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A trench coat or trenchcoat is a raincoat made of waterproof heavy-duty cotton gabardine drill, leather, or poplin. It generally has a removable insulated lining, raglan sleeves, and the classic versions come in various lengths ranging from just above the ankles (the longest) to above the knee (the shortest). It was originally an item of clothing for Army officers (developed prior to the war but adapted for use in the trenches of the First World War, hence its name) and shows this influence in its styling.
Traditionally this garment is double-breasted with 10 front buttons, has wide lapels, a storm flap and pockets that button-close. The coat is belted at the waist with a self-belt, as well as having straps around the wrists that also buckle (to keep water from running down the forearm when using binoculars in the rain). The coat often has shoulder straps that button-close; those were a functional feature in a military context. The traditional color of a trench coat was khaki, although newer versions come in many colors.
The trench coat was developed as an alternative to the heavy serge greatcoats worn by British and French soldiers in the First World War. Invention of the trench coat is claimed by two British luxury clothing manufacturers, Burberry and Aquascutum, with Aquascutum's claim dating back to the 1850s. Thomas Burberry invented gabardine fabric in 1879 and submitted a design for an Army officer's raincoat to the United Kingdom War Office in 1901.
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