At the beginning of the 20th century the British Military was looking for a functional coat that had to be durable, warm and very weather resistant. The chosen design came from Thomas Burberry (founder of the British Fashion label Burberry and inventor of the Garbadine fabric) in 1901. Only high ranking officers in Britain were allowed to wear a trench coat. It was optional and the coats were obtained by private purchase. By the second World War almost all armies around the world had their form of trench coat.
Traditionally the trench coat has a knee length cut and is made from weatherproof poplin, garberdine, waxed cotton or wool, and also leather. Most trench coats have a wider and thicker collar that, when flipped up, adds extra protection from wind and rain. In addition, most trench coats are double breasted and have a belt around waist and sleeve.
Today the trench coat is much more common in popular use than as a military uniform. It is a coat style that is found in both mens and womens fashion. In mens fashion the trench coat is commonly worn with a suit on a colder day.