A quality trench coat (I have also heard it referred to as a Macintosh or Mac coat over in England, although I believe a trench and Mac are two different things) can be a man or woman’s best friend, especially during rain. Like many classic items of men’s dress the trench coat’s origin is rooted in use by the military and during warfare, in particular World War I. The name is derived from the wearing of the coats in the trenches of WWI (and for all of you history fans, trench warfare was the dominant type of warfare during the war). There is a continuous debate between Burberry and Aquascutum as to which company actually invented the trench coat, as both claim to have done so before the war. Either way, both brands still make some of the best classically styled trench coats out there. But either way, many say the predecessor was made by Charles Macintosh (thus Mac coat), who in 1823 developed a waterproof rubber coated fabric and made a jacket out of said fabric, which was affectionately called a Macintosh coat.
Trench coats serve the purpose of protecting the wearer from the elements, in this case rain. Blends of cotton, polyester, gabardine and some synthetic materials are common. For a more traditional look go for something with cotton and/or gabardine in the blend, it will exude a much more natural aesthetic. Look for something in either a single or double breasted design. Just make sure it has a belt, straps around the wrists and epaulets, like the coat pictured, these three things add greatly to the style and character of the jacket. Some of the more traditional coats will have D-rings on the belt which harken back to the original military designs, badass. Most will have some type of lining, some of them will even be removable. Tan, navy, black and olive are common however other colors can be found. I recommend tan or navy, as they are the most versatile colors in this case.
Since WWI the trench coat has been adopted for civilian use without pause. A good one will last for a decade or more making the initial investment well worth it. Some Burberry’s and Aquascutum’s retail for over $1,000 but both new and used ones can be found for a bargain on eBay. Less expensive brands of good quality do exist, such as London Fog, but sometimes it is best to do it right the first time; if you know what I mean. For the most part they are a three season piece, ideal for any season but winter. They can be dressed up or dressed down; they go with anything from a suit to jeans and most importantly its hard to look bad in one of classic design.