Turns out it only took five years of living in LA for me to completely forget how to dress for weather that isn't "75 and sunny." While I was mentally prepared to move to the Pacific Northwest at the start of its rainiest season, I arrived in the city without so much as an umbrella. My years in Boston and New York prepared me for miles-long walks to the subway in some pretty nasty weather, but all of my coats were either appropriate for chilly fall weather, when there isn't a cloud in the sky, or all-out blizzards. I was missing the in-between, namely basic waterproof boots and a raincoat. A few weeks before making our move, I took to the cupcakes and cashmere Facebook community to ask for your advice, and received a treasure trove of advice (including being advised to skip the umbrella altogether!). After cross-checking your responses with online lists and reviews, I tried out a few options, and landed on a rain boot and coat combination I'm thrilled with! Read on for your recommended rain gear*—and what I ultimately bought for myself:
Lululemon Rain Rebel Jacket ($228): "Lululemon has an awesome 'rain rebel' jacket: I have it in black (10+ years, though I live on the prairies so not super rainy) and you can definitely wear it with dressier/work clothes."
Marmot Minimalist Jacket ($189): "I grew up outside Portland and live in a much rainier place now! I love my Marmot Minimalist Jacket which is GORE-TEX and fairly affordable. Arcteryx also makes great rain gear and is worth the splurge."
What I bought: I seriously considered the Stutterheim and the Lululemon jackets, but when I tried on Lululemon's, it was a little too tight on my shoulders (even two sizes up from my regular size). I loved how it looked, but worried about being able to layer under it and bike in it. I almost fell for Stutterheim's beautiful color options, but ultimately purchased this L.L. Bean Jacket ($179), which was at a better price point, after reading a rave review in Wirecutter and trying it on. It felt much less restrictive than other options, and super functional.
Hunter Rain Boots ($165): "I live in the Northeast, and am here to say Hunter rain boots are worth every penny. I have the liners and the down socks for snow. They grip the ground well and last forever. I’ve had mine for five years." Someone else noted, "Hunters and Blundstones are a must for footwear. I live in these all winter in the Pacific Northwest! Helly Hansen offers really great rain gear as well." (An opposing review noted, "I found the tall Hunter rain boots to be quite heavy. Try Tretorn or L.L. Bean boots!")
Sam Edelman Boots ($54, currently on sale for $37): "These rain boots are a must. I can wear them all day; they are so comfortable. I took the recommendation from Emily!" (Note: These had mixed reviews—a few of you raved over them, and I almost bought them when Emily recommended them in 2018 but found they were too narrow for my feet, and some of you complained that they're too slippery!)
Blondo Boots ($170, currently on sale for $99): "I have two pairs of Blondo boots (one pair of booties, one pair of over-the-knee boots). They are regular boots with a waterproof coating that truly works! I've had them for years, and they've held up great."
Madewell Chelsea Boots ($68): "I've worn these a few seasons now. They have traction and last!"
What I bought: After seriously considering a pair of "Tuffys" (which is what Jonah went with!), I bought the Madewell Chelsea Boots, since the price was right, they fit comfortably, they're cute, and perfect for light rain! For anything more extreme, I can always use my trusty waterproof snow boots that got me through many a New York storm.
Waterproof Spray: "Waterproof all of your shoes, even if you think it's a clear day and want to wear cute leather flats—there is a 50 percent chance you will get soaked at some point."
Costco Rain Pants: "I got my favorite rain pants from Costco (so cheap and they’ve lasted for years!)."
Smartwool Socks: A few of you recommended these socks! One reader (who I met at our 10-year anniversary party!) wrote, "I don’t own rain boots. I just wear leather ankle boots or my leather vans. Maybe get some Smartwool socks to keep your feet warm and dry?"
While it wasn't mentioned in the Facebook group, I also bought a water-wicking buff to be able to run in the rain, while safely covering my face.
A lot of you warned against using umbrellas in the PNW ("We joke you can spot tourists because they’re carrying umbrellas!") but there was also this comment: "I just want to give a shout out that I use an umbrella! Even though I have a long rain coat (covers my bum), the rain still drips onto my legs and soaks my jeans. So to me, they’re an important part of staying dry in this town. Don’t let people tell you native Portlanders don’t use them, because we do!" These from Blunt were recommended and, come on, don't they look cool??
Any must-have rain gear or tips you recommend? Share them in the comments below to keep the conversation going!
P.S. On a completely unrelated note...While there's no List this week (although next week's is going to be packed full of recommendations), I wanted to mention a festival from Love as a Kind of Cure—the same festival we partnered with in July! In their festival Before Thksgvng, they're celebrating Native American voices, with grounding conversations and keynotes (including a discussion with Tommy Orange, whose book There, There I still think about often!). They're offering free tickets to cupcakes and cashmere readers with the promo code, CupcakesOnNativeLand.
*The quotes above are from responses made to my Facebook group thread and DMs, but have been edited slightly for grammar and spelling errors, for clarity!