How to Suit up for a Rainy Day
The first thing many men think of when gearing up for their day is the weather, and when the forecast calls for showers a rain boot is what most guys toss on their feet whether they live in the city or otherwise. Contemplate for a moment the stigma that goes along with wearing a rain boot all day. The hot unbreatheable material chafes and looks clunky. The colors are either childlike or a combo of boring black and garbage bag green. Is there another option? YES! You can wear a new (or without holes) protected leather loafer as long as there is no salt on the streets otherwise it eats at the leather if it’s protected or not. Another option is a patent leather shoe or boot. Simply dry off the shoe with a soft cloth when you get into a dry place and be sure to clean them with patent leather cleaner and protect them again once you get home for the evening.
Next up is your body’s outer defence against the petulant aqua pura; the jacket. When thinking of the coat you must consider the fabric. Ideally it should wick moisture while keeping you dry but idealism rarely follows fashion so hot and damp is probably all you can hope for. Prada makes a great rain coat that is water repellent and is made of nylon, but it’ll cost you. The other options are gabardine which is used in Burberry coats (may also run you a small fortune), or other tightly woven materials such as high twist wool, and thicker cottons. Most of the man-made synthetics keep you dry but will leave you hot and perspiring so sticking to an organic alternative may be your best bet. The length of the coat can be to hip length but having a three quarter coat allows you to protect your belt and much of your pants.
But what happens when it’s too hot out?!! In the case of “Summer” it may be wise to choose a suit in one of the fabrics mentioned above to act as a repellent. Paul Smith and Theory have a basic suit in high twist wool that is great for keeping you dry. But WAIT there’s more! As a bonus the high-twist fabric lets wrinkles fall out giving you more free time to select a new variety of gum because you won’t be stuck at home ironing! Sorry back to rain essentials… Always keep in mind that rain is depressing, some people like it and they go on and on about “the smell of the earth bla bla bla…” but at the end of the day you’re missing out on luscious Vitamin D so people get a bit grumbly. With that in mind color is your friend!
People seem to stick to blacks and navy’s when it’s gloomy outside but I think it is imperative to combat the grump with a blast of color. Sure, choose a black suit but make sure the pocket square you choose is bright pink and let it match your socks and tie. Happiness has been proven to kill a rainy day so invest in color for just that occasion. That brings me to my next point about dressing for rainy weather, keep your head up high and your style shining bright.
Just because your bundled up to your ears in gortex doesn’t mean you can’t wear a great hat that is in line with your style. Crack the closure around your neck and let an interesting bow-tie say “how do you do” for you. toss on a belt that is made of a light grey patent leather with a gleaming silver buckle. This will tell the world you accept the fact that it’s raining but won’t let that drag your suave sense of style through the mud puddles.
Lastly and probably most importantly, the umbrella. One of my favorite scenes from Minority Report is when they are runing from the authorities and they open their black umbrella and blend into a sea of people with similar umbrellas. Maybe blending in is your thing, but personally I like to jazz it up and with the technology in the textile industry why settle for black? You cold have the Mona Lisa on your personal canopy if you were so inclined! But like all good things it is quality over quantity and when an umbrella flips up on you it may be because of gusting winds but it is more than likely that it was because your umbrella was purchased from a dollar store. Splurge a little on a good umbrella and you’ll not only have it for a very long time but you can also feel the quality difference in your hands. Also a wooden handle is just so much more prestigious than some plastic jank of a parasol.
So since we still need rain to sustain human life, these tips should be helpful in dressing the part for when it comes pouring down on your perfect day. Oh and remember to smile.
In the images above (taken by Matthew St. James) I am wearing a Theory sweater, dress shirt, and pants, Burberry tie and umbrella, and Ferragamo boots.