About the author: Dave I. has been a Dappered reader for several years. His interest in fashion started with shoes and expanded to encompass watches, suits, and general men’s style. When not thinking about his next purchase he can be found enjoying a pint of locally brewed craft beer. (photo credit)
Winter isn’t all snow and ice for everyone. And even if you are knee deep in the white powdery stuff (no not that stuff), then you know that one warm spell can open up the skies and turn the streets into blacktop bottomed ponds. Trouble is… how does one tackle the inevitability of wet weather while still maintaining a sense of style? You have to stay dry. You’ve got to protect your clothes. But how without resorting to looking like the Gorton’s Fisherman? As someone who has lived the past 16 years of his life in a part of the country commonly referred to as the “Wet Coast”, I hope to share a little wisdom that I’ve gained over that time span.
The Boots / Shoe Protection
Starting from the ground up you’re gonna need dry feet, not to mention the damage water and slush can do to shoe leather. No one wants to sit at the office all day with soggy socks and cold, wet feet. Most guys who live in wet weather climates have a variety of waterproof footwear. From monsoon to drizzle, these three options should cover most wardrobes/climates…
Total classics. Bean Boots get a lot of love on the forums and for good reason. They’re stylish, have been around for years, and have excellent pedigree; not to mention the lifetime LL Bean guarantee. Made in Maine, and make sure you read up on the sizing suggestions. (photo credit)
If Bean Boots are not your style, then Hunter rain boots might be an alternative, and I’m not talking about the kind your girlfriend or wife wears. The Chelsea style boot will keep your feet dry and likely won’t clash with more formal business attire when out facing the precipitation. They slip easily on and off, and keeping a pair of dress shoes at the office makes for an easy transition on those stormy days. We’re in between seasons right now, so these can be a bit difficult to find at present. But in a month or so, you should see a restock at Zappos and Nordstrom.
Another option are Totes Waterproof Protective Rubber Overshoes. The overshoes can be a good choice if bringing a separate pair of shoes with you to the office isn’t your thing. The product shot above shows a pair of Totes over some oxfords.
The Waterproof / Water Resistant Jacket
Skip the bulky ski parka and opt for a classic piece of rainwear. Many will claim the Burberry trench coat is essential here, but please. Not everyone has $2,000 to drop on a coat. If you’re suited up or wearing a sportcoat or blazer, having a jacket that’s long enough to extend past the tail of your blazer/sportcoat/suit jacket is a must. Also, a good sized collar and well placed pockets can help when the weather is doing its best to turn your body into a temple for hypothermia.
Banana Republic Double Breasted Trench – $150 w/ BRSURPRISE ($250)
Banana Republic has cranked out updated trench coats for the past… half decade? Maybe more? They’re not shin length like your grandpa’s, but instead, they hit just above the knee and have a bit more fitted silhouette than what Bogie wore in Casablanca. All cotton here, but these almost always have a tight enough weave to the twill, or, a bit of a coating, so even the heaviest of rains won’t soak through. Almost always on sale, and the construction is usually quite impressive. Available here in a classic Khaki, or, a more modern and sharp looking navy.
The word “Trench” has become sort of like the word “Oxford” in modern American style vernacular. It’s a bit overused, and often not used accurately. What you see above is a mac. A single breasted, water resistant jacket with a basic collar and some pockets. Nothing too wild here, and if the double breasted look is (literally) too buttoned up for you, then try a Mac. Too spendy? Try this one from UNIQLO instead.
Don’t like the looks or feel of a mid-thigh to knee length coat? Then consider a water resistant bomber (just know that it’ll look super goofy over a sport coat or suit jacket). Lightweight and casual, this flight jacket from Uniqlo might do the trick. It has a water repellent coating to keep you dry, and fleece lined front pockets to keep your hands warm.
Now that we’ve got your feet and body taken care of, it’s important to add a few functional, classic accessories. Start with a quality umbrella. Quality here means it won’t fold in with a slight gust of wind, be stylish enough to carry around, and cause you a moment of regret when you invariably leave it on the bus.
The Totes Auto Wood Stick is your umbrella of choice here. Stylish. Won’t break the bank. And a perfect compliment to your outfit. The only possible drawback is that it’s big (doesn’t collapse), but that makes it perfect for two people. Hooked handle makes it easy to go hands free by simply draping it over your wrist.
Want something smaller that can be stuffed into a bag? Look no further than the WindPro Auto Open and Close umbrella. The auto open and close feature means you won’t be fumbling around with getting the thing open/closed and the compact nature means you can throw it in your bag and be ready for sudden rain showers.
If you’re going to have your hands exposed to the elements by holding up umbrellas and opening doors for ladies, then you might as well keep those digits warm. I know… you’re shocked… SHOCKED to see these here. But if you live in a warmer climate, and the winter/early spring means more rain than snow, then these are perfect for keeping that biting wind off your hands. The Orvis Lambskin Leather Driving gloves come highly recommended, by Joe nonetheless, and develop a nice patina over time. Another option is to watch for a sale at Nordstrom and pick up a pair of leather driving gloves or if waiting for a sale isn’t an option, then head over to ASOS for a pair of their leather driving gloves.
Polo Ralph Lauren Quilted Nylon Field Gloves – $51 w/ PRIV ($78)
If you’re in the market for something a little warmer yet still want to keep things relatively slim and sleek, then Ralph Lauren always has options for your hands. These mixed media gloves are quilted poly on top for extra water resistance, with a leather palm for grip. They have Thinsulate insulation for warmth too.
These are made from sheepskin, polyester, and wool. Not too bad for a $22 pair of gloves from Target. They likely won’t last more than a few seasons, but you never know.
It won’t help keep you dry, but it will help you dry-off if you’re caught out in the rain without protection, or, in a driving storm where the water hits you on the horizontal. Pick up some microfiber towels and keep one in your work bag and at the office. The microfiber towel by Rainleaf will do the trick. This way if you are caught out, at least you’ll have the capacity to dry off when you are back indoors.
The Unnecessary, but still fun, Extras
Rain appropriate footwear, water-repellent jackets, umbrellas and gloves are all givens on a cold wet day. But here are a few extras that might make the day feel a little less dreary.
No one wants to fumble around with an umbrella, a buttoned up jacket AND a pair of gloves just to pull out their phone to check the time. The Casio Edifice looks surprisingly good on the wrist, is water resistant to 100m so a splash of rain water won’t hurt, and is classy enough to be worn on non-rainy days. Plus, that stainless steel band won’t soak up water like a leather band can. Currently only available through 3rd party sellers on Amazon, so might be best to purchase directly from Casio?
Need to keep important papers and/or a computer dry while still wanting to maintain an air of stylishness? The Filson ‘Original’ Briefcase is the go-to here. A solid canvas bag that, while not 100% waterproof, is more than capable of handling a bit of rain on the way to or from the office. Look for sales if the regular price is a bit on the rich side. It’ll sometimes go on sale via 3rd party retailers like Brooks Brothers and East Dane. But those sales are rare. Made in the USA.
A crisp IPA or citrus-y wheat just doesn’t seem right when it’s looking like Scotland outside. Wet winter weather calls for a darker, more malty beer. Portland is known for quality beer and Deschutes Black Butte Porter, with it’s mix of chocolate and coffee, will warm the cockles of even the coldest heart.
With the above selections, you’re ready for anything Mother Nature can throw at you…except maybe giant puddles.