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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
There seems to be some confusion about the term for a single breasted, Prussian collar, raglan sleeve raincoat on the forums. It's a "Balmacaan" (or "Bal") style raincoat, named after a Scottish estate, regardless of the Brooks Brethren's currently mistaken nomenclature. It has been referred to as a single breasted trench coat. It ain't. Not sure there is such a thing. Most "single breasted trench coat" models are to be found in the realm of womens' wear. Not too many women were in the trenches of WWI. WWI military trench coats were originally double breasted, with all the doodads, for functional reasons. Now, back to the eco-financial debacle......
 

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Thanks for that clarification, Jam. Sadly, I have recently found much of the Brooks Brethren's current nomenclature to be mistaken. But why bother to hire people who are knowledgeable regarding Gentleman's attire, when you're in the Fashion Industry instead?
 

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Has anyone considered combing the brooks catalog for errors, correcting them in red sharpie and then sending it in to their corporate marketing department? I would imagine that might receive an interesting reply.
 

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Thank you jamgood.

This has been one of my pet peeves for awhile.
 

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Shame on the purveyors for mis representing the names of the clothing they sell. Also, shame on the consumers for not knowing any better.

By the way, this consumer did not know any better till Jamgood told him. He has been wanting a "single breasted trench style coat without the belt" for a while.
 

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As correctly mentioned, the trench coat is a replica of the military uniforms from WW1, and they are always double breasted. The single breasted versions are simply rain coats. Other novelties I noticed are the "single breasted pea coat" and the "short car coat".
Then, there is the "walking coat" (what the hell is that?).
However, since none of these serve their original purpose, I guess they can be called whatever you want.
 

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As correctly mentioned, the trench coat is a replica of the military uniforms from WW1, and they are always double breasted. The single breasted versions are simply rain coats. Other novelties I noticed are the "single breasted pea coat" and the "short car coat".
Then, there is the "walking coat" (what the hell is that?).
However, since none of these serve their original purpose, I guess they can be called whatever you want.
But are there any walking-to-the-car coats? Actually, both of these appellations are pretty old, or at least as old as me, and that is pretty old. But if you asked me to succinctly explain the difference between them, I'd be at a loss. Perhaps 30 years ago Bullock and Jones, when it was still the original San Francisco based retailer, sold some rather smart casual wear. One of their catalog staples was usually two or three coats they described as walking coats. But the question remains, if I were to acquire one, would that obligate me to go walking?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Curiously, although the name comes from a Scottish estate, the word Balmacaan is rarely - if ever - used in British English.
I'd always assumed that the UK colloquialism "mac" derived from the Scottish mackintosh raincoat, but could it have come from balMACcan?

In the mid 20th century Brooks Brothers was probably the most influential purveyor in popularizing the trimmed, light tan balmacaan in the U.S. The current merchandisers can't tag it correctly.

"Classic Raincoat" would have sufficed.
 

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What is the difference (if any) between a Balmacaan and a Macintosh?
From The Encyclopedia of Men's Clothes, Topcoat and Overcoat Chapter:

Balmacann - short collar, full cut, raglan sleeves single-breasted and often with a fly-front (a flap conceals the buttons). originally made of rough woolen cloth. Named for the hunting grounds near Inverness, Scotland.

From The Encyclopedia of Men's Clothes, Raincoat Chapter:

Macintosh or "Mac" (listen to the Beatles' "Penny Lane") is made from "India rubber cloth" patented in 1822 by Charles Macintosh. Introduced in 1830, this was the first raincoat. The cloth was two pieces of material sandwiched together with rubber softened by naphtha. The original intention was to make tarpaulins, but tailors started using the fabric for raincoats. The trouble was when they sewed the fabric it let rain in through the needle holes. Macintosh, to save his name from disgruntled raincoat consumers, started making coats the right way with waterproofed seams. He added a tartan lining and had a rainproof coat. It was, however, hot, leading George Spill to invent the addition of metal eyelets under the armpits in 1851. The original raincoats were yellow with capes, the kind you still see on public servants during rainstorms.

Charles Macintosh was a Scottish chemist who invented the Mackintosh raincoat. In 1823, Macintosh patented a method for making waterproof garments by using liquefied rubber dissolved in coal-tar naphtha for cementing two pieces of wool cloth together.
While he was trying to find uses for the waste products of gasworks, Macintosh discovered that coal-tar naphtha dissolved India rubber. He took wool cloth and painted one side with the dissolved rubber preparation and placed another layer of wool cloth on top.
This created the first practical waterproof fabric, but the fabric was not perfect. It was easy to puncture when it was seamed, the natural oil in wool caused the rubber cement to deteriorate. In cold weather the fabric became stiffer and in hot weather the fabric became sticky.

When vulcanized rubber was invented in 1839, Macintosh's fabrics improved since the new rubber could withstand temperature changes. His business partner Thomas Hancock acquired the British patent for vulcanized rubber in 1843. By applying the "new" solution, which was stronger and less sticky to cotton instead of wool, and gluing seams instead of sewing them Macintosh succeeded in providing a lightweight, waterproof raincoat. By 1897 the coat was a marketing success. The company is now owned by Traditional Weatherwear, Ltd.
 

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Cant be done sir....

Sort of like comparing Cashmere with a Tuxedo.
One is a style the other is a cloth.

Technically a Balmacaan can be any cloth but only one style (single breasted raglan sleeve), while a Mackintosh can be any style but only one cloth (a sandwich of .
(originally) two layers of wool (now cotton) with vulcanised india rubber in between).

Of course with time the nomenclature of the cloth has come to mean almost any kind of raincoat. But if were not up for a little sartorial pedantry what are any of us here for?
Inventor Charles Macintosh (note spelling) added the 'k' to the product he had launched and developed with Thomas Hancock.

Although Mackintosh is now a well known brand its roots are as a maker of the cloth.

The website shows the company still valid partly through canny collaborations with designers. Some of the very classic styles still look great today too.
 
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