The Trench Coat
The classic trench coat is a wardrobe staple, but has its roots in World War I. It was first created by Thomas Burberry for British army officers. Soldiers needed a coat that would keep them warm and dry in the trenches, so every aspect of its design and construction had a purpose. The fabric, gabardine, was water-resistant and Burberry added a wool liner making it suitable for colder conditions as well. The double-breasted closure design and straps on cuffs were for staying dry when it rained. The epaulettes (the pieces on the shoulders) were made to hold hats or gloves. The belt was fastened with a D-ring, which was also handy for toting grenades, and the extra-large pockets were for holding maps and ammo. The original trench coats were long enough to cover boots to keep water out, but when the British soldiers returned home, they had their trenches shortened to knee-length for civilian life. These utilitarian details have carried through to today and prove that good design is timeless.