Sunday, March 1, 2009

Down in the Trenches.

The year was 1901. Thomas Burberry, a young English draper, was relishing in the increasing popularity of his fairly new outdoor attire clothing store, Burberry. Around the same time he made a wardrobe proposal to the British Army for which he designed a raincoat made of gabardine, a heavy-duty water-resistant, yet breathable, fabric. The British Army decided to use Burberry's design; 20 years later, they asked the young designer to redesign the raincoat as a militaristic jacket. Thomas Burberry went a step further, adding to the trench epaulettes, d-rings, straps, and a overall design functionality that could hold up in the trenches. Who would have thought that almost a century later, the trench coat would also hold up in style.

Now while Burberry trench coats are indeed a wardrobe staple, other notable names carry trenches that are practical, modern, and also reasonably priced. Reiss, a British clothing company, has some slick new trench designs right now like their Double Breasted Quinn Fashion Mac, which you can find at ASOS for $412.75. The shorter length of this coat translates into an easy casualness, and affords the piece that put-on-and-go quality. Other great trenches for this season are the Villain Trench by Marc Jacobs, the Classic Trench by Operations, and the Worker's Trench by J Crew. And if you're going to invest in a trench coat, go for double-breasted and beige: undeniably classic.

Trench coats meld practicality and sophistication into one: they hold up well against the rain and the wind, and they're effortless. Just be sure to make note of what length suits you. Longer trenches come off as a bit dressier while shorter trenches are more relaxed. Trenches also tend to work better with darker pants, including dark washes of denim, or really light shades, like white and khaki. And if you really want to work the casual look, slip into a well-fitted hoodie, throw on some blue jeans, and pull on your trench coat. Of course, if you're into going commando, that works too.

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