Trench coats are a Parisian staple, not just because they are cool to wear but because they protect you from the weather. I remember noticing the trench coat on Humphrey Bogart in the film Casablanca as he goes off into the night, well covered in his lightweight long coat…the Trench coat.
Although Burberry of London is known for trench coats, I must remind everyone that Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821) should really be credited for the creation of the Trench coat trend.
Trench coats were created as a functional military issued uniform for Officers in Military usually showing rank and authority during war. Napoleon was an emperor at war and treacherous weather battles are the characteristic of his time in war. No doubt he wearing them was convenient for the battlefield weather and if looked at closely, they are a fusion of a military coat with a cape, fit for an emperor with the ambitions of a King.
In 1914, Thomas Burberry revamped the trench coat for the British military, by rubber coating strands of twill, cotton or wool, naming it “gaberdine”. The color beige came from the experiences of war, remarkably thru the experience in India’s Revolt, a form of camouflage to dust.
In Paris, the wind is strong and always flowing, so Trench coats are called “Impermiables” which means “resistance to wind”… basically a long windbreaker is the function of why Parisians have domesticated the style and is now a must have item in Paris. Trench coats look proper and basic but chic, clean, lightweight and classic. In Paris today you can see trench coats over short sets, trench coats for kids, on the runways and now in various colours not just the khaki and black.
The Trench coat was named after the trenches of war, and has a somber beginning, only high ranking officers in the military wore them, but “Parisian style” is the tag it carries now. Ask anyone what the Paris uniform is and a trench coat is most likely included, along with a turtleneck and marinière.
It”s “so French” thanks to Napoleon and the wind! Be prepared to see Trench coats for every season. How do you wear your trench coat?
“Parisian Trench” by Cindy Lucas
Follow me at @losangelinainparis for daily Parisien Fashion