Fall has officially arrived, and with it the inevitable wet weather and drop in temperature. If you live anywhere near the path of Hurricane Irma you’ve probably had more than your fair share of miserable (not to mention terrifying) wet weather this week, but did you have the right raincoat to keep you dry through the torrential rainfall?
Rain coats come in a wide array of different styles, and whilst some are only built for light showers (and for looking good, of course) others make use of modern and innovative technology to enable them to remain dry no matter how severe the downpour.
If you spend a lot of time outdoors (no matter what the time of year) then owning high quality and highly water resistant raincoat will be essential. If your idea of outdoor pursuits is hopping from one bar to the other in the midst of the urban jungle, then the technological development of your raincoat will be less important than it’s fashion credentials.
So how can you tell which is which? Which fashion-forward raincoat is the right style to suit your lifestyle? And which raincoat will keep you dry? Here we look at everything you need to know to choose the right raincoat for you this fall:
Try a Trench Coat
When it comes to picking a lightweight coat for fall, the obvious choice has to be the trench coat. The trench looks good, is versatile enough to be worn as both business and casual wear, and has a timeless appeal.
The trench coat has military origins and its roots can be traced to the Tielocken coat Thomas Burberry designed for British officers in the Boer War. To this day, no one designs trench coats that are more iconic or more desirable than Burberry. The Burberry trench coat sits on a pedestal, and its designs are frequently replicated by other designers and high street brands.
Here are some of our favourite raincoats from a wide range of different brands, and to suit a wide range of different budgets. If you don’t want to shell out for a Burberry trench then there are some very good alternatives available:
Fit is essential when choosing to buy a trench coat: the right trench will sit across your shoulder, and should button comfortably no matter what you’re wearing underneath. If you plan on wearing your coat over a suit, then try it on over your suit to make sure it fits properly before you purchase.
We love the trench coat for it’s incredible classic versatility. The most common and traditional trench coat colour is khaki, although other popular colours include stone, black and navy blue. If you’re looking to stand out and make a style statement then you could also choose a richer olive green, vibrant cobalt blue, or even a strong pillar box red.
Despite its incredible fashion forward appeal (and roaring celebrity endorsements), the trench coat isn’t perfect, particularly if you’re looking for something that will withstand a severe rainstorm. The trench doesn’t have a hood, for example, meaning that you’ll have to carry an umbrella if you wish to keep your hair dry from the rain.
It’s also important to note that the cotton or coated cotton fabric favoured by most trench coats is designed to be shower resistant, but in anything heavier than a light rain shower, you’re likely to find yourself soaking wet! So what should you look for if you want something that you really can wear in all weathers?
Succumb to a Sowester
The sowester is better known as the bright canary yellow raincoat favoured by fishermen and boating enthusiasts. This eye catching yellow jacket has experienced a fashion resurgence in recent years, and has been misappropriated by modern young hipsters who have taken this essential, practical work wear and turned it into a fashion statement.
The good news is that whilst the Sowester has been turned into a piece of modern and youthful fashion iconography, it is also an incredibly practical item of clothing that will look great as part of a classic casual wardrobe.
Because of it’s vibrant and eye catching shade, the Sowester jacket should be styled neutrally, when worn as part of an outfit. Choose your favourite jeans (in either black or blue) and then opt for understated shoes: think sneakers in a single tone, Desert boots in textured tan suede, or every a versatile leather Chelsea boot that will help to repel rain.
Add a fisherman knit sweater in soft shades of beige or dove grey for a cosy weekend feel, or a blue or white Oxford shirt if you’re looking for something with more of a smart casual feel.
A super-soft fisherman’s beanie hat is optional, but will only add to the cool and edgy utilitarian feel of this look, with the added benefit of adding extra protection from the elements.
The sowester fisherman’s jacket isn’t for the shy and retiring or for the fainthearted, thanks to its virbrant colour and unforgiving texture. If you choose to wear this jacket then you will certainly stand out from the crowd, but you will also stay dry and protected from the elements.
This is the most practical jacket on this list. It was designed to withstand the spray of the ocean and keep fishermen dry during the worst storms at sea, meaning that it would more than cope with keeping your suit dry for the walk to work in a shower.
However it is important to note that whilst the Sowester jacket is waterproof it isn’t warm, as these jackets are generally not lined, meaning that you would need a warm sweater underneath if you wanted to wear your Sowester during the winter months.
Wear a Wax Jacket
If you’re looking for something classic, with a preppy and gentrified edge then look to the wax jacket. Wax jackets are generally made of cotton which has been treated with wax to lend it a tougher and waterproof coating: this is an old-school method of waterproofing a garment.
The best wax jackets are made by Barbour: an old English heritage brand whose pieces are favoured by the royal family. Whenever you see a Royal walking in the rain or enjoying outdoor pursuits, you will see them wearing a Barbour wax jacket!
Here are some of our favourite wax jackets currently available including, of course, a couple of Barbour jackets if you’re looking for something timeless and classic
We love wax jackets for weekend casual wear: whether you’re spending time in the city or the countryside, a wax jacket will look great worn open over a simple knitted sweater and jeans or chinos.
If you really want to embrace the style of a country gent then you could also add a flat cap: the walking stick and hunting rifle are optional!
Of course, that doesn’t mean that the Barbour jacket can’t be modernised and given a fashion-forward feel. This jackets are a festival favourite, and would look just as good thrown on over your favourite band t shirt or a graphic print sweat shirt. Adding a baseball cap is a youthful and practical way of keeping the rain from your head, particularly if your jacket doesn’t have a hood.
One of the main practical benefits of choosing a wax jacket is that, as well as being completely waterproof, they can also be lined meaning that they will keep you warm as well as dry.
However it is important to note that you will need to re-wax your raincoat regularly in order to keep it in the best possible condition, and maintain its waterproof properties.
You can take your wax coat to a specialist to be re-waxed, however it is also possible to complete this process relatively simply at home: you simply need to purchase a wax spray and use this to cover your whole coat. The spray will be white and opaque when it is applied but don’t worry, it will dry clear!
Every discerning gentlemen needs to have a raincoat in his closet to tackle the challenging weather that comes with fall. However the type of raincoat you choose is entirely up to you!
We love the trench coat for formal and business attire: it looks fantastic worn over a suit, but is a versatile piece that will also lend a smart casual edge to your weekend wardrobe too.
If you’re looking for something more fun with a definite casual feel then instead look for a bright yellow Sowester jacket: the sole purpose of this coat is to withstand rain, so it is as practical as it is fashion forward! Finally, if you’re looking for a compromise coat that is both warm and waterproof then the wax coat is a great choice, although this cannot be worn as a business overcoat if you work in a particularly formal environment.
Finally, if you’re looking for a compromise coat that is both warm and waterproof then the wax coat is a great choice, although this cannot be worn as a business overcoat if you work in a particularly formal environment.
Whichever coat you choose, don’t forget to buy an oversized black umbrella at the same time: no one wants to ruin their hair by getting it wet!