What to wear to work when it rains

Businessman running up steps, sheltering under jacket, side view

Should’ve carried an umbrella!

Have you noticed it lately? There is quite a lot of rain about!

Here in Mid Wales, rivers have burst their banks and puddles aplenty have formed. In rural areas fields are flooding, and in the cities busy office workers are scuttling inside before the rain can dampen their day.

So how does a working chap dress in such weather?

Always carry an umbrella

samuel windsor umbrella

Time to go singing in the rain.

Let’s start with the obvious, though not necessarily an item of clothing.

If it is raining, an umbrella is the most popular way to stay dry. As far as accessories for gentlemen go, you can’t really look further than a classic, wooden handled quality umbrella.

Ditch the leather, go for rubber

rubber soled mens shoe

Grippy goodness!

The timeless durability of a Goodyear Welted pair of leathers shoes with leather soles, is undeniable, but they aren’t good for dancing in the rain. The lack of grip, and lack of friction due to rain, makes them slippier than an eel covered in butter.

Rubber soled shoes are durable, practical and lightweight. You may still slip from time to time, but you should be steadier than before. (We aren’t liable for random banana skins).

Of course, whether rubber or leather, wipe your feet on the way in.

Go suited and booted



Boots and suits aren’t obvious bedfellows. If you think about mens suits, you probably then think of Oxford shoes, brogues or something along those lines. You don’t think of wellington boots.

Don’t worry, we aren’t going to suggest you pop out to the local garden centre for footwear before you go to the office. But trying Chelsea boots with your suit can have interesting results, and offers a nice change to the norm. If you have enough break, or length, on your trousers, then you won’t even see the gusset of the Chelsea boot. Be careful not to wear your trousers with too much break, or you risk looking like you’ve shrunk in the wash.

Of course, there are few risks to wearing sturdier boots. It will be difficult to combine some bulkier styles with the delicate stylings of a work outfit. Another option therefore is to keep a pair of suitable work shoes at work, and wear your boots for the journey.

If the worst does come to the worst, then maybe you will have to go for wellington boots; in which case, try a tweed jacket for a traditional country look.

Light layers are your friend

The likelihood is that you’ll be wearing a coat to fend off the wind, rain and…cold? Is it actually cold when it rains? Well, in the winter yes. And once you have got soaked through, it can take several good brews to warm up. But if you are walking in the rain, umbrella or no, it can often be the case that you find yourself getting hotter as the journey goes on. So what to do?

Layers are the obvious answer, but when it is mild and raining, you don’t want anything too bulky. First of all you will get too hot, and secondly, when you do come to shedding layers, you’ll end up with an impromptu arm workout.

So keep those layers light when dressing for rain. This will allow you to stay warm and dry when you need to, without making you look like a portable clothes rack when you de-layer.

Oh, and one more thing…

Stick to natural fabrics as they are nice and breathable. Having said that, not every coat or shirt you’ll wear will be waterproof, so bear that in mind too. But though waterproof rain coats often claim to be breathable, they seldom are. If you do find a breathable one, then ask yourself, “Would a gentleman wear this?” If the answer is no, invest in an umbrella, follow the above and channel your inner Gene Kelly.

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Posted in Men's style guides.