10 of the best raincoats to beat the autumn showers

With up to 225 wet days a year in Ireland, it’s worth investing in a decent raincoat that’s stylish and sustainable as well as functional

We are used to rain in Ireland whatever time of the year and, given our variable climate, we are never far from a drizzle or a shower. When it comes to braving the elements and dressing fashionably, however, function and practicality need not preclude style.

As skies darken, the most essential element of outerwear apart from boots is a decent raincoat. As hardcore hikers and bikers will tell you, there’s a difference between waterproof, windproof or showerproof; the latter is no match for the soaking of a heavy downpour.

With 150-225 wet days a year in Ireland, it is surprising that rainwear doesn’t usually figure in many Irish collections, though designer Michael Mortell once made his name for stylish leopard print numbers. Georgia In Dublin has become known for well-designed rainwear primarily aimed at cyclists; their Bronte or Hustle & Bustle jackets look great on or off the pedals, topping their patented Rainwrap skirt.

Today some of the most outstanding brands come from Scandinavia, like the acclaimed Stutterheim from Sweden, which can be found in Scout in Dublin, along with their Rainwalker boots. The sustainable brand Rains from Denmark is known for great festival raingear; their vegan puffer jackets are made from recycled polyester and nylon.


BRGN from Bergen in Norway claim to come from “the rainiest city in Europe” and their three-layered, well-cut garments are waterproof, windproof and breathable (I lived in one all last winter). Award-winning Norwegian Rain is another Norwegian company making soft and sensual tailored rainwear, “raincoats that don’t look like raincoats” that are stylish, breathable and fully waterproof, made from Japanese eco fabrics.

There are cute inexpensive packaway raincoats in Marks & Spencer for €65, and one of H&M’s best sellers is a black and white gingham number for €39.99. But for a long-term investment, nothing beats a proper Macintosh or a Barbour waxed jacket. Francis Campelli’s macs in double textured cotton sell worldwide from his base in Dublin, while Stable’s ink mac coat is a new take on a wardrobe staple (though it must be ordered in advance). Plastic disposable ponchos should be avoided – they are not great for the environment, whatever about their fancy colours.

Sturdy favourites continue to be the ever-popular trench (epaulettes do wonders for the shoulders); or the hardy wax jacket, a wardrobe workhorse that never goes out of fashion and is continually reinvented, so durable it often outlives its owner. Long-term buys often outweigh the cost of cheaper alternatives and are more sustainable. Here is a selection of 10 wet weather warriors.

Deirdre McQuillan

Deirdre McQuillan

Deirdre McQuillan is Irish Times Fashion Editor, a freelance feature writer and an author