Explore these Affordable Alternatives to Burberry for Trench Coats and Macs

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Burberry trench coats are gorgeous but they are also terribly expensive. For a more affordable trench or mac, try these stylish alternatives to Burberry for women and men on for size.

I love the look of a belted raincoat. It can be worn for work and on the weekend and is a perfect transition piece for autumn and spring.

I particularly like the look of the raincoats and trechcoats on offer at iconic British retailer Burberry.  Unfortunately, I cannot afford the $1,990 or more that Burberry trench coats cost at retail.

Often it has been hard for me, based in the United States, to find options beyond spectacular-yet-pricey Burberry rain jackets. (When I have a chance to explore menswear shops in London, trenchcoats and macs are a lot easier to find.) So I’ve been on a search for alternatives to Burberry for a while now.

Over the past several years of research, I compiled the list below of trench coat options from among dozens of interesting fashion brands for men and innovative clothing brands for women that I’ve followed.

But, before I get to the list, the first question I wrestled with was, what kind of raincoat should I get? A trench or a mac?

What is the difference between a trench coat and a Mac?

Formal rain coats tend to fall into two different options: a belted trench coat with all of the military-inspired trimmings or a simple Mackintosh rain coat. Let’s briefly explore the differences between a mac and a trench coat before diving into suggestions for some alternatives to Burberry from innovative fashion brands.

In short, a mac coat generically refers to a plain, button-down raincoat, while a trench coat features military-inspired details including a thick waist belt, shoulder and wrist straps, and large lapels.

About the mac (aka Mackintosh) raincoat

The original Mac jacket was named after Scottish innovator Charles Macintosh, who developed a way to rubberize cotton in the early 19th Century. Over more than 200 years, the Mackintosh (a K was added to the name along the way) raincoat became so ubiquitous that its name became generic.

Much like “xeroxing” has come to generally refer to copying or “kleenex” is used interchangeably with tissues, the term “mac” is now used by many different companies to refer to, in essence, a simple, button down raincoat.

Most rain jackets described as macs are single-breasted and feature a series of buttons. Some macs have a hidden placket that conceals the buttons underneath (though I personally prefer the buttons to be visible.) Mac jackets tend to lack adornments like a belt, epaulets or wrist straps that are more characteristic of trench coats.

About the trench coat

The trenchcoat might best be thought of an iterative innovation on the traditional mac raincoat. In the 19th Century, British innovators Aquascutum and Burberry developed their own waterproof fabrics and raincoats. Both also developed strong relationships with the British military and individually with its officers. As the nature of war changed, the British military required a lighter, waterproof coat to wear in the field.

Aquascutum and Burberry listened.  The two companies developed the first trench coats for the military, which we used in the Boer War and World War I. Both companies lay claim to inventing the first trench, though Burberry has the advantage of being able to point to a 1912 patent for a Tielocken, which features similar details to the modern trench coat including a belted waist and wide lapels.  (If you want to explore the military origins further, the Smithsonian Magazine takes a really fascinating deep-dive into the history of the trench coat.)

The modern trench coat tends to feature more detailing than a mac coat.  These details tend to include belt straps and a thick waist belt, covered pockets, epaulets and d-rings at the shoulders, thick, wide lapels and large, detailed buttons.

Affordable Trench Coats for Men and Women

A number of iconic and innovative fashion brands offer affordable macs and trenches for both men and women as alternatives to Burberry:

Aquascutum 

Aquascutum is an iconic British brand founded back in 1851 on Regent Street in London. Their womenswear line began in 1900 and was adopted by British suffragettes. Despite a number of ownership changes in recent years and some financial troubles, Aquascutum remains one of the best affordable alternatives to Burberry for military-inspired trench coats for both men and women. The company sells a wide range of styles including double breasted coats, belted trenches, hidden placket models and more.

Hockerty and Sumissura

For custom trench coats, try European fashion brands Hockerty and Sumissura.  Entrepreneur Andreu Fernández founded menswear brand Hockerty in 2008 as Tailor4Less. In 2013, Fernandez launched Sumissura, a custom tailoring line for women.  See Hockerty for a tailored trench coat for men, where you can customize the length, colors, buttons, single vs. double breasted look and fit.  Visit Sumissura to get a custom-fit trench coat for women.

Asos

Asos was founded in 1999 by two Brits, Nick Robertson and Quentin Griffiths. The acronym ASOS stands for “As Seen On Screen,” reflecting the founders’ desire to emulate looks for men and women seen on celebrities and in cinema. As you might expect for a British brand, Asos delivers a series of super-affordable trench coats for men and attractive options for women, many of which are under $100, including double-breasted, single breasted, and belted options. (Don’t expect the same materials or finishes as Burberry at this price point.)

Cos

COS, a fashion concept launched in 2007 under H&M by its Swedish CEO Karl-Johan Erling Göran Persson, focuses on minimalist fashion basics and is a step up in price from H&M’s fast fashion pieces. It offers edgy trench coats for men like a linen bonded mac and lightweight cotton trench, and minimalist trench options for women like a belted duster coat and a long organic cotton mac.

Peregrine

UK-based Peregrine makes one attractive Made-in-Britain bonded mac for men. They make plenty of raincoats for women as well.

Alex Mill

Founded by the son of former J Crew CEO Mickey Drexler, Alex Mill relaunched with a full-fledged line of clothing for men and women.  Alex Mill’s selection of trench coats for men and women ebbs and flows.  They used to offer a balmacaan jacket for women, which looked an awful lot like a trench. That option is gone, but the company also offers, as of this writing, a cotton tech trench for men and a colorful Greene Street trench for women.

Uniqlo

Japanese fast-fashion retailer Uniqlo offers a flashy, wide-lapel, double-breasted trench for men and a similar option for women.

Boden

British brand Boden launched in 1991 with line of men’s clothing, but today is predominantly oriented towards women.  Boden offers a Mac coat for men and several trench coat options for women.

Lands End

Longtime Dodgeville, Wisconsin-based catalog retailer Lands End has a surprisingly robust selection of belted trench coats for women, including long coats and cropped trenches.  While, at the time of this writing, Lands End does not stock a traditional trench for men, they have a number of rain jackets and car coats for the guys.

Additional Mac and Trench Coat Options for Men

Several menswear-only brands offer even more choices for trench coats and macs for men:

American Trench

Jacob Hurwitz and David Neill founded American Trench back in 2013 in Philadelphia to offer a made-in-America trench coat. The entrepreneurs offer a classic and remarkably affordable American-made trench coat in navy and khaki.

Bonobos

Bonobos is one of our favorite innovative menswear brands for their stylish fit, colorful approach to a man’s wardrobe and the service and integration they provide between their online platform and series of guide shops.  They don’t offer a wide range of trench coats, but their hidden placket, single-breasted trench for men is a good option.

Charles Tyrwhitt

They call them raincoats, but Charles Tyrwhitt offers a small and affordable selection of macs and trench coats for men.

Harvie and Hudson

Founded by Thomas Harvie and George Hudson in 1949, Harvie and Hudson has added flair to London’s Jermyn Street for decades with their signature, colorful H&H stripe. The company offers a simple and extremely affordable single-breasted luxury waterproof mac in beige and navy.

Suit Supply

Netherlands-founded menswear startup Suit Supply pushes the envelope with impeccably-tailored, slightly-flashy men’s suiting and casual wear. They offer a range of bold cotton trench coats for men that will make a statement.

Todd Snyder

New York fashion entrepreneur Todd Snyder is one of our favorite elevated alternatives to J. Crew for men. Through its flagship store on Madison Ave in New York City and online, Snyder sells a range of envy-inducing tuxedos and suits, casual button downs, denim, accessories and more.  Todd Snyder sells a gorgeous made in New York reversible trench, which doesn’t come cheap, and a more reasonably-priced khaki trench.

Private White VC

Private White VC is “the last remaining clothing factory from the world’s first industrial city,” Manchester in the United Kingdom. The company makes “Made in Britain” macs and trenches starting at under $700 as of this writing.  I particularly like the timeless Ventile Mac 3.0, the company’s signature single-breasted cotton raincoat, which is the “cornerstone” of their operations.


Photo courtesy of Private White VC

More Alternatives to Burberry Trench Coats for Women

Look to the following brands for trenches for women (but not for men):

Something Navy

Blogger-turned-entrepreneur-turned-style icon Arielle Charnas first launched her blog and then her own fashion line in collaboration with Nordstrom.  Her collection, available via Nordstrom, includes a number of unique and attractive trench coats, including this gorgeous elongated lavender trench.

Everlane

Ethical apparel startup is another one of our favorite brands for men, though they also specialize in elevated basics for women.  Their double-breasted, belted Drape Trench Coat is an extremely affordable alternative to Burberry. Unfortunately, the company doesn’t make a similar option for men.

How much do Burberry trench coats cost?

According to Burberry’s U.S. website, $1,990 for a cotton gabardine trench coat to $2,990 for a cashmere trench coat.


About Jake

Jake is passionate about exploring entrepreneurs' global journeys. He founded Modern Fellows in 2012 to get to know the entrepreneurs behind the innovative brands helping men dress sharp in the digital age.  Jake has written about entrepreneurship, international business and/or fashion for outlets including Business Week, Forbes, Inc., Details Style Syndicate and Primer Magazine, and has provided analysis on international business for BBC Radio, NBC News, CNN and Time Magazine.

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