Ah, trench-coat season! Isn’t it cathartic to shove your puffers back in your closet and pull out a lightweight jacket instead? The appeal of a trench coat is, of course, inextricably linked to the appeal of spring, which is all about renewal and whatever the opposite of gloom is. (I think they call it “joy”?) And rain. But the garment is also — forgive me, I’m about to use a bad word — the embodiment of chic. At this publication, it is frowned upon to use such an empty descriptor in a sentence. (Reynolds Woodcock in Phantom Thread would agree.) But I would argue that in this case, it might actually apply. If chicness is where effortlessness and sophistication meet, then is that not, your honor, a trench coat? You can throw an extra-large one on and run out the door, maybe tying the belt quickly as you walk down the block, and still look sharp.
However you define chic, being sopping wet is not. One of our readers wants to know: Are there any actually stylish waterproof trench coats? Waterproof is a tall order. But there are definitely some water-resistant and water-repellant options out there.
Below, some coats that will hopefully keep you dry and *whispers* chic-looking during spring showers.
If You’re Looking for a Burberry Dupe
A few years ago I bought a men’s trench from the Uniqlo U collection, and it was the perfect oversize silhouette, although it probably would have looked better if I had tailored the sleeves and length. A small price to pay for a relatively low price tag, and it lasted forever. I gave it to a friend last summer and it now has a second life.
Generally, I find Everlane to be pretty uninspiring, but if you’re just looking for something minimal that’s flattering and functional, you can’t go wrong here. This coat is water-repellant and comes in multiple colors. No one will be able to tell whether it’s designer or not, and that’s why we go to Everlane.
I saw someone recommend this brand on Twitter recently, and I appreciate that in addition to being water-repellant, this coat is also made with water-saving techniques and is biodegradable.
There Are Lots of Vintage Options
Because Burberry trench coats (and their signature water-repellent cotton gabardine fabric) are hundreds of years old, there are plenty of vintage ones out there if you want the real thing. They also look good oversize, so that broadens your options.
If You Can, Personalize the Original
Recently, I saw stylist and homeware purveyor Beverly Nguyen post on Instagram about her monogrammed Burberry trench coat and thought: Now that is smart. I’d never thought to personalize my trench before, and now I want to do the same for my Uniqlo version. She wore hers while eating chicken soup at the bar at the Odeon, so she really knows how to do a rainy day right.
Capes Are Cool Too
I’ve heard good things about this brand, though I’ve never purchased anything from it myself. If you’re looking for a more unique silhouette and want to upgrade from plastic drugstore ponchos, then maybe give this one a try.
The Most Waterproof Option
Arc’teryx jackets are so waterproof, there are memes and TikToks and such about how customers (read: men) get excited about the chance of rain so they wear them and can brag about their water-wicking powers. Having worn the brand’s shells in a storm before, I can attest to the fact that water literally falls off them. And they’re not heavy or suffocating like a Stutterheim. If you want something really, genuinely waterproof that isn’t made for a rainforest expedition, I recommend the Veilance line, which is designed for city slickers.
If you’re actually planning on being in nature, an Arc’teryx shell is also a good investment, and they come in a range of stylish colors. “I love fashion and looking cute, but function is just as important,” says New York native and stylish hiker Angie Chavez. “If you’re on the hunt for a piece that serves all purposes, I highly recommend an Arc’Teryx Beta AR jacket. It has a Gore-Tex shell; it’s packable, breathable, waterproof, and windproof. So everything you need in a jacket.”
It’s Vintage Prada Nylon for Me
A few years ago, I found a vintage Prada nylon car coat on the RealReal, and it’s served me well. It will never go out of style. This is proven by the fact that Prada made a name for itself by using nylon in the mid-’80s, and the fabric is a signature of the brand today. It’s thick yet lightweight, and it has kept me relatively dry.
I Also Need This Waterproof Bag, Right?
The number of times I get caught in the rain carrying something that can’t afford to get even a little bit wet are too few to justify this purchase, but every time it pours I hover over the “add to cart” button … comfortably … from my dry perch at my desk.
Honestly, Just Get a Good Umbrella
A waterproof raincoat is great, but what you really need is an umbrella that you can take everywhere so you’re never unprepared. I love my Snow Peak umbrella because it folds up so small, I can even fit it in the pocket of my Prada coat.