How To Dress For April Showers

How, you asked, to stay chic during April's showers?

Full disclosure: it's only sort of possible. Let's look at Gene Kelly's triumphant song in the rain, probably the all-time apex of rain-hijinx.


Now, keep in mind that Kelly was running a 103-degree fever and dancing in a combination of water and milk, for better on-camera visibility. As for the rest of us, it's hard to even fake it. Sure, there are cute, cheerful rain-boots galore and plenty of darling novelty umbrellas. (And look! Refinery29 has a whole spread of nifty gear.) I'm not going to tell you how to find cute rain gear, because it's not hard! And we all know that there's no better way to channel Casablanca than with a classic trench. But when you're knee-deep in gushing gutters, cold April rain is coming at you from all directions and cars are splashing you, an enormous sunflower over your head is cold comfort. Literally.

My boyfriend deals with this by donning a 2-piece rain-suit. While I can't pretend this makes a good impression on a first date (no, seriously, trust me), he swears by it. And he does emerge remarkably dry.

I have determined a few things about really torrential rain.

1. The subway will be hell. Filled with steaming raincoats and dripping umbrellas, public transit will be unpleasant. This is just a fact.

2. You will regret wearing jeans. No matter how high your boots — even if only an inch is exposed — that inch will be sodden, and cold, and will take hours to dry. Personally, I like skirts, since legs are easier to dry. But this is a matter of personal preference.

3. If you're going to work, prepare to change. Shoes, of course, but maybe more. Maybe pants.

4. Carry extra socks.

5. If you come across some of those rubber high heels, as one sometimes does at thrift stores, move along: they look kind of cool in a weird sort of way, but water gets inside them. It's not fun. That said, those rain flats are pretty darn cute — for warm-weather light rain.

6. If it's chilly, and you're wearing rubber rain boots, wear a pair of those fleece inserts: your feet will thank you, because nothing turns into an icebox quicker than a wellie.

7. Those really light umbrellas are light because they go inside-out in the first high wind. Ditto those super-cheap slickers, although sometimes you just need one in a pinch.

8. Even if your bag is waterproof, wrap your laptop in a plastic bag. Extra-huge ziplocs are especially good.

9. Overshoes — why does no one wear them? They actually protect flats in light rain. Ditto those old-lady rain bonnets. Laugh if you will. I'm all about them. And if you can find a waterproof scarf online or at a thrift store, just saying, they're awesome. There are also a lot of very cute old rain hats out there.

10. When in doubt, you really can't beat the cheap slickers from the Army-Navy store. And they'll give you a cool, summer-camp vibe.

11. If you're truly obsessive, make like a fisherman and just buy a sou'wester. Seriously. Will you look cute? No. But you will be dry. And I think it looks cool, in an eccentric sort of way.

For all of our handy Dress Code guides, go here.