Decades before the kids on TikTok were showering in their Arc’teryx, the best trench coats for men were the first line of wardrobe defense against all kinds of hellish weather. When they were issued to British soldiers during World War I, trench coats were long, double-breasted, and cut from gabardine, a durable cotton cloth you might call the Gore-Tex of its era. But in the time since, trench coats became prized for their civilian benefits too: roomy enough to drape easily over a razor-sharp suit, elegant enough to class up a hoodie and jeans, and warm enough to wear during anything shy of a full-blown blizzard.
It didn’t hurt that the style quickly racked up enough movie credits to fill out a lengthy IMDb profile of its own, taking on roles as a quintessential emblem of tough-guy style on screens across the globe. Belted jauntily at the waist and with the collar turned up, they turned out to be pretty good at helping gumshoe detectives or stoic hitmen keep a low profile, and look really damn cool doing it.
A century after they first saw action on the battlefield, the best trench coats for men haven’t evolved all that much. (Hey, if it ain’t broke…) These days, though, even the most classic versions have received minor facelifts: the silhouettes are a little slimmer, the colors a little more varied, and the overall design inspiration a little less literal. In 2022, the trench coat is no longer the only respectable foul-weather jacket on the market, but it remains one of the coolest looking ways to stay dry when the forecast predicts drizzly skies, brisk winds, and a high chance of big fits. These are our favorites available right now, each one ready and willing to wade into the muck and fight tirelessly by your side, whether you’re battling the dude at Whole Foods for the last bunch of broccolini or your insufferable colleague Ted (hi, Ted!) for that promotion.
The Best Trench Coat From the Brand That Did it First
Burberry’s legendary trench isn’t just made from water-resistant gabardine cloth—it’s made from water-resistant gabardine cloth the brand literally invented way back in 1879. Nearly 150 years later, the company still sells the Platonic ideal of the form, complete with all the traditional fixings you’d expect to find on a coat that refuses to go out of style: the khaki color, the epaulets, the double-breasted silhouette, and in Burberry’s case, the unmistakable check pattern, a flex that says you know your menswear history and are willing to shell out top dollar to own a piece of it.
The Best Old-School Trench Coat
For a long time, London Fog was to raincoats what Kleenex was to tissues. There’s a decent chance that someone in your family owned one of the brand’s ubiquitous trenches, but if they didn’t, it’s not too late to rectify their mistake: the brand still makes one of the best value options on the market, with all the hallmarks of the genre you remember from your grandad’s version, including a cozy wool liner you’d be hard-pressed to find on alternatives ten times the price.
The Best Really Old-School Trench Coat
Plenty of brands modernize the trench coat with slimmer cuts and shorter lengths, but Coherence swerves hard in the other direction. The Japanese label specializes in outerwear that’d look right at home keeping you dry on your commute to work in the ‘50s. Aesthetically, that means a flowing, knee-length silhouette and a forgiving cut, even when you’re wearing it over your snazziest fall blazer. Functionally, it also means a removable melton wool collar for those brisk autumn days when you need a wind-blocking pal by your side (or, er, neck).
The Best Pared-Down Trench Coat
In their most traditional form, trench coats are almost always double-breasted and belted, but in 2022, those details no longer define the silhouette. Studio Nicholson’s is the perfect encapsulation of designer Nick Wakeman’s anti-trend, no-frills approach to menswear. (If the conventional trench is a classic roadster, this is a sleek-as-hell electric car.) Even the color on this joint has been updated, from the usual khaki to a more contemporary gray-ish hue, while the fit—relaxed, and intentionally oversized—feels just right for today.
The Best Trench Coat You Won’t Want to Wear in the Rain
The Row makes discreet, insanely tasteful clothing favored by stylish A-listers like Zoë Kravitz and Jonah Hill—along with plenty of deep-pocketed menswear obsessives with nary a movie credit to their name. So it follows that the label’s pared-down trench swaps out the usual gabardine for a wildly luxurious alpaca blend—with a touch of linen mixed in, for good measure—a decadent proposition that proves the silhouette is good for more than just rain protection. None of the brand’s wares come cheap, but if you’ve got 4K to drop on a coat destined to become a family heirloom (we’re not jealous, really), park that paycheck right here and try not to be too peeved when your grandkids swipe it from your closet.