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A California Girl’s Guide to Rainy Day Fashion Essentials

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at NYU chapter.

When I moved to New York from Los Angeles, C.A. almost three years ago, few things shocked me as much as the seemingly never-ending deluges. Growing up in the drought-ridden “City of Flowers and Sunshine” had not prepared me for dealing with wet weather. Most of the shoes I owned were strappy sandals, and the only jacket in my closet was a quarter-zip pullover branded with my high school’s logo. 

It took a while, but now, after extensive trial and error, I finally curated a pragmatic wardrobe that ensures I am never bothered by another raindrop again. So, if you’re from a dry town and still acclimating to New York City’s perpetual rainfall, I’ve got you covered. Whether it is drizzling during the humid summertime or downpouring during the chilly winter, here are the fashion essentials that you need to stay protected from the rain year-round without abandoning flair. 

Trench Coat

I don’t know how I survived before I had my trench coat. It is my favorite piece in my wardrobe because it effortlessly elevates your outfit and keeps you warm and dry while providing breathability. This timeless cotton version from Everlane is my favorite for its traditional cut and set of features like its back slit for ventilation and its slanted welt pockets to keep your hands dry too! However, trench coats can be costly. So if you’re in the market for a more economical option with the same iconic features, GAP’s modern trench coat is a great solution. 

Rain Boots

No proper rainy-day ensemble is complete without a pair of good-quality rain boots because nothing is worse than walking around the city with water gurgling in your socks. My favorites are the Drizlita UGG statement boots which add a pop of color to brighten up your outfit on a gloomy day. They are also lined with soft wool inside to keep your feet cozy and have a durable rubber shell that is 100% puddle-safe.

Utility Pants

Nothing is worse than wearing wet, soggy pants, which is why cuffed utility pants are the practical choice for rainy conditions. The lightweight pair from Outdoor Voices – made from recycled cotton – is perfect for running around the city in warm and cold wet weather conditions with zero wetness to slow you down. Another slightly more affordable (and eco-friendly!) option is Athleta’s Brooklyn mid-rise ankle utility pants, which are made from recycled polyester – great for reducing your carbon footprint and staying dry.  

Bucket Hat

If you’re like me and are prone to frizzy hair in the rain, hats are your best friend. I love bucket hats because they hide unwanted flyaways and add a cute touch to your outfit. The water-repellant one from Rains does just the job, and it is stylish and easily pairable with any set of clothes.

Leggings

Another type of functional bottoms for the rain are leggings, specifically ones with a sweat-wicking fabric. I’m obsessed with the BUTTER ones from Aritzia due to their uber-soft material, the flattering way they shape your body and their ability to hold their shape even if I get drenched.

Puffer Tote Bag

The only thing more important than keeping yourself dry in the rain is shielding your valuable possessions from the showers, which makes owning the right bag an integral part of your outfit. The puffer tote bag from My Mum Made It is the perfect rainy day bag. Not only do I get endless compliments on it, but its waterproof recycled nylon composition and zipper closure ensure all my things stay dry. However, for those of you searching for a less pricey option that is still high-quality, Aerie’s puff love tote bag is an excellent choice.

Puffer Jacket

A water and wind-resistant puffer is an indispensable piece of a rainy-day wardrobe. The iconic Super Puff from Aritzia is one of the best investments I have made, providing warmness, lightweight insulation and protection from rainfall that lasts for years.

Oversized Sweater

An oversized sweater is my go-to for dreary, rainy days when I feel like putting minimal effort into my outfit choice, as it creates a laid-back vibe while still appearing put-together. I adore this chunky Janie cropped sweater from Banana Republic due to its flattering cut and its soft, chunky yarn makeup that leaves me feeling snug all day long.

Windbreaker

In the Big Apple, precipitation often accompanies crippling wind gusts, which makes having a windbreaker key to enduring the rain. It combats wind chills and rain showers, but it is also lightweight enough to be worn year-round. The vibrant cropped Tory Burch windbreaker is an especially useful piece of outerwear during the stormy, warmer months in the city. But for those looking for a more budget-friendly option, Aerie’s ripstop windbreaker jacket is a super cute and sturdy option.

Sporty Shorts

Speaking of warmer weather, a solid pair of performance-ready shorts is the optimal choice to keep cool and dry during long muggy days. Alo Yoga’s alumni shorts are my ideal choice for their airy, breathable silhouette that happens to be water-resistant in case a torrential downpour occurs.

Hopefully, these tips will help keep you dry and put your anxieties to rest the next time the clouds darken and thunder starts to sound off.

Paige Ganim is a writer at the Her Campus at the New York University chapter. She is currently at junior who is majoring in Journalism and Sociology. Beyond Her Campus, Paige writes for NYU's fashion sustainability magazine, FFZine. She interned at Trill Mag from March to September 2023 where she wrote for the beauty, wellness, lifestyle, and culture sections and edited the lifestyle section. In her free time, Paige enjoys doing Pilates, drinking matcha, and reading rom-coms. She is passionate about writing stories about fashion, beauty, culture, and gender equality. She is obsessed with Taylor Swift and is the biggest "Out of the Woods" stan. She also loves re-watching Gossip Girl and wishes she was Blair Waldorf.