Which Burberry trench coat to buy - and why they're completely worth the investment

Finding the right Burberry trench coat is no easy feat, but our round-up of the best Burberry trenches for women will help you choose the right one

three women in Burberry trench coats including Donna Air
(Image credit: Getty Images)

There are few fashion items as iconic as the Burberry trench coat. The classic cover-up is the perfect mix of practical and stylish, and has been loved for decades because it has the ability to effortlessly take an outfit from simple to chic.

Every capsule wardrobe should include a trench coat. The neutral colour, a belted waist and simple yet elegant design, makes it the ultimate coat for any season and any personal style. Trench coats can be found at pretty much every high street store right now, but we firmly believe that none of them compare to the original Burberry trench.

The high quality fabrics and fashion-forward yet timeless detailing offer a quiet yet luxurious staple that will fast become your go-to outerwear. While the designer coat comes with a higher price tag, you really do get what you pay for – and that’s a beautifully crafted cover-up that will last you a lifetime. We promise, that if you buy your Burberry trench coat now, you will love it forever.

Still unsure? Former Style Editor Daniela Bellanca told us why she has zero regrets when it comes to her Burberry investment piece – “I bought my Burberry trench coat almost 17 years ago. I'm not one to part easily with my hard earned cash, but it felt like a uniform kick-starter to my career in fashion - and I loved the history attached to it. It's a classic neutral beige, lined with the iconic Burberry check, and it's been my London-commute companion for almost two decades. Collar lightly flipped, waist belt knotted, sleeves scrunched up, I think it's earned itself the best buy in my wardrobe by far.”

The Burberry trench has been a firm favourite for over a hundred years, but what makes the designer staple so special? Designed in the early 20th century and patented by Thomas Burberry in 1912, the trench coat was originally created as part of Britain's official military uniform. Made from durable, weatherproof gaberdine, it was first worn by soldiers in the Normandy trenches - hence its name and was designed to be one of the best waterproof jackets for women. Since then, the iconic trench coat silhouette has become a must-have style for men and women and despite how many brands make an iteration of this classic style, a trench coat by British designer brand Burberry, is still considered one of the most timeless pieces of clothing you can own.

How to pick the best Burberry coat for your shape

For Tall Women

When making a purchase, the first thing to consider is length. The right hemline can make or break a trench, so it pays to get it right. Those with a tall build should opt for a longer-line coat to play to their elongated silhouette. Due to a lengthier frame, longer-line coats won’t swamp your shape but will help the eye to be drawn down the body. This also can make you look leaner as it streamlines your appearance and avoids cutting your outfit in several different places.

A Note on Print and Pattern

When it comes to choosing whether you go for a plain or printed coat, tall builds often can often carry off louder prints and patterns. The classic Burberry plaid - also known as the Haymarket Check, was introduced in the 1920s and is as synonymous with the house of Burberry as its trench coat. Largely used as a lining print, in recent times, Burberry has played with print, migrating it to the outside of the coat for a more fashion-forward look. The medium-sized square and fine-lined print is surprisingly versatile and largely flattering on most. However louder iterations of the print and bolder patterned styles that have emerged in recent seasons sit best with taller frames that can carry off what can otherwise be an overwhelming pattern.

For Petite Women

When it comes to discovering what are the best coats for petites, you might find the latest coat trends a little tricky to decipher, as there is little distinction made for various heights. But if you've been wondering whether a Burberry trench coat will work well for your frame, you’ll be thrilled to know the answer is, yes, but there are some things to consider.

If you’re petite, it’s best to go with a shorter-length trench coat as it will work best with your proportions and won’t drown you. As a designer brand, producing an exclusive and detailed product, Burberry has considered how its products will work for different heights and the British designer brand has trench coats that come in both short, regular and tall lengths. The Burberry short coats are 90cm, which hits around mid-thigh, a great length for petites as it will balance your proportions. For those looking for something that skims the knee, they also do a 100cm version too.

A Note on Print and Pattern...

While the classic Burberry Haymarket Check in a small fine print, a delicate all over print is largely flattering for all, if you’re nervous about being overwhelmed, opt for a block colour or invest in a plain style, and turn up the cuffs a fold or two to reveal just a hint of the check, a chic and subtle way to show off your Burberry buy.

For Curvy Women

Perhaps the reason for the popularity of the Burberry trench coat is its ability to flatter all silhouettes. A trench coat will work easily on apple body shapes, curvy figures and those with bigger busts and there are even a few ways to style them too, depending on the look you want.

Want to show off your curves? Use your trench coats self-fabric belt to cinch yourself in at the waist, this will instantly highlight curves and help to create a more hourglass body shape - you can even swap the fabric belt out for a statement leather belt, or any of your best designer belts to really customise your look. If you’re not a fan of belts, then look for slightly more tailored styles, that nip in at the waist, doing the job of the belt for you.

When it comes to how to style a trench coat to appear taller and more streamlined, choose a style that hangs from the shoulders and skims the body. Wear your coat open, over knitwear or any of your best shirts to create a centralised panel. This will draw the eye up and down your body, adding extra height to your frame, no heels required.

The trench coat is quite an androgynous style and is often cut with double-breasted buttons. This can be quite bulky and boxy on curvy frames, so look for single-breasted styles of this classic look.

For Rectangular Shapes

A rectangle shape is largely considered model-esque, meaning most styles will suit your frame. While rectangles aren’t always tall, they are slender meaning they can carry off both fitted styles and oversized silhouettes.

For tall women who want to add volume to their shape, opting for an oversized trench coat that hangs from the shoulders can be an incredibly chic look and one that is particularly popular with the fashion crowd. Oversized silhouettes also have a nonchalant, androgynous appeal which never fails to look stylish. Look out for added detail such as drop shoulders or large epaulettes to add interest to this aesthetic. The classic double-breasted style of a Burberry trench coat is a brilliant way of adding shape and structure. The double horn button detailing running down the front is very flattering and adds shape.

How to choose the right colour Burberry Trench coat

Warm skin tones

If your skin is warmer in tone, warm colours such as honey, olive and tan will suit you best. These are great all year through colours, as they team well with lighter neutrals for spring and navy and brown for autumn. If you're still wondering, we have a full guide to 'what colour suits me' to help you navigate this.

Cool skin tones

Cool skin tones suit cooler colours so reaching for styles in versatile grey or navy is a good idea. As the Burberry trench coat has grown in popularity, so too has the availability of styles and colours it comes in. When it comes to neutrals, cooler beige tones rather than warm honey will suit you best.

Why a Burberry trench coat is worth the investment

When it comes to investment purchases, most people automatically turn their attention to the best designer bags, but the Burberry trench coat, while it may not hold its value in the same way as a Chanel bag, still has the potential to last you a lifetime. Just as with any well-made item you purchase, look after it, and in the long run, it will return the favour. Considered to be a quiet luxury style item, thanks to the subtlety of the outer details, the giveaway for the Burberry trench coat is always in the classic check lining that makes it instantly identifiable.

Crafted in England by expert tailors, the Burberry trench coat remains at the pinnacle of exquisite quality and style and will never go out of fashion, ensuring you can wear it season after season. It takes one year for each specialist to learn the stitching of the trench coat’s collar, which is handmade using more than 180 stitches. And such credentials don’t come cheap. Available from around £1,700, a Burberry trench coat is made to last. An ideal addition to any capsule wardrobe, a Burberry trench will pair with everything from dresses to jeans, there is no look that a Burberry trench coat can’t enhance.

Today, multiple iterations have been borne of the original, incorporating unique details and features for all tastes, which means that there is a style for every shape. Although this might leave you wondering the benefits of the Burberry Chelsea vs Kensington trench coat, any well-tailored Burberry trench coat is a good investment. Classic camel, black and navy interpretations will always have the most longevity in terms of style, but prints and colour will be playful and work for several seasons.

What is so special about a Burberry trench coat?

Audrey Hepburn wearing a trench coat

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Burberry’s popularity dates back dates decades. The appeal of the Burberry trench was bolstered by society's elite and exclusive entertainment scene. During the 1940s, the Burberry trench hit the silver screen catapulting it into mass consciousness. Famously worn by Humphrey Bogart while uttering the unforgettable line “here’s looking at you, kid” Bogart was filmed wearing a camel edition of the now iconic style. And while this moment set the Burberry trench coat on an upward trajectory, it was an appearance on Audrey Hepburn’s Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s that cemented the coat as a style classic.

In the years since, the trench has been worn by the best-dressed around, from Marilyn Monroe and Brigitte Bardot to Alexa Chung and Gwyneth Paltrow. It even has the royal stamp of approval having been worn by Princess Diana and the Princess of Wales.

Do Burberry trench coats hold their value?

Although a Burberry trench coat, particularly once worn might not hold its value in the way a pristine and reserved designer bag does, a Burberry trench is expected to roughly hold its value, depending on wear and tear.

While updating this piece, we have noticed a number of classic Burberry trench coats have increased in retail value by around £100. The expectation is that this price, as with designer bags will continue to slowly increase, in line with the markets. Subsequently your coat should hold a strong value if you were to resell it at a later date.

What is the difference between the Burberry Kensington and the Chelsea trench coats?

Burberry kensington vs chelsea trench

Burberry's iconic Kensington (left) and Chelsea (right) trench coats

(Image credit: burberry)

Burberry has a number of iconic, staple fits that they lean on each season to produce its vast array of trench coats.

The Chelsea offers a highly tailored fit, sitting snuggly on shoulders and through the body of the coat. The fabric of the Chelsea is also a little heavier than the Kensington, offering additional warmth.

Comparatively, the Kensington is still tailored, but has a slightly more relaxed feel, than the Chelsea which sits very close to the body.

Both the Kensington and the Chelsea come in three lengths, short, mid-length and long, so from a height perspective, they're both wearable on all silhouette lengths.

Both coats feature throat latches to help you keep out the chill and both the Kensington and the Chelsea feature all the classic Burberry hallmarks including a checked lining, epaulettes and belted cuffs.

Fashion stylist Brooke Rounick of Fashionably Noted explains why she loves the Kensington style - "As a tenured stylist who's owned a Burberry trench coat for over 10+years, I can confidently say it's one of the best fashion investments I've ever made. If I could only choose one style, the Burberry Long Kensington Heritage Trench Coat is a must-have. Its classic honey-colored cotton-gabardine fabric, tailored fit, and refined details are perfection, and the iconic Burberry check lining make it timeless and versatile. Perfect for any occasion, the Kensington is the ultimate blend of tradition and contemporary chic."

Essentially your final selection will come down to how nipped in you want your coat to be. Our advice is to try it on over a jumper, or even a blazer if that's how you plan to wear your coat, so that you get the most practical and wearable size for your needs.

The iconic and globally recognised Burberry check is by far the brand's most popular pattern. Often seen used in the lining of Burberry trench coats, or a trim under the collar, this print is synonymous with the brand. It also adorns some of the label's handbags, scarves and other accessories. The check design was first used in the 1920s to line its trench coats before being more widely used across the label in the 1960s and has been a favorite ever since. Known as nova check, this style has been reinvented and reworked on numerous occasions over the years by the British fashion label, but the classic beige base with red, black and white lines is the most well-known and most associated with Burberry.

How do you clean a Burberry trench coat?

As with all outerwear, you will need to clean your Burberry trench coat at least at the end of every season of use, and thanks to the classic light beige colourway, it's also prone to showing up marks. The Burberry website recommends dry cleaning for its Burberry trench coats, as this is a valuable, specialised item. It also recommends reproofing after the dry clean to help the coat maintain its water-resistant abilities. It is advisable to check with your dry cleaner or search for a specialist dry cleaner who has experience in doing this. This can also be booked in and carried out via Burberry itself, through customer service.

Can Burberry trench coats get wet?

Burberry trench coats are designed to protect from wind and rain, however, it is important to note that on-site, the trench coats are listed as water-repellent and not waterproof. This means that they offer a good layer of protection and repel water, but a very heavy downpour may penetrate the surface of the fabric. A waterproof jacket, however, would be able to withstand much heavier downpours.

In real terms, this means that your Burberry trench coat will be ideal for fall and spring weather, lighter rain, showers and drizzle, but possibly not the outerwear piece for heavy rainfall.

How long does a Burberry trench coat last

Similarly to most fashion items, a Burberry trench coat can last you a lifetime when cared for properly. This means dry cleaning and reproofing at the end of the season of use, storing carefully on the appropriate hanger and potentially even covering with a dust cover when its seasonal spin is over. The more you care for your purchase, the longer it will return the favour.

The Burberry customer service team is also available to help book appointments for repair and replacement parts, so there is no excuse not to look after this iconic piece.

How to choose your Burberry trench coat

There are a lot of options when it comes to choosing your Burberry trench coat. The wide range of styles available means that it can be a little overwhelming to choose 'the one'. Don’t panic though – try narrowing down your search by thinking about what you really want and need from your cover-up.

  • Think about your body type - If you’re on the petite side, its always best to aim for a shorter and cropped length coat to avoid looking swamped in fabric. If you’re taller, you can definitely pull off one of the mid or full length designs. Equally if you are curvier, opt for a trench that has slimming details like patterned central panels and and avoid double breasted buttons which can look bulky on wider frames.
  • Consider your capsule wardrobe – If you like to keep things classic and have a wardrobe full of timeless basics, it might be best to go for one of the simpler and most iconic trench coats, as you’ll find it easier to weave into your day to day ensembles. If you like things a little bright and playful, try one of the boldly coloured cover-ups or a trench with shouty trims and detailing.
  • Think about how you will wear it – While we love the versatility of the Burberry trench coat, there are some in the collection that are more practical than others. If you are looking for a coat that will keep you dry and warm all year round, opt for one of the shower-proof classics in the heavier gabardine fabric, but if you’d rather something lighter to throw on for a fashion statement, you could opt for one of the silkier, lightweight coats.
  • Dont rush - There are plenty of options within the range so its best to do research and consider what you are looking from your investment buy, before you add to your basket.

How to style your Burberry trench coat

how to style your burberry trench coat GETTY - 2023986648-2153452330-1817194813

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Unsure about how to style your trench? The good news is that there are no rules when it comes to pulling together an outfit around your Burberry cover-up. The timeless design will look just as stylish belted over your best cotton t-shirts and jeans as it will slung over a party dress, so you can always throw it on as you head out the door, safe in the knowledge that you look great!

As well as wearing it as a coat by day, why not take inspiration from the A-listers including Elizabeth Jagger and wear your trench as a dress? Simply button it up, cinch in the waist and then finish with a pair of heels or ballet pumps and you’ll have a cool-girl ensemble ready for a party. Alternatively you could wear yours loosely off the shoulders like Uma Thurman at Cannes Film Festival. The star draped her iconic trench over her elegant Burberry gown while on the red carpet and she looked absolutely stunning.

Simple styling tricks like like rolling up the sleeves and popping the collar can add a high -fashion spin to your outfit too. Or simply wear your trench as it is, buttoned up and belted, for a timeless and preppy feel.

The Burberry trench has a traditional yet contemporary feel that means you can style it up or down in a multitude of ways. As well as being endlessly versatile, there's no age limit on this hero piece either - buy your Burberry trench now and you'll be wearing it for years and years to come.

Frankie Graddon

Frankie Graddon is a fashion and beauty journalist and co-founder of @thewingwoman, a weekly podcast and newsletter about thirty-something life, honestly. 

Frankie has over a decade of experience working as a writer, editor, podcaster and consultant. She has been a regular contributor to a number of high-profile publishers including The Telegraph, The Times, Grazia, You Magazine, Glamour and woman&home.

Frankie has interviewed numerous industry experts and celebrities, from Claudia Schiffer and Karlie Kloss to Sam McKnight and Trinny Woodall. She has also created content for numerous fashion and beauty brands including Liberty of London, Whistles, Kitri, Hush and more.