Now that fall is here and as the air gets crisp and the days get shorter, let’s face it – it’s time to cover up! Yes there are lots of options to choose from as the chill settles in – cardigans, denim, leather – but why not go for an age-old (and ageless) classic? The trench coat!
The trench coat was first introduced as a utility piece and later transformed into an iconic fashion staple. The original gabardine trench is said to have been created by Thomas Burberry for select officers of the British army during the World War I. It was worn as an optional piece of protective clothing while fighting during inclement weather in the front line trenches…hence the name! More advanced designs were waterproof and had shoulder straps and D-rings to secure weaponry for battle. Other designs included strategically placed vents and flaps, all used for aspects of battle; but also incorporated some traditional features of leisure like pockets. It was said that after the war, many veterans took their coats with them and began to wear them in their civilian lives for fashion purposes.
During WWII the trench coat re-emerged on the battlefields in the United Kingdom as well as the United States and many European countries like France and Germany. From there, the trench began its transition into the mainstream. It was adopted by members from almost every walk of life and made its way through many of the social groups and major fashion eras including 60s mod, 70s disco, 80s glam and 90s grunge.
Today, the silhouette of the trench goes virtually unchanged: belted with a raglan sleeve, and still constructed in the classic khaki gabardine or twill. However additional styles, fabrications and colors have taken hold of the market, so there is no reason one can’t find a good fit for their fashion sense. Other options include leather, suede, tweed and cotton. It’s almost unheard of to not have this wardrobe staple in your closet whether it is vintage or modern. And weather isn’t getting any warmer (at least not in the Second City) so as you’re picking out some new essential fall pieces, make sure to add this one to the list!
2. Emma Watson In A classic Trench in Burberry Ad Campaign, 2009
3. Vintage Burberry Trench Coat, $225
4. Burberry Brit ‘Charcottley’ Double Breasted Coat, now $798.90
5. BEBE Coat, Asymmetrical Mixed-Media Belted Trench Coat, now $134.99
– Carmen Turner
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