneider


November 1, 2015 at 8:22 PM

Dennis, I am glad to hear that. Well done!

LB
November 3, 2015 at 7:50 AM

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Trench Coat Guide Gentleman's Gazette

http://www.gentlemansgazette.com/trench-coat-guide/

I would get rid of the emblems on the epaulettes. I


dont think anyone would believe that you were in
the British Army, and its a bit like wearing the
regalia of a college that you didnt attend. Even as
a former soldier, I would probably keep any
references to my old regiment down to switching
the buttons. I think you rather lessen the
authenticity when you add emblems to a piece of
clothing that dont really have anything to do with
you.

Sven Raphael Schneider


November 3, 2015 at 6:18 PM

Each to his own.

M ike
November 4, 2015 at 12:47 AM

A lot of nonsense in this article regarding

German trench coats in WW2. We shouldnt wear


black leather trench coats? Absurd, the roads are

clogged with Mercedes Benz autos. One cant see

it in black and white photos, but German army

ocers wore eld green leather trench coats, air


force was light grey, Nazi party ocials wore
brown, SS ocers wore black.

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Principe
November 14, 2015 at 1:49 PM

Dear Sven- further to my remarks of 30


Octoberon 12 November specically went
hunting for a new (ie, used) trenchcoat at a large

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Trench Coat Guide Gentleman's Gazette

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2nd hand store here in Canada and found an Yves


St Laurent for $8.99 Cdn! The only thing lacking is
the belt. Now to nd one with D rings and
matching khaki colour. and thank you again for
your most informative article. Looking fwd to
reading more of your posts.

Lisa
November 25, 2015 at 2:12 PM

Hi there,
I came across your great article while doing some
research about the vintage burberrys trench I
found at a garage sale.
Mine ts all the details of your pre-1999 above,
however not only does it have a navy blue
Burberrys label, it also has an Austin reed label
seen just under it.
I cant nd anything about Burberrys making
coats for Austin Reed. Do you have any thoughts
on this? Thanks!

Sven Raphael Schneider


November 25, 2015 at 4:25 PM

Well, it is not unlikely that they worked for


Austin Reed.

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Jack Wu
December 27, 2015 at 10:17 PM

May I ask why one should steer clear of Chinese


made coats? Where is your iPhone made? Do you
own any Chinese made Burberry products? If so,
was the quality so bad that it made you feel the

2/11/2016 5:05 PM

Trench Coat Guide Gentleman's Gazette

http://www.gentlemansgazette.com/trench-coat-guide/

need to warn others about products from my


country?
Little tired of and oended by hearing of the awful
quality of Chinese made products, as QC has
improved greatly in the last decade.

Sven Raphael Schneider


December 30, 2015 at 12:24 PM

Jack, I do neither use an iphone nor a made in


China Burberry trench coat. I just visited China
for several weeks and the level of quality I
encountered often leaves a lot to be desired.
Yes, I felt the need to warn our readers
because they do not stack up at the moment.
If you read our articles, you will see that we
strongly believe that you can nd quality
anywhere. That being said, most ready made
clothing and things like ties and pocket squares
are still way o from European standards.
However, that may change in the future. 100

years ago, Made in Germany was perceived in a


similar way as Made in China is now, but Made
in Germany today is often perceived as

excellence. Who knows maybe a few years

down the road China will have better products.

Today, you nd more bad Chinese products


than good ones in my experience.

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Jack Wu
December 30, 2015 at 11:03 PM

Perhaps that is true of many cheaply


made Chinese products, of which
similar quality Im sure you can nd
manufactured in any countryhowever

2/11/2016 5:05 PM

Trench Coat Guide Gentleman's Gazette

http://www.gentlemansgazette.com/trench-coat-guide/

we are not talking about the quality of


clothing in general. You warned your
readers about Chinese made Burberry
Black/Blue label products; so I ask you
about your experience specically with
Chinese made Burberry Black/Blue
label products. If, as you now claim,
you have no experience with Chinese
made Burberry Black/Blue products, I
would expect you to retract your
statement. As you have admitted
yourself, quality can be found
anywhere, much like my example of
Chinese made iPhones (and Im sure
there are many other examples).
When it comes to quality, really the
most important thing is experience and
QC. Apple is able to produce such a
polished product in China because of
tight QC. You assume Burberry is not
able to do the same with their

suppliers?

Sven Raphael
Schneider
December 31, 2015 at 2:30 PM

Jack,

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I suggest you read what I write


before claiming I said
something I did not.
I never said I had no experience
with Chinese Burberry
Trenchcoat, I said I do not use
them, that is a huge dierence.

2/11/2016 5:05 PM

Trench Coat Guide Gentleman's Gazette

http://www.gentlemansgazette.com/trench-coat-guide/

I have been to China


and I have seen
China-made Trench
coats in person, I tried
them on and inspected
them closely and I do
not want them because
the workamnship, the
fabric and the cut were
not attering in any
way.
Of course, you are
welcome to write your
own article about
Chinese trench coats on
your own website, but
at this point the quality
of Chinese Burberry
Trenchcoats is not
worth being
recommended, in my
opinion. Maybe that will

change in the future.

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Trench Coat Guide Gentleman's Gazette

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Trench Coat Guide Gentleman's Gazette

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