One can easily stereotype the traditional water repellent trench coats to vintage style movies wherein the popular and masculine rain-soaked detectives used them as raincoats while investigating a mysterious happening in the neighborhood, while at the same time fighting a dangerous storm.
These conventional coats were double breasted and mostly available in khaki colours. On the contrary modern trench coats can be single breasted, brightly coloured, having assorted patterns, may be in leather featuring different and unique styles.
Trench coats have suddenly become a rage all over the world, gaining popularity amongst the youngsters as well as the middle-aged people. Pairing these coats with different clothes can create an entirely different look. A bright camisole for example can make an excellent casual look whereas by wearing a trouser underneath can make a person presentable for a formal meeting.
Initially worn just by the men, these coats have made its way to the women’s wardrobe as well. Trench coats have been modified and are now accessible as dresses, giving an elegant and graceful look. Above the belt, these dresses fit like the usual trench coats and below the belt it flares into an A-line.
The Origin Of Trench Coats
Going by the records, trench coats have a long history. It is said that these coats were created to replace the heavy serge greatcoats that were worn by the British and French soldiers during the First World War. But its invention is still a debate as there were 2 claimers to its invention, one being Thomas Burberry and the other was Aquascutum.
Thomas Burberry claimed that he had invented a rugged fabric known as gabardine and had submitted the design to the United Kingdom War Office as a substitute for raincoats. It was chemically processed to repel rain; it was untearable, crease- proof and porous making it well- ventilated. He opened a shop of his own in London in 1891. Whereas, Aquascutum’s claim dates back to the late 1850’s.
During the First World War, trench coats were customized further to include shoulder straps, cuff straps, raglan sleeves, D-rings, had 10 buttons and these were now made of leather as it was easier to clean and maintain leather. By the time of Second World War, other versions of the trench coats were adopted by United States, the Soviet Union and a few other armies of continental Europe which includes Holland, Poland, France, and Germany etc.
But later on, shorter ‘field jackets’ became more acceptable as they were easy to carry and practically made the wearer more mobile. These coats became a rage off the war field when the veterans who came back to lead a civilian life kept these jackets and used them for their daily purposes. Initially reserved for the army people, these trench coats were later on worn by businessmen and their likes. In the 1960’s many of the modernists used trench coats as an alternative to the fishtail parka or crombie to create a fashion statement.
Shortly after this, inspired by the Gothic fashion and heavy metal, trench coats were transformed into black oilcloth dusters to live up to the fashion of the Gothic style. Trench coats have also made their way to the entertainment industry wherein popular fictional characters like Sherlock Holmes, Green Hornet, Sandman and several characters from the batman franchise including Killer Croc, Commissioner Gordon, Harvey Dent etc. have worn them.
Even Crimson Avengers and Phantom have spotted trench coats. This is so, because it is considered as a symbol of secrecy, intrigue, intelligence and gives an air of mysterious dignity. Trench coats have also earned fans in some science fictions like Doctor Who, The X- Files, Fireflies etc.
While trench coats have been altered a lot during these years but they have never gone out of fashion. Infact it is amongst those few garments whose fashion has never faded and has just improved. It has been and will continue to be fashion’s one of the most iconic piece.
Present Day Trench coats
Nowadays trench coats have become a must have for everyone. It is one unisex garment that is essential in every wardrobe. It can be called the jacket of spring or simply a raincoat for the monsoons. One can mix and match their clothes and make these coats acceptable for every occasion. Though trench coats are available in different colours and styles, the classic ones are still admired because it can be teamed up with any dress or lowers that suits the occasion. For men these coats can easily create a panache look that will flatter all the women around them.
Photo Credit: Swingcoat.org