Yesterday, one of my dearest, most treasured dreams became a reality. I got a trench coat.
I can’t exactly remember when my fascination with trench coats came about. It seems that in every movie I watch, and book I read, at least one character has one of these incredible coats. (And more often than not, it’s the coolest character.) A few years ago, I began to nurse a small, faint hope that someday, somehow, I might be lucky enough to own a trench coat of my own. To my delight, when I began to search for a raincoat suitable for my trip to Europe in the fall, L.L. Bean had it. The trench coat. Bless you, L.L. Bean. Bless you.
Being in the middle of summer, even I can’t find a suitable excuse to begin using my coat now. But before I set it aside until colder weather, I did a quick photo shoot with my sister. She refrained from calling me crazy, even though I wore my new coat in the middle of the afternoon, fighting off the August humidity. I couldn’t wait until September for pictures.
In honor of this noble article of clothing, I propose several reasons why trench coats are the best coat on the market and why they have remained popular for so long.
1. Trench coats were developed by the British.
Though similar-style coats had been around for much longer, the actual trench coat was envisioned and brought to life by British manufacturers somewhere around the time of World War 1. It came about as a combination of army officers’ traditional greatcoat and waterproof cape. Front-line soldiers christened this style “trench coat”. When World War II rolled around, Americans, French, Germans and Soviets had all developed their own take on the British military coat. After the war, the trench coat was no longer set aside especially for soldiers. Soon men and women from all walks of life could be seen wearing the khaki, 10-button jacket.
2. When flipped up, a trench coat’s collar guarantees instant coolness.
Would Sherlock look even half as cool if he kept his collar flipped down? Of course not.
I know. I’m not even close to as cool as Tintin or Sherlock Holmes, but I’m working on it. Just give me time.
3. Trench coats add an air of romanticism to everyday life.
A guy friend of mine once said that his theory for being a truly romantic man was simple: put on knee-high boots and a trench coat and go walking across a field, preferably with the sun rising behind you. And though Mr. Darcy lived long before WWI, and therefore his coat wasn’t strictly a trench coat, I must agree that my friend pretty much summed it up.
And out of all of the eras of women’s clothes in history, I believe that the most lovely, feminine time period was the turn of the century. (Again, this was before the time of the true trench coat, but overcoats are close enough for me.) In that age, women’s coats didn’t detract from the long, sweeping skirts and elegant bodices. They added even more loveliness to the already gorgeous outfits. In other words, instant romance.
4. Trench coats make you look like you came out of a book illustration.
5. Trench coats give confidence to the wearer.
With its long history steeped in Britishness, the World Wars, and literature, the trench coat boost the morale and self-esteem of the person wearing it. Just knowing that I have at least one thing in common with Dym, Tintin, Milly Molly Mandy, Sherlock, Miss Potter and Susan Pevensie certainly makes me feel a few inches taller and a good deal braver. If I ever get into a sticky situation, from now on, I’ll know exactly what to do: