British Rain vs Men’s Fashion
There are but three things one can be certain of in life – death, taxes and British rain.
I won’t dwell on the former two, but writing today the third sticks firmly in my mind.
You see I hired a bicycle today. When I unhooked my Boris special the sky was a shade of grey, marl perhaps – no darker than that. By the time I finished my journey the sky was a foreboding, gunmetal grey, and then the skies opened. I felt, at one point, as if there was enough water in my shoes to solve world drought and the rest of me was utterly, utterly drenched.
And this set me to thinking, what are the best clothes to wear in the inclement British Autumn? It’s not yet cold enough for the excellent Canada Goose jackets we spoke about last week, (though it soon shall be), so what does one wear to protect oneself from the elements, without getting too sweaty?
Well I’d start with this, the Schott bomber jacket. This classic jacket, from a brand that celebrates its centenary this year, fits the bill exactly. It’s light, breathable and, with a Teflon coating, capable of shrugging off the lighter showers this fair isle has to throw at us. It’ll also protect you from the heavier downpours, provided you’re not out in them for too long. Admittedly the bright red hue featured in the link above is not to everyone’s tastes but, fortunately, this jacket comes in some more restrained hues, should you wish to be a little less conspicuous.
Now the Schott is perfect if you’re looking for weekend wear, but what if you’re a-hunting for something a little more office appropriate, something that’ll provide protection on that walk from the station to the place of your toils?
My first port of call would be Barbour. Once the sole preserve of the country gent, this quintessentially British label has, in recent years, been adopted by urban man.
This particular design, the Shovler, is smart enough to wear to work, yet casual enough to wear on the way to a work-out. It benefits from being that particular shade of green that’s almost impossible to get dirty and, as the country set will attest, the waxed cotton outer on this dapper piece of outerwear means that rain becomes a trifling annoyance rather than a serious impediment. If you don’t trust me, trust a famer – after all, tweeds and a Land Rover is a look that’s never not in fashion.
Another look I’d like to discuss, if you’ll humour me some more, is the humble windcheater. No longer is this simply a necessity for ramblers and those sitting on the benches at a non-league Saturday footie match, now the windcheater is as much a fashionable item as it is a practical piece of kit.
High Snobiety ran a piece saying just this last week, and I’m in full agreement with their summation that remedy to the rainy day blues is a bit of retail, (and what better therapist that Stuarts London?) My particular favourite is this Paul Smith number. It’s hooded, waterproof and full of those little design details, like the little PS rubber patch on the sleeve, which make every Paul Smith creation so beautiful.
My other reason for favouring this windcheater is the fact that is has four pockets. This may seem somewhat daft, but I guarantee that you will, at some point, find yourself hunting for a place to stick you keys/wallet/cigar/hands and cursing the two, rather shallow pockets on a conventional ‘cheater. Twice the pockets equal twice the happiness, trust me.
Alas, like King Canute and the sea, no jacket can fully repel the precipitation from a British rainstorm. What every dapper gent needs is a good umbrella. London Undercover have a stonking line of rain-foilers in a range of colours to match each of the jackets I’ve waxed lyrical about above. Might I recommend the olive green one, matched with the Barbour jacket, as the perfect tribute to England’s green and pleasant land.