New York-based writer Chris Black takes our Ventile City Raincoat for a spin in its natural environment: the city.
Dressing for the weather in the Big Apple requires a stocked arsenal of garments of all weights and materials. My wardrobe is overflowing with a mix of GORE-TEX®, cashmere, denim, waxed cotton, and canvas. Each serving a particular purpose, some get worn only to battle the elements, some are purely for style, but rarely can you find something that covers both categories. Trust me, I have looked, tirelessly.
In my mind, this unicorn, this perfect piece of clothing, would be a jacket. Hard-wearing and versatile, with details that make it unique. I need a stiff collar, a voluminous hood, interior pockets, sized up for layering underneath if conditions should require. Something I will feel good in, strangers will feel compelled to complement, a timeless piece that can live in my cramped closet surrounded by t-shirts and statement pants for years and years to come. One for the ages!
"In my mind, this unicorn,
this perfect piece of
clothing, would be a jacket.
versatile, with details that
make it unique."
At first glance, the English Ventile City Raincoat was what I was looking for. But, it had an apparatus that intimidated me. Something I was unsure if I – an ordinarily confident dresser – could make work. A belt, when securing my trousers on my waist, was a concept I was familiar with. But when faced with the task of fastening the belt on a raincoat, I was less confident. I don’t even wear a robe, so I had zero experience to call on.
Should I keep it traditional and cinch it around my waist? Seems a bit formal and orderly for my personal tastes. I could tie it in the back, a sexier look I had seen pulled off many times by experienced wearers, but what knot would I choose? I am not a Boy Scout or a sailor. I could casually stuff the belt into the pockets, signaling that I am much too busy to deal with something so minor. My first instinct was, of course, to just let it hang, which seemed like the best choice for my casual look, but in practice it felt a bit sloppy. In the end, I opted for a combo, leaving the beautiful 100% Ventile cotton – somewhere between hunter and olive drab – coat unbuttoned, and tying the belt in a tight knot. In my eyes, the ideal marriage of casual and functional.
As I strolled SoHo, coffee in hand, my choice felt right. I had solved the riddle of the belted coat: a long standing sartorial fear, conquered.