If You Must Wear a Mac, Make Sure it's a Trench Coat.

Last Updated Aug 10, 2009 6:41 AM EDT

Two recent occurrences have prompted me to write this post â€" the deaths of the last two old soldiers who fought in WW1 and our recent appalling weather in the UK â€"- so much for summer.

In 1880 Thomas Burberry invented gaberdine by waterproofing wool yarn then weaving it into a distinctive diagonal twill. The fabric was used not only by polar explorers Roald Amundsen and Ernest Shackleton but the British Army also requested Burberry to adapt the coat for the officer classes serving on the Western Front during WW1. Hence the name â€"- trench coat.

The Burberry Trench Coat has since become the epitome of style. Picture this, you're crouched in a trench, bullets whizzing overhead, you've crushed out your smoke and are preparing for yet another attack , or you're standing on the platform of a station in the days of steam, trilby over the eyes, water dripping from the brim in an endless stream, handing over a package to a femme fatale, or perhaps leaning back, in the foggy shadows of a London bridge, waiting to meet an informer.

The fabric used now is typically cotton or a lightweight polyester, but the authentic trench needs to be the double breasted, rather crushed version so famously worn by Humphrey Bogart, tied with a careless knot at the waist and with a collar big enough to wrap you up in mystery.

The trench has class and never-ending style and in the filthy weather this summer, it 's the perfect answer to keeping you warm and dry. It comes in several colours, but the classic look is in cream. You can line it warmly in the winter, so It's an all year round friend. Do away with the anorak! Macerate the mac! Turn up the Trench Coat collar and add a little air of intrigue â€" you never know, if you're quick, you may even get lucky and get one in the sales.

(Pic: Very Quiet cc2.0)