As the rain obnoxiously resumes in New York for a second week, my thoughts have once again turned to wet weather gear for the stylish man. Apart from an umbrella, there’s nothing more important to a man’s rainy day survival than a good trench coat. Because, sorry, while galoshes may be functional, there’s really no way to not look ridiculous in them. My advice? Buy those weird shoe covers they sell at the cobblers’ and take them off the second you get to the office.
Like a lot of classic men’s clothing, the trench coat has its origin in the military. Thomas Burberry (yes, that Burberry) originally designed the coat for British officers in the first world war. They were made with gabardine then, though now designers have moved on to a more affordable mix of cotton and water-repellant synthetic fiber. The coat got its name from the trenches soldiers fought in, using the coats to stay warm and dry.
Your trench should hit between mid-thigh and just above the knee. It should be double-breasted, and the belt should either be tied behind you when the coat is open or cinched in a knot (not a bow!) when the jacket is buttoned shut.
I feel like some guys might think the trench feels old-fashioned, and if that’s the case, there are plenty of serviceable Mac coats out there if you want something more streamlined for wet weather. But I’m just gonna say it; a complete closet contains a trench coat. You might as well get yours now.
** If you don’t plan on gaining – or losing – a considerable amount of weight over the course of your lifetime, you can’t do any better than go for the grandaddy of all trenches, the Burberry coat. There are some items where springing for the “brand” is worth it, and this is one of them. (Another instance? Real Kleenex versus the drugstore stuff. Life lessons I’m teaching here, people…)