The trench coat first entered fashion history in the 19th century, and it’s up for grabs who was the true originator of the wardrobe classic. What is undisputed is that it’s a wholly British sartorial invention, but both luxury retailers Burberry and Aquascutum claim to have created the trench. The silhouette for the trench coat, however, can be credited to Scottish chemist Charles Macintosh who invented a rubberised cotton in 1824 to be used to make coats for the British Military (almost 100 years before they were needed in WWI). Macintosh is widely credited as the inventor of the Macintosh raincoat, and that’s why the word “Mac” is often used to refer to raincoats and trench coats.
The downside to Macintosh’s raincoat is that it wasn’t breathable, so tons of designers scrambled to create a more breathable alternative. One of those designers was John Emary of clothing company Aquascutum, who patented a breathable waterproof fabric in 1853. A few years later Thomas Burberry created a slightly more innovative, flexible, and breathable fabric called gabardine in 1856 that — combined with the British military’s trench jackets worn during WWI — introduced the classic trench coat to the fashion world.
Fancy a charming trench coat for your own collection? Keep reading for 19 of our tops picks from across the web.
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