Despite an average of 133 wet weather days per year in the UK, how many of us actually consider buying a raincoat? Getting stuck in heavy rain whilst hiking, commuting, or on your travels can literally dampen your day — so finding the right waterproof or water-resistant jacket will provide the best defence against the elements.
Just because raincoats are a functional garment, doesn’t mean they have to be frumpy! When it comes to stylish women’s coats we’re spoilt for choice — whether you prefer a classic trench or a cheerful rain mac. Before you get too overwhelmed browsing the sales, check out the key points in our article to keep in mind when shopping online. We've even ranked our 10 favourites, all available to buy in from Amazon, eBay, John Lewis and ASOS.
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Finding the right raincoat is all about balancing style and practicality. Here are our pointers on fabric, fit and function to help you make your decision.
The short of it is, your raincoat needs to be waterproof, or at least water-resistant. To ensure your new coat will in fact protect you from the elements be sure to check the materials it’s made from. Many raincoats on the market are water-resistant rather than waterproof so it's a good idea to check product descriptions and consider your individual needs.
To be waterproof, the fibres of the fabric need to be woven together tightly enough to prevent water molecules from passing through. Man-made fibres such as polyester, nylon (also called polyamide) and PVC are good options as the fibres are usually closely woven.
Cotton isn’t always as water-repellent as other fabrics, unless it's coated or combined with other materials, but it is more breathable than many synthetics. Lyocell, made from cellulose which is commonly derived from wood pulp — uses half as much water in production as cotton, is very breathable so it doesn't start smelling as quickly and can be washed less frequently.
Our clothing choices help us to show the world who we are, but it can be all too easy to pick garments solely based on how they look. Equally, obsessing over functionality may land you with a raincoat that's simply not your cup of tea. Here are some popular, wearable styles to help you come to a balanced decision!
The iconic trench coat should be your go-to garment for all occasions and seasons. The semi-tailored cut looks classy and professional when worn with formal or business attire, yet also effortlessly cool when paired with a hoodie and jeans. That being said, it's probably not the right choice for a long hike as it isn't waterproof or very water-resistant compared to other raincoats.
The trench is longer in length than most other styles of raincoat, falling somewhere between the knee and ankle, depending on the cut you choose. Not only is this a flattering length for a wider range of heights, but it better protects the legs from drizzle, which is especially useful when wearing a skirt or dress.
Anyone who was around for the Brit Pop revolution will be very familiar with the parka. While the slightly bulkier silhouette may not be to everyone’s taste, it’s a fairly versatile casual piece. Seemingly never out of fashion, this practical hooded rain jacket comes in multiple variants designed to keep you warm as well as dry.
If you’re specifically looking for a cold weather raincoat, we recommend opting for an Arctic-style parka with a cosy thermal or insulating lining. This would work well for winter or milder weather for those who feel the cold easily.
The rain mac is exactly what comes to mind when you think of a raincoat. The timeless design is fun, cheerful and perfectly suited to keeping the rain off. Although it won’t offer much in the way of insulation, it’s a fantastic lightweight option for milder temperatures come autumn or spring.
And if you’re concerned that this primary-coloured coat will leave you looking like an overgrown toddler, fear not! These days macs are available in a range of muted, work-appropriate colours such as navy, khaki, or black and the brighter styles feature contemporary features and clean lines.
You knew it was coming — it’s the rain poncho! A staple of the summer music festival, these coats are made for a purpose, and that's to protect you when sudden showers strike. Designed to be folded down and kept handy for emergency use, ponchos are ultra-lightweight and convenient.
Essentially one big sheet with a hole in the middle, they're not always as snappy style-wise as some of the other options. But, if you’re more concerned with not getting soaked, ponchos cover the most surface area to keep what's underneath nice and dry!
Rain jackets are shorter than full-length coats, hitting somewhere around the lower torso on or above the hip. This makes them well-suited to physical activities such as running or cycling as they won't inhibit the movement of the legs. You may want to consider a jacket for other outdoor activities such as camping or hiking too as they are easier to pack down when not in use.
Although all of the options on this list are technically raincoats, you'll know the classic raincoat when you see it. This option is similar to a rain mac or jacket but combines the benefits of both for a slightly more insulated and still water-resistant option. There are some very stylish raincoats out there, and some are even reversible so you can have some fun switching up your look day to day!
It's just as important to keep your head dry as it is the rest of your body. Contrary to popular belief, while walking around with wet hair won't increase the likelihood of catching a cold, it does leave the hair prone to breakage, and just feels utterly unpleasant!
So, in case you end up forgetting your umbrella, or hats just aren't your thing, you may want to consider a raincoat with a hood. There really isn't a downside to a hood as you can flip it up and down when you need it. Hoods with a drawstring are best for windy days as they can be tightened around the face and ears to keep them securely in place.
We're fed up with women's clothes without proper pockets! Pockets are fantastic — you can store items like your phone, keys, and wallet without having to carry (or root around in) a bag, they keep your hands warm in cold weather, and they even let you hide snacks for later.
Our advice? Look for a raincoat with two decent-sized front pockets for added convenience. You may even want to get one with zip pockets to prevent your things from accidentally falling out when you're on the move, or inside pockets for extra security.
We all have our tonal preferences, whether that's bright, bold statement pieces, rich jewel tones or earthy neutrals. Seeing as you'll be wearing it a lot, you need to make sure that the coat you pick not only suits your personal taste but complements your existing wardrobe.
Think carefully about patterns and colours when making your choice. Fluorescent pink may seem like a good or on-trend idea, but if it clashes with everything else you own you're less likely to wear it. Similarly, while patterns are quirky and eye-catching, block colours are the easiest to style.
It goes without saying that the raincoat you buy needs to fit properly. Listings will display their sizing availability so you can easily see if your size is in stock. However there are some things to keep in mind; for example, if a numeric size is listed you'll need to check it refers to UK sizing. Numbers don't always translate, and there is quite a large disparity between a UK and a US size 8.
Sizing doesn't just vary between continent, but by brand, too, so we highly advise going by the measurements listed on the manufacturer's sizing chart if one is supplied. This is especially important when generic sizes are listed, such as XS-XL.
Finally, remember that a raincoat will be layered on top of the rest of your outfit, so you won't want it to be too snug, especially if you plan to wear it over a thicker item like a jumper or hoodie.
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John Lewis & Partners
A Contemporary Take on the Quintessential Rain Mac
4505 Water Resistant Jacket With Mouth Guard
The Ideal Rain Jacket for Running and Other Outdoor Sports
Milfoils Waterproof Jacket
A Bestselling Rain-Proof Jacket
Velvet Embossed Reversible Raincoat
An Elegant and Unusual Plus-Sized Raincoat
A Stylish and High Quality Waterproof Poncho
Outback Womens Raincoat
A Chic, Practical Raincoat With a Bit of an Edge
Unisex Stow & Go Jacket
Light and Foldable for Hiking and Trekking
Verna Trench Coat
A Soft, Semi-Tailored Trench for Daily Wear
Aden Down Parka
A Flattering Feminine Quilted Parka
Women's Rain Poncho
Top of the Pops for Music Festivals and Camping
For our top spot, we've chosen John Lewis & Partners' contemporary take on the quintessential rain mac. Available in sizes 8 - 18 and in bright blue or khaki with a striped lining, there's an attention to detail that takes the design to the next level in both style and structure.
Perfect for throwing on when the heavens open (or when they're threatening to), this Rain Mac brings a bit of colour and pizazz to your everyday wardrobe. Featuring a full zip, an adjustable drawstring hood and poppers down the front — this mac is full of British style and sophistication!
Our favourite jacket for running and other outdoor sports, we love this 4505 Water-Resistant Jacket With Mouth Guard by ASOS. With a stylish retro sports design and a high collar with a mouth guard — you needn't let wet weather hold you back from smashing your fitness goals.
Featuring a fixed hood, easy zip, elasticated cuffs and adjustable toggle hem, it's super comfy to wear while pounding those streets! The peppy block colour scheme will help get you in a motivated mindset, too.
Barbour are one of the most trusted brands when it comes to fashionable jackets that are well suited to British weather. Available in neutral and green, this waterproof jacket has a flattering A-line shape with a fixed-funnel hood, 2 pockets and a hidden waist drawcord to adapt to your body.
Suitable for wearing in the great outdoors, it also has a slightly urban feel making it perfect for general day to day wear too. Simple, well-made and stylish — you can't go wrong with this one.
It can be slightly harder to find weather-specific plus-sized garments that are high on style too, but we think we've cracked it with this Velvet Embossed Reversible Raincoat by chesca.
Coming in navy and black, the scribble pattern and slightly iridescent quality to the material make this raincoat stand out from the rest. With two large pockets on each side and a crushed pleated hood — it'll have you looking forward to the rain!
Thought it was impossible to wear a poncho without looking a bit silly? That's where you're wrong! This fantastic, foldable poncho is made from high-quality woven polyester fabric for excellent waterproofing without looking cheap or plastic-y.
Not just for festivals or camping, this poncho is a great option if you're looking for a portable raincoat to take with you when travelling. The cut allows for good airflow in hot and humid weather, too, so it's a good year-round investment.
This fab full-length raincoat from Lighthouse means business! While the straight cut may not be your usual choice if you prefer something more structured, there's something very chic about this raincoat. It's available in an impressive range of shades, practical for wet weather and it can be paired with pretty much anything!
Try wearing over a tea dress with a pair of high-tops or Doc Martens for a laid-back, flirty look with a grunge edge — whilst enjoying windproof, highly waterproof protection with taped seams that won't let in a drop.
Those who enjoy the great outdoors will be all too aware of how temperamental the weather can be. Your adventure may start out with glorious sunshine and not a cloud in the sky, but then all of a sudden you start to feel water droplets pitter-patter against your face!
When hiking or trekking you don't want to be dragging a heavy coat around, and that's why we recommend this nylon jacket from Highlander. When not in use it rolls up into a drawstring bag and when it's on — it'll keep everything out with its hood, Velcro tabs and drawcords.
If you'd prefer to stave off the rain in the most stylish way possible, we'd suggest the Verna Trench Coat by hush. Although like most trench coats, it won't hold up in a torrential downpour — it's a classic option for commuters and city slickers going to and from various engagements.
Flattering on a diverse range of body shapes and sizes, this lightweight coat has a chic, semi-tailored look with a comfortable tie sash at the waist that'll you're sure to wear season to season. The sage hue is gorgeous too!
If you're looking for a parka that is both water-resistant whilst being stylish — look no further than this Aden Down Parka by Helly Hansen. Unlike other quilted coat and jacket options, especially those with protective hoods — the tapered shape is feminine and flattering — which prevents it from looking too bulky.
A great choice for wearing on outdoor excursions, it is however just water-resistant rather than being fully waterproof. This can cause confusion being from a brand known for making professional-grade gear to defend against the elements, but it works well in less-extreme conditions.
Already planning your next trip to Glastonbury? If there's one thing synonymous with British music festivals, aside from banging tunes and brilliant headliners, it's rain. Splashing about in the mud may be part of the experience, but it's not a whole lot of fun crawling back into your tent looking and feeling like a drowned rat!
While it may not be the most glamorous garment on the list, or the longest lasting, we like this cheap and cheerful poncho with a zip front opening from NUUR for slipping on and off between acts, or whilst on a camping trip.
Rain aside, the great British climate can throw all sorts of conditions our way, so why not check out our other buying guides? From brollies that don't turn inside out at the slightest breeze to cosy pairs of boots that keep you chic and dry, we've got plenty of recommendations and tips. Happy shopping!
Whether you require a raincoat for a specific purpose or are just browsing for something to keep the rain off during general day to day wear, we hope this article has helped you choose the right one!
Author: Wren Mann
No. 1: John Lewis & Partners｜Rain Mac
No. 2: ASOS｜4505 Water Resistant Jacket With Mouth Guard
No. 3: Barbour｜Milfoils Waterproof Jacket
No. 4: chesca｜Velvet Embossed Reversible Raincoat
No. 5: Joules｜Women's Poncho
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