*Check the Shop page for stock levels*
Our first collaboration this Autumn/Winter is, for me, the perfect trench coat - a limited edition of a Ventile coat being made with Private White VC.
Long, muted-green and with classic style in the lapel and collar, it has become a foundation of my wardrobe since I started wearing a prototype in February.
The removable lining, high collar and taped seams make it very practical, but it also has real swagger: a stylish update of a traditional model.
Only nine pieces are available in this batch, across four sizes (small, medium, large and extra-large). It costs £1125 (ex-VAT), with free worldwide shipping.
You can buy it now through the Permanent Style shop.
So what's special about it? First, let's talk about the material.
Cotton Ventile is perfect for a coat like this. It doesn’t have rustle of synthetic waterproofs, but is entirely waterproof once the seams are taped, and ages well - softening and fading slowly at the seams.
I picked dark olive in order to be an effective bridge between formal and casual wear. As shown in the imagery, it is smart enough to be worn with a suit and tie, yet relaxed enough for knitwear.
Private White VC’s distinctive copper hardware also comes up nicely against the olive. It too is uncoated, and will gain a patina over time.
The project started with a discussion with Private White VC of a coat they already make - the Despatch Motor Trench - but we wanted to tweak in several ways.
The most important point was length.
Trench coats have been cut shorter and shorter in recent years, which not only denies them the swish and swagger of a great, long coat, but is highly impractical.
In the rain, water simply streams off the bottom and onto the knees as you walk.
So I added four inches to the length, meaning it sits definitively below the knee. There is also a small, hidden flap at the bottom of the coat, which allows it to be fully closed across the knees if required.
Other design changes included a wider, more pointed lapel that gives the coat a touch more flair; a squaring off of the gun flaps so they mirror that collar and the lapel; and an additional jigger button on the inside of the lining.
That lining is removable and a wool/cashmere mix.
I’ve had so many waterproof coats over the years that could only be worn one or two seasons because they didn’t have a removable lining.
I wasn’t going to make that mistake this time. So we made a lining in the Private White VC grey-and-green colours.
Throughout the design process, the guiding philosophy was not to skimp on any detail. Details, after all, are what a good trench coat is all about.
So it has:
- Big hip pockets, with wool/cashmere lining in the front
- An angled despatch chest pocket (perfect for a phone)
- A great throat latch on the collar (which now fastens with a stud on one side)
- D-rings on the belt
- In-set sleeves on the front of the coat, to give a cleaner appearance, but raglan sleeves on the back, to aid movement
- Gun flaps on the shoulders at the front, and a saddle piece across the back
- Dark-brown horn buttons, fastening that double-breasted front all the way up
A separate word should also be said about the belt, which is distinctive of these Private White VC coats.
It is sewn into the side seam on the left hand side, runs around the back, and then attaches with a buckle in the front.
This means that most of the front of the coat is kept clean and un-hampered by the belt, but you still get that attractive cinching in the back that is characteristic of a trench coat.
When not using the belt, the buckle fastens inside the front with a stud, while the strap can be looped through itself on the back. It can happily be worn either way.
All this super-spec means the trench is fairly expensive at £1125 (ex-VAT).
But it is a waterproof coat that can be worn for most of the year, with given the flexibility of the lining.
It is also made entirely in the UK, in the Private White VC factory in Manchester (see factory visit article here).
There are also, as mentioned above, only nine available in this first run. So it’s worth getting in early.
I do hope you like it. It feels like a long time since we started designing this - over a year ago. But wonderful to have it out in the world.
Orders are placed through Permanent Style - on the Shop here.
Delivery and sizing
Delivery is from the Private White VC factory, and is being offered for free worldwide.
Sizing is outlined below. I am wearing a small, but could wear a small or a medium - the medium would be a slightly better fit with the liner over a suit, but the small best without the liner over knitwear.
The raglan sleeve construction means that there is a lot more flexibility with fit than with a normal in-set sleeve, however, and as the waist is usually cinched, the fit can be as slim in the waist as you want.
It's largely a question of style - some will want a closer fit, others a touch looser, but most people could wear two of the below.
|Measurements in cm||S/38 chest||M/40||L/42||XL/44|
|Shoulder to Shoulder||44||45.5||47||49|
|Centre Back Length||119||120||121||122|
Also worn in the shoot:
- Single-breasted pick-and-pick grey suit from Camps de Luca (full post here)
- Blue spread-collar shirt from Luca Avitabile
- Orange tie from Mattabisch via The Armoury
- Dark-brown Asquith shoes from Edward Green
- Charcoal-grey fedora from Anderson & Sheppard
- Rust-brown ribbed cashmere sweater from Private White VC
- Denim button-down shirt from Luca Avitabile
- Grey single-pleat and cuffed flannel trousers from Ambrosi
- Pale-grey cashmere beanie, Johnstons
- Shoes as before
Photography: Jamie Ferguson @jkf_man