The trench coat has been a staple in the fashion industry since the days of black and white â€” think the matching set between Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman. True love had taken the trench coat from a runway in Casablanca to the fashion runways of the globe.
Actually, the fashion staple has been around even before the infamous love story. In fact, 86 years before. In Hampshire, New England in 1856, Thomas Burberry invented the material (gabardine) that would form the basis of the trench coat. The coat itself, dubbed the â€œOfficers Tierlockenâ€? coat, followed in 1895. Then, when World War I broke out, Burberry was commissioned by the British War Office to adapt his waterproof coats to suit military needs. This new style was dubbed the â€œtrench coatâ€? by soldiers due to the trench warfare. (Read the whole history at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burberry)
This trench coat was considered more than just a good use for the military; it was already being seen on civilians everywhere, even on the silver screen. Considering Casablanca was released in 1942, when World War II soldiers and officers were still sporting the garb, both Ingrid and Humphrey were at the height of fashion.
Now it seems that â€œBurberryâ€? and â€œtrench coatâ€? are paired in the same breath as often as â€œthe Burberry checkâ€?. And since the trench has been deemed so useful 150 years ago, some are lucky enough to have obtained this classic piece from a relative or friend instead of maxing out their credit cards from its current retail average of $1000. But those of us who aren’t so lucky, there are a few ways to bypass that hefty price point.
First off, peruse those vintage stores and consignment shops. Chicago boasts a number of well-reputed storefronts bursting with couture at reasonable prices. A few recommendations include:
â€¢ The Daisy Shop – 67 East Oak St. on the 6th floor (http://daisyshop.com)
â€¢ Double Exposure Elite Resale – 124 Barrington Commons Ct. / Barrington, IL (www.dblexposeresale.com)
â€¢ Bella Moda Consignment House for Women’s Designer Apparel – 947 N. State St. (312-642-0330)
â€¢ Buy Popular Demand – 2629 N Halsted – (773) 868-0404
But for those of you who don’t want to take the chance of hunting through all the racks only to leave empty-handed, there are always the online options. Designer Exposure (www.designerexposure.com) produced some impressive results for discounted designer clothing. And lo and behold, it featured a Burberry khaki cotton signature double-breasted trench coat! Unfortunately it was already labeled as â€œsold,â€? with no other current lists. But chances are if there was already one listed, there are bound to be more. So scour and act quickly! Also check out www.americanvintageclassics.com. And then, in the end, there is always the fall-back to eBay. And eBay actually has a new version of its auction site with set price points for those who want to avoid the hassle of biddingâ€”express.ebay.com. Do a search for women’s outerwear, click on trenches, and you have 1,007 items to browse through, and 10 Burberry’s.
So good luck and good shopping on finding that dashing Burberry to keep you dry on the many rainy days we Chicagoans have yet to endure. Because once you don that timeless classic, you know it’s only just the start of a beautiful friendship, and fabulous fashion.
Rachel Yeomans aka Style Sleuth can aide you in tracking down that article of clothing you wish you had snapped up when you saw it in the store and is now impossible to find. Just send your request to; firstname.lastname@example.org.