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Summer’s over, and that means only one thing for the city’s fashion scene—time to figure out how to handle the next 6-8 months of rain. This year we’ve made it easy: find your type, source the goods and suit up.
A popular route for anyone employed in a “freelance” or “creative” or “seeking new opportunities” capacity, the Urban Commuter is never outside for longer than 10 minutes at a time, whether it’s waiting at the bus stop, walking to a car2go, or puffing on a juul while they drink their morning coffee. Knowing this, they opt for a streamlined approach to raingear, placing just as much value on aesthetics as they do functionality. Luckily, technical outerwear companies noticed this growing demographic, and have tailored their everyday offerings to include ‘contemporary’ (read: more expensive) collections. Arc’teryx’s ‘Veilance’ line and The North Face’s collaborations with designer brands dominate, while newcomers like Rains offer the same modern style at a much more approachable price point. On foot, look for either some super technical running shoe, or the more classic DIY rainproof job on sturdy leather boots. Jacket: North Face x Junya Watanabe $3215Pants: Arc’teryx Veilance $650 Shoes: ROA $334
By necessity, the Bicycle version of the urban commuter must focus more on utility in the rain than their transit taking, car sharing taking counterpart. Usually, this means that they don’t really care about whether or not their pants are as modern as possible or if their jacket bears the name of some obscure Japanese designer. So, they’re usually sporting the mainline apparel from beloved brands like Patagonia, often in bright colours (for visibility), and making full use of all the bells and whistles available to them. Some of the more cautious cyclists will even have entirely separate outfits for the commute, and a special compartment for them in their comically large bags (they might claim it’s a panier). Although they are among the most informed when it comes to raingear, talking to them about it runs the risk of the conversation turning to bikes, and so is ill advised. Jacket- https://www.patagonia.ca/product/mens-torrentshell-rain-jacket/83802.html?dwvar_83802_color=TXTG&cgid=mens-jackets-vests#tile-6=&start=1&sz=24 Pants- https://www.thenorthface.com/shop/mens-pants-shorts-running-training-en-ca/flight-h2o-pants-nf0a3f38-en-ca?variationId=JK3#hero=1 Shoes- https://www.salomon.com/caus/product/xa-lite-gtx.html?article=393312
The Weekend Warrior is the distilled form of Mountain Equipment Co-op’s vision, and would probably bank with them if it was offered. With a year-round itinerary of activities, the warrior cannot afford to lose valuable nature time because they forgot to rainproof the third reserve solar powered light in their pack, and so they’re willing to spend a small fortune to ensure that every box imaginable has been checked off. Usually the result of a disastrous first outing that changed their approach to the outdoors forever, the warrior is the only person you could find who wants to go camping in Tofino in January or is waiting for the Grouse Grind to open so they can get to some ‘real hikes’ later that same day. Jacket- https://www.mec.ca/en/product/5047-705/Synergy-GORE-TEX-Jacket Pants- https://www.mec.ca/en/product/5045-077/Alpine-Ally-PantsShoes- https://www.mec.ca/en/product/5051-646/Moab-2-Ventilator-Light-Trail-Shoes(but would be MEC if possible)
Hailing from a place that either a) rains way more than Vancouver or b) doesn’t rain at all, the stoic operates on extremes most of the time. Also the most popular on tourists, this look either features an outfit that is comically over-protective (I’m thinking about the rubber blanket that is a Stutterheim) or tries to completely ignore its presence and overcome the rain through sheer force of will. Jeans and a knit sweater in the middle of winter? Why not. A fully protective outfit, complete with waterproof backpack in May? Go for it. If anything, we can look to the stoic and take solace in the fact that Vancouver’s rain really isn’t that bad.
Pants- https://www.columbiasportswear.ca/en/mens-pfg-storm-bib-pant-1736491.html?cgid=men-pantsShorts-rainShell&dwvar_1736491_variationColor=010#start=2 Shoes- https://www.hunterboots.com/ca/en_ca/mens-tall-rain-boots/mens-original-tall-rain-boots/black/203
Pants- https://www.levi.com/CA/en_CA/clothing/unisex/jeans/502-regular-taper-fit-stretch-jeans/p/295070036 Shoes- https://www.aldoshoes.com/ca/en/men/footwear/sneakers/Aauwen-R-Brown/p/50210962-29
By far the most elusive and hard to summarize category on this list is the Lifetime Member. Having spent decades or their entire lives here, they have folded rain into their life in the same way that someone in Toronto might approach snow. With acceptance comes opportunity, and the Lifetime Member has expanded their wardrobe to include a variety of raingear for pretty much any situation imaginable. From a light summer jacket to an insulated winter coat to a designer style for nights out, they’ve got all bases covered and now buy raingear as though it were a new t-shirt. Although it takes a while to become a Lifetime Member, once there it is a hop skip and a jump to become any of the types of Vancouverites I just listed. Looking back, a couple hot ticket items from the past few years here have been Rains and Fjallraven backpacks, the rise of technical raingear from local brands Reigning Champ and Lululemon, and a number of collaborations from big names like Nike (with NikeLab) and Adidas (with Originals). Backpacks- https://www.fjallraven.com/shop/fjallraven-kanken-tarpaulin-af-F11715-dandelion/?sku=7323450488352 (collaboration with Acne Studios) https://www.rains.com/collections/bags/products/city-backpack?variant=8133276729390 Local Offerings- https://shop.reigningchamp.com/collections/mens-latest/products/fw18-micro-ripstop-insulated-hooded-jacket-black https://shop.lululemon.com/p/mens-jackets-and-hoodies-jackets/Outpour-Shell/_/prod9090231?color=0001 Big Names-https://www.nike.com/t/gyakusou-mens-short-sleeve-packable-jacket-rjORRO/AH1160-231 https://www.ssense.com/en-ca/men/product/adidas-originals-by-alexander-wang/black-coach-jacket/2778668 So there you have it, a little intro as I see it into some of Vancouver’s rain outfits. And although I wish that I could claim my place amongst the Lifetime Members, the mere fact that I wrote this should be enough to convince you that I’m planted firmly as an Urban Commuter, so I’ll see you in Railtown.