One of the more exasperating aspects of fall and winter for Wet Coasters is trying to dress for it. Traditional winter clothing is more concerned with conserving heat than standing up to torrential downpours and daily mists. Vancouver guys don’t need fresh-from-the-East-Coast kit like those felt-lined, faux-furred Kodiaks that make your feet sweat or down-filled Canada Goose parkas that become waterlogged at the mere notion of rain.
To help you out, here’s some stylish wet weather gear that will take you everywhere from a the boardroom presentation to casual Friday. And with climate change starting to look increasingly, terrifyingly real, don’t you want to look good during the next superstorm?
Your choice of footwear is the most important aspect of West Coast winter survival. We don’t need “winter boots” so much as rain boots. Hunter’s classic Chet ankle boot ($125) gives the appearance of shoes rather than boots and can pass muster when worn with your best suit. For something a bit sportier, the HI-TEC Para Boot ($160) is a favourite of Vancouver Canuck Mason Raymond. Launched exclusively in B.C. last month, it features a molded rubber upper and non-slip Vibram sole.
We’ll give Gore-Tex some credit: They keep water off, but still allow the body to breathe. They’re also desperately uncool. Move up a notch with Burberry’s Brixton Trench ($795), a lightweight, water-resistant coat traditional enough for the office and stylish enough for a night out. If you’re more of a graphic designer-type, check out the Ira Jacket ($275) by Vancouver’s own Lifetime Collective. Made of cotton with a water-resistant underlay and modeled on old-school rubber and nylon rain slickers, it’s got enough hipster form and more than its share of function.
Yes, everyone from über-chic Leone to the local London Drugs sells umbrellas, but most of them will turn inside out faster than a prom dress in a cheap motel. Longtime Vancouver supplier The Umbrella Shop designs and manufactures many of their own models. From their factory on Broadway above the flagship store, it’s the last company to manufacture umbrellas in Canada. Buying local is great and all, but what about the prices? Umbrellas start at $10 (even less than ol’ L.D.) and go up from there, most with free repairs included in the price.