Nature has quite a sense of humor at times — like pretty much the entire winter here in Atlanta, Georgia. It never fails that on days when we need to look our best, the skies open up and seem to challenge our mission of arriving at our destination in perfect condition. Nature seems to test just how much we want to be stylish by pitting us against inclement weather at the most inconvenient times.
Okay, so maybe I exaggerate about the universe’s sense of humor. Still, whether you have a special occasion to attend or not, the victor in the ‘man versus weather’ showdown is the guy who’s prepared to stay dry by having the necessary, but also stylish, “wet weather” artillery in his wardrobe arsenal.
Most of us realize the value of a raincoat and umbrella, but do we know that foul weather gear is not created equal? It’s surprising how few men are adequately prepared to face a storm under any circumstance, let alone doing it stylishly with appropriate outerwear that complements their outfits. We pay attention to detail when dressing by coordinating clothing and accessories, so we certainly should give consideration to the outerwear we put on to protect our fashion efforts.
Keeping the theme in mind will ensure looking sharp regardless of what the heavens have in store. By theme, I’m referring to keeping your entire ensemble within the same mode. If you’re dressed up, keep outerwear dressy. If you’re knocking around in a casual outfit, bundle up with casual outer garb. I’m sure you get the idea. Fortunately, there is outerwear, like the trench coat, that knows no boundaries and crosses over into each arena, reducing the need for excessive gear. Start building a basic weatherproof wardrobe that will leave you high and dry no matter what with these beauties:
TRENCH COAT Designed to be universal, the trench coat’s classic style makes it suitable to be worn with all outfits. The coat’s knee-length length is ideal when dressed in a suit or dress clothes, for it lends the sophistication a dressy outfit commands while accommodating a suit or sports jacket. Yet, it also adds a sense of coolness and style to the most casual of outfits, whether you’re sporting a pair of jeans or khakis.
The trench coat is versatile beyond style, for most trench coats come with a removable liner. This liner allows it to convert from a cold-weather coat to a warm-weather one through the quick and convenient use of a zipper. Traditional trench coats are waterproof, making them a great choice if you’re looking for a multipurpose coat. Need a raincoat or lightweight overcoat that doubles as a warm winter coat that repels snow? Try a trench coat on for size!
PEA COAT These original coats were worn by sailors who battled severe weather while out to sea. These coats were made of 100% wool and repelled water, keeping these men dry and warm. Still, today, a pea coat, or any topcoat made of wool, should resist the elements and keep us comfortable. Waterproofing wool is challenging and often impossible, so be sure to dry it properly when it gets wet. Keep a wool coat out of the dryer since it will probably shrink from high heat. Pea coats can be worn with suits and office attire; however, their sporty look seems more suitable for casual wear.
LEATHER COAT These do give a great deal of protection from the elements, provided the leather has been conditioned and waterproofed. Probably a more suitable dry, cold weather coat or jacket, leather outerwear repels rain better than fabric coats (excluding the trench or raincoat), so if this is your inclement weather option, prepare the leather for it.
HATS Possibly the most neglected accessory, hats are invaluable for preserving a hairstyle during a downpour. Styles like the fedora and flat cap add tons of chic to any outfit, so take advantage of these timeless hats by wearing one when it’s wet or cold outside. Typically, these hats are not waterproof; however, waterproof varieties are available.
GLOVES Glove styles have come far over the years, and what was once just a utilitarian accessory can now be found in countless styles, colors, and fabrics. They’re practical and stylish, and I recommend having more than one pair. Opt for a sophisticated pair of sleek leather ones to complement dressy outerwear. Choose colors that match shoes and other leather accessories in order to be color-coordinated down to your gloves. Whether you’re off to the opera or a ballgame, make sure hats and gloves match – not only in color but style, as well.
UMBRELLA What’s up with umbrellas? Have you noticed how few guys carry one? It’s as though we’d rather get wet than look like an old man. Well, that’s just stupid! Like the cardigan sweater, umbrellas have taken a hard hit, but no more. Umbrellas not only show a level of sensibility, but they actually add a touch of class and elegance to the user. They’re smart to use even if you’re wearing a coat and hat. Some use the excuse that an umbrella is too awkward to carry. Don’t let the image of Fred Astaire dancing in the rain scare you off. Today’s umbrellas are compact and, when closed, can fit into most man bags and messenger bags. Opt for a black, manly umbrella that works with all outfits and attire. Not only are they practical, but they’re a great prop when looking to meet your sexy senorita on a wet day. “Hello. You’re welcome to walk with me under my umbrella if you’d like.” Gentlemen, work it!
SHOES & BOOTS You don’t have to skimp on fashion just because it’s wet outside. Many manufacturers offer “weather boots” that keep feet dry. Some footwear is lined with an inner liner for added protection. If you prefer wearing shoes, opt for rubber-soled shoes that will weather the storm much better than leather-soled ones. Regardless of what you choose, take dry shoes or boots off when you get indoors to preserve the leather. If rubber shoes and boots are your thing and you’re headed to the office, bring a pair of work shoes along to change into once you get there. Even if your job permits wearing duck shoes, you might want to slip into something more breathable that won’t make your feet hot and sweaty.
And what about galoshes? Okay, maybe my mind jumps to memories of my grandfather and past generations struggling to get these bad boys on, but don’t let that stop you. Galoshes are a great alternative to keeping shoes and boots dry and come in various styles. Sure, you can still find the generic men’s “rubbers,” as my grandfather used to call them, but now fashionable styles match and complement most shoe and boot styles.
It often takes a humbling experience to realize the need for foul-weather garb. To avoid showing up at the party looking like you swam there, plan ahead and arm yourself with gear that says you’re on top of your game no matter what the weather is doing. Outerwear is expensive, but if taken care of properly, it should last many years. Choose quality apparel that will keep you singing in the rain!