The Trench Coat: an icon of British style since 1850

Wednesday, 28 March 2018
The Trench Coat: an icon of British style since 1850


A classic trench coat is a staple in your sartorial armour against British weather. This raincoat has a rich history that dates back all the way to the 1850s. Originally worn by army officers, the trench was, as the name suggests, originally created for use in more testing conditions that a stroll down Piccadilly. Each detail had a purpose, and as with all iconic styles, the marriage of functionality and design is integral to what makes the trench so timeless.

Our new season trench coat, a feminine update on the traditional style.
Storm yoke, cuff tabs and storm tab: style details with practical purpose.

Colour: The classic trench colours are beige, khaki and navy, ones that hark back to its military roots.

Material: Traditionally made in a sturdy tightly woven cotton gabardine, with a distinct twill weave. Originally these garments were not waterproof, but as innovations occurred in waterproofing, such as rubber bonding, these were adopted. Our ladies trench coat is made in a waterproof gabardine made for us by British Millerain, who have been weaving cotton cloth in Lancashire since 1880, and were at the forefront of creating fully waterproof cloths.

Lining: Fully lined trench coats are good for the colder months, but are limited. The benefit of an unlined or buggy lined version is that it can be used throughout the whole year. Add warmth to your outfit by layering with knitwear, or wear it over a Liberty shirt in the summer months.

Double Breast: Trench coats are traditionally double-breasted, which ties in to the coat’s military history. Buttoning comes right up to the neck, and the style can be worn fully closed or with the lapels opened.

Collar: The trench has a distinct two part collar that can be turned up if required.

Storm tab: An essential feature of a proper trench is the storm tab, which links the two collars together. This when closed ensures the wearer is fully protected against the elements.

Pockets: Pockets in trench coats are often accessible from both the inside and outside so the outer opening can be closed (traditionally by button) to prevent rain from getting in.

Belt: The trench is a belted style, this can be a buckle or just a self tying belt. It has been a tradition since the 1950’s for the belt to be knotted instead of belted.

Storm Shield: The extra layer of cloth, the yoke across the back of the jacket, acts to deflect rain away from the body of the coat, and has been a distinctive feature of the style since its early days.

Sleeve tabs or belts: Button tabs or buckles are often used to pull the cuff towards the body, ensuring rain cannot get into the wearers sleeves.

Storm Patch: In original trench coats, this flap served a double purpose, to wick away more rain and also to protect from the kickback of a rifle.

Raglan sleeves: The sleeves of a trench coat extend fully to the collar, leaving a diagonal seam instead of one on top of the shoulder.

Epaulettes: These shoulder straps come as part of the coat’s military background. These tabs are often used to indicate rank. They also have a utility purpose for securing items such as gloves.

Length: Trench coats vary in length from long — hovering around the ankle — to shorter thigh length. The modern trend has been towards a thigh length coat, it is an easy versatile length that fits well with modern living.

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