02 April 2013

What's In A Name?

A few years ago, I found this big old trench coat for less than $20 at a thrift shop. It sees a lot of use, especially this time of year when any kind of weather at all is likely to occur. Lightweight enough for a cool but sunny day, waterproof in the rain, warm with it's button-in lining and wool collar attached, and easily slung over the arm mid-day when it is no longer needed, this coat could very well serve as a man's only one. Correct over a suit or sports coat, and oddly dashing with a tux, the proper trench coat has a versatility to it rivaled only by the navy blazer or charcoal suit.
Mine is a knockout example of the style, with every little detail a true trench coat should have. It's got raglan sleeves, a ten button double breasted front, real epaulets,a hook closure at the neck a wicked throat latch that both buttons and buckles shut.
Real belts at the cuffs, and leather fittings on all the buckles. Sometimes I tie the belt, because that's what your supposed to do. Other times I buckle it, because sprezzatrua is all but dead and the new nonchalance may just lie in doing things exactly as intended. Who knows.
A real working storm patch, allowing the coat to button all the way shut.
A deep kick pleat in back which runs from the hem, well below the knee, up past the belt at the waistline.
and a silly fake Burberry lining. It's as well made as a real military officers coat, but I can't for the life of me figure out who made it. In the long run, what difference does it make?

This coat is all about quality. The fact that I found it so cheap second hand is nice, but it's almost beside the point. While brand names can be a helpful guide, especially in second hand shopping, they are no substitute for a knowledge of craftsmanship and construction, and an eye for detail. This coat is so nice, in fact, that I chose it over a real Burberry Macintosh. Superior quality trumps a brand name, every time.


Roger v.d. Velde said...

It has a lot of nice detail, much more than mine, and has a nicer colour too. I never liked the belted cuffs though, button tabs appear less fussy.

Though brands are no longer a mark of quality, in thrifting it can be a small guide to finding better pieces from old makers. Yet as you rightly say, knowledge of detail and construction quality should outweigh brand recognition every time.

Beakywitch said...

Now I know what I am looking for in a lady trench.

David V said...

I found one exactly like that one. It had been made for the now gone Marshal Field's Men store. It, alas, was not in my size. It was, however, in my son's size. I thought it was a nice gift from the "old man."

Stephen Patrick said...

IMHO a perfect trench has to have D-rings on the belt, but then I'm OCD as Adrian Monk. In the same vein--and I love this blog and see this error a lot in commercial copy--it should be " . . . warm with its [no apostrophe] button-in lining . . ." Buttonholes or punctuation, I'm sure you'll agree, God is in the details. Respectfully, Stephen Patrick ps: please save us from these new suits that are short and tight like the models did their First Communion in them.