The Mac: So Much More Than A Beige Coat

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The Mac is not just a beige coat. It’s versatile, stylish, timeless, and so practical even your Gran would approve. The Mac is on trend – and always on trend. In essence, it’s legendary. Put the word Burberry in front of it, and it’s something dreams are made of.

Taking the bearer seamlessly from spring to summer, autumn to winter – and everything in between – there’s not much the Mac can’t do. Not surprising, really, when you consider that it was actually designed for soldiers in the trenches during the First World War (hence it’s alternative, and perhaps more ‘fashionable’ name, the trenchcoat). Originally named the ‘Mac’ thanks to Charles Macintosh, who in 1823 patented a technique for bonding rubber between two layers of fabric, the popularity of the Mac soared during the war, when Thomas Burberry & Co. sent hundreds of thousands of them to the front line.

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Founded in 1856, Burberry is quintessentially British and, with Christopher Bailey now at the helm, the label is perhaps stronger than it’s ever been (thankfully the Danniella Westbrook-induced ‘chav’ phase in the early noughties is long-forgotten). This strength can arguably be attributed to the success of one elegant, simple, and enduring beige coat.

Made in England using the highest quality cotton, the Mac has helped to define the Burberry brand. Burberry has also been sure to move with the times, with a collection of seasonal trench coats in a range of colours and cuts offered as alternatives to the classic ‘Heritage’ Mac.

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However, with prices for classic Burberry Macs starting at £995, there’s high chance the vast majority of us will never have the pleasure of owning one. The high street has given the Mac a good go over the years: from Reiss to Topshop to Primark, there’s a Mac out there to suit every budget and style. Many have also endeavoured to modernise the classic Mac in the same way as Burberry, with bold colours, prints, and alternative fabrics such as PVC and even denim all available to consumers whose budgets won’t quite stretch to Burberry prices.

But Burberry did it first, and it’s difficult to argue that anyone else has, or ever could, do it better. The Mac is not just a beige coat. The Mac has styled a nation for decades (and will undoubtedly do so for decades to come), it has helped Burberry to define itself as the authority on premium outerwear, and it even played a part in the War effort. Not many labels can boast that accolade now, can they?

By Emma Blackwell