April Showers Bring…

It is difficult to be protected from the elements and still look chic. Difficult… but totally doable. Using the same steps as one would to create a functioning, classic wardrobe, one can collect all the necessities to be dry, warm, and protected without sacrificing style. It is possible to weather the weather with style.


Working in a metropolis, I experience pot holes, puddles, swiftly-moving rivers in wide gutters, slippery sidewalks and treks to public transportation through all sorts of precipitation. I see all sorts of ways that women protect themselves and their wardrobe from rain (and dirty splashes from the street) – some great, some not-so-great.

Rain Boots

kate moss hunter boots

I remember several years ago, I received a Garnet Hill catalog in the mail and ooohed and aahed over the adorable rain boots for children that were made to look like frogsir?t=whaevewomneei 20&l=btl&camp=213689&creative=392969&o=1&a=B001874TKG and ladybugsir?t=whaevewomneei 20&l=btl&camp=213689&creative=392969&o=1&a=B001873BOQ. “Oh wow, I wish they had those in adult sizes!” I remember gushing to a friend. She agreed that they were utterly adorable.

I may have said that, but really… I didn’t MEAN it. And now, on every street corner I see adult women heading to work or the market in Wellies decorated with Hello Kittyir?t=whaevewomneei 20&l=btl&camp=213689&creative=392969&o=1&a=B001AAY82K, candy-colored polka dots ir?t=whaevewomneei 20&l=btl&camp=213689&creative=392969&o=1&a=B000OYJY36and yes… even in boots made to look like ladybugs. These boots are easily found at any big box retailer for a very low price – they do a great job at protecting the feet from rain and slush and have a grippy bottom that helps one from slipping on slick and wet surfaces. That being said… they are NOT stylish. Nothing will kill your look more than a pair of gaudy, chunky childish rain boots.

wellies

So what does one do? Well I am not anti-Wellies all together, but I feel that they should be treated like any other staple in a woman’s wardrobe – well made, well cut, and of a simple solid color. Follow in the footsteps of Kate Moss with a pair of classic blackir?t=whaevewomneei 20&l=btl&camp=213689&creative=392969&o=1&a=B001DA30NK or oliveir?t=whaevewomneei 20&l=btl&camp=213689&creative=392969&o=1&a=B0019RKMJW Wellies. The classic boot is from the company Hunterir?t=whaevewomneei 20&l=as2&o=1&a=B002CQU18G, however you can find great rain boots in simple colors and silhouettes even at your local Target. Do know, no matter what the salesperson tells you, a pair of quirky boots will not tell the world that you are a fun or quirky personality – a pair of loud boots only make you look loud.

And for those of you who grab rubber footwear as soon as the meteorologist says there is a 10% chance of drizzles… there is no reason. Consider purchasing a waterproofing product to protect your boots and then you don’t even have to think about sacrificing style for rain. Rain boots are only necessary when there is a lot of precipitation and chance for large puddles and splashing (or walking on grass/dirt). For other occasions… just look where you’re walking and you and most of your footwear should fare just fine.

(First photo – Kate Moss.  Second photo – Woman on the street in Washington, DC)

Umbrellas

under her

Love bright cheery colors and prints on a dark and dreary day? Why not bring those prints to the top part of your body? Nothing is more pleasing to the eye on a gray day than a cheery umbrella in a spring hue. A fabulous umbrella will help you stand out in a crowd and is a far better way to express your personality. You can go for your favorite color in a solid hue, show your feminine side with a floral, or your modern edge with a bold pattern.

I highly recommend investing in a well-made mini umbrella that will cover you and your bag, open with one hand, but fit easily into your purse or laptop satchel. Real Simple magazine has reviewed umbrellas (reviews here and here) and can give you some ideas on well-made collapsible umbrellas. Then you will always be prepared without having to lug around lots of rain equipment!

Rain Coats

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Rain coats and trenches are also a great way to bring color and personal style to your look.

A solid trench or mac in a flattering hue can brighten any rainy day. Colors like Robin’s egg blue, blood orange, berry, and brick red are unexpected neutrals that will add personal style to your ensemble. As a person who finds herself wearing a lot of black and gray, I love being able to balance it out with a pop of a color like orange or purple in my inclement-weather accessories.

Want to go classic with tan or black? Show some spunk with a brightly-colored coat lining. Lots of coats these days come with fantastic polka-dotted, animal print or paisley linings. This is also a fun way to incorporate the color you may have chosen for your umbrella or scarf.

Many retailers are showing prints and stripes in rainwear; these can be fun but they are fads that won’t look fresh by time next spring rolls around. Do yourself a favor and stick with classic details and solid colors – a well crafted trench, even in an unusual color will get you years of mileage (and miles of style).

A single-breasted style is the most universally flattering. Trenches are the most classic look, but a well-cut single-breasted coat sans flaps and belts will often be a better choice for women with curves.

Your inclement-weather wardrobe should follow the same guidelines as your personal wardrobe – build from basics that are well made. From there, add quality accessories in colors that make you smile and show your personal style.

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12 Comments

  1. March 30, 2010 / 1:35 pm

    I don’t think rain boots or Uggs are appropriate fashion footwear. I think the wearing of either in an attempt to be stylish or cute is in poor taste.

    I personally do not own rain boots because I do not find a need for them. I think I am pretty clear about that. However there are parts of this country/world where rain boots are a necessity.

    And with Uggs, if they are truly being used to keep feet warm, that is one thing. But I really think there are more practical, supportive and stylish options out there. Until one can find a more stylish and practical alternative to the rain boot, I think it is an unfortunate necessity for some.

    That being said, rain boots should be removed once arriving at your place of work or other destination. They are NOT replacements for proper footwear! 🙂

  2. Anonymous
    March 30, 2010 / 1:25 pm

    While I do enjoy your site for the most part, I find it frustrating that a few months ago you ranted about how uggs are not proper because they are ugly, even though they are clearly designed for inclement weather yet now you are giving love to rain boots, which are also ugly but clearly designed for inclement weather.

  3. March 29, 2010 / 1:03 pm

    I would love some help as to where I can find a good raincoat. Trench style, red, preferably with a hoodie…
    I live in Norway btw..

  4. kathy
    March 18, 2010 / 3:10 pm

    I admit that I just purchased a pair of yellow plaid welly-type rainboots. They’re almost solid yellow, so not too crazy. I can’t help myself; I love wellies and I love crazy colors. However, considering I wear them maybe 10 days out of the year, I’m not too concerned.

    BTW, I just found your site and I LOVE it.

  5. March 18, 2010 / 9:07 am

    You should know that here in England there appears to be a real snobbery about wellies: green wellies are middle class and black wellies are working class. Don’t ask me why, I just thought you might want to know. Particularly as black goes with more. If you have green wellies you also need to have a Land Rover and a couple of wet smelly dogs, mind.

  6. March 16, 2010 / 4:03 pm

    As someone who lives in the mid-Atlantic part of the States, I find rain boots to not be necessary in my life, nor a rain coat (my winter coat is water resistant). However I have umbrellas in my desk, my laptop bag, my car and at home. Shows how different the climate is in different parts of this country, let alone this globe! 🙂

  7. March 16, 2010 / 4:00 pm

    I agree with joanny about the Northwest and umbrellas. I live in Seattle and people here (excepting tourist) rarely use umbrellas. Rain boots are the rainy day wear of choice here.

    As for rain boots, I have 2 pairs that I wear here all the time! One tall with a 2 inch heel and one short pair of rain boots.

  8. March 16, 2010 / 6:51 am

    Here in the Northwest, it rains almost all year long, but I have yet to use an umbrella — it does not pour down like it does in the NE and SE portion of the country, so a good light colored raincoat because it is so gray here, and a good pair of boots — I leave my wellingtons at home for the garden,

    Joanny

  9. March 16, 2010 / 5:47 am

    Thank goodness for my yellow rubber rainboots…with heels! I find flats so demoralizing.

  10. March 15, 2010 / 4:54 pm

    My rainy day wardrobe is almost complete. I have a fun pink and orange print umbrella from J Crew, a black Cole Haan trench with removable wool liner (clearance at TJMaxx), a tan London Fog trench (thrifted for $10) and a royal blue lightweight Tulle trench (purchased for $11 on Tulle Day). The only thing that I don’t have are rubber boots. I have wide calves, so I find it extremely hard to find boots that fit. Do you have any suggestions for wide calf rain boots? Thanks!

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