Making The Case For The Trench Coat
Perhaps more than any other piece of outerwear, trench coats come with built-in myth making. People associate them with TV detectives and conflicted heroes in black-and-white noir films. But look past those associations, and you’ll realize that trench coats are versatile, utilitarian, and easy to wear over tailoring or casual clothing.
What Is a Trench Coat?
Let’s start with a definition. A trench coat is a piece of outerwear made from waterproof or water-resistant cotton. While typically on the longer side, its length can range from mid-thigh to ankle. It often has a throat latch that can be buttoned to protect the neck from elements, and is seen belted or unbelted, double-breasted or single-breasted. Single-breasted trench coats will sometimes have a covered placket, which keeps rain from entering between the buttons.
Where Do Trench Coats Come From?
While the first trench coats were made in the mid-19th century, they came to prominence (and received their name) during the First World War, when they were worn by British officers. Its military origins are still expressed in designs today: many trench coats feature epaulettes. These straps of fabric attached to the shoulder with a button would have been used to display rank during wartime (fortunately, today they’re just for show).
How Do You Wear a Trench Coat?
Trench coats can easily slide over a suit jacket, allowing them to protect suits during rainfall. As a garment with tailored origins, they will fit over a suit more naturally than a conventional rain jacket and will appear more formal.