What to wear to work when it rains

men walking in the rain black and white

Stay dapper in the damp weather.
Image source: Shutterstock

Let’s face it. You’re going to have to brave the rain at some point – unless you want to stay indoors for several months of the year. 

But there’s nothing worse than having to spend the day in soggy socks. Though we can’t promise you’ll stay bone dry, it’s possible to dress sensibly for the British weather. So how do you dress for rain?

Here are our top tips for staying dry and looking stylish:

  • Wear waterproof shoes with a non-slip rubber sole. Go for a pair in a dark colour so wet patches don’t show up.
  • Carry an umbrella. 
  • Avoid denim and other thick fabrics. These can take much longer to dry than lighter fabrics like cotton or moleskin…
  • … But wool is a good option for a winter coat. In lighter showers, the thick, woven fabric will keep rainwater from soaking through to your suit jacket.

Read on for more tips on how to look smart and stay dry.

Always carry an umbrella

umbrella on white background

Never get caught out without an umbrella.
Featured product: Gentlemen’s umbrella

The day may start out sunny but you never know what might happen, so it’s best to carry an umbrella at all times.

If it’s raining, an umbrella is the most popular way to stay dry, and proves more effective than most coats and hats. As far as accessories for gentlemen go, you needn’t look further than a classic, wooden handled quality umbrella.

The best shoes for rainy days

Rubber soled driving shoe

Rubber shoes will be less slippery in wet weather.
Image source: Samuel Windsor

The timeless durability of a Goodyear Welted pair of leather shoes with leather soles, is undeniable, but they’re no good for dancing in the rain. The lack of grip added to the 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.

Remember, leather shoe uppers aren’t waterproof unless you treat them, so invest in a waterproofing product to prolong the life of your shoes and to ensure you don’t get soggy socks.

Suede is never a smart choice for rainy days, unless you want to ruin your shoes. Of course, whether rubber or leather, wipe your feet on the way in.

Go suited and booted

black shiny brogue boots on wood

Brogue boots look smart and stay dry.
Featured product: Prestige country boot in black

Boots and suits aren’t obvious bedfellows. When you think about suits for men, you probably 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 boot. Be careful not to wear your trousers with too much break, or you risk looking like you’ve shrunk in the wash.

Be warned, it’s be difficult to combine some bulkier styles with the delicate stylings of a work outfit. Another option is to keep a pair of suitable shoes at work, and wear 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.

Wear layers in wet weather

The likelihood is that you’ll be wearing a coat to fend off the wind, rain and cold. Once you’re soaked through, it can take several good brews to warm up.

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.

Check out our guide to buying a waterproof jacket.

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.

Posted in What to wear guides.