Picture this for me, please: it’s that time of year again, when rain clouds cry and the winds whip the dreary tears onto mon visage. Now that’s more like it. It’s a typical rainy day on campus. The sky pours out rain, and we mere mortals have to manage to stay dry in its wake. Otherwise, we run the risk of having a shower on the way to class. Trust me, wringing your hair out as you walk in will not please the prof. Nor will your soaking wet books be of any use come midterm crunch-time.
To survive the rains, I compiled some suggestions, tips and tricks on how to enjoy the wet weather.
A good raincoat
Ideally, your raincoat or jacket should also be able to withstand the winds that blow on the Island. Pick one that you are absolutely going to love and never get sick of putting on. If you want variety, like I do, then get a bunch of affordable styles that you can alternate every day. I would suggest scouting the nearby thrift store racks, since I’ve found that they always have some good finds there.
To change it up on gloomy, gray days: wear a colourful, cozy scarf with it; belt it around the waist; wear it with fashionable pants that you love; wear a stylish hat with it; pair it with statement pants (printed leggings, or rolled-up jeans will do nicely).
Get one that you really like, and one that really suits your personal style, whether that is a classic trench coat, a sporty anorak, a bright cape, or any other style on the racks.
The effectiveness of rain boots depends a lot on their durability, material, and build. If you like classic styles that you will wear for years, consider investing in a pair that will last forever, such as Hunter or Burberry boots. But if you want to opt for different styles to go with all sorts of outfits then pick some affordable, creative ones. Since they will be lower quality, they may wear out with many uses (they’re guaranteed frequent wear on Vancouver Island). But if you don’t mind replacing them every year or two, Target and Walmart carry some decent-quality ones in trendy styles and prints to suit every palette, with prices that start at $20.
What to wear with rubber rain boots: skinny jeans or leggings are classic, especially with knee high pairs; for ankle length styles, try rolling up the ends of your pants to playfully sit above the edge of your boot; cargo pants go really well with them, but make sure to pair it with a more formal top to balance the casual feel of the pants and wellies.
When getting boots, first try them for comfort. Think about how you might need to speed-walk in them to your next class across campus, run in them to catch the bus, or even just to splash in rain puddles.
You can buy umbrellas anywhere, and there are many different designs and prints. If you want to brighten up your day, pick a colourful, playful one. Quality is an important factor for umbrellas. I cannot count how often umbrellas fail people (including me). I invested in a durable (and pricey), retractable Samsonite umbrella. I would suggest getting a good, reliable, retractable one too—especially if cheap umbrellas have let you down in the past. But, like rain boots, if you don’t mind replacing them and want many different options, feel free to stock a collection.
I suggest you store your retractable umbrella in your bag at all times. This is one of the reasons that a light, portable umbrella is ideal. If your bag has an extra water-bottle holder, you can stuff the umbrella in there. Or if the handle has a string attached, then you can tie it to your bag like a keychain. If it’s rainy and windy, don a pair of warm gloves while holding up your umbrella, so that your fingers don’t freeze permanently around the handle. Some umbrella handles come with cute hanging accessories. If not, you can attach your favorite keychain to hang from your umbrella handle, adding a fun-factor to it. Some umbrellas come with waterproof “bags” or sleeves in which to store them. Use this! Keep the sleeve dry while you use your umbrella, and store the drenched umbrella in it afterward. It will be worth it to keep the rest of your stuff dry when you put the umbrella back in your bag. When you get home, open the umbrella to let it drip dry. This will prevent premature damage (rusting of parts), and make it easier to use the next day.
On a final note, despite the possible unsightly side effects, don’t be afraid of the rain! Embrace the change of the seasons. Remember, your coat is for warmth; use it while you sit by the beach fire. The boots are for puddles; wear them to splash in the mud. The umbrella is for protection; keep it stored when you want to let loose. Have fun with it all. Welcome to Victoria’s rainy season. Enjoy the showers! There’s no better place on Earth to do so.