The average guy’s choice in winter outerwear is terrible.
Usually it’s some type of Gore-Tex jacket like this:
Now, there’s actually nothing wrong with this type of jacket per se. In fact, it’s a great choice if you plan on spending some time outdoors hiking or camping.
But is it a good choice to wear to the office over your shirt and tie?
I understand that guys want to keep warm and dry during the winter season but there are plenty of other more stylish options out there other than Gore-Tex. Options that work much better with your business or casual attire. In fact, I cover 5 excellent options here.
In this article I want to discuss yet another option you can consider for the winter season: the trench coat.
Trench coats have been around for a long time and initially gained popularity during Word War I when Army officers adapted them for use in the trenches.
Trench coats are basically a type of heavy duty raincoat made from some kind of waterproof material (more on this below).
In terms of style, a traditional trench coat is double breasted with wide lapels, a 10 button front, and a belted waist. There are also straps around the wrists which are used to keep the rain out when you hold your arms up. The length of a trench coat can vary from anywhere between the mid thigh to the mid shin level.
What to look for in a trench coat
There are a few things you want to keep in mind when looking for a good trench coat. First, you want to make sure you choose a coat that hits you at least around the mid thigh level. I don’t recommend you go any shorter than this for two reasons: 1) If you plan on wearing a trench coat over your suit you want it to be long enough that it actually covers your suit jacket and 2) If you go with a shorter coat it just won’t work as well to protect your trousers from the rain.
Also, for you taller guys out there (we’re talking over 6’0″) you can always go with a longer coat (mid shin length) but for men who are 6’0″ and under I recommend sticking to something around the mid thigh level.
Second, you want to choose a trench coat made from water repellent materials. Fortunately, most trench coats are made this way but there will be the occasional fashion forward piece out there made from something like leather. Avoid them. Instead, look for coats made from synthetic blends (cotton/nylon), bonded cotton, or cotton gabardine.
For those of you who don’t know, bonded cotton is basically when two layers of twill cotton are weaved together with a piece of waterproof material in between (usually rubber). Cotton gabardine, on the other hand, is type of tightly woven cotton fabric that is waterproofed before it is weaved. You’ll note that most higher end coats will be made from either bonded cotton or cotton gabardine.
In fact, J.Crew makes several great jackets using bonded cotton including this Ludlow double-breasted water-repellent trench coat:
However, if you really want to go all out then you might want to consider something like this Hancock for J.Crew waterproof trench coat that is also made from bonded cotton:
What makes this coat especially durable is that it is also taped at the seams to ensure that no water can seep in. What makes it so pricey is the fact that it is handmade. Hancock coats are very unique so if you are in the market for the creme de la creme of trench coats Hancock would be it.
The trench coat that I own is much more humbler than the Hancock. It is from Baumler (a German menswear company) and it is a synthetic cotton blend. Here’s what it looks like:
I have not altered this jacket in any way and as you can see it fits superbly for something that is straight off the rack (and that usually never happens for me). The jacket hits me perfectly through the shoulders and the sleeve length is right about where it should be. The jacket it also tailored nicely through the midsection. I can wear this jacket just as easily over a sweater and collared shirt as I can with a blazer or suit.
What I really like about this jacket is that it is lightweight and moves freely. One issue I find with bonded cotton jackets is that sometimes they are a little stiff.
The only drawback with the Baumler trench is that it’s no longer being made (at least I couldn’t locate it online) otherwise I’d recommend scooping it up as it’s fantastic coat.
The winter season is a great time of year for men’s style, especially when it comes to outerwear. Unfortunately, most men put little thought into the type of coat they wear.
The good news is that you can use this to your advantage. While every other guy out there is wearing some kind of Gore-Tex jacket you can wear a stylish trench coat instead. Not only will it keep you just as warm and dry during the inclement weather but you’ll look a million times better too.
Here’s to looking sharp!