Living in the city with three kids means I spend a lot of time outdoors, rain or shine. When running errands, we often end up parking and walking for a few blocks to get to our destination. My kids’ school does not have any sort of pickup or carpool lane, it’s park and walk. In addition to that, we spend a lot of time on the playground. We have zero backyard and three kids in one sub 1,200 square foot townhouse = the need to get outside. It makes me pretty happy to spend a good amount of time outside year-round, but I definitely have learned it takes the right layering strategies and coats to feel comfortable.
In western Oregon our fall and winter weather is a little different than the rest of the country. We get consistent rainfall – it rains more days than it doesn’t and the temperatures usually hover in the 40’s and 50’s. From November – February, the average high temperature in Portland is 50 degrees Fahrenheit and the average low is about 37 degrees. Each month in that range brings approximately five inches of rainfall. Needless to say, I need rain protection nearly all fall, winter and spring, with the occasional cold snap leaving me reaching for my hats and gloves to bundle up. Occasionally, I carry an umbrella but, most of the time – unless it’s absolutely pouring – my hands are tied up with kid-wrangling.
In my closet.
Currently I have four main jackets that I rotate through for fall, winter and into spring.
Light Rain Jacket (S), $88, Everlane – I ordered the City Anorak this last March, and it has been heavily used this fall. The main reason why I like it is the boxy cut. It’s very easy to layer over even the chunkiest of sweaters, and I never look like a snowman. It’s unlined, so it doesn’t provide warmth, but the thick shell does a nice job at deterring light rain. However, the fabric is water resistant, not waterproof. If I needed to be in the rain for a very long time, an umbrella would be needed. Made responsibly in Bac Giang, Vietnam.
Flannel-Lined Rain Jacket (M), $278, Bridge & Burn – I bought this last fall when I was looking for a warmer rain jacket. It’s thick canvas is coated in wax, which makes it heavier and quite rain repellant. The cotton can be re-waxed overtime to maintain the durability of the jacket. It is more tailored and fitted than the Everlane jacket, and always lends a bit of polish to whatever I am wearing it with. I am not sure I’ve worn it enough to make it worth the investment, I often reach for black Everlane Anorak, but it is nice to have a second raincoat option since I spend so many days of the year dodging rain drops. Made responsibly in China.
Short Puffer (S), $125, c/o Everlane – I received this coat as a PR sample when Everlane launched their puffer line this fall. I opted for the short puffer because I already own a long puffer jacket (see below). I really like that the shell is made of 70% polyester and 30% polypropylene, which makes it thicker and more wind-resistant than you would typically get on a puffer coat. This coat is 100% polyester-filled and quite warm, but it doesn’t feel super ‘poofy’ when I’m wearing it. I have had it for a little more than a month, and haven’t worn it as much I thought because, if it’s cold out, I like to keep my tush covered and warm so I opt for longer coats. However, I expect by late winter/early spring, when I am tired of wearing a big, long coat, I might reach for it more. Made responsibly in Bac Giang, Vietnam.
Down Parka (M), $299, Patagonia – I bought this at the end of last winter and got it at a steep discount ($199) through Backcountry. I highly recommend them, super fast shipping and excellent customer service. The parka has a 100% recycled polyester shell – which means it’s thinner and less wind resistant than the Everlane one, but it’s also softer and less ‘swishy’ sounding. It’s insulated with 600-fill traceable down (per Patagonia’s website this means “duck down traced from parent farm to apparel factory to help ensure the birds that supply it are not force-fed or live-plucked”). This jacket is very warm, and semi-fitted, which creates a nice silhouette despite being a big parka. I like that the hood is removable, though it’s a very warm hood, and I don’t remove it often. The jacket is almost to my knees and has a two-way zipper, which is handy for when I don’t want to feel like I am walking around in a sleeping bag dress. It’s pretty poofy, which is great when I’m trying to stay warm, but some days I find myself craving something sleeker, or with a lower profile on my body. I like the slim cut but it doesn’t leave a lot room for layering bulky pieces underneath. My small complaints being noted, I really, really like this jacket. It’s something I can grab from my closet at anytime, and I know it’s going to keep me warm and look good with whatever I’m wearing. It was an excellent purchase and I hope to wear it for many years to come. Made responsibly in Vietnam.
Coats in action.
Light rain jacket (the City Anorak by Everlane):
Flannel-lined rain jacket (The Cedar Waxed Cotton by Bridge & Burn):
The Short Puffer, c/o Everlane:
Down With It Parka, by Patagonia:
This lineup does a great job of keeping me toasty and dry. Also in my coat closet, but not pictured: fairer-weather options like my leather jacket, my jean jacket, a trench coat and a super lightweight rain jacket. In the future, I’d love to add a wool coat, but it has been hard to find a style I like, in a fabric that is warm enough. I tried the cocoon coat from Everlane, which looks super cute on the models, but not so much on me. The drop shoulders don’t do me any favors, and I looked like a snowman when I buttoned it up. Currently I feel a bit unwilling to invest in a wool jacket, when so much of the year it’s raining. I’ll think through it in the off-season, and maybe next fall I’ll land on a wool jacket that is both functional and stylish. Currently, I’ll be letting some sweater coats fill the gap.