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Trench Coat - the 'Ultimate' thread (For anyone who dared wear Rick's coat!)

Discussion in 'Outerwear' started by MK, Oct 13, 2003.

  1. Reposted from the old Lounge:

    There is a guy I have been corresponding with a guy who used to post as "Hazelton" that has been done a lot of research regarding Bogie's trench coats. I thought you might like to take a gander at one of his e-mails:

    Dear MK,

    I've now spent innumerable hours combing the net for different variations on keywords to find good solid information on the trench coats worn by Humphrey Bogart in "Casablanca" and "The Big Sleep." I can't seem to find that old site that I visited lo these many moons ago with info on the "Big Sleep" trench coat to save my miserable life (yet).

    In perusing the online advertisements for trench coats for sale in our day and age I've noticed that they all have raglan sleeves and 1 "gun flap," the piece of material that extends across the right breast to the armpit and the 2nd or 3rd button in the front. The "Casablanca" coat DOES NOT have raglan sleeves, nor does the one from "The Big Sleep." The sleeves on the movie coats are sewn on after the fashion of a suit coat's sleeves, moreover, the "Casablanca" coat has 2 "gun flaps" (1 on each side). I determined these details from close shots of Bogart in both movies frozen on my computer screen in the inescapable clarity of DVD pause. I also notice that the belts on Bogie's coats have about 4 lengthwise seams, probably to stiffen the structure and keep it from folding over on itself. Most of the trench coats you see these days don't have D-rings on their belts either

  2. Marlowe

    Marlowe One of the Regulars

    Thanks for the free P.R., MK. I haven't really found out anything new since then, except that the Marine raincoat (trenchcoat) has set-in instead of raglan sleeves. It only has one gunflap of the wrong shape and the raincape in the back is the wrong shape, too. (That didn't stop me from obtaining one, however. It's a good-looking coat.)

    If anyone on this board has suggestions about the Casablanca trenchcoat--its design, construction, how to find one or get one made--I'm sure MK and I would be most interested hear about it. (Patterson: with your demonstrated abilities in the area of investigating the proportions and measurements of movie costume, this means you, especially, if you're willing.)

    I think that the Casablanca trenchcoat would be an excellent addition to any man's wardrobe. It would be practical, and its appearance would (consciously or not) bring to mind the best in the motives of men and the hero of a story which has become such an iconic fable in our culture.

    If Indiana Jones' hat, jacket, whip, clothing, etc. could be brought back to life and offered for sale to fans of those films, how much more right is it that Rick Blaine's signature articles of clothing be rescued from the oblivion to which they have been consigned?

    That's my opinion, anyway.


    (formerly "Hazelton.")
  3. Is everyone wanting to be as precise on getting an exact duplicate of Bogie's trench coat as some of us are about Indy's fedora? I have seen some that are really close and if you are 3-4 feet away only the most die hard movie buff would be able to tell the difference. I recently saw a vintage Christian Dior trench coat that had the sleeves sewn on at the shoulder and also had the double gun flap. From a few feet away it looked really close to the pic above. It was too small for me so I didn't get it, but I did get a London fog with the double gun flap, and it had the straps on the sleeves and the epaulets on the shoulders. It doesn't have the sleeves sewn on at the shoulder but quite frankly it doesn't bother me. That is about the only thing it lacks from being very close in apperance. It still more than captures the spirit and style of the one Bogie wore.

  4. Marlowe

    Marlowe One of the Regulars

    Of course, it's not the end of the world if I (we) can't find an exact duplicate in my (our) own size(s) of the trenchcoat that Bogey wore in Casablanca. It's just a raincoat (however stylish) and not the cure for cancer.

    But, on the other hand, why own a Mk VI gas mask bag when you could have the Mk VII? What is the need for the Flightsuits.com Expedition jacket when Wested's jacket exists?

    If you aren't hung up on as much authenticity as possible in your costume wardrobe acquisitions, good for you! It's less expensive and less of a headache to operate that way. Your own enjoyment is the whole point of these exercises after all, so right on, if that's what you like.

    I personally am interested to at least know how difficult and how expensive it would be to put together as exact a replica as possible of the Casablanca trenchcoat. I would also like to know how many of us here on this board (and other similar boards) would be interested in seeing such a thing come to fruition.

  5. I agree. Some people can wear a leather hat and feel as though they have a Indiana Jones hat and are satisfied. I find that most people here and at COW are more extreme in their hunt. We are perfectionist....or at least seeking perfection.

    Marlowe is right that the other folks are probably happier. If you are easily pleased, you are probably pleased more often.

    I have a London Fog trench coat that is very nice and most people (other than you guys) would probably think it looks just like Bogie's, but it is not a Casablanca trench coat.

    Can live with this one? Sure. No problem......but I sure would like to get the real deal.

    Here is an article I found on tranch coats:


    By Julie Vargo

    Moonlight & trench coats never out of date.

    Sometimes the freshest fashions are actually old buddies. Take the trench coat, for example. A style synonymous with well-heeled CEOs, globe-trotting news anchors, and spies trained at Langley, the trench coat long ago joined ranks with the blue blazer as a wardrobe must-have. As a result, it returns to the store racks annually, looking right as the rain from which it protects.

    The years have been good to the trench coat. Once an accoutrement of the trench-bound soldier, this classic cover-up remains one of the most famous and enduring weatherproof styles, providing the maximum fashion defense to Mother Nature?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s worst. Since its inception almost a century ago, the water-repellent topper has become a badge of sorts ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äù the elegant outdoor uniform of the well-informed dresser.

    While the times have changed, the trench coat?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s character remains the same. Whether single- or double-breasted, knee-length, or calf-grazing, the trench coat will always be classic in both cut and style. Traditionalists prefer gabardine or cotton twill, however nylon, leather, brushed cotton, and ultra-light microfiber offer more modern options. While stone, olive, and khaki remain the time-honored tints, the toppers surface this season in shades as varied as lemon yellow, red, sky blue, terra-cotta, and navy.

    Free-lance writer Julie Vargo?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s trench coat has traveled the world with her.

    1870. Englishman Thomas Burberry creates a simple waterproof cloth that is untearable and impervious to rain, yet cool, comfy, and remarkably crease-proof. Gabardine is born.

    1914. The Great War introduces trench warfare and Britain?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s Burberry adapts its weatherproof coats for this type of fighting by adding floating panels, pockets, snap tabs, and horn buttons. Epaulets on the shoulders help keep military gear in place. D rings are added for attaching grenades to the coat?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s front and swords to its back. The new style is called, most appropriately, the trench coat.

    1914-1918. More than 500,000 military trench coats are sold as military men introduce these war heroes to civilian life.

    1918. Fleece-lined camel trench coats take to the air as British army officers volunteer for the Royal Flying Corps.

    1931. Cartoonist Chester Gould debuts ?¢‚Ǩ?ìDick Tracy?¢‚Ǩ? in the Sunday edition of The Detroit Mirror. The comic strip gumshoe doesn?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢t leave home without it ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äù his trench coat, that is.

    1933. Gary Cooper and Joan Crawford don trench coats in Today We Live.

    1938. Israel Meyers, president of Londontown (today known as London Fog), invents the first zip-out liner.

    1942. Here?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s looking at you, kid. Humphrey Bogart depends on a weathered fedora, belted trench coat, and unfiltered cigarettes to define his look in the movie Casablanca.

    1968. Fashion icon Yves Saint Laurent co-opts the classic trench coat into his fall/winter line, elevating the topper to fashion show runways.

    1970. The trench coat gives character to George C. Scott in the military movie Patton.

    1987. Greed is good. In the movie Wall Street, Michael Douglas surrounds himself in the ?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢80s-right subtleties of success ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äù including a dapper trench coat.

    1993-1998. FBI special agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully scamper across television screens weekly battling extraterrestrials and government conspiracies on The X-Files. Of course, they wear trench coats.
  6. Another interesting bit:

    Charles Macintosh and the Mackintosh
    In 1817 James Syne discovered a coal tar extract that had the property of dissolving India rubber. He passed the formula to the Glaswegian firm of Charles Macintosh. It took Macintosh until 1823 and further trials to patent a method of layering naphtha softened rubber between a sandwich of woven woollen cloth.

    Factory works in Manchester carried out the invention and in 1830 Thomas Hancock who was a competitor in waterproofed goods became a partner. Hancock patented his vulcanization process in 1843. It made a more malleable single layer of rubber and cloth which did not go hard in cold weather and did not grow sticky in warm weather.

    Tailors hadn't liked working with the rubber layered materials so the partners manufactured their own garments called mackintoshes using a different spelling of the word. Early mackintoshes were drab green neck to floor affairs and quite voluminous and unwieldy. Because they were non porous the wearer became drenched in sweat in warm weather.

    Mackintoshes gave off an odour that could be smelt way across the street in stormy times. Although odour free variations were launched after an improvement by Joseph Mandleberg it took many years to produce a truly low odour fabric with a really good handle. Despite all the problems mackintoshes were quite popular in the 19th and 20th centuries. Today the mackintosh has adapted and moved with the times developing into the trenchcoat and the raincoat.


    Thomas Burberry and the Burberry
    Thomas Burberry started his business in Basingstoke in Hampshire in 1856. Burberry considered the problem of waterproofing from the agricultural point of view. Most of his customers were farmers and agricultural workers. They normally wore closely woven smocks of tightly packed gathered material with a double yoke that kept the wearer surprisingly dry. Burberry grasped that keeping out drizzling rain depended on a close weave and voluminous fashioning.

    He began experiments on fabric with a cotton mill owner. He produced long staple Egyptian cotton, proofed in the yarn before weaving. The resultant woven gabardine twill cloth used no rubber.

    The closely woven twill construction contributed to its waterproof nature as the diagonal twill wales aided the facility of surface tension. Water droplets first rested on the surface of the compact twill weave gabardine forming tight drops. Then the drops ran off rather than spreading between the interstices of the fibres as they might on a basic plain weave fabric. The weatherproof material he produced relied in part on the surface tension properties of the twilled surface. Burberry fabric was initially untearable and it didn't obstruct air.


    Burberry patented this cloth called gabardine in 1879. He then began making all types of gabardine clothes for field sports and items that are today country classics. He opened a shop in London in 1891 and then the firm spread to Paris, Berlin and New York. It has had the royal seal of approval for over a century and Princes, Princesses, Kings and Queens, cult film stars and celebrities, have all owned Burberrys.

    In its original form the trench coat was part of First World War airmen's military uniform. Today it is a classic garment. Throughout the 1990s the House Of Burberry has employed various well known international designers to update its image globally.

    For modern Burberry purchases see the link on discount and factory outlet shopping.


    Aquascutum started as a tailoring firm called Box and Co., and established itself as Aquascutum in 1851 in London. The company invented a shower proof wool coat tailored with some style. The Prince of Wales, Edward VII was a trend setter and soon had a range of informal and formal sporting clothes made by Aquascutum.

    In the First World War soldiers in the trenches wore ankle length Aquascutum coats that had military design features with epaulets and pockets. Aquascutum continued to make military coats between the wars and they also supplied fashion rainwear. Naturally some of the military influence crept into the fashion designs and the trenchcoat became a fashion garment.

    As the 20th century developed with new textile technology so did new fabrics. Aquascutum has made use of them producing lively bright rainwear including some in iridescent fabrics, satin lined garments and shorter knee length versions of the original ankle garments.

    Their famous check initially launched as a lining for men's raincoats has appeared in numerous fashion items and accessories such as umbrellas and bags, an has gained a captive audience.

    For modern Aquascutum purchases see the link on discount and factory outlet shopping.
  7. Here is yet another article that I posted originally on Indy
    Fan. It is not completely accurate (he is all cought up on Burberry) it is very interesting:

    John Moore

    Contributing Writer

    THE retro-trend to big band music, swing dancing, elegant cocktails and elegant cocktail dresses (yes!) may at last be what it takes to stop men from dressing like undergraduate yobs and get into some adult male threads.
    No contemporary item of male apparel carries such a weight of symbolism as the trench coat and, judging by a recent tour of the racks, this classic topcoat is reclaiming the high ground on turf it never really surrendered.

    Invented by Thomas Burberry during the First World War, the original was a belted twill cotton gabardine of exceptionally close weave, treated with a chemical finish that made the coat water-repellent.

    Cut higher than the heavy ankle-length military "great coats" actually worn in the trenches, the trench coat retained the epaulettes and double-breasted cut of the military uniform and was quickly adopted as an outer coat for officers.

    Versions of it remain in military use to this day and the now rather bland single-breasted, small collared belted raincoat or topcoat worn by businessmen is its somewhat emasculated grandson.

    Despite the horrors of The Great War, which ought to have made people recoil from anything that suggested a uniform, military style continued to exert a powerful influence on fashion during the decades that followed. Sold off as surplus in the millions, trench coats became the poor man's (and woman's) raincoat during the Roaring Twenties and especially the depressed Dirty Thirties.

    Women's suits continued to feature epaulettes and double rows of buttons, and the trend would reach its apotheosis in the para-military political movements of the '30s, Fascism and Nazism.

    The Nazi party in Germany very consciously and cynically played on the "uniform fashion" style set by the Great War as part of its appeal to people whose lives were destroyed by the Depression, economic and political factors so far beyond their control that they longed for the simple politics of war.

    Burberry's trench coat, however, had undergone a symbolic transformation. In the vision of pulp fiction writers and film noir suspense thrillers, it became the anti-uniform of the underdog, the morally compromised secret agent and the cynical private detective.

    Many of these anti-heroes were characterized as jaded veterans of the First World War or the Spanish Civil War. Alan Ladd in This Gun For Hire, Humphrey Bogart in The Big Sleep and Casablanca, men who had seen war and death for ideals later compromised in political back rooms and came to stand for a new personal, individual code of justice.

    As Bogart said in Casablanca, "I stick my neck out for no man." But, of course, he did.

    Though Bogey only wears the coat in the final scene of Casablanca, it remains the benchmark trench-coat movie: the fog, mingled with gunpowder, the plane, the urgency, the redemptive sacrifice of love on the altar of the good of mankind, all embodied in one lonely desperate man wearing a military coat from a past war, a man who only a few frames ago answered an SS major's inquiry about his nationality with the flip remark, "I'm a drunkard," now stands only a few feet from the body of the same SS man and tells his One True Love to go with her husband and behave nobly because "the problems of two people don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world."

    It's the coat.

    Can you imagine Bogey trying to put this line over in an all-season Gore-Tex convertible parka from Mountain Equipment Co-Op and a snow-boarder tuque?

    It wouldn't fly, neither would Ingrid Bergman and there would be no Casablanca. Interestingly, in film noir, the trench coat became androgynous; worn by women like Bergman, Joan Crawford and especially Marlene Dietrich, it proclaimed the wearer a woman with a past, a woman of mystery and intrigue, usually dangerous as suggested by her adoption of the quasi-military uniform of a dangerous man.

    The dangerous man, the private investigator, the secret agent, has been described as a "knight without armour" whose dark quest is the material of the modern suspense-mystery genre in literature and film. By an odd bit of synchronicity, their unofficial uniform, the trench coat, itself has an ancient connection with knightly virtue.

    When Burberry designed it, he adapted existing designs that had been developed during the 19th century.

    As men adopted long trousers in preference to delicate breeches and silk hose during the early part of the century, they no longer required the neck-to-ankle protection offered by the old frock coat or great coat.

    Shorter overcoats in various styles raised the male hemline to the knee or slightly above, tried out single-breasted buttoning (though this was confined to country dress) and experimented with combinations of pouch-pockets, belted and beltless waistlines and rolled or unrolled collars.

    Some were known by the names of those who popularized the styles, like the Chesterfield coat favoured by the Lord of the same name, who influenced furniture style as well.

    A generic term often used to describe these short overcoats was "paletot" and the earliest use of that term is medieval French.

    A paletot is the light silk coat a Knight wore over his armour, his "coat of arms" which displayed his own insignia or that of his Lord, in order to identify which side he was on in a field cluttered with men each wearing a hundred pounds of anonymous hardware and bent on killing each other.

    The paletot made sure you whacked the right guy in the melee.

    One of the chief complaints of 19th century staff officers about the turn of the century decision to abandon the brightly coloured identifying uniforms of the past, (the British "red coat" and the French blue), was that the new khaki, olive drab and field-grey made all soldiers, friend and foe, the colour of mud.

    They recognized the threat to social hierarchy implicit in the democratization of the battlefield. Two mud-coloured soldiers on a confused field are psychologically disinclined to see each other as enemies and more likely to declare a spontaneous truce and identify the senior officers on both sides (they of the spotless trench coats) as their common foe, as sometimes happened during WWI.

    The battered trench coat became the uniform of Everyman.

    As the symbol of the modern knight errant, the trench coat still packs a mythic semiotic wallop.

    When English comedian Peter Sellers parodied the noir genre in a succession of decreasingly funny Pink Panther films, he made a point of appearing at least once in every film wearing the classic Burberry trench coat. It not only identified him as the Detective; it anointed him, however monumental his blunders and gaffs, as the Hero.
  8. When i lived in the Washington DC area I had most of my suits custom made.I don't know if they still do it now or not.I saw a ad in the Washington Post Hong Kong tailor would be at such and such hotel i called and made a time and went in and they made suits, topcoats etc.from your pictures or there catalogs of suits.The tailor would measure you and you picked the material lining buttons and 6 weeks later your suits would arrive from Hong kong. i did this for several years and was always pleased with the prouduct i recieved. Maybe you could have the trench coat custom made.Of course you will have to pay customs and postage on the items you have made.

  9. Kentucky Blues

    Kentucky Blues A-List Customer

    Tomb Raider Trench Coat . . .

    Does anybody have a pic of the Trench coat Lara Croft wore in Tombraider? I'm trying to get an idea of what this looks like. Also, if anyone knows where I could find an affordable tan or light brown trench coat, I'd greatly appreciate it.
  10. Marlowe

    Marlowe One of the Regulars

    I know nothing about the trench coat that Lara Croft wears in "Tomb Raider," but if you want a good, inexpensive, reliable, functional coat, try looking here:


    You might also find these used at your local Army-Navy surplus store for about $20-$40. (But of course then they won't be new.)

  11. that marine corp trench coat page is great.

    I will have to do a write up in my suit info about military fit versus regular suit fit.

    There is a big difference.

    hope you don't have to be in the service to order the coat.
  12. Marlowe

    Marlowe One of the Regulars

    Yes, I've thought of that, too. The advantages are that your coat is unique, and has the features that you wanted. The disadvantages are price (probably) and that the coat has ONLY the features that you wanted (i.e., don't forget anything and don't screw up your proportions, either).

    I'm wondering (and at this point I'm ONLY wondering--I haven't fallen in love with any particular point of view, yet) whether or not fans of Casablanca who wish to own a coat like the one in the movie would be better served by having a commercial outfit of some sort make a bunch. I suspect that economy of scale might tip the balance of price toward making a volume-production coat more affordable for more of us. Also, a coat being readied for production would have a prototype phase, to catch mistakes and other minor issues of design.

    The bespoke tailoring method may be the best way to go, but I'd prefer to explore all the options available to me (us) first.
  13. Marlowe

    Marlowe One of the Regulars

    Deckard is right. The military coats seem to be slightly smaller than their civilian counterparts. I got my Marine trench coat in a size 42 rather than the size 40 I normally would have gotten. It'd be best to try one on, of course, but if you get one that's slightly too large, it'll fit better than one slightly too small, especially if you use it over a suit or Flightsuits Expedition, for instance...
  14. Military uniforms are custom made to fit the wearer to a "T".
    No shoulder padding and small armholes for maneuverability.
    More like a 1920's suit

    30's and early 40's army uniforms had bi-swing backs.

    Luckily most of the wearers are pretty fit so they can pull it off.

    Suits are different as they have shoulders that are determined by what you want, and the fit can vary depending on the look you are going for.

    back in the day, when you got a custom suit, those who had the money, sometimes also got a custom trench coat and top coat that fit perfectly over the suit.
  15. Bogie1943

    Bogie1943 Practically Family

    I have noticed that the overcoat was a very essential peice of mens wear back in our favorite eras. I recall is the Bogie film, "Dark Passage" after Bogie leaves Bacalls' apartment. He stops in a diner and orders breakfast. A private detective walks up to him and starts asking question. He questions Bogie on why he does not have his over coat, it being so early in the morning any good gentleman should have his overcoat on. That little detail is what attracts the detectives attention. It really show you how proper dress was really taken quit seriously and traditionaly.:cool2:
  16. Hmmmmm..............

    I wonder where my all-weather coat is?

    (In the Marines, we weren't allowed to call 'em "trench coats", we HAD to call it an "all-weather coat").

    It wouldn't fit me anymore, though.... I was 150lbs at the time, not 195 the way I am now.....

    I must have a seabag tucked away somewhere with it in the bottom..... I wonder where........

  17. Marlowe

    Marlowe One of the Regulars

    Casablanca trench coat--how bad do you want it?

    I have a line on a firm that would be willing to take on the task of making a replica of the trench coat worn by Humphrey Bogart in "Casablanca." It would be of great use to know how many of us would want to obtain such a garment, and how much we'd be willing to pay for it. So, please, take the poll. (If I can get the poll to work--I've never posted one before.)

    How much would you be willing to pay for a replica of the Casablanca trench coat?
  18. Marlowe

    Marlowe One of the Regulars

    I should have mentioned that they would be made to measure--basically tailored to your measurements, and actual practical raincoats as well.

    Sorry. Hope it didn't affect your poll answer. (Hey, cut me some slack! I never did a poll before!)
  19. IndyBlues

    IndyBlues New in Town

    Heads up! Maxim review of trenchcoats

    Hey guys, just wanted to give you all a heads up, that the current issue of Maxim, has a review on a few nice trenchcoats that fit the vintage styling bill.
    For those interested, it's on page 150.
  20. Nathan Flowers

    Nathan Flowers Head Bartender Staff Member

    Daryl's REALLY cool Bogart Trench Coat

    I don't remember exactly, but it was CHEAP on ebay. I think it was less than $20, which is what it cost back in the day. Daryl was very lucky to find it.

    Here's the original post about it, with more pictures.


    Here's what it looked like when I got it in the mail
    Here's a pic of him wearing it.


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