THE DESIGN STUDIO: Gabardine
Leave it to the English to create the perfect material for rainwear: gabardine is the fabric of the rainwear gods.
It was invented by Thomas Burberry in 1879 to form the principal material of his iconic trench coats. It is a worsted wool or worsted wool and cotton material that is tightly woven and water resistant yet more comfortable than other materials because it contains no rubber.
Worsted wool is a high quality type of yard made from long fibers. In gabardine, it is typically twill. One of the many advantages of this preparation is that it quickly returns to its shape. However, it needs to be dry cleaned or carefully hand washed to avoid shrinking or warping.
One of the great things about gabardine is that it is not as stiff as many of the other materials that are used to create rain wear. When creating a trench coat, or really any other rain wear, I strongly prefer this material because it is so high quality, yet breathable and allows you to freely move. No one wants to be dashing between metro stops in Paris barely able to move because their jacket is so stiff. It is the worst feeling (I know from experience).
Similarly, when you are looking to purchase a new trench coat and per se, you do not want to spend $2,200 on the Burberry Sandringham trench I am obsessed with, look for ones that are made of gabardine or a gabardine blend. It can be tricky because gabardine also describes a shape of a garment (it is wear the word comes from. It was a sort of cassock worn by men in the 15th century. Note: not water resistant).
Gabardine is also mixed with other fabrics to create blends. These can be useful because they are more durable or easier to wash. Common threads that are mixed with gabardine are cotton (in the actual worsted yarn) or rayon (so that you are more free to move about). It can be glossy or matte, but no matter what, it is by far the best fabric to wear for rainwear. It is stylish and easy to move it while keeping you dry and warm.
Check out our What We're Loving section for even more rain wear, including our favorite trenches made of, you guessed it, gabardine!