The seasons change, the moments fade and trends go back and forth. But the raincoat? The raincoat is eternal.
Long, plunging, smooth, and elegant, this former military pillar was decommissioned with honor some time ago. Since then, it has been finding great clothing success in the civilian world, having been remixed, reworked and re-appropriated by countless fashion designers and subcultures over the years.
Originally designed for army officers, and later adapted for World War I trenches, the raincoat has been around for over a century. In this time he has graced the shoulders of Hollywood royalty, given mod parks a well-deserved break and captured the imagination of some of the the most influential taste manufacturers in the fashion world.
Despite all this, the raincoat has remained unchanged at all times. Always between the knee and the ankle, always with double buttoning, always with wide flaps, and always fastened with a belt at the waist. Outside of that, there’s room for experimentation, so maybe some brands make better trenches than others.
Below you will find our selection of the best trench brands in the world, from the founding fathers of this great outerwear to labels that give their own unique twist to a classic design piece. But first, a subtle but important distinction.
What’s the difference between a raincoat and a Mac?
There is some degree of interchangeability between these historic coat styles, but there are ways to distinguish them. The trench is the coat described above, with distinctive military features such as suitcases, D-rings and a storm flap. A mac is another long, waterproof coat, but it has a minimal design, usually a chest with hidden buttons.
The name comes from the Mackintosh brand, the founder of which developed a waterproof cotton with rubber in the 19th century. Subsequently, the same brand made trenches for the army, which is part of the reason for the confusion.
The best brands of raincoat for men
While the trench is an icon of men’s clothing, the amount of contemporary labels that produce the style is small. So, if you are going to make this investment purchase, these are the specialized names that you should consider. You can rely on each to offer style and quality to the same extent.
The London Burberry is one of two British labels widely credited for inventing the raincoat, the other being Aquascutum. Founder Thomas Burberry built his eponymous brand on the back of the raincoat. To make the first versions, he waterproofed individual yarns of cotton and wool fiber, creating a durable material that was highly water resistant and breathable. He called it a raincoat, and today they still make the trenches on the label.
Burberry trench coats are instantly recognizable thanks to Burberry’s iconic plaid pattern on the lining. The silhouette itself has been reworked by the label’s numerous creative directors over the years, most recently Ricardo Tisci, who infused it with a touch of street clothes for its first collection in 2018. However, the classic version has always been present, and today is available in five different cuts, from slim to oversized.
Founded in Glasgow in 1846, Mackintosh first became known for its rubber raincoats. In functional terms, they were excellent, keeping the user completely dry and protected from the elements. However, they had a slight problem with breathability and could end up smelling a bit, so it didn’t take long before the brand branched out to others. winter coat styles and different materials.
The raincoat is a silhouette for which Mackintosh is now well known. The shelter St. The Andrews brand is a classic trench with a flattering fit and a traditional gabardine fabric cut. There is also the option of interchangeable coatings, which can be connected to the inner tab to better insulate in cold weather.
Before 2018, Parisian fashion label Celine was strictly a woman. Everything changed when renegade designer Hedi Slimane took over the reins of Phoebe Philo and released the brand’s first men’s clothing collection. Among the aspects he showed, the trench stood out a lot and has been a basic element of Celine Homme’s autumn / winter collections ever since. Expect shapes that fit the shape, non-traditional materials, and understated details.
If you are remotely smart and either way preppy, you can bet with good money that Ralph Lauren of New York has made his own version of it. Trench coats, of course, are no exception, with almost every label under the RL umbrella that has released its own version over the years. Polo Ralph Lauren currently makes a pretty nice version of the original, with a large cut and a suede fabric.
Celine Homme was not Hedi Slimane’s first rodeo in terms of trenches. This iconic coat style it was also in great rotation when the Parisian designer was heading to Saint Laurent. In fact, trench coats have been a key part of Saint Laurent’s collections since the early years and remain one of the brand’s basic outerwear offerings to this day. Expect exceptional quality, thin cuts and traditional details everywhere.
Coats can be expensive, but they don’t have to be. If you want to get the look but don’t particularly care about fabrics, heritage or crafts, the Swedish retailer COS has some attractive options for you. Are they made in England with traditional raincoats? No. Do they look the part and allow shoppers on a budget to get that classic raincoat look without going bankrupt? Absolutely yes.
Traditional trenches are quite demanding designs: many buttons, closures, wide flaps and other pieces and goats. French designer Christophe Lemaire (who also makes collections for Uniqlo) is not into this kind of thing. His view of the trench is elegantly minimal. Without so many bells and whistles, the coat becomes something softer, less militaristic, especially in Lemaire’s nice cuts and earthy palette.
The trench coats have been appearing in the collections of Bottega Veneta for years and this has been no different. Creative director Daniel Lee has been reimagining the outerwear classic since his appointment in 2018, adding modern touches like a wide-angle belt buckle and oversized shoulders, while removing some of the traditional details for a cleaner. . more minimalist look.
The Kooples have a habit of picking up the basics of traditional fashion and giving it a bit of sleek, androgynous French style and a rock ‘n’ roll attitude. That said, the brand’s trenches are pretty faithful, albeit with more modern cuts and a rich color palette. They are also practical: the brand produces some styles in raincoat, for about half the price of some of the designers on this list.
Private White VC
Many of our own production brands here in the UK have taken their production overseas to reduce costs. But not Manchester’s Private White VC. This premium outerwear brand is built around classic silhouettes, reimagined with fabrics of the highest quality and proudly manufactures all its garments in England.
Private White VC recently produced a twist on the classic raincoat in collaboration with Simon Crompton of Permanent Style. It is made of Ventile fabric and features several modern details, such as a sloping chest pocket and a removable cashmere lining, as well as all the original features that make the raincoat such a fantastic design piece.
How to wear a raincoat
The trench is one of the few coat styles that really looks good worn on a suit. The wide shoulders and wide body, especially in double-button styles, make it slip on top a blazer comfortably, without lumps or unsightly bumps. Opt for a strong tonal look (black dress, black trench) or a subtle contrast (gray dress, beige trench). And consider buying a larger size if you wear it that way.
The practical advantages of the raincoat make it work as a daily coat. Design it the right way and it’s the perfect companion for winter walks and restaurant appointments, and surpasses the casual business test also for the office. Try a layered tonal look with wool or twill pants. a T-shirt and when the weather goes down, a round neck or funnel neck zipper. Finish off the look with a hat in a contrasting tone.
Sports clothing He doesn’t look like a natural ally of the raincoat, but he did become part of the casual football uniform in the 1980s, possibly because the subculture was very interested in Burberry and Stone Island. To recreate the look, put on a beige trench jeans and neither a sweatshirt or top track zipper. Contrast still works today and can be applied to modern staples such as hooded sweatshirts and shorts or wide. Keep it open and loose if weather permits.
History of the raincoat
In the early twentieth century, the war came with a dress code. High-ranking officers during World War I had to dress appropriately, and the raincoat, named after the trenches where millions of men lived and died, offered a mix of tailor-made balance and practical design.
The long, double-buttoned style would keep rain and mud out of your uniform and the cold of your body. The D-rings of the belt contained ammunition and other accessories, while the storm flap cushioned the recoil of a rifle. The suitcases indicated your rank. May all these features of war survive to this day tell you something about our continuing fascination with old-fashioned masculinity and utilitarian design.
Burberry and Aquascutum are arguing to this day about which company was the first to produce the style, but it is generally accepted that both played an important role in its development. Thomas Burberry invented and patented raincoat waterproof fabric in the second half of the 19th century. Aquascutum, meanwhile, developed waterproof wool and, in 1914, designed a trench for the British Army.
After the war, the style found new fame on the shoulders of Humphrey Bogart and other big-screen detectives. And later, it would be adopted and subverted by style tribes like the football casuals and the Goths. Today, its status as an iconic and historic coat means that everyone wears it, from the regulars of member clubs and street-style posers, to combining with street clothes, tailoring and just about everything in between.