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What's the difference between a trenchcoat and a duster?

Discussion in 'Outerwear' started by Phil, Oct 14, 2006.

  1. Phil

    Phil A-List Customer

    I've never gotten this, what is the difference between a trenchcoat and a duster?
  2. Nick Charles

    Nick Charles Practically Family

    The trenchcoat is a descendant of the heavy serge coats worn by British and French soldiers in World War I. The trench coat was created by Thomas Burberry, the inventor of gabardine fabric, who submitted a design for an army officer's raincoat to the UK War Office in 1901. Burberry's raincoat subsequently became part of the service uniform of British officers. During World War I, the design was modified to include epaulettes, straps, and D-rings. This latter version was dubbed "trench coat" by the soldiers in the trenches. Towards the Second World War, the trench coat became part of all enlisted men's and officers' kits, especially in the American forces

    A duster is a light, loose-fitting coat.

    The original dusters were full-length, light-colored canvas or linen coats worn by horsemen to protect their clothing from trail dust. These dusters were typically slit up the back to hip level for ease of wear on horseback. At the turn of the 20th century, both men and women wore dusters to protect their clothes when riding in open motorcars on the dirt roads of the day. In the 1950s, a duster was a woman's knee-length, button-front unfitted housecoat which could be thrown on over underwear for housework or cooking.


    So basically Rain vs Dirt
  3. Tomasso

    Tomasso Incurably Addicted

    Well done, Nick!

    :eusa_clap :eusa_clap
  4. I had a duster with straps on either side to hold them closer to the legs so they would not flap around. Was this something that was on the originals or a later addition. It would seem to me that with riding horseback it may have been incorporated into the original design.
  5. covered

    Then of course there's our famous Drizabone that does both. Mine has the ankle straps for horse work. There is a wide range of coats now, but the original went nearly to the floor.
  6. Vermifuge

    Vermifuge One of the Regulars


    Forgive me but I don’t know the correct terminology but I believe…

    1) The slit in the back tends to but up higher on a duster (almost to the tailbone) where trench coats tent to only reach mid thigh. ok looks like this is called an extra wide gusset, to cover a saddle or motor cycle seat
    2) I believe Dusters are “vented” I made that up but they have that opening the horizontal fold that kind of goes across the shoulder blades in back. I gues it's called a cape. and it straps under the arms. I don’t think your typical trench coat has that.
    3) Dusters have leg straps, to keeps it in place
  7. Mr. Sable

    Mr. Sable A-List Customer

    Aren't those called slickers? A duster impregnated with oil to repel water?
  8. ofelas

    ofelas New in Town

    I use a duster to ride quite often...it is quite useful while raining. One of them has a removable cape coated with some surt of wax or oil finish, it helps a bunch.
  9. not round here

    I've never heard the term, but seeing some of the clowns parading around in town in brand new ones that have never seen a paddock, I wonder if that's where the term city-slicker comes from
  10. Yohanes

    Yohanes One of the Regulars

    sorry for bringing up an old thread... but I wonder is a duster, like Driza-bone or something similar in model, suitable for riding motorcycles? I know it won't be suitable if you're racing or riding a sportsbike, but what if you're riding a chopper or touring type of motorcycle, say, HD?
  11. When riding a cycle, loose clothing gets blown about by the wind. To wear a long jacket on a cycle I would make sure any loose ends are secure.
  12. The definitive duster today is caped over the shoulders and doesn't quite overlap in the lower front, so you have to use the leg straps to keep dry in wind and rain.

    This one's brown cowhide. The cape snaps off.
  13. Yohanes

    Yohanes One of the Regulars

    Wow, is that leather? Must be quite expensive...:)

    Umm what about the long coat worn by German soldiers in WW2, particularly the one worn by their motorcycle rider? That's a trenchcoat too right? I wonder if such coat is available now :) I'm a bike rider myself, and I prefer having a rain protection gear that is faster to prepare rather than the most recommended type currently, a separate rainproof jacket and trousers..oww I hate that!

    That's why I've been thinking about this duster and trench coat type...
  14. Not sure what the German motorcyclists were wearing but you can be sure it was heavier than a duster.
    Vintage overcoats are around and modern Drizabones will work fine for the rain.
  15. Hal

    Hal A-List Customer

    You speak as a motorcyclist, and your reasoning makes very good sense. But even for wet weather walking in town many wear short jackets (such as Barbour jackets) over their suits, and then either need overtrousers or get their trousers wet and legs cold. The full length trenchcoat, or the waterproof "mac" are, in your words, "faster to prepare", and in my opinion, smarter and more practical; yet, in the rainy UK, seem to be more and more rarely worn. Another case of fashion's being the enemy of practicality?
  16. Thanks for the revive, guys. Great information here as always.
  17. zeus36

    zeus36 A-List Customer

    I wear an Outback full length duster on my Harley when the mood strikes me, usually in the Spring or Fall, or if I'm wearing a suit to work. When I was doing old west re-enacting and I wanted to cover up my Wyatt Earp outfit on the bike, I figured that the duster would do the trick. I did add several Pull-the-Dot style snaps on the collar and cape areas to reduce the flapping and hold the throat strap from whipping around when not in use.

    I also built a leather harness to place over my hat and strap it to my back. I still use the setup for dressing up to attend a gunshow. As for rain, the duster does nothing for your knees and lower legs. You could wear chaps for that. I have a couple of pair, but found that a Serapi (or Spanish poncho) works better than chaps, rolls up to ride on the handle bars, and is very quick to put on. It is a good match for the duster.
  18. Rob

    Rob Familiar Face

    World leaders love the Aussie Drizabone...

  19. The German (and prob all other) leather motorcycle jackets (the long ones) from the golden era were extremely heavy. The one i own (police motorcycle overcoat from prob early 50s) is a beast. Almost unbelievably heavy.

    Duster, i always thought, referred specifically to a linen number. [huh]

  20. Well... the Deutsche Afrika Korps used a full length cloth coat for motorcycle riders- a similar patern to their rubberized cloth version but of course, lighter.
    But then a true duster was very lightweight indeed- literally like the dust covers you typically see on furniture in haunted houses... just to keep the (road dust, whilst motoring)dust off.


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