Being an LA Native, I’ve never really had the need to own a trench coat. I mean, maybe we’ll get a week or two of rain spread out throughout the year, but it’s so minimal that most just throw up an umbrella or hold a plastic bag over their head! LOL. No joke. It’s ridiculous to see Southern Californians fend for themselves in the rain. I did buy one back in the 90’s when I had a job that required travel back to NYC, and I bought that first trench coat at Burlington Coat Factory in Paramus, New Jersey. I remember being giddy that there was “no tax.” The things we remember 🙂 It was a London Fog, and to this day, I still have it hanging in my coat closet back in LA, worn perhaps a few months out of the past few decades that I’ve owned it.
In LA, you’ll usually see sweatshirts come out in the rain with hoodies and an umbrella, but LA really isn’t the place where you’ll see the change in Fall Fashion since the seasons really don’t change all that much and summer continues on right through Christmas Day!
Living here in Vancouver though brings a definite and welcomed change of season. We live in a high rise building downtown and it is reminiscent of my days working in downtown Manhattan, NYC, but on a much smaller scale. One look out of the window in the morning and you can see hundreds of umbrella tops with the rain coming down fervently, so we’ve had a lot of fun building our fall and winter wardrobes which have already gotten a lot of use and we’re only in September! I’ve also been told that these are not fall showers, but summer sprinkles and that Fall is still on its way!
This brings me to my search of a real rain jacket, one that’s not just water resistant, but WATERPROOF – one that I’m not going to get soaked in since I’m living on my own two feet now. Gone is the car coming out of the garage every time I need to get to the market, or Target (we don’t have one here…that’s a post for another day…and I’m very sad about that), or the dog park or getting to work. When I say my own two feet I mean that it’s my only mode of transpo now. I’m out for three dog walks a day since we’re on the 12th floor, and I no longer have a car which has been liberating in and of itself. This requires a REAL raincoat. Hence our search last weekend for this crucial item for life in downtown Vancouver!
We started off at The Bay, and I have to say, the selection was vast, but the styles of rain jackets were really lacking. Seriously, I could have put that London Fog from my LA closet back on one of the racks and it would have totally blended in with the selections offered. Much to my surprise, the styles really haven’t changed much since I was last shopping for a rain jacket. I really don’t know what I was expecting, but I wasn’t expecting more of the same, I’ll tell you that much. I was in search for something form fitting, something stylish and something that didn’t resemble my 90’s raincoat.
One of the most interesting things that I found was that there is a very significant difference in sizing in raincoats. From a small to a medium, the sizing literally jumps up several sizes. I’m 5’7 and a size 4, but I have ridiculously long arms that are more suited for someone who is 5’10, so trying to find a small with the arm accommodation has always proved challenging for me. The smalls would fit great in the torso, but the arms were always about 2-3″ too short and felt constricting. Going up to a medium, my entire body would be swimming in it, almost as if I had gone up to a Large. I thought for sure the tags were mislabeled, but this appeared to be the standard sizing chart that most manufacturers use. So after trying on numerous brands at The Bay, we continued our search on to Nordstroms and the Pacific Centre. No dice there. Just more of the same we had seen at The Bay.
Our next stop was hitting the stores on Granville Street. Fortunately, there are a few stores that did have some great selections. Helly Hanson is a great Norwegian brand that actually had a GREAT selection of not only rain jackets, but also some super cute rain boots. Rain boots are a MUST here in Vancouver, and that’s definitely going to be my next purchase for the fall/winter wardrobe. I actually found two rain jackets at Helly’s that were definite prospects, but the smalls fit just a tad too tight in the chest, although the arm length was great. Going up to a medium, again, the coat appears to gain a few sizes in the torso, so it ended up being a no-go.
The last stop of the day was at the North Face store on Granville. OMG. Motherload! This is where I scored this beauty – The North Face Teralinda that I’m SO IN LOVE WITH! I actually hadn’t expected North Face to make such a stylish raincoat and I was super duper excited when I pulled this off the rack. Actually, I started with the black one because, well, black is such a great wardrobe staple. I really wanted a coat that cinched in the waist, but I was also looking for something that tied in a bow, if at all possible. This rain jacket in size S was PERFECT! The sleeves are long enough for my long arms, the torso was form fitting, but large enough to wear a bulky sweater or thinner layers, and it has a fabulous bow tie on the front. Literally, it is everything that I wanted in a rain jacket and more. I showed it to E, and then we went back to the rack and he saw this really beautiful tan/greyish color that was interesting. Normally this color doesn’t look good on me since I’m so fair, and I usually look washed out in it, but it has an interesting pattern/texture and the color actually pops. It’s neutral enough to wear with any outfit in your wardrobe and well, we found the color to be outstanding and for the first time in a very long time, I chose something other than black!
There’s a really cool reflective strip on the back of the jacket in the center of your back which is part of the tie, which is very helpful when commuting around Vancouver on foot. We’re getting ready to head into darker days here, so being reflective is a good safety measure.
It’s got a hood which accommodates even the largest hair styles along with a ponytail, so I’m happy about that. This means I don’t always have to have my umbrella on hand, and can just use my hoodie. Also, it has pockets that are comfortable at a great angle to get your hands into. One of the downsides that I’ve found in most rain jackets is that they have the pocket opening on top, making it more difficult and a lot less comfortable for your hands to slip into, and then you just use the pocket for storing your stuff rather than shielding your hands from the rain, which is what is so great about this jacket!
This jacket is also longer in the back, dipping below your butt, which makes it super useful when sitting on a wet bus bench around town!! You know how most jackets, especially rain jackets are symmetrically cut around the bottom, forming a perfect circle around your body? Not this one. It’s cut LOWER in the back, so when you sit down, you butt is still fully covered – BRILLIANT!
Most important, is the look of this jacket. It’s a very well thought out, well designed jacket that’s completely waterproof, fashionable, sheik and functional. I give this North Face Rain Jacket a full 10 STARs and two great big thumbs up! I can’t rave about it enough!
Again, just to recap my favorite features:
- The size Small has long arms and has enough room for a chunky sweater underneath.
- The pockets are hand friendly, cut at an angle that is functional and can shield your hands from the rain.
- The back is longer, covering your butt completely, so when you sit down on something wet, you’re covered!
- Reflective band on the back makes it pedestrian friendly.
- Sizeable hood, covers all hair sizes and accommodates a pony tail.
- Nice long length and has a tie in the middle to cinch the waist even more with enough fabric for a bow.
Here’s the link to their site directly (Canadian). It comes in three colors: Ashes of Roses Grey (as pictured in this post), Sedona Sage Grey, and TNF Black.
Order early because they’re already sold in the the XS sizes for the color I’m wearing as well as the XS in the Sedona Sage Grey, and the S in Black, so don’t wait!!
I hope you enjoy this jacket as much as I’m enjoying it. You won’t be disappointed!