4 Stylish Military Trench Coat Brands
The military trench coat has become a timeless wardrobe staple for both men and women. From Humphrey Bogart’s Casablanca scene to Audrey Hepburn’s unforgettable kiss in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, the military trench coat’ classic style has become a memorable presence in numerous legendary Hollywood scenes.
Charles Macintosh and Thomas Hancock are credited with being the first to create these waterproof coats, which were initially worn by army officers to mark their status. In 1879, Thomas Burberry took the concept to another level when he invented gabardine—a breathable, waterproof fabric that’s still used for quality trench coats today.
The traditional military trench coat was characterized by specific style features—a ten-button double-breasted closure, wide lapels, buttoned pockets and buttoned shoulder straps, and a self-belt.
Today’s trench coat retains the military style and functionality while streamlining some of the detailing in favour of a more fashion-forward design. From minimalist unisex styles to feminine silhouettes and modern colour combinations, each of the four superior brands we list below infuses the classic garment with its own distinct character.
Mackintosh – 1824
Highlight: Inventor of the trench coat
The Mackintosh brand is an industry pioneer—credited as the inventor of the military trench coat—and one of today’s most influential trench coat makers.
The brand’s legacy began in the early 19th century when Scottish chemist Charles Macintosh invented a new method for waterproofing cotton. This method led to the development of waterproof rubberized outerwear, which was the first textile technology of its kind. The revolutionary fabric then gave rise to the internationally renowned Mackintosh, or “Mac” coat.
In 1945, the company supplied the official rubberized trench coats for the British Army. Mackintosh’s signature military trench coats are still produced today by skilled craftsmen at its Scotland factory, using traditional 19th-century techniques.
Burberry – 1856
Highlight: Creator of patented gabardine fabric
Burberry’s beige, black, and red tartan plaid made its debut in the 1920s as a coat lining. But the brand’s legacy began in 1856 when 21-year-old Thomas Burberry created clothing that withstood the soggy British weather. Some decades later, he invented gabardine, a breathable, weather-resistant fabric that was lighter and more comfortable than existing alternatives.
In 1914, Burberry was commissioned to manufacture coats for British soldiers during WWI, adding epaulettes and ‘D’ rings to its officer coat. The style of this military trench coat became popular with civilians after the war, remaining a classic staple of Burberry’s British style.
Herno – 1948
Highlight: Authentic Italian craftsmanship
The rainy climate of Italy’s Lake Maggiore region gave rise to the product that launched the Herno brand—the raincoat. These first high-performance coats were created in 1948 in post-war Italy from local cotton, which were treated with castor oil from abandoned warplanes. Crafted with superior Italian workmanship, these military trench-style coats withstood the northern wind and rain.
Herno expanded to Japan in the 1960s and to the US in the 1980s. The company also started producing clothing for well-known brands, yet by the 2000s, it started to reclaim its Made in Italy label and traditional know-how.
Trench London – 2019
Highlight: Modern take on British trench coats
Launched in the fall of 2019 at London Fashion Week, Trench London is a newcomer to the premium outerwear scene. The British brand was founded by creative director James Holder, who also co-owns the popular Superdry boutique.
Trench London presents a modern take on heritage British style. Building on the iconic British military trench style, Trench London coats are produced with traditional tailoring and contemporary features for an updated, youthful aesthetic.