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Men’s Trench Coat: How to pick the right one!


The quintessential British coat, the men’s trench coat is now a global fashion icon and every self-respecting gentleman must have one. The original, of course, is Burberry’s, since the men’s trench coat was created by Burberry founder Thomas Burberry over 100 years ago, in 1901. And since autumn is the season when rain is part of everyday life, what better time to talk about it than today!


The origin of the men’s trench coat


The Burberry original trench
Photo : Burberry

The trench coat was born out of the need to protect servicemen during the First World War, not for the urban gentleman’s look. The epaulettes originally displayed the officer’s rank, while the metal D-rings on the waistband were used to fasten the equipment of men in combat.


Mr. Thomas Burberry
Photo : Burberry

Originally and still today for Burberry, trench coats are made from gabardine, a durable twill worsted wool, a tightly woven fabric originally waterproof and invented by Mr. Burberry. According to the Burberry website, at the time, it took each specialist tailor a year to learn how to sew the intricate collar of the trench coat. More than 180 stitches are used to create a flowing curve so that the collar sits perfectly on the neck.


The details of the Burberry Collar
Photo: Burberry

What to look for in a men’s trench coat

You need to ask yourself a number of questions. The first rule before buying: get informed, shop around and keep in mind the looks you want to achieve with your new purchase.

How much to spend on your first trench coat


Even if a Burberry men’s trench coat is timeless, it still costs a lot of money to buy—over $3,000 CDN today—so it might be cheaper to go and buy it in London, directly from Burberry’s flagship shop (121 Regent Street to be precise), in pounds (£); plus you’ll have a good story to tell and you can have it personalized. You can find secondhand trench coat ones on certain resale sites, but beware of imitations. Other brands also produce them, but take heed of the advice below to ensure you look chic in your trench coat for years to come.

Choosing a waterproof trench coat or not?


Gabardine, a cotton fabric developed by Burberry
Photo : Burberry

Although many men’s trench coats are waterproof, not all of them are. Some are very light, but they won’t let you stand up to the rain during long outings, so you won’t be able to look your best. Make sure you know what fabric your trench coat is made from.

Which season will you wear your trench coat?

If you only wear your trench coat in summer, it doesn’t need to be lined. However, if you live in Quebec and want to wear it in winter, that’s the kind of detail that you gentlemen will want to see in your purchase. Some models have the option of removing the lining, so it’s very practical for comfort in all four seasons.

How do you find the right fit for your men’s trench coat?


According to Wikipedia, men’s trench coats have traditionally been double-breasted, with 10 buttons down the front, wide lapels, a storm flap (to stop rain or snow wetting your clothes) and pockets that close with buttons. This double-breasted jacket offers extra protection and warmth in the chest area, as it has extra fabric to cover you (remember that if you’re wearing a jacket, it’s often the shirt that’s exposed at the trench opening). It also has raglan sleeves that end in cuffs with straps that also buckle, to stop water running down the forearm (this was thought of when soldiers were using binoculars in the rain).


Speaking of fit, there are several styles to choose from. But you’ll want to consider, first and foremost and once again, the occasions when you’re going to wear your trench. If you only wear your trench with a t-shirt or a large cotton fleece jumper underneath, you may be more likely to choose a cut that fits you better than if you regularly wear jackets, which can make the waistline of your shoulders more pronounced. Gentlemen, bring your clothes with you when you try on your trench coat to make sure you choose the right size for your figure.

The length of your trench coat, a question of look!


Short, long or medium-length. Several options are available. It all depends on your style and what you want to do with it. If you’re the kind of person who wants to protect your whole leg, you’ll be better off with a longer one. If you frequently wear jackets, think about having a coat that will cover the jacket. I’ve had to deal with this unfortunate sartorial faux pas myself, but with jeans, it can be a perfect look.

The short trench


Photo: Burberry

This style generally stops at the hips and is recommended for shorter men. This will give the impression of being taller. Taller men, on the other hand, should avoid this look, as it will create a dichotomy with their morphology. The only exception is shorter men with wide hips who, if they wear a short trench coat, will give more importance to their hips and nobody wants that. These men often don’t have belts.

The medium-length trench coat


Photo: Burberry

Voici la variante classique du trench. Celui dont nous vous parlions en entrée. Cette longueur convient à presque toutes les silhouettes ce qui fait de ce modèle le trench idéal autant pour les grands que les petits.

The long trench


It goes without saying that if you’re short, you should be wary of this long length. However, if you still want to wear it, it’s highly recommended that you wear shoes or boots that will compensate for your small size. For taller men, the long trench coat is sure to turn heads.

The trench coat with wide lapels

This type of trench coat is perfectly suited to smaller children who want to hide certain small details of their anatomy, while taller children need to be careful that this trench coat with a wide lapel doesn’t unbalance their body shape.

Take a good look at the stitching


A shoulder pad on a Burberry Trench Coat
Photo: Burberry

There’s always a reason why some clothes sell cheaply, and that’s the way they’re made. Pay attention to the seams—some may have been hastily made, with weaker threads and sloppy stitching. Don’t hesitate to check the strength of the fabric. This article from La Presse (in french)is a really good guide to durable clothing. Often, but not always, clothes made in England (like Sunspel), France and Italy are of higher quality than those made in Asia. The reason is simple: the clothes are made by adult craftspeople, at a slower pace, using techniques that have been passed down from generation to generation.


A man’s trench coat with or without a belt?


These days, men’s coats are more relaxed and less fitted, so some models don’t have belts. However, if you want an overcoat that will enhance your silhouette and optimize your look, it’s always better to have a belt, as it helps to hold the pockets closer to the body and give a more fitted cut. Also look at the material of the belt, the stitching and the ring. Do you risk losing it, is it fastened at the back (with a button or sewn on)? In short, there are many details that will give you clues about the quality of your future coat.

Choosing the right colour for your trench coat


It’s really a personal choice. The original colour of the trench coat is a honey-beige, which is still often found. Black is also extremely popular. It’s really a question of style. What you like to wear, what looks good on you. 

For myself, I bought a black trench coat (Zara brand, which I’ve had for a few years, which isn’t lined, so when the cold comes it’s a bit chilly), but looking back, I think this colour makes me look a bit too serious. 

So here’s a quick guide if you decide to go for the colour: 

  • For brown-haired with a mat complexion, it’s advisable to opt for shades that are far removed from their skin tone. So avoid navy blue, black (a bit like I said above), brown or grey and opt instead for warm shades such as lemon yellow, ruby red or shades of orange brown.
  • Blonds will steal the show with a bright, pastel trench coat.
  • As for the white trench, even if it’s rarer for men, it can flatter the natural complexion of brown skin, while it often gives a sickly look to light skins.
  • Finally, trench coats in classic colours like beige and khaki will suit any skin tone.    

Looking after your men’s trench coat


The Burberry trench Collar
Photo: Burberry

Try to buy a trench coat from a brand that will last over time and that can help you if you need to make repairs, replace buttons, etc. What’s more, before each season when you know you’re going to use your coat, check for any fragile seams and try to get it repaired—it’s cheaper than buying a new one!

What to wear with your trench coat?

Don’t hesitate to match it with a pair of jeans or a well-cut suit, as this will enhance your outfit. We’ll also soon be bringing you articles on how to choose the right jacket, suit, shirt and trousers. Also, take a look at our article on autumn boots to match your trench coat! And visit this site for inspiration on great looks.


Founder & Editor In Chief of Gentologie

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