The question of what to wear when it rains in the summer is rendered no less challenging by the frequency with which it must be asked. Just because summer is stereotypically associated with sunshine, clear skies, and the joys of being outside doesn’t mean it gets a free pass from precipitation. Au contraire! This summer has been a particularly watery one—and I’m not talking about the ocean.
Rain is a bummer in any season, but particularly so during summer: The presence of cloud spit rarely results in the absence of muggy warmth (the opposite, in fact), so the usual waterproof accoutrements (tall rubber boots, an insulated rain coat) are inappropriate—vehicles to another, and perhaps even more sinister, form of dampness. Nonetheless, with a little pre-planned wardrobe ingenuity with a focus on the right footwear, it IS possible to avoid mutating into a human swamp whilst out and about in a summer rainstorm. It’s also possible to do so without sacrificing your sense of personal style. Scroll down for three outfit suggestions.
Outfit #1: Gym Shorts and Short Boots Akimbo
Because your usual industrial rain coat and boots-made-for-fly-fishing are likely to lose their appeal in 80-degree heat with 90% humidity, feel free to eschew both. Your resulting outfit will not be protected by a waterproof outer layer, however, so opt for fabrics that won’t be damaged by contact with a little drizzle. Gym shorts, a.k.a. my favorite shorts to wear anywhere that isn’t a gym, are literally made to withstand some moisture and are thus ideal. A cotton shirt is fine, too. If you want to wear boots, I recommend a short pair that won’t make your calves feel like hot dogs in a tepid bath. These ones from Everlane are my personal favorite.
Outfit #2: Three Cheers for Toe Lungs
Toes eager to breathe? Consider a sandal that will hold up well despite the occasional shallow puddle. I wear my Birkenstocks all the time when it’s raining in the summer—they’re the less expensive ones made from “Birko-Flor,” a durable synthetic material that can definitely cope with a bit of water contact. If you’re thinking about wearing pants, I would advise implementing the aforementioned protocol when it comes to materials (basically say no to your suedes, leathers, and silks), and prioritize darker colors that will hide any splatter that comes their way. I’m also very pro-hat during summer rainstorms, because my hair and humidity are a very unpredictable combination.
Outfit #3: The Ultimate Waterproof Going-Out Shoe
Even more challenging than figuring out what to wear when it’s hot and rainy during the day, in my opinion, is figuring out what to wear when it’s hot and rainy during the evening. Fortunately for us (and by us I mean human civilization), sparkly Tevas exist (check out the color “Black Constellation,” a.k.a. black Tevas with a subtle silver sparkle), and if that is not the ideal waterproof going-out shoe I truly don’t know what is. Pair those with the Holy Grail of guaranteed hits, an LBD, and you’re ready to sip a martini while watching a pink and purple sunset through square frames. A hair-kerchief is always welcome (see above commentary on humidity and hair), especially one that you can remove from your head and tie around your neck once you’re safely indoors. Bon appetit!
Any additional hacks for getting dressed during summer rainstorms, i.e., nature’s blessed armpit? Do share.
Photos by Emily Malan.