Your outerwear bases are only all covered when you’ve a jacket that can withstand a proper spring/summer downpour. It’s a time of year when one can be easily lulled into thinking that all of that wet, dreary, melancholy weather is a thing of the past, February’s problem and then… BAM! It’s raining for a week! Big Torrential Rain. What are you wearing? What are you reaching for? Not an umbrella, surely? Come on. A winter coat? Good luck. That jacket? It doesn’t even have a hood!
A difficult buy indeed. You need a jacket that is both sturdy and lightweight; durable and weatherproof and, most importantly (of course), stylish. So where to begin?
“At Mackintosh we virtually invented the protective outerwear garment” says Simon Harris, the COO of the British rainwear experts. “The word mac is a universal colloquialism for a waterproof garment that has any degree of tailored elegance. There’s a reason the Mackintosh is and always will be a timeless classic and wardrobe essential – it works whilst making the wearer look effortlessly good.”
You can’t argue with those facts Mr Harris, not one bit, but what about the materials? The build? “Our go-to would always be a hand made in the UK rubberised cotton Mackintosh, it will keep you bone dry, and in spring and summer you still have days when you need to keep warm too. This fabric is totally waterproof with taped seams, perfect for a heavy downpour.
“In truth one coat is never enough. We recommend a lightweight Raintec Mac for the day, and a more traditional rubberised cotton for the evening. If you’re looking for something that takes you from town to country, (or sofa to dog walk at the moment) then my pick would be the Bloomsbury jacket from our Mr Slow Boy capsule.”
While venerable homegrown brands like Mackintosh have the more tailored aesthetic wrapped up, another style that has been growing ever more popular is the Nü Wave Hiker, with brands like Descente Allterrain, Snow Peak, Nike ACG, Nanamica, Acronym, Adidas Terrex, The North Face, Patagonia and, for the Fanciest of Dans out there, Loewe’s new Eye/Loewe/Nature diffusion line, which combines all of the time-honoured craftsmanship of the renowned Parisian/Spanish label with future-facing fabrication. Plus lots of straps, buckles and bright colours.
To find out what makes a great summer raincoat with a more great outdoors and technological focus, Koki Ota, product manager at Japanese outerwear experts Descente Allterrain broke down the essentials.
“It [a summer raincoat] must be lightweight with a high tech spec of fabrication to cope with a range of weather conditions. Dry touch inner lining. A breathable ventilation system to allow inflow of fresh air and release of unpleasant internal heat and moisture. Design elements to prevent water pooling in pockets, creases and hoods.”
“Descente are innovators within their fields,” continues Ota, “winning an ISPO Gold Award for their 3D foam lamination active shell rain jacket jacket technology, as well as single handedly re-writing the textbooks on down jacket manufacturing in the creation of their Mizusawa down used within their winter jackets. It established entirely new standards for functionality.”
In essence, you can’t go far wrong with an obsessively crafted piece of award-winning Japanese outerwear. Or, at the very least, something with a hood and a functioning zip.
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