What's all the fuss over Burberry trenches about?

Dissertante's thread about Burberry trenches has been a fascinating read. I posted that I would love to get a Burberry trench someday. But then I was wondering, why do I think that? Their marketing must be really good to make so many people think that it's the "must-have" trench coat. Really, why all the fuss over Burberry trenches? Are they really that much better than other trench coats to be worth a thousand dollars or more? Is there something special about the design that if someone is walking by you can instantly tell it's a Burberry trench, without seeing the label on the inside? And lots of people posted that they wouldn't get the silk trench, but would buy the "classic" Burberry trench. Is there one model that's considered the "classic" version? There seem to be so many different versions on their website. I think their trenches are really pretty--look at this orange leather trimmed one...drool. But I'm not about to spend $3200 to get it...that seems crazy to me! I admit I splurged on an expensive Kate Spade black trench for $500 (my most expensive clothing purchase to date--my wedding dress was only $100 more), and I also have a red trench from Anthro and a cream and black one from White House Black Market, both for $99. But otherwise I do not know much about trenches and am puzzled about why Burberry trenches are so much more expensive than other brands and whether they really are worth the premium or whether you are just paying for a label. Thanks for educating me--I am just curious!

This post is also published in the youlookfab forum. You can read and reply to it in either place. All replies will appear in both places.

39 Comments

  • Kirti replied 5 years ago

    Now that I think about it, I have no idea. It is just THE trench to have for some reason!

  • goldenpig replied 5 years ago

    Yeah Kirti, that is what I am trying to figure out! Why does everyone think that?

  • Angie replied 5 years ago

    I don't have time to respond in detail, Natalie. But with Burberry, you are supporting the legacy of the brand as well as the craftsmanship - just like with Valentino, Prada, Chanel, Dior, Gucci and Fendi. These companies have great stories that have stood the test of time. Burberry produced the original "trench coat" and that's why there is brand loyalty.

    But you know, I can buy a trench from Karen Millen and Kate Spade and be just as happy! But I also support the legacy of certain brands because of what it took to get where they are. It's a great accomplishment.

  • Diana replied 5 years ago

    My mom has had a "classic" burberry trench for 25 years (Dad bought it for her from the flagship London store on a business trip), wears it frequently, and it still looks like new. Meaning, they are VERY well made.

    I think Angie is right - it is definitely the "iconic" trench coat and is a timeless style. I personally probably could not identify it from a distance, but I know that some people can!

    That said, I think it's something that you should buy expecting that you will have it forever. I know that for example, my mom had wanted one for years before she finally got one (back then, in the 80's, apparently they did not sell them in a size small enough for her in the US). On the other hand, I once went shopping with a friend who apparently just went into the Burberry store on a whim and plunked down her credit card for a trench right then and there - knowing her, she's already moved on to something else. In my opinion, that's rather wasteful...

  • MsMary replied 5 years ago

    Has anybody seen the classic 80s film "Kramer v. Kramer?" There's a scene early in the movie in which yuppie workaholic (pre-born-again-as-devoted-dad) Dustin Hoffman talks about buying a Burberry trench, and he says something like "My hand was literally shaking as I wrote the check" because it was so expensive!

  • Jewell replied 5 years ago

    *eyes popping out at sight of gorgeous leather trimmed trench*

    I suppose what Angie said makes sense. Somehow a Burberry trench is "the" trench to own. It's the coat equivalent of some designer handbags.

  • lyn* replied 5 years ago

    My "dream" trench is a Kate Spade ... I don't know about Burberry; I think it's more of a prestige thing when you flash that silk lining with the Burberry pattern :)

  • ironkurtin replied 5 years ago

    Burberry also recently reinvigorated itself (past 5-10 years?) and relaunched their classics and expanded on them in a timelessly chic way. It's a time-honored British brand, and the fact that it's jumped into the 21st century is very cool.

  • Vildy replied 5 years ago

    I'm an outlier in that I have a vintage men's trench. Belonged to a friend's now elderly father who is very short. I got it for two dollars at a yard sale she had. I have loved it ever since and it probably is my favorite piece of clothing even though I have otherwise soured on a trench, cinched cut and gotten rid of others. My kid has hemophilia and I have been in and out of hospitals a lot. The last time, when he crushed his arm at work and got compartment syndrome (he's okay) I spent the night there sleeping in that trench. It looked exactly the same when I got up. In my mind, it's RELIABLE. The way I'd like everything to be but isn't.

    ETA: my vintage trench is a Burberry

  • replied 5 years ago

    I already quoted Sally at alreadypretty.com but I will again
    tried on a brand new Burberry trench coat a couple of months back, just for kicks. And you know what? It should’ve just looked like every other affordable London Fog trench in the world, but it DIDN’T. It looked gorgeous and classy and expensive and amazing. Quality can be thrifted, of course, as a used garment made well will generally weather better than a new garment made shoddily. But it also stands to reason that a new garment made well will weather even better than a used one, especially if it is in the care of someone for whom “polished” is a priority. Some cheap stuff can look expensive, but nearly all expensive stuff looks expensive.
    (It was in the context of the article
    http://www.alreadypretty.com/2.....ished.html)
    My 2c is that a burberry trench is like a pair of prada shoes, or a valentino red dress. It's tailoring , it's material it's shape and drape should be superior and polished and look better on a wide range of persons. Good tailoring happens by chance ( you fit the designer model of thought) , customization, made-from-scratch, or higher - end clothes who should be clever and look good. Not necessarily branded or logo-ed. But it should look good on you, that kind of understated elegance, that doesn't come from trendy cuts or flashy colors, but of really really good cuts and materials. I bet there are some expensive ones that don't really fit this bill, but that's why I would pay the money, it I weren't a grad student:)

  • Jilly replied 5 years ago

    I don't know about this, either. My frugal upbringing has me cringing at the idea of paying $3200 for any piece of clothing. I don't think their business will be affected by my one opinion, but I'd just rather buy a good quality version that is not as expensive as burberry.

  • Isabel replied 5 years ago

    GP, I went out to run some errands and I was thinking the same exact thing...so I just sat down to ask it, too ! LOL

    I feel that way about bags and other things too. I think that if I had the personality to have ONE trench ( I have 1 long one, 2 that are 3/4ths, and a short one ) that I wore 3 seasons out of the year for 15 years, then I might do it. Maybe. I like beautiful and well-made, but I don't need exquisite with fine detail ( you will notice the beautiful front seaming on the trench that you posted...you won't find that on a cheaper version ). Maybe it is my lifestyle. Maybe if I lived in NYC and was in high fashion...I don't know. Maybe I am just too practical. Maybe it is relative, though I can't imagine earning enough to feel comfortable in a $1700 coat ( my wedding band was cheaper, I have no engagement ring and my next most expensive item is a Marc Jacobs topper, which I will forever regret. ) But that is my personality and life history that comes with it. I also had no money as a student, so I can't imagine ( even afterwards, when I had loans and was living in a big city ) having any money for anything besides rent, food, loan payments.

    The flip side is that there IS upwards creep for me. I am sitting here wearing a pair of $200 ( the most before that was a pair for $120 ) boots that I just bought ! I am still in disbelief...but I loved wearing them today and knew immediately that these will bring me pleasure for a long time. Two years ago if you told me that I would ever spend more than $75 on shoes, I would have laughed out loud. Same thing with bags. I have a couple of bags that cost over $200 ! Mon Dieu ! But I am thankful that I bought these things in my 40s, because I have a much better sense of what I will actually use and enjoy. And I know that we have the money - or at least HAD it, LOL !!

    It is very interesting, though, isn't it ?? BTW - I LOVE the trench you posted !!!!

  • Meredith1953 replied 5 years ago

    I like the Burberry trenches but when I look at the cost vs other priorities, it would be hard to justify purchasing one with that hefty a price tag. That being said, everyone has their own budget and I am sure there are some people who don't think that is out of line to pay for the quality. It's all relative. I see lots of shorter colorful trenches MUCH less expensive that I actually like better. Burberry definitely makes the "IT" trenches though.

  • gradfashionista replied 5 years ago

    I had the same question awhile back! Not only the fuss, but the costs! I had a post months back on whether Burberry coats were worth it and a lot of people chimed in "yes." For these people, and from other reviews that I've read, it seems to be the cut, quality, workmanship, etc. I am *NOT* a brand person--I don't like displaying brand names and never have, but it seemed like so many people were happy with their Burberry purchases.

    Once upon a time, my family was in textiles (my mother would be opposed to paying that much for a trench--she'd say that the mark-up is ridiculous and that our local Italian dressmaker could do as good a job for much less) and from what I've seen, the coats that cost a few hundred aren't that great (in my VERY limited experience). Loose threads, poorly sewn buttons that initially seem sturdy (J.Crew is horrible here--I became very disenchanted after this happened on *several* garments), cheap dyes, linings that don't quite fit etc. Very subtle things. Yet with Burberry, people say this isn't the case...and for that reason, it's worth shelling out more.

  • taylor replied 5 years ago

    I am not even going to try to convince someone who would never spend over 1,000 dollars on a garment the difference between a 200 dollar trench and a Burberry trench, we are just coming from 2 completely different places! I own about 8 trenches all different price points and quality...NOTHING comes even close to my Burberry

    I will just add that those who do own these garments can rest assured that in 25 yrs...(they do wear that well) when we need the leather , buttons or minor repairs done...they are replaced ,repaired and the coat refurbished and at no charge. So yes, to me something that lasts well beyond 25 yrs. and the company stands behind any and all repairs that many yrs. later is an investment...aside from the impeccable fit and workmanship.I plan to pass mine down to my daughter in my old age...she is thrilled!

    But again people must spend money on what they value, be it electronics, cars, homes , education, surgery , beauty products, travel, fashion, Louboutins, food or whatever makes sense to them :)

  • ironkurtin replied 5 years ago

    You're making me want a Burberry trench, Taylor!

  • taylor replied 5 years ago

    :) Just go try one on...just to see!

  • annagybe replied 5 years ago

    Taylor, thank you for chiming in. I want a Burberry trench, but some of the comments on this thread are so off-putting and value judgement laden. Seriously what is wrong with nice things?

  • taylor replied 5 years ago

    thank you Anna. I have noticed a bit of judgment too...why ????

  • Isabel replied 5 years ago

    Oh Taylor, I am not trying to argue that the two are even comparable ( $250 vs $1000 )! As I pointed out in my post, even just visually, the detail of the Burberry picture alone is stunning. I understand the the material, Italian made and sewn, is some of the finest on earth. Just like a Rolex is a mechanical masterpiece. Is it "worth" it for me, my personality, my life style ? Unequivocally no, right now. Who knows next year ? Or the year after or when my kids are out of the house ? I just don't know if I would ever see myself owning one because I have been very practical my whole life . I could see myself spending, maybe, $500 or a little more now that I know I LOVE trenches and wear the very often in the Fall and Spring. ( It actually drives my husband nuts...he bought me a MacAir last year for Christmas and I wanted him to take it back. Really, all I needed was Internet ! LOL )

    Though I am beginning to understand that for many women it really is feeling of impeccability that it brings to the table that really is worth it for them.

  • taylor replied 5 years ago

    Isabel, I don't think your response was even remotely judgementle ...in fact I loved your first post and thought is was one of the best!!!:)
    In fact I don't think any of them are personally judgmentle. but financially/value, if that makes sense!

  • Isabel replied 5 years ago

    Whew !!! Thanks Taylor !! I don't ever want to pretend to know exactly how someone else feels. I KNOW that I need to loosen up a little and enjoy life's luxuries a little more ! LOL !!!

  • taylor replied 5 years ago

    You are so sweet!:)

  • ironkurtin replied 5 years ago

    IMO truly beautiful, wonderfully made things are worth the money. I would love to be in a place where I could spend $1700 on a coat. I would also love to be in a place far, far away from my husband when he saw the receipt.

  • Isabel replied 5 years ago

    IK....ROFL !! Now THAT I like...buy the coat, stiff my husband with the bill and split !

  • ironkurtin replied 5 years ago

    Isabel, how do you tell a real Burberry from a fake one? I'm seeing quite a range of prices on ebay, and I'm assuming that some are older than others, and some are fakes. Any tips?

  • Janet replied 5 years ago

    You know what's funny? In some environments, I actually take some care to *not * flash the label in my Burberry trench when I take it off or put it on.

  • shevia replied 5 years ago

    GP, I do think there are some items that just make you understand quality in a whole new way way you try them. I haven't tried on a burberry trench but I suspect that this is one of them. I have run into some pretty nice stuff (second hand) and some of it really does make you appreciate the difference. I find this often with shoes (my weakness).

    Taylor, I love how you expressed yourself. I totally agree - someone might not understand a trench coat but perfectly well understands a piece of electronics, a fly fishing rod or whatever. It is all lifestyle choices and it would be quite boring if everyone chose the same way.

  • Jonesy replied 5 years ago

    Natalie, it's just like that with any sort of designer piece. You are paying for beautiful workmanship, unusual details, fab fit, high-quality materials, and to a certain extent, status and name recognition. Burberry has been especially hot the past few years, with Christopher Bailey at the helm, so that could help to drive the cost up too.

    I have a few higher-end pieces (not Burberry realm, but maybe Burberry Brit :) and I can absolutely tell the difference in quality. For example, I have a cream-colored silk blouse by Elizabeth and James (retails for around $200-250; I got it at the Rack for around $80). The silk is so thick and heavy that I can wear a black bra underneath and not see it through the fabric. It's just beautiful, and nothing like a silk blouse at a much lower price.

    PS, Taylor, you obviously ROCK your Burberry trench!! You too, Janet!

  • goldenpig replied 5 years ago

    Thanks for all the replies! It sounds like something that has to be tried on and seen to understand what all the fuss is about. I'm sure the quality is impeccable.

    You know, I am letting DH take a diving trip all by himself later this summer while I stay home and watch the kids. He's asked me several times what I want in return. Hmmm....that orange trim Burberry trench would be almost exactly the same amount as his trip...now I think I know what to ask for! LOL!

  • Fruitful replied 5 years ago

    Jumping into your thread GP - after reading Dissertante's posts I spent a long time last night looking at every Burberry coat on ebay lol -

    I was disappointed I didn't see any that looked like they would suit my figure, and not many that looked like they'd flatter my complexion. I like trenches with a flared "skirt", my pear shape doesn't fare so well in a conventional trench shape.

    Are Burberry trenches universally flattering or does it depend on your body type?

  • Lena replied 5 years ago

    This is a little bit off topic. I've been wanting to bring this up for a long time.

    Does anyone else know about the negative association with chavs in Britain? (brief overview http://www.economist.com/node/17963363)
    Did Burberry succeed in shedding this image in Britain, and how big of a problem was it in the first place? I apologize in advance in case I offend someone here. I'm wondering if Brit YLF members can shed more light on this. I've been very curious ever since I learned about the term 'chav'.

    I personally love the classic Burberry check pattern.
    I don't have any experience with any of their items.. sigh.. yet.

  • Fruitful replied 5 years ago

    Lol Lena! I totally know about this and I'm in Australia... I don't have time to click the link but if I'm right it's the picture of a car covered in Burberry plaid :)

    I think this is a potential issue for famous/recognisable luxury items generally. In Australia we call these kinds of consumers CUBs: Cashed-Up Bogans.

    The main Burberry things I've been lusting to try are their lipsticks and eyeshadows. They got great blog reviews and look like gorgeous shades and textures.

  • Vildy replied 5 years ago

    Yes, I also know about the chavs. However, I'm not in Britain plus I don't flash the lining around.

  • KikiG replied 5 years ago

    Ok. Wait. I haven't been paying attention.

    I have a Burberry trench--I guess the dead classic one, the one with the button on the butt to release if you are wearing an evening gown, it has hand stitching in the collar--that one. What the well dressed spy wears. I bought it in London, in the January Sales, about . . .1985ish? (At the time, they were $800 in the US, and I paid less than $250 USD, I think.) I haven't worn it for years but couldn't ever bear to get rid of it, it looked fussy, frumpy, or something by the 1990s. Do I drag it out? Won't it look dated? Or, horrors, will I be violating my own "anti-frump" rule of being wary of vintage, LOL?

  • Isabel replied 5 years ago

    Lena ! Thank you for that link ! I had forgotten all about this. It is becoming true of every "luxury" house as they have moved into the mass market over the last few years. So many of the clothes are not handmade anymore in little shops. This has also been a huge issue for the company that makes Louis Vuitton. It seems that now a days the only way to stay viable to grow at astronomical rates and the only way to do that is to cut costs but using lower quality services and materials and "branding".

    WIth that said, the more expensive Burberry trenches are still made with some of the finest Italian materials and hand craftsmanship. But that is not true of everything that they make, that is why they have several price point "collections". One further sees this with all the "bridge" lines into mass retailers. Badgley Mischka is now on QVC or HSN, French Connection is at Sears, and we remember Missoni at Target. One of the things that really bothered about the Missoni ads were how people were talking about getting the "quality" of Missoni at Target prices. That is delusional and really confuses consumers who then cannot really differentiate between a garment that took a seamstress a week to make and one that was made in China on a machine in 5 minutes.

  • replied 5 years ago

    I think they've done a masterful job branding so that when people think "high quality trench" they immediately think Burberry. I know I did, as I thought about my spring coat needs.

    Though I generally believe that higher-priced things correlate to better quality, in many cases they do not and there's not a huge difference between a $800 coat and a $1600 coat.

    So overall, I try to not shop by "label" anymore, because you really are paying for the brand in many cases, and not for the quality. I say go for high quality (when you can afford to), longevity, and what fits you the best.

  • petitesanonymous replied 5 years ago

    I can't answer this question. Personally, I don't get it either. To be fair, though, I've never been in a Burberry store.

    I did, though, go to a Coach store after a friend raved about their bags. I guess I just wasn't that impressed. I mean, yes, they were beautiful bags....but it's just a bag, to get thrown around and tossed in my desk drawer. I also have cats that tend to ruin things occasionally. I can't even imagine keeping any one item of clothing for more than a few years, due to my tastes changing and also due to things getting wrecked. I guess designer stuff is just not for me! If I had the free money, though, I would by the $3500+ Taylor guitar I tried out last month...totally worth it in my eyes!

  • rachylou replied 5 years ago

    Did somebody already say - Burberry is the original trench coat maker. Well, I think Aquascutum also lays claim to that.

You need to be logged in to comment