From the blog archives, 6 years ago! Trench is old in sz 2 (altered)
The Burberry trench coat was high on my wishlist when I first started shopping for “grownup” clothes. It’s timeless and functional, plus you can wrap it over any ole’ outfit and instantly feel so much more polished. I ended up buying one years ago, and since then, Burberry has changed their trench options and sizing quite a bit. Their classic ones now cost an arm and a leg (maybe 2 legs…consider yourself warned), and the number of cut and length options can cause anxiety for first-time shoppers. I’ve heard from several readers who are thinking of splurging on a Burberry trench but don’t know where to begin, so I’ve put together a run-down of their current options and some fit photos!
I’ve also been working on trench reviews across a variety of other brands, but keep on being thwarted by styles selling out quickly or brands changing their quality. At the bottom of this entry are a few budget-friendly trench options, which I’ll be reviewing in a follow-up post!
A few years ago (after receiving backlash for moving production out of England), Burberry streamlined their trench coat offerings into basically two categories: a core Heritage collection of trench coats handmade in England, versus other styles that change seasonally and are made of different materials at different factories.
The Heritage trenches are beautiful (comparable to their former Prorsum runway ones) and pay homage to the brand’s roots in terms of styling and craftsmanship. They also come in very slim cuts and smaller sizing, which were unavailable back when I bought mine. The major downside, however, is it seems Burberry got rid of other classic cotton trench options outside of this very pricey Heritage line!
Burberry Heritage trench coat in short, mid, long, or x-long
(struggling to understand the crop chinos with star trek shoes!)
Heritage Trench Features
Water-repellent Cotton Gabardine
Gabardine is what put the brand on the map over a century ago, when Mr. Burberry created a material that would protect soldiers from the wind and rain, but was also lightweight and breathable. I was told gabardine is made at their mills in England, using cotton fibers that are first waterproofed before being woven into fabric. The assembled garment is then finished with additional water-repelling techniques, including being dipped as a whole. When you first put on one of these jackets, the garment feels very structured, tailored and sharp. The medium weight of the material helps keep the jacket looking and feeling that way.
Classic Trench Elements
These have all the iconic trench “bells and whistles” plus a check lining. Many of the elements I love were each designed to serve a purpose back then:
– buttoned shoulder epaulettes used to display army rank
– storm shield (back flap) enabled rain to run off the upper back
– D rings on the belt hung supplies (these also help keep you from losing your belt!)
– adjustable wrist straps can be tightened to keep rain out
– intricately-constructed collar for a close, comfortable fit around the neck. Burberry makes a big deal about their collars, which supposedly involve a number of components and take a while to stitch and construct.
Length: Out of the four lengths, my favorite is the mid. This hit right above my knees, and would be the most versatile for wearing in different seasons and outfit types.
Color: A very personal choice! I always wavered between their lighter khaki “sand” vs deeper tan “honey” – my older trench is sand, but I really love the darker honey. Black is also timeless and slimming, and would probably be the easiest to keep looking pristine.
Sizing: Sizing now starts at US 0 (equivalent on their tags to a UK 2 and EUR 34) and runs smaller than American brands, in my opinion. FYI on Burberry.com the US sizes are presented as 00, 02, 04, etc, so just drop the first 0 for the actual size. Depending on the cut, I wear either 0 or 2 in their coats. Also as someone under 5′ tall, two alterations I usually have to get are shortening the sleeves and raising the belt loops, which make a big difference visually.
Cut: I found the three cuts to range from super slim (the Chelsea), to slim (the Sandringham), to regular (the Kensington). Here’s a look at the two slim cuts:
The Chelsea (sold only at Burberry)
“our narrowest fit, with a fashion silhouette and cinched waist”
They weren’t kidding about narrow. A size US 0 fit closely on me throughout the slightly-padded shoulders, torso, and sleeves. Out of the three styles, the sleeves also ran the shortest and might not need hemming on some petite ladies. I’m wearing a thin turtleneck tee here, and wouldn’t want to layer much without sizing up. I used to be obsessed with all things tight, but over time (and shifts in weight!), am starting to appreciate pieces with a little more wiggle room.
In the upper right picture, notice the defined hourglass silhouette even when the jacket is open. There are several curved panels at the back which contribute to a close fit. This kind of contouring when unbelted is hard to find with other brands, which usually rely on the belt to add shape. The Chelsea cut is for someone who wants a very sleek and contoured trench, and doesn’t plan on layering underneath.
Size US 0 measures 14.25″ across shoulders (including very slight padding), 16″ across armpit, 13″ across waist, 17″ across hips, 22.75″ sleeve length, 5.25″ sleeve width, 33″ total length.
“cut slim to contour the body for a streamlined look”
The Sandringham falls in the middle of the Heritage slimness range, and is their best-seller. It’s still slim fit by any definition, with just a touch more room throughout the torso and sleeves compared to the Chelsea. I have to say this cut was my favorite, since it allows light layering but still looks fitted either open or closed.
I’ve never ever seen Burberry mark down their Heritage styles, however the Sandringham is sold at department stores (in-stock at Saks, Bloomingdales, and Nordstrom) so look out for occasional eligibility during tiered discounts or gift card / point promotions.
Size US 0 measures 14.25″ across shoulders (including very slight padding), 16.25″ across armpit, 14″ across waist, 17.5″ across hips. 23.25″ sleeve length, 5.5″ sleeve width. 33″ total length.
As for the third cut – the Kensington “modern fit” is a little roomier and felt like my old trench coat prior to slimming alterations. I’ve tried it on in-store, but didn’t take photos as I preferred the two cuts shown above. I also wanted to add that both Burberry and Nordstrom stores will do do complimentary basic alterations (ie. sleeve shortening) on Burberry coats purchased at full-price. If you bring your coat to a local store, Burberry will do it within 30 days of purchase, and I believe Nordstrom might not have a grace period.
I hope this provides a start for anyone contemplating a Burberry trench splurge! And here’s a preview of the aforementioned alternatives that I’ve tried on and will compare in another post: