Rain, Rain, You Can Stay

Posted: Apr 24 2014

                                                             

I've never been a fan of the rain. It's a pain in my ass. I inevitably get wet, then cold, and oftentimes, sick.

But other people? They love the rain. And while I'll never get to that place myself, that's besides the point. It really doesn't matter because whether you love or hate rain, it's not going away.

So, for us rain haters, we're going to have to just deal with it, but thankfully for us, there are so many awesome coats and jackets to make the hurt just a little less.

The Trench Coat

Back when we discussed building and growing a wardrobe at different budgets, we briefly mentioned the trench coat. In fact, it was specifically called out as a “timeless” piece. A classic. One that can stand the test of time. Guess what? We didn't lie.

A quality trench coat can truly be a “one and done” buy and it really does have its place in every man's wardrobe.

So, here are some things to consider before buying one:

  • Color: trench coats come in all different colors these days and I suggest that you find the one that you like the best, but while I am all for spontaneity and individualism, if you are looking for the most basic, standard, “can't go wrong even if I tried” color trench coat, go with the dark khaki trench coat. The dark khaki trench goes with dark suits, light suits, dark jeans, light jeans, wool pants, and even khaki pants (if you're into the monochrome look). And, while it is true that it can get dirty, it's pretty easy to maintain and repair.
  • Fit: there are really two things that you should be thinking about when analyzing fit: 1) length and 2) silhouette.
    • Regardless of whether you're wearing your trench coat with a suit or out casually, the length of your trench coat should be the same. But, because we all have different proportions, one can't reference a hard and fast rule that will tell you exactly where your coat should fall. Instead, go by the look test and remember that generally speaking, your trench should hit roughly two to three inches above your knee. Some people recommend as much as five to six inches above the knee, but personally, I'm a 2-3 inch man. When it comes to coats that is.
    • Silhouette is tricky. Very, very tricky. Largely because it's a matter of taste and preference, but just keep in mind, particularly when trying trench coats on before buying, that you are unlikely to wear a trench coat without something on underneath and it's always nice to have the option to wear a trench coat with a suit underneath. But, that's my opinion. That being said, use your trench coat to keep yourself honest as you age. Make sure it fits just so and that no matter how old you become, it always does. After all, we all need our motivation to get to the gym every now and then.
  • Single breasted or double breasted: Now this is one area where I let tradition be darned and forge my own path. While the the iconic Burberry trench is double breasted, personally, I am a single breasted man myself. I know that there is something to tradition and heritage, but there is also something to be said for the single breasted trench and personally, I find it more versatile. But, much of the world disagrees with me. I wouldn't be offended if you did too.
So, while we touched on some of the matters to take into consideration when choosing a trench coat, this is not an exhaustive list. Clearly, like any other “investment,” successfully finding a trench coat requires some hard work and preparation. But it's well worth it.

Some Other Great Options

The trench is a great, versatile item, but sometimes it's unbearably cold and rainy and even three layers under the trench coat won't get the job done. Or, at times, you just feel like something different. Luckily, your options are seemingly endless, but here are some of my favorites:

  • The waxed cotton jacket: Whether it's raining, snowing, hailing, or semi-apocalyptic outside, I can pretty much count on my waxed cotton jacket to shield me from the elements. And, durability is only one of the many reasons that waxed cotton kick ass. Waxed cotton is also waterproof, appropriate in formal and casual settings and easily washable. Though, don't get too wash crazy with the thing. In fact, break-in the hell out of your waxed cotton jacket, because it gets better with age and the aging process is simply delightful.
  • In the past, Gore-Tex® jackets tended to be ghastly. Today, things are getting a little better. But, let's face it, when you put on your Gore-Tex® coat or parka, you're not trying to be some kind of fashion superstar. You're just trying to get the damn job done amid what are presumably less than ideal conditions. So, don't feel bad throwing on a jacket made from materials that are tried and true. You may be the most fashion forward man in the world, but sometimes you just gotta let science do its thing.
Rain will continue to fall, and I'll continue to bitch, but hey, at least I'll look good doing it. With the wide variety of options in rain attire, you can too.                             

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