The coolest store this summer is MILLETS, according to fashion


Rain, rain, rain, rain, rain. It’s official: there’s never been a June in Britain when we’ve had to contend with such downpours. Forget those mimsy ‘shower-proof’ trench coats and those flimsy cotton macs, that’s anorak-force weather out there.

Not to despair, though, for with a flash of lightning and a clap of thunder, I bring you the unbelievable fashion news that, right now, there’s nothing so utterly stylish as proper rainwear.

Yes, outdoor utility coats from brands such as North Face and Helly Hansen: the sort of no-nonsence garb you might wear to scale Kinder Scout.

Seeing all those jackets reminded me that this autumn, menswear has influenced womenswear and oversize utility outerwear is a thing. In fact, it was the centrepiece of the Paris catwalk show from luxury label Balenciaga.

As is so often the case, menswear tends towards the sensible and its effect on our wardrobes could not be more timely. I am not suggesting you rush out to buy one of the luxury fashion takes on the cagoule but rather that you have a browse in your local camping shop.

In terms of how to accessorise your utility rainwear, anything streamlined will do, and this summer’s cropped shape are a good bet for avoiding troublesome puddles.

Personally speaking, before I go shopping or even log on to my favourite online stores, I’ll be rummaging around my own coat pegs. I do love it when fashion suddenly gives status to some old thing we already own.

Take, for example, the turquoise Patagonia jacket with an orange lining I use for running, which has often made me put on a sprint for the nearest bush, should I see someone I know coming towards me. 

Not now. I’ve realised it has possibilities for being repurposed in polite society. For one thing, it’s the right block colour. (I would caution against ‘fun’ prints on utility wear.)

Do also explore the wardrobe of the men in your life. This weekend, my husband came into the house with a £15 Peter Storm nylon hoodie from the Nineties he’d disinterred from the boot of the car. Its next trip will be to the haute couture shows in Paris next month.

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