Some people dream about the perfect wedding dress. As for me, I used to dream about owning the perfect trench coat—namely one of Burberry’s iconic designs. Don’t get me wrong: I did love my actual wedding dress, but honestly, I’ve not looked at it in the years since I wore it. My Burberry trench coat, on the other hand, I’ve worn countless times and I pull it out every spring, basically wearing it on repeat until the end of autumn.
As well as an increasingly low cost-per-wear, the reason it’s such a great investment is that it goes with everything in my wardrobe—from basic everyday outfits to dressier evening looks. And, although trench coats have been around for over 100 years, the overall look of a ‘classic style’ has barely changed at all. Which makes sense; The first trench wasn’t designed with fashion or trends in mind. Much like other garments now considered timeless (jeans, boots etc) it was created out of necessity. The British army needed coats that were more lightweight but weather-resistant, and thanks to Thomas Burberry’s discovery of waterproof gabardine cotton in 1879, the designer was approached to create the new coats for the army. The garment was then worn throughout World War I by soldiers fighting in the trenches (hence the name).
Trench coats being worn in the ’60s.
Karlie Kloss Styles her classic Burberry trench up for everyday wear.
Soon after, trench coats were translated into civilian life as returning soldiers wore them outside of wartime. Then came Hollywood stars wearing them on film—Humphrey Bogart famously wore one in Casablanca, as did Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. The ’60s, however, are when style started to overtake function. The Burberry coat became a true fashion item, with features such as the D-ring and storm flap becoming more of a statement.
Over the years, Burberry’s creative directors—from Christopher Bailey to Riccardo Tisci and newly inducted Daniel Lee—have all experimented with, and reimagined the trench coat plenty of times, keeping it modern and desirable. From Bailey’s patent trench coats to Lee’s first runway show for autumn/winter 2023 featuring oversized, faux-fur collared styles.
Christopher Bailey’s Burberry Prorsum show Fall/Winter 2013/14
Kendall Jenner on the Burberry catwalk for Riccardo Tisci’s first collection.
Burberry spring/summer 2021 runway.
Burberry Spring/Summer 2023
If you’re looking to make an investment that will last you forever, though, it surely has to be one of the heritage classics. While the more directional styles might make collectors items one day, in my opinion a trench is supposed to be worn again and again (as is anything you’re spending this kind of money on). Whether you opt for iconic beige or a more subtle black or navy version, it’s very unlikely to be a purchase you regret.
Irina Shayk wears a black classic trench.
Anna Wintour wears a unique Burberry trench to see the SS23 show.
Gal Gadot opts for the shorter style.
Bella Hadid has her Burberry trench on hand.
Madonna has even worn a Burberry trench on stage recently, but opted for this updated version on a more low-key outing
Now, all that’s left is to choose the right style for you. There’s a number of subtly different iterations to suit your own lifestyle and tastes. All are made in Yorkshire, and the heritage classic styles are made from the famous shower-resistant garbadine with engraved buttons and checked lining. The best thing about investing in Burberry trench coat is that the brand offers alterations, cleaning and re-proofing, repairs and replacement services, so it really can be a forever piece. If you keep scrolling you’ll find my expert guide to finding the best Burberry trench coat for you.
The Chelsea coat has a slim fit and comes in three different lengths (long, mid and short), and three different colours—black, navy and honey beige.
Waterloo is the most closely inspired by the original trench. It has a regular relaxed fit and the classic style only comes in the one longer length.
The Kensington has a regular but slightly stiffer straight fit and comes in the three colours and three lengths, as well as some limited edition fabrics like cashmere.
The Camden car coat has a much less structured shape, and it comes in three colours but only this one classic mid length.
This story was originally published at an earlier date and has since been updated.