Monday, 8 October 2012

The practicalities of wearing a rubber raincoat

I have a love for my Weathervain SBR mackintosh. Of all the rainwear in my wardrobe, my favourite is my shiny black rubber shortie that I had custom-made by the London-based shop a while back.

Single-breasted and cut just above the knee it has a modern look to it and is the only item of rainwear from my wardrobe that I ever wear in public – but not often enough.

I used to have a big hang-up about wearing it in public but I’m getting over that now and really enjoy wandering around the streets and even go shopping with it on.

When I aired my hang-ups in this very blog a while back several rainwear enthusiasts contacted me – some to agree, but some to say just get on a wear it, no one notices. By and large it’s true, no one pays any attention. I stood waiting at the till in a crowded M&S this week, people watching and didn’t spot anyone watching me!

This past week it’s had a fair bit of use but the heavy rain showed up some real shortcomings in my favourite mackintosh.

Tightly buttoned and collar up in the elements, I noticed how slimy it feels with the upturned, soaking wet collar against my cheeks. Secondly, the rain runs straight off the shiny rubber collar and down my neck. And if I’m walking hands in pockets it runs down the sleeve into my pockets. And worse still, the water runs off the bottom of the mackintosh, straight onto my legs so everything from just above the knee down, gets soaked.

It’s my fault. I wanted a fashionable-looking rubber mackintosh that I could wear in public and wouldn’t draw too much attention. But now I wished I’d gone for the full-length rubber trenchcoat.

I think my shortie mackintosh will be resigned for grey days when it looks like rain but I might well splash out (please forgive that pun) on a new longer one from Weathervain.

I love their workmanship of my shortie so I’m going to save my pennies and see if I can get something a little bit custom-made the combines the wide double breasted look of their fabulous Hussar coat but incorporate the cowl, epaulettes and sleeve tabs of the traditional trench. That way, I don’t have to have those shoulder gun patches which I’m not a fan of anyway.

Length is important for it to be suitable for heavy rain, but I don’t want the full ankle-length style of the Hussar so I’m going to get it cut just below my knee.

The other thing I’m contemplating is whether or not to incorporate a hood. The one thing I don’t like about Weathervain mackintoshes as that their hoods are all big and floppy. If Weathervain could come up with something a little more, dare I say it, stylish, then a hood would be a sensible additions, which Weathervain offer as an option. However, the best option for me would be a snap on/off hood - but I’m not sure it’s something Weathervain do.

The final thing about wearing a rubber mackintosh is the commitment. Okay it’s a labour of love but after reading all the do’s and don’ts of rubber raincoats, I’m paranoid about too much sweat around the collar, sweaty finger prints on the rubber surface, how the mackintosh is hung. So after each time out, I rub the collar with a damp cloth, dry it then apply silicon polish all over the mackintosh and buff it. I’ve got a real quality hanger for it, but only the other day I read that this pulls the shoulders out of shape and rubber raincoats should be folded loosely.

My goodness, did people really treat their mackintoshes with such reverence back in the day?


  1. ".....everything from just above the knee down, gets soaked." Um.....why not solve that problem by adding wearing hip waders to ur outfit? :)
    But yes, a full length rubber coat would be a much better feel and choice. Especially when combined with high rubber riding boots.

    And no, i don't go through all the caring and maintenance after my strolls. I just leave them hanging there as they r. Maybe not even that, and throw them over a chair or something, hehehe.

    1. Hi Ayesha. Thanks for your comments and yes, it would make sense to wear waders - but I wouldn't feel comfortable wearing them in the high street! I agree that the trenchcoat - and the riding boots (I do have a pair) would be a great outfit.

  2. Dear `Mistress, i understand that you have allways good experiences with the service of weathervain ???

    1. Hi Andreas, sorry for the delay in replying. Yes, I found that Weathervain offer a very good serive and their raincoats are extremely well made - though pricey! But you do get a top class product.

  3. Good Morning, my suggestion is also my own solution to just the same problem I had with my short Ocean Rainwear heavy duty PVC jacket (feels like SBR but at a fraction of the price). Wear a pair of waterproof trousers over your normal trousers (mine happen to be black nylon). These can cover riding boots or even waders, or when walking the dog, can be tucked into wells.

    The rain then rolls off of your short SBr and onto the trousers.

    I dress like this a lot, and have never attracted attention.

  4. But of course, don't let my practical solution put you off getting an SBR trench coat!

    However, no hood!

    Get an SBR sou'wester instead.