The Hunt: Raincoats & Lightweight Jackets

Jones New York Trench CoatSure, we all know what basics professional women are supposed to have in their closets, but if you’re buying one for the first time or replacing one you’ve worn into the ground, it can be a pain to find exactly the right incarnation in stores. In “The Hunt,” we search the stores for a basic item that every woman should have.

With the first day of spring almost here (I believe it’s tomorrow, March 20!) everybody needs a lightweight jacket. Here in NYC it rains so much that I’m always looking for a great rain coat to serve as my lightweight jacket, but I hate double-breasted jackets. Here’s my case against them: not only do they usually look stupid when worn open, they often have to be fitted so close to your body to look good that it’s hard to fit a blazer under there — which for me is always an essential. So I thought I’d round up some jackets out there that, in addition to being lightweight, possibly weatherproof (or at least weather-friendly), can also possibly fit a blazer beneath them. Readers, have you recently bought a rain coat? What do you look for in a great one?

Patagonia - Arborist Trench Coat (Prussian Blue) - ApparelThis one is far from sexy, but could be great if you live in a super rainy area.  I like that it doesn’t look too sporty, even though it’s by Patagonia  And at 70% off for Prussian Blue, you can’t go wrong — was $279, now $83.70 at Patagonia – Arborist Trench Coat (Prussian Blue) – Apparel
This belted raincoat from Portrait is super simple  — I like the straight silhouette, the optional belt, the slanted pockets, and the sale — was $200, now marked to $140, but use promo code SALE to bring it down to $112 at Lord & Taylor.  Nice. PORTRAIT Belted Raincoat
Jones New York Trench CoatI like that this trench from JNY is a sophisticated yet cheerful color.  It was $269, but is now marked to $129 and available in S, M, and L. Jones New York Trench Coat
I think this looks fairly chic for a waterproof, windproof, breathable jacket — particularly one that comes in four different colors. It was $149, but is now marked to $129 at Eddie Bauer. WeatherEdge® Girl on the Go® Trench Coat
This is the swingiest of all of the coats, but I really like this cotton trench from Mango — especially the black piping and dark buttons against the neutral beige. It’s $139.99 at A-line cotton trench
Rachel Zoe 'Thompson' Belted Cargo TrenchThis is a cute single-breasted trench from Rachel Zoe.  I particularly like the strong shoulders (apparently, with epaulets).  The trench is $575 at Nordstrom. Rachel Zoe ‘Thompson’ Belted Cargo Trench

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  1. Anonymous :

    Whether you have your period, or you are “on” your period, enjoy Rick Perry’s FB page ladies:

  2. Associette :

    Actual letter from opposing counsel: “Thank you for your letter. I also wished that this matter could have proceeded more expeditiously but I guess we all have to take into account such things as maternity leaves and busy trial schedules.”

    I cannot believe my eyes! Any recommendations from the other lady lawyers with how to gracefully and effectively handle this? For context – this is a civil case and the leave was taken by the female partner on the case, and the matter was in no way delayed because of the less-than-three-month blip of her leave.

    • Does the letter require a reply? If so, I’d just reply addressing the substantive issue at hand and ignore the stupid jab. He’s being ridiculous anyway. If the schedule has to be revised for some reason and he tries to stand up in front of the judge and blame it on maternity leaves, that’s when you slam him.

      • Former MidLevel :

        Seconded. This is ridiculous.

      • Associette :

        His letter does not need a reply. Although we wanted to take a particular depo within a month or two, because of “busy trial” schedule, he only gave us a date several months out. I then enclosed the depo. notice with a letter saying that because/even though it was so far out, we expected it to go forward. He then sent along that letter…

        • Ignore him.

          I once had an opposing counsel that would pull sh*t like this EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. Letters, emails, voice mails, always a little jibe, always about something different. She went so far (this is how I knew I was winning!) as to assert that our “win” at arbitration certainly did not entitle us to my client’s reinstatement to her former job – solely because the arbitrator still gave my client a few days unpaid suspension which “is unheard of in this county.” Which means diddly squat except to try to get up in my, and my client’s’ grills.

    • I agree that your reply to him should ignore his comment.

      However, I would be mighty tempted to send a copy of his letter (perhaps with his name and firm’s name redacted, perhaps not) to the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession and/or the San Francisco Bar Association Glass Ceiling Committee to us in their future presentations as an example of how “it is still happening.”

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      I’ll be the naive dissenter here who at first, didn’t see a problem with the letter. I work in a smaller market that is very cordial and the attorneys often reschedule all sorts of litigation matters by agreement. We usually try to cite some legitimate reason other than we procrastinated, so that the opposing party can inform their client. We usually cite someone’s trial schedule, someone being out on sick leave, vacations, deaths in families, attorneys leaving the firm, new attorneys joining the firm, etc.

      I’m in a small firm so if I went on maternity leave I would probably have to continue deadlines to accommodate it. I don’t see how it is insulting to refer to it.

      • Blonde Lawyer — I feel like the problem here isn’t citing the reason for the delay so much as saying “Well, we would have been happy to rush things along — but I guess we HAD to accommodate your lady issues.”

        I don’t know, sounds condescending to me.

      • It could have been meant like that, but the OP knows the situation and she says it wasn’t, so I believe her.

    • lawtalkinggirl :

      I have gotten worse condescending letters from opposing counsel. I just ignore them and stick to business in any reply. Not worth my time to get snarky. I do take and keep mental notes though. Will not forget the opposing counsel who passed a note to MY client during a deposition that called me a “rookie.”

      • Migraine Sufferer :

        Oh my God!

      • Wow…just wow. What did you do?

      • lawtalkinggirl :

        I laughed about it with all the other attorneys and support staff. My boss though it was quite hilarious. In a small state like mine, reputations (good and bad) are well-known. Legal secretaries and paralegals are often the best sources of this information.

        This attorney is not particularly well-liked in my town. She also tried to scare me by saying that if I put my client on the stand at trial, she would report me to the state bar for an ethics violation and have me disbarred. This was because my client was a “known liar” and I would be suborning perjury by putting her on the stand. I ignored this tactic and we did put my client on the stand.

        Three years later I’m still practicing! I don’t go out of my way to tell people about this woman but if someone asks I won’t keep quiet.

  3. Equity's Darling :

    I recently got a black “rain-resistant” trench from BR, with the 50% off 5 items code from last week.

    I wore it today for the first time, even though it’s a little chilly for the coat where I am, and it’s quite flattering I think, and also a classic that will likely be in my closet for a while. I love it.

    Link to follow….

    • Equity's Darling :

  4. Threadjack: How the heck are you supposed to eat those big sushi rolls? I either try to eat the whole thing in one bite and almost choke to death, or try to eat two bites and end up with the thing falling out of my mouth because the seaweed doesn’t come apart with the rest of the bite. Do other people have this problem? Is there a trick that I’m missing? Why don’t sushi places just make bite-size rolls???

    • Hahaha I have always wondered about this. No advice, sorry, but know that you’re not alone in feeling awkward.

    • So I learned that you are supposed to eat those with your hands, not with chopsticks. Once I started using my hands it became way easier to bite one in half. Maybe try that?

      • The OP probably meant – eat the darned things whilst appearing civilized :)
        My family mostly eats takeout sushi for this exact reason.

        • I don’t think it’s uncivilized to eat finger food with your fingers…

      • This is what I do with large rolls. But honestly, I think some rolls have just gotten out of hand. I usually just don’t order the “special rolls” unless I am eating at home.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      Wondered the same thing last time I ate sushi and forgot to post it here. I have problems w/ traditional sushi too because I prefer to eat it in 2 bites.

    • My understanding is that all sushi is supposed to be bite-sized, but here in the US we supersize it, just as we do everything. I tend not to order the monster combo rolls for this reason. I don’t find it a problem to eat most nigiri sushi in one bite, though some restaurants make those overly large, too.

      My kids love spider rolls, though, and those are giant. I’m glad we do takeout for any kids-eating-sushi occasions.

      • SF Bay Associate :

        Yes, those giant combo rolls aren’t traditional sushi. The only traditional giant maki is futomaki. How can you savor the fish when there’s six things packed in there?? It seems to me like a good way to mask sub-quality fish. I will also resist ranting about the absurd things found in maki… cream cheese?! I eat nigiri and sashimi almost exclusively when I go for sushi, and occasionally a traditional one/two-ingredient maki like negihama. Depending on the size of the nigiri, I may have to eat it in two bites. For the kind of money I’m dropping at the sushi bar, I want to really taste the fish, which isn’t possible if I cram my mouth with the entire nigiri. Yeah, I’m a food snob. I’m totally ok with that :).

        • I am a banana. :

          SF sushi recs that are food snob approved?

          • I like Ozumo on Steuart and a tiny little place called Akiko on Mason street. SF Bay Associate? Do you agree?

          • Umami in Cow Hollow. Sushi Groove in Russian Hill. Or there’s a wonderful (but teeny, no res, can be crazy wait) spot off Market in the Castro/Hayes Valley transition area– Sushi Zone.

          • I am a banana. :

            Score! Thanks ladies. I recently moved here and am definitely still finding my way around.

    • Hate those mongo rolls. I’ve found a trick that works most of the time – grab the roll between your chopsticks so that the part where the seaweed ends are wrapped together is where you will bite down on one side – easy enough to bite through that, and then you just have to hold the roll tightly while you focus on biting through the seaweed on the other side.

  5. On this note, my husband loves the Burberry trench and has been searching for a similar one for a long time. Does anyone know of something similar for less? He’d like it to be lightweight and belted.

    • To be clear, I mean a men’s raincoat. They’re harder to find than women’s!

      • What about this one?

      • I also like this one from Charles Tyrwhytt.’s-outerwear/men’s-coats/Stone-summer-trench-coat?q=usddefault||RC017STN|||||||||||||

        (BTW, I posted one from Lands End that seems to have disappeared, but it was nice.)

      • What style does he like? BB has nice trench coats, very classic and well made. They usually go on great sale seasonally so maybe check if he likes one of their styles and wait for it to hit a deep discount?

    • London Fog? I think you’ll find a bigger selection at Macy’s than on their website, but here’s their spring collection:

  6. I cannot bear raincoats without hoods. It’s for the RAIN, people.

    • Equity's Darling :

      umbrellas? or, my preference, awesome paddington bear style rain hats?

      There are alternatives to a hood.

      • I find umbrellas useless. First, they make one of my hands busy, and since I use public transportation and probably walk half a mile each way, this gets uncomfortable and makes it harder to carry the things I actually need to carry. Second, they blow inside out. Third, they are easily lost. Fourth, they are big and annoying to others (me, when you are carrying one and we are walking next to one another; you, when I am carrying one, in the same situation). A hood is much easier to deal with.

        • I just get wet. :-P (Hoods blow off half the time anyway).

          • This is weird but I love getting wet. Partly because part of me is still a kid, and the other reason is my hair loves water. My curls just become bouncy instead of shrunken.

          • I love getting wet too. :-) I always just laugh and say “I’ll dry!” Sometimes adding “and unfortunately, I don’t shrink!”

            Once in law school I had to walk about 1.5 miles home in an absolute downpour. I was grumpy for about the first 10 steps (I’d had a ride and they decided to give someone else a ride instead) and then just had to laugh at how ridiculous it was to be grumpy. I was outside playing in the rain! :-)

      • Living in Chicago has taught me that there are some winds that no umbrella can stand up to.

    • When I was searching Nordstrom’s site recently for raincoats I came across this one which I like very much — and it has a hood!

      Haven’t pulled the trigger yet though. Its sitting in my shopping bag as we speak — with a pair of nude for me pumps.

    • lawtalkinggirl :

      I think I’ve seen photos of the Queen of England wearing this stylish rain hood alternative:

    • phillygirlruns :

      agreed on the hood. i generally wear both a rain hat and the hood – the hat protects my face and keeps the hood up, and the hood protects everything more than the hat alone.

  7. I actually really like double breasted coats. I thought I didn’t because everyone always b*tches about how unflattering they are, esp. if you are busty, and then I randomly tried one on and loved it. I now have a double breasted trench and a double breasted winter coat.

    My go to trench is a DKNY classic beige little number, a couple of years old but still looks great. I think I bought it on sale for like $80.

    • I do too. I have an off-white Via Spiga one that has tiny gold pinstripes and gold buttons, and I love it. I think it’s super flattering.

    • Second. I *love* double-breasted coats and now have two double-breasted trenches and two double-breasted wool overcoats.

      My trenches are the dark tan/khaki London Fog (around $99 from Macy’s several years ago) and the L.L. Bean commuter trench in light khaki (around $125 but sometimes L.L. Bean has 15% off sales).

      I *loved* my Banana Republic black trench for 2 years or so but it has faded so terribly that it just looks bad. So I don’t wear it — and I’m trying to work up the nerve to dye it in my apt. building’s laundry room sink. (Don’t like the current BR style with non-buttoning gun flap.)

      • I’m also lusting after the white Anthropologie double-breasted spring trench . . . .

      • Should have said in my original post that I am broad-shouldered, relatively tall (5’8″) and pretty much flat-chested . . . so that’s probably why I like double-breasted coats!

        • Ah, but I am barely 5’3, a 34D and have relatively narrow shoulders/frame. I really think it depends on the trench – I don’t think anyone should rule it out.

    • I prefer double-breasted raincoats too. I scored a deal on a classic Burberry with a removable lining. It needs a good cleaning but I’m worried about taking it to my regular dry cleaner.

      • Where did you get this deal???? And, more importantly, is it still available?

        • I don’t think your dry cleaner is likely to screw up a trench coat, but if you’re worried call a nice dept. store and ask if they can recommend a cleaner.

      • Pure luck. I was walking through Neiman’s after returning my online clearance items. There was one trench on end of the season sale that happened to be my size and was 50% off. Burberry recommended a dry cleaner that charges $90. Maybe I’ll just go to one in a schmancy area.

        • $90? Ouch.

          I have a gorgeous super soft suede bubble vest I am irrationally attached that desperately needs to be cleaned and I am at a loss of where to do it b/c every price quote is around the same 70-100$ mark and no one will guarantee that they won’t f. up the suede. Good luck!

        • I have had my burberry coat cleaned several times by my regular cleaner, no problem. It’s the classic style, no lining, but I don’t see why that should make a difference. Just make sure they pin the belt on, or have some system of keeping track of it.

    • PharmaGirl :

      I’m quite busty and have always found double-breasted coats to be flattering. They manage to give the impression that I have a waist.

  8. I love my LL Bean commuter trench – great price, well-made, waterproof, and classic style. (link in reply) It’s double-breasted, but I think it’s reasonably flattering even on a figure with broad shoulders and a Rack of Doom like me. If you’re thinking of ordering, size way down. In most brands I’m XL petite, but I have this coat in M petite.

    • Diana Barry :

      Ditto! Not sure if this is the one I have, but I really like mine. I am usually a 6-8 but wear a S in this coat (and the sleeves are long enough, I occasionally have problems with this since am 5’8″).

    • I love the look of this one- does anyone know if LL Bean has made it in red in the past? I’m not sure about the dill green color they offer now, black and “stone” are kind of blah and yellow makes me look like gravely ill. I really want a red trench. J. Crew has what they call “modern red” now, but it looks orange on the website and have serious misgiving about the quality of J.Crew apparel.

      • phillygirlruns :

        that “modern red” is orange in person as well – it’s a great color but not red.

    • “Rack of Doom” just made my day. That is the perfect description for it.

  9. I absolutely need a spring trench. I have been having a hard time finding one that fits all my requirements in a light color.

    TCGKAG, thank you for the lead on the Nordstrom trench. Unfortunately, even the largest size was too small in the shoulders for me (and I’m nor particularly broad shouldered.)

    I like a trench to be knee-length and it seems many of the spring trenches are car coat length, which doesn’t work for me.

    I look like death in the traditional tan color, and I already have a really good black coat, so that eliminates many candidates.

    • I love that purple one above, and it would probably go well with many of the same things that a grey trench would go well with. And as a wide-shouldered lady as well, I feel you. I have to go 1-2 sizes up on suit jackets just to find ones that fit my shoulders and rib-cages. And this is seven years after I stopped competitive swimming. :-P

      • @ Bonnie and TCFKAG –
        My mom has the wide shoulder “problem” with outerwear and she is a huge fan of LL Bean trench coats. Not sure if it’s your cup of tea, stylewise, but they have a cute basic “commuter trench” and, besides the traditional beige and black, it comes in a very pretty green and a light yellow.

        • Eek. I wrote Bonnie when meant to write mamabear! Need to get back to work and not spend all my time responding/posting on this site! Sorry, mamabear :)

    • seconded!
      And why are some trench coats NOT water resistant?! I saw a really cute red guess trench coat, but it was just cotton, not water resistant. I would actually like to be able wear them WHEN IT RAINS.

      sorry for the ellen rant, went looking for a trench coat this weekend…so frustrating.

      • It was probably also dry clean only… boggles the mind.

      • I have a cotton one that seemed like a good idea when I bought it (Loehmann’s impulse buy), but I have probably worn it once or twice in the 3+ years I’ve had it. I keep it around because I tell myself that I will discover the right weather for it, but I have yet to do so.

  10. Last fall when it was too warm for a pea coat but too chilly to go without a coat, I bought a $40 cotton double-breasted trench at H&M. It’s not the best coat in the world but it’s not bad for $40. I like the cute coats at Target but the shoulders never fit me right. I think a detachable hood is ideal.

    • Anonymous :

      I have a plastic blue coat that was 35 bucks at Burlington Coat Factory for really rainy days. I love it.

  11. I mentioned this last week, but I just got a Boden Rainyday Mac and love it. It’s almost too dressy for my business casual engineering firm. I think it’s very classic in the solid colors, and it has a detachable hood. I bought the harbour provence print, which is still available in most sizes.

    • Love the navy and canvas solid options — this is beautiful!

    • Ok, this raincoat is making me jump on the Boden train finally. I know it has been mentioned in other threads, but I can’t find the right one. So I’ll just ask specifically about this piece: is the raincoat TTS?

      • Sorry, I just checked back. Hopefully you see this. I’m an 8 by bust (34DD) and more like a 6 elsewhere. It’s big enough I could comfortably layer with it, but not so big I would recommend sizing down. I was afraid an 8 would be too small because of UK sizing, but I found their size chart accurate. I may have the waist taken in a bit, but I doubt I will bother.

  12. phillygirlruns :

    i posted about this on this morning’s post, but reposting here:

    big fan of the j.crew factory matinee trench, particularly at its price ($158 + 40% off this weekend instore; factory is open online on the weekends and always has some percent-off promotion going). it is very similar both in style and construction to the retail version, though it only came in the khaki color instore. retail version:

    the factory version that i bought seems to run bigger than most j.crew coats i’ve tried on. i am generally an 8 in their blazers and outerwear, but the size 6 trench fit well.

  13. Has anyone ever seen a trench coat for women that has one of those removable flannel liners that button in? I would love one of these, but have only ever seen a men’s coat like this.

    • Yes, I have one like this at home that is from Nordstrom (a few years ago). I’ll try to remember to check the brand when I get home tonight.

    • I have two from Nordstrom, Hilary Radley brand. I don’t like the flannel liners so I never used them, but this is definitely a line that tends to have them. I think certain London Fog styles also have removable liners.

      I prefer to just use a warm coat for cold weather, and a lighter coat for rain only. But what do I know about cold weather? I’m in California.

    • SF Bay Associate :

      Mine is London Fog and has the zip in wool liner.

      • My London Fog has the zip-in wool liner too.

        • Yes I have the london fog got at Macy’s for under $100 few years ago. the fit isn’t the most flattering, nor does it have hood maddeningly, but is otherwise good raincoat here in seattle- i wear it a lot. i have the black – might also get the khaki at some point as my br khaki cotton one looks great, but lower on function.

          only complaint about lf trench raincoat: the belt doesn’t stay tied tightly, and makes a clangy sound when the buckle hits itself when walking. minor but for price, pretty good.

          • oh and one of the epaulets fell off the shoulder recently- been meaning just to take the other one off too. not big fan of those to begin with.

    • Eleanor, here is one at 60% off:

    • Yes. Mine is from London Fog.

    • I just purchased this one. Haven’t received it yet so I can’t give you my feedback, but it did get great reviews on Nordstrom.

    • PharmaGirl :

      I’m pretty sure Lands End has them.

    • Maine Associate :

      I got one in deep red (with a detachable hood) at TJ Maxx a couple of seaons ago. I love it.

      • I checked and the label on mine from Nordstrom says “Gallery.” Hope that helps.

    • I used to have a London Fog one like that years ago, it finally wore out. I now have a Jones New York one with a zip out lining, but it’s several years old, I’m looking for a new one. My JNY one is a lightweight wool twill, I really love it and wish I could find another one like it. But it’s starting to look shiny, getting worn out.

  14. My only trench is an Adam Lippes for Mango trench coat.
    It is a frosty finish ( a bit shiny) material and sometimes tends to feel hot because it doesn’t breathe well. But it just makes me feel so ladylike especially when I wear it with dresses and skirts with wedges.

    Link in the reply to avoid moderation

  15. Anonymous :

    I have to add a big thumbs up to Lands End raincoats. I have a double-breasted “Sunshower” trench in bright yellow — like little kid raincoat yellow — that is awesome and was quite inexpensive (on clearance). They now have a single-breasted version in many colors, as well as a trench in tan and red only.

    • PharmaGirl :

      I was looking at spring coats in the Lands End at Sears a few weekends ago and found a great rain jacket for weekends. Haven’t purchased it yet since I have a coupon for April but I’m definitely going back! That’s my new favorite place to shop. Seriously, Sears!

  16. Loooove the Mango one!

  17. Anon in Midwest :

    I bought this Ann Taylor trench a couple of weeks ago, and I love it. Very modern, yet mod, look, and it is definitely more flattering on than the first photo would suggest.

  18. I have a trench from Mackage. It was expensive, but their items are always so well-tailored, detailed, and stylish.

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