It’s (finally) starting to feel like spring here in Washington, DC. And with the arrival of consistently warmer temperatures, it’s only a matter of days before my outerwear retreats to the back of the closet.
I recently snagged this trench coat from J.Crew at a deep discount. She was an unexpected find (aren’t those the best?!) and has already proved her value one hundred times over. What a fool I was for not realizing I needed this particular piece of outwear in my life sooner!
Coats and jackets can do more than protect you from the elements, they have the power to make an entire outfit. Such is the case with this particular trench. The moment I pull her over my shoulders, I instantly feel more polished. I love that, unlike a traditional trench coat, she lacks a belt. In my opinion, that detail is often unnecessary and seems to add more burden than benefit. I like the sleek, modern silhouette the coat sports sans belt. And while the stripes are a whimsical touch, the real fun is hiding inside.
When I first discovered J.Crew in 2007, I distinctly remember falling in love with their coats because of their gorgeous lining. Patterns, bright colors, and unique touches made you wish the garment could be worn inside out. Nothing was better than catching a glimpse of that secret piece of art before slinging it across your shoulders to brave the elements.
Sadly, the playful linings were one of the first details to disappear when J.Crew started cutting costs. So I couldn’t help but grin from ear to ear when I unbuttoned this coat to find a navy and white paisley print offset with bright orange piping. Those special touches took this piece of otherwise average outwear from “I don’t really need another coat” to “I need this NOW.”
Ladies and gentlemen alike, if you do not yet own a trench coat consider this your PSA that you NEED one. With its roots in a city known for its rainy weather (hello London!) this piece does double duty by elevating your look while keeping you dry. The British label Burberry is undeniably the most famous maker of the coat, with many attributing its original creation to founder Thomas Burberry. Wanting to know more about its history, I went straight to Google and dug up the following fun facts:
- Thomas Burberry is widely recognized as the inventor of the trench coat, although there is debate over whether or not the claim should belong to another British company Aquascutum.
- Burberry began as a draper’s assistant, and opened his own store in 1856 at just 21 years old (T. Burberry & Sons).
- His focus on manufacturing quality outwear gained notoriety, and in 1900 the British War Office commissioned Burberry to design an overcoat. The standard issue coat at the time was too long and too heavy.
- In 1880, Thomas Burberry invented the 19th century equivalent of Gortex, a fabric called Gabardine.
- Gabardine is a tightly woven fabric that is lightweight, breathable, and repels rain. (Bonus! It doesn’t crease or wrinkle easily either.)
- The same fabric was also used to outfit polar explorers, including Roald Amundsen - the first person to reach the South Pole.
- The first trench coats were actually developed for British soldiers during the Boer Wars. However they gained immense popularity with officers during World War I.
- The public did not begin wearing the trench coat until after the war, when soldiers continued to wear theirs. It was not only a practical option, but also a symbol of pride.
- The famous Burberry check lining was added in 1920.
- Today, Burberry is worth nearly $5 billion and the sells trench coats that will set you back $35,000. (Talk about saving for a rainy day!)