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The Story Of The Burberry Mac

by Chris Sullivan
19 January 2014 18 Comments

The Mac named after Charles Macintosh, is a fashion staple which rocketed to fame by Thomas Burberry and Co during World War One. With all this wet weather, now's the time to pick one up.

 

The Mac Daddy – Caine as Palmer

A hardy perennial perfectly suited to the British climate, the ‘Mac’ is named after Charles Macintosh who, in 1823 patented a method for bonding rubber between two layers of fabric. It wasn’t until World War One however that the item really came into it’s own.

With government demands for an all weather coat to protect our damp armed forces, Thomas Burberry and Co. created the single breasted ‘Mac’ for the cannon fodder at the front, and the now ubiquitous double breasted trench coat for the officer at the back. Later popularized by Humphrey Bogart and all chaps investigative, the Trench sold millions the world over only to be outshone in the sixties by the single breasted, fly fronted, raglan sleeve  (once known as an ‘oil slicker’) variety sans belt.

The mac was the chosen rain wear of  Michael Caine in the The Ipcress File, Yves St Laurent and our very own Harold Wilson, and still today there is no outer garment more hip than the classic single breasted fly fronted raglan sleeve Mac, the finest examples of which are produced by Aquascutum, Hackett (the Livingstone) and the Mark Marengo on Savile Row.

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image descriptionCOMMENTS

Jugoya 5:23 pm, 8-Oct-2010

This certainly is a classic but although I've considered purchasing one I've always been a little concerned it might look like something you'd use to flash in. Besides that the Aquascutum ones are rather expensive. Still, very much iconic.

Jonesy 1:29 pm, 15-Dec-2010

I have a nice Paul Smith in black - looks less flasher and more "connected gentleman".

Simon Martin 4:52 pm, 26-May-2011

I got a really nice stone coloured one from Slaters for about £60 and a navy Gap one orf of Ebay for about an Ayrton.

Harold Shand 2:55 pm, 27-May-2011

Mackintosh are the finest example by a country mile.

Karin 2:04 pm, 31-May-2011

Funnily enough - Michael Caine used to work at Aquascutum in the 60's [between aching jobs] with my Dad!

Zippy 5:59 am, 3-Jun-2011

Whenever I see a fella in a mac I instantly think 'flasher'. Regardless of how much it may have cost, it's irrelevant.

terry 7:42 pm, 15-Jun-2011

the burberry trenchcoat is a 70s sticksman / soul boy classic .. should be worn with crocs and slacks of course .

Niles 1:18 pm, 1-Sep-2011

I've just been given a Gieves and Hawkes one by a mate. It does have a touch of the Arkwright about it but is sound with a suit.

james sinclair 4:30 pm, 16-Sep-2011

i have a gieves and hawkes and it looks good with anything.

Gavin of London 8:16 pm, 19-Sep-2011

Got two Aquascutum's one natural and one black BOTH from charity shops would you believe? Best raincoat ever made.To avoid looking like a flasher wear floral or striped shirt, decent slacks, and loafers.

scotty 7:29 am, 20-Sep-2011

Got a Gieves one from their annual "Secret Sale" £60.00. I see a beige mac as being OK right up until November then it's a Crombie until March.

kev hennessy 9:40 pm, 20-Sep-2011

Picked up a lovely one in New York about 4 years back that still looks good now, lightweight fly front, nothing on the outside bar the pockets and top button, all the handy little pockets needed inside and a detatchable good quality thin fleece, Tommy someone or other is the label and if I could be arsed to go upstairs I'd be able to tell who made it for certain, but a lovely coat, even if according to my mrs it makes me look like a bouncer.

www.thegreenwichbarber.com 7:41 pm, 4-Nov-2011

I too have a Paul Smith mac - summer weight in a grey very fine Prince Of Wales check. And a navy one from Gap. I must admit I don't wear them that often it has to be the right occasion but I am fond of them.

jeff 12:36 am, 30-Jan-2013

Had one since the early 80's .. Michael caine + 1st Style council set me off .

Mark 3:14 am, 26-Sep-2013

I've got a dark brown burberrys one without a check lining - it was from a charity shop. Any idea about date?

craigfraserwood 11:50 am, 22-Jan-2014

Mackintosh obviously make great macs too and they're still made in the UK

joe strummer's wallet 2:56 pm, 29-Jan-2014

got a few of 'em, a beige aquascutum, a vintage olive green burberry one, a vintage navy blue melka one + a new-ish pale grey lightweight daniel hechter. must be a four-time flasher, me. mackintosh - a future purchase for me ity seems.

joe strummer's wallet 3:08 pm, 29-Jan-2014

mark: has the burberry got raglan sleeves? is there any lining at all? if so and / or the liningäs got a different check than nova check i'd say mid to late sixties.

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