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For women: What do you wear when it rains?

There is total rain forecasted for some days next week in Florence, and showers for others. Do I need to go out and buy a trench before I leave? I'd rather save my money to buy some clothing in Florence. I may have a North Face style plastic thing around the house, but it's very unfashionable and just wouldn't look right with jeggings. Should I just plan on bringing an umbrella? I will be doing AS MUCH walking as possible. When in Barcelona last year, I walked 10 hours a day. Thanks for suggestions on what to wear in the rain. Also, I'll be bringing brand new suede Naots and leather short boots. Will they get wrecked in the rain? Thanks!

Posted by
1737 posts

Yes, suede is not good in the rain. Leather short boots sound a bit uncomfortable to ME for 10 hours of walking, but if it works for you, go for it. I always take a rain coat with a hood. I've never brought an umbrella with me. We just got back from 2 weeks in Italy and it poured one night. We simply borrowed an umbrella from the hotel and used it when we walked to dinner. Returning it after. Who cares about how you look if you are dry? If you feel you have to bring a heavy trench coat with you, and it's your rain wear, then I guess go for it. I'd recommend some rain wear by Marmot. You can find a nice Precip jacket for $99 or so...or shop Campmor.com or SierraTradingPost.com and look for last year's style/color and save more money. If you are really expecting rain, bring a small umbrella with you, they don't weigh much, and can fit in a side pocket of your carry on, or in your carry on. You can find these at Target. I'd really think about your footwear. You don't want wet feet for sure. Make sure they are waterproof or at least water resistant shoes, and have good soles, not full leather that will be slippery on wet cobblestones and uncomfortable with minimal cushioning under the foot. Rubber soles are good, and better if there is some sort of tread/pattern to them.

Posted by
1568 posts

We always carry rain ponchos and umbrellas in our day backpacks. For warm rains we wear our Teva sandals with socks or Teva tennis. My London Fog is too heavy and bulky to take to Europe. Rain can ruin suede and rain can fall down into short leather boots. Before I retired, I had to travel constantly and wore my knee length leather boots with a protector on them.

Posted by
11613 posts

I think there's a rain poncho at the travel store on this site. Not high fashion, but it will keep you (and your daypack/messenger bag, if you carry one) dry. I prefer it to an umbrella because I like to walk hands-free; a trench coat would accomplish the same thing, I just don't like to carry that much extra weight for a couple of days' rain.

Posted by
11981 posts

What do you wear in San Diego when it rains? You may be surprised to know that the rain in Florence is very similar to the rain in San Diego. Very wet. I've been in the rain in both cities, so I know.

Posted by
16 posts

What do I wear in the rain in San Diego? 1) It doesn't rain. 2) We don't walk in the rain because we don't walk. We drive. 3) I think I have a rain coat somewhere that we got for the rainforest.

Posted by
2762 posts

I never travel without a rainjacket. We buy an umbrella there from the vendors that sprout like weeds when it starts raining. It becomes a souvenir (and I still have two useful ones from the last trip to Italy.) The feet are the big problem. Suede will get ruined, as will some cork insoles if your shoes have those. Unless your shoes or boots are waterproof (lie Goretes) the water will soak through, your socks will get wet, and your feet will be uncomfortable. So I'd count on changing shoes and socks a couple of times in a 10-hour day of walking.

Posted by
1510 posts

I take a lightweight jacket with a hood, a hat, a travel umbrella (very small and weighs about 6 oz.), AND we spray our shoes with waterproof spray. We also walk all day and unless you have to go through huge puddles this really helps.

Posted by
11981 posts

It doesn't rain in San Diego? It doesn't rain much. But never?
Do you ever go out between December and February? Look. You are really making too much of this dressing thing in Florence. It's not that different from traveling to a US city. It's not that you must wear a burka to walk around town. Do you make the same amount of fuss any time you travel to San Francisco or New York? Jeez! Carry an umbrella and wear what you want. Several episodes of Jersey Shores were shot in Florence last year. If the city survived Snooki, I think they can survive with whatever Teresa wears.

Posted by
12040 posts

Pull out an umbrella. Problem solved. Don't overthink this.

Posted by
375 posts

I can't imagine why some men feel compelled to answer a question about clothing from a woman, which is clearly directed to other women, and then proceed to chastise the OP. Some people don't care what they wear when they travel and that's fine; some people do care how they look, which is also fine, and Teresa is one of those people. I don't think there is anything wrong with thinking about this issue or with asking the question. Having said all that, Teresa, I confess that I am a woman who doesn't mind looking unstylish in the rain, as long as my jacket keeps me dry. I figure that it is far more unfashionable to look like a drowned rat, so I wear a waterproof rain jacket with a hood if it's really raining. I have one from Cabelas in a pretty color that I like. However, maybe you would be happier with a poncho. I think that would look cuter with leggings and boots, and would keep you dry. Most of them fold up fairly small, so would perhaps be easier to carry in your bag when you're not wearing it. I also have one of those 6 inch folding umbrellas for when I'm not using a jacket. I carry a plastic bag in my purse so I can slip it back in there after it has been wet.

Posted by
3580 posts

I always travel wearing a light-weight thigh-length rain jacket with hood. It has lots of pockets for passport, etc. In San Francisco, where I fly from, I always need something warm enough all year round. The jacket can be warm enough when worn with layering underneath. When it rains, I just pull up the hood and keep going. Umbrellas are ok, but I don't carry one. If I find I want one, rain will always bring out the umbrella-sellers (they are hard to avoid). In your situation, where you will have limited need for a raincoat in San Diego, I would take the advice to just buy something very lightweight that folds into a pouch. Carry it with you and you'll be fine. Any shoes that will get ruined getting wet I would leave at home. Take shoes that will dry out. Not cute or stylish but practical. I wear Keens, and never worry about drying them out. If shoes get soaked, stuff them with newspapers overnight and wear sandals or slippers at your hotel. Your shoes will probably be dry enough the next day. Traveling light is a little like packpacking. It is important to do the most with the least.

Posted by
492 posts

I fall in to the women who don't care how they look on a rainy day category so I apologize if this isn't helpful. Temperature of the day is probably just as important as the rain. We usually are in Italy in late spring so it's not so much a steady rain as thunderstorms type weather. For those days I like a lightweight rain jacket with a hood. I can then add more or less layers as needed for temperature. Whatever shoes you bring, make sure they are well broken in and comfortable with goods ankle support. I would think suede would be risky unless its treated for wet weather.

Posted by
14013 posts

I also don't like to carry an umbrella because I like to have both hands free, especially for taking photos. And I like carrying a sturdy rain poncho, which as others have said, goes over your purse, pack, whatever, and keeps them dry too. When the rain ends, just flip the poncho off, inside-out, fold it up and put it in a nylon bag. And a shower cap is really good for cameras. I don't know if leather boots will get wrecked or if they will keep you dry. Keep in mind that if there's a lot of rain, your footwear will get wet - bring alternate footwear for the next day, in case they don't dry out overnight. You really need thick soles for Florence, wet or dry, those cobblestones are a killer on the soles of your feet if they (the soles) aren't sufficiently cushioned. Lastly, it's been my experience that when it's raining, people aren't focusing on what other people are wearing.

Posted by
16 posts

Thank you all for writing, it has been very helpful. I just want to make sure that I bring the right things; I'm trying to avoid overpacking this time, and I don't want to spend any more money. Swan, you understood perfectly, incl your reference to backpacking. I like the poncho idea, any recs on where to get a cheap one quickly? I'll figure it out. Shoes ARE the issue. I can only think of taking my running shoes, hiking boots, or a really old pair of Naots that are open toe and have seen way too many countries. I walk 10 hours a day when I travel. MILES. Did I mention that I want to go into the high end stores and shop for a Pucci dress for a special occasion? I hope it's a sunny day!!!

Posted by
11437 posts

Teresa, I love love love my Naots, but they will suck in major rain, a light shower once in a while is fine, but if the weather forecast is for rain then I wouldn't even bring any open toe shoes, and I would also leave my suede at home.
Bring running shoes, but also have to bring something else since they need to be alternated with something so they have time to dry out inbetween wearings. I always bring a small umbrella to Europe, even in middle of summer, I don't do hoods. I usually just bring a light rain jacket and sweater but I mostly visit late May -September so don't hit long stretches of rain. There was one summer in Paris where it literally downpoured, I ended up buying a cheap rain poncho.

Posted by
15 posts

Theresa, I was in Italy last spring and it rained in Rome and Florence for 10 out of my 12 day trip! Some days it didn't rain until late afternoon; some days it rained continually. Prior to leaving, i checked the weather and reluctantly spent money a lightweight Michael Kors raincoat (not exactly high end, i know). it was the best money I spent!! I wore it every day! All the cute outfits I planned were hidden under that rainjacket and am umbrella. You. Can buy a cheapo one from a street vendor when you arrive so no need to bring one in your suitcase. I wore my shoes one day and switched to sneakers after that. My feet stayed dry even with all the walking in puddles, etc. all the best!

Posted by
118 posts

you can get a cheap plastic poncho at a dollar store before leaving. they fold up really tiny. bonus: since you seem very fashion conscious, if you get a clear one, your nice outfit underneath will still be visible!

Posted by
16 posts

Thank you, everyone! You've been great! Yes my mind has been thinking all along of buying something like the lightweight Michael Kors raincoat, but I'd rather spend my money on a Missoni sweater in Florence (outlets, anyone?), so poncho it is! teresa

Posted by
3540 posts

Have a hooded plastic poncho avail in case you need it. waterproof spray your shoes(not suede type or gd leather short boots) bef you leave home and for sure take a mini travel umbrella. Last wk I was in torrential rain in S. Spain and I was glad a did NOT have my good shoes.Remember it is fall and the season changes quickly.

Posted by
434 posts

Hi, We are leaving for Italy in November, first time. I plan to bring light rainproof jacket with a hood that pulls out. I also bring a baseball hat, keeps the sun off of my face and rain. This may not be everyone's option. As for shoes, I am debating between my Keens and my tennis shoes. Hope you have a good time.

Posted by
484 posts

I took a trip to Scotland this Summer. Raincoat was one of the best things for that trip. I don't care about looks when it rains - more concerned about function. NO one else on the street (don't know you anyway) will care either. For lots of rainy days - raincoat with a hood that folds up into its own pocket for traveling. Get a larger size for length and looseness over clothes for air circulation. Barginoutfitters.com About $60 Hi-Tec Brand. "Downpour Rain Shell" or "storm-chaser." I used it as a windbreaker coat as well. REI has good outdoor raincoats as well. Marmot for $90.
If you don't expect to use it much - just get a cheapie, fold-up, clear poncho from Wal-Mart and toss it out when done (if it's too hard to dry and fold-up). (Outdoor/Camping section) There are some fashionable, compact travel raincoats if you search the internet. How much do you want to spend? How much will you use it? Will you use it as your main (only) coat? Will you use it at home?

Posted by
484 posts

I forgot. A fashionable raincoat for $70 that can be packed - go to www.aqua0. Different colors. Have a detachable hood. Envelope for packing. Brand is Aqua 0.

Posted by
14013 posts

Rain ponchos - I got really good ones on sale at R.E.I. online and Amazon at around $15-20 each. Then I found one at Walmart for $4. Also pretty good quality. I wouldn't rely on the cheap ones, they won't keep you dry, especially if they rip apart with the least stress. The best are the ones that have a visor on the hood.

Posted by
1446 posts

Teresa, I would take a small umbrella and a lightweight rain jacket, perhaps with a zip-out lining in case it's a bit cool. I got a lightweight jacket at Burlington Coat Factory earlier this year with a hood & a zip-out lining. It goes down to the top of my thighs so it's not as bulky as a long coat. I also use it on the plane if it's cold. I personally would not travel this time of year without some type of a jacket in case it's raining a lot & or it's cold. Definitely don't wear the suede boots on days that rain is predicted & I would also spray them with a water repellent spray before you leave home, in case they get a little wet. If you're going to walk as much as you say, I would suggest wearing tennis shoes as walking on cobblestones, uneven streets, in dirt, etc. can be very taxing and tiring for the feet. Tennis shoes are much more supportive than boots especially for walking great distances. Have a great trip!

Posted by
11981 posts

Please no more posting of comments in this thread. Teresa has been in Florence for some days already, so any advice now would be too late. She'll have to do with whatever gear she took with her. If not, there are plenty of stores in Florence where she can buy whatever she needs.

Posted by
16 posts

Thank you, everyone, for taking the time to write and for your detailed suggestions. Florence was great. It did rain and I was prepared. Looking forward to my next trip.

Posted by
964 posts

But Teresa, you haven't told us the most important part, lol- did you get anything by Missoni? And if so, where??