Confessions of a Rainwear Fetish Mom - Raincoat Strategies for your Family: The Foreword

Stories and fantasies about rainwear.
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Confessions of a Rainwear Fetish Mom - Raincoat Strategies for your Family: The Foreword

Post by joe »

Confessions of a Rainwear Fetish Mom: Raincoat Strategies for Your Family

Foreword: How I Eventually Adopted the Balmacaan Raincoat as My Own Second Skin

I was a child of the Great Depression. I entered school in the late 1930’s and raincoats for grade school students were often slickers – heavy, rubbery and hot - or given the economic conditions of the times very lightweight and flimsy cellophane rain capes that could be worn on their own in warm weather or slipped over a warm wool overcoat in winter rains. The drawback was that cellophane rainwear was hardly long wearing as these coats tore easily. I was fortunate as a young grade school student to have a rubberized silk raincoat with a matching cap which were high style during the flapper era which my own Mom greatly favored for her fashion choices. I loved the strong rubber scent that struck you immediately as you put it on, the schlocky rustling sound as you moved about in the raincoat, and how the rain streaked down the wetted silk, first in giant splotches before the entire coat glistened in the soaking rain giving you this very in vogue Art Deco streamlined look. The raincoat hugged the entire form of my body and I felt as debonair as a radio star as I walked down the sidewalks of the city in the rain.

There were drawbacks – in the steamy sultry rains that lasted from the late spring to well into September - these rubberized silk raincoats were almost as infernally hot as the fisherman’s style heavier rubberized canvas rain slickers. I hated being hot – it was the one thing I detested about raincoats – I would sweat my dress - and if I could I would rip my raincoat off as soon as I reached my destination. This was not always possible on steamy buses and crowded subway trains as I stewed in my own juices. Although my mom taught and encouraged me to open and vent my hot raincoat grasping the ends of the now open coat to fan myself and dry off the unladylike perspiration, the need to wear a raincoat in thundery humid summer rains drove me batty and made me sullen with a cross look that today we would call – a resting bitch face!

From October through April when the temperatures were 65 degrees or below I yearned for rainy days to wear my raincoat. But on a warmer rainy day I detested my raincoat. It made me hot just to look at it before I even put it on. Steaming mad I would thrash into my raincoat. My Mom, always raising me to be an adult chided me: “A woman always wears her raincoat. Vent, Vent, Vent your raincoat.” Furiously I would vent my raincoat making great rustling sounds with it. Feeling the cooling zephyrs at last as I fanned my open raincoat and taking in the aroma of the rubber barricade against the rain, I would fasten the buttons on my coat. My Mom now with approval before sending me off to school would remind me: “It’s pouring out. A woman loves her raincoat. It’s her cover that lets her get as wet as she wants. Always rely on your raincoat.”

I wore the flapper raincoat into the beginning of World War II when I was in fifth grade and with increasing height outgrew my outerwear. A replacement wool winter coat was relatively easy to purchase, but not so much a replacement waterproof raincoat. Rubber shortages were suffered by the allies after Pearl Harbor and consumer rubber drives earmarked whatever consumer rubber raincoats, boots, etc. for recycling in the war effort. Ever patriotic, my parents donated my raincoat to a wartime rubber drive to be replaced by a oyster colored balmacaan raincoat. This coat actually began to appear before the war in 1939. One side of the coat was smooth rain shedding poplin, the reverse side was wool tweed. You could reverse as needed for the rain or dry weather and males or females had their own version that they could wear except when it was very warm or very cold when you would be wearing a winter wool coat anyway. For sudden summer rainstorms you wore a lightweight cellophane raincoat. Even though these would have to be thrown out after only a few wearings to church or to be sent on a rainy day errand, I enjoyed this ultralight summer rain gear that would keep me composed, cool and airy underneath its protection. As for the reversible balmacaan raincoat, I was more than willing to look contemporary with older high school and college students even though the rain-shedding poplin-side would soak through in a downpour. The wool tweed interior side would keep the rain from seeping through to my school clothes. At least I was freed from my infernally hot rubber slicker!

Soon I begin to consider my beige raincoat as part of my daily uniform. My mom would force me into a wool coat when the temps were below 40 and blustery. But I loved rainy days when I could look out the window in the morning and see the rain pelting down. Asserting my adolescent independence, I would fairly sing out: “I need my raincoat!” Even if it was not raining in the morning, I would scan the rudimentary weather forecasts of the 1940s in the newspaper and even if it were just a chance of rain or only cloudy I would reach for my raincoat with great satisfaction. This satisfaction was only surpassed when I would begin my walk to school soon to be joined by all my friends in their raincoats. If it was pouring really hard, we would grit our teeth in the face of the driving rain and almost be jealous of the police on foot patrol in their heavy rubber slickers as our own raincoats would get soaked. Wartime though it was, even horrible weather was not a reason to complain. Those serving in the Armed Forces were surely enduring inclement weather wherever they were and much worse. Arriving at school we would sweep off our most soaked raincoats and with typical adolescent disdain roll our eyes at the monsoon we had just walked through. We felt like big stuff as our wet raincoats were testimony that we were now on our own to weather life’s storms. I felt that I was one up on the boys who were still in their grade school black rubber slickers with helmet hoods. I laughed devilishly at the teenage boys who would just bitch about having to still wear their hot childhood rubber slickers.

Growing taller still in my high school years my combination poplin raincoat/tweed topcoat was replaced by another classic but unlined Balmacaan raincoat which I wore for every occasion and everyday over my school uniform and saddle shoes. Combined with a silk headscarf in rainy or windy weather, this coat never came off except when it was bitter cold necessitating a long heavy wool coat. My raincoat weathered both storms of wet weather and of adolescent angst. I truly adopted my raincoat as a second skin – one that could take a beating as it was worn on the bus, slung over soda fountain stools, worn to excursions into New York City for performances or draped soaking wet on coat hooks to wait out a day of classes until worn again in an afternoon deluge. My classmates and I would abandon female decorum and curse the pouring heavens as we turned up our collars, hissed at the rain and relied on our beloved raincoats as we drenched them on our long walks home.

Until London Fog introduced a woman’s version of their iconic Balmacaan raincoat in 1955 and shortly thereafter included a zip-in pile liner, I had arguments with my Mom who was pushing for my heavy wool coat in wintry rains. Fortunately, we had two paths of compromise. I could layer one of the clear plastic fold-up raincoats over my winter coat. Or layer a sweater under my beige raincoat. This remained my go-to coat long after graduation and my workday commute into New York. My first real investment purchase was a zip-lined London Fog in the late fifties. I was delighted to continue to be in style for the early 1960s, the JFK administration, and what would now be known as the Mad Men era. I was by now a committed raincoat fetishist and being a young wife and mother began to seriously think about how I would raincoat my family. Meanwhile, commuting together, my husband and I wore our raincoats or at least carried them every day to work. The best was when he and I would get drenched together in our raincoats or when I would take a wet lunch hour out with other well-dressed lady co-workers, all of us trying to keep the rain off our backs in our ever-present raincoats. Lunch hour always began by sweeping on my London Fog and I would remind the women that we were going to need our raincoats. We would all chirp and chatter about our raincoats and nestle into them with great flourish. A major turn on! I absolutely loved, loved, loved my raincoat and was ready to share my wisdom and pass on this extraordinary pleasure to my family.
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Re: Confessions of a Rainwear Fetish Mom - Raincoat Strategies for your Family: The Foreword

Post by Gordo »

I think that I would much prefer a rubber slicker to a Poplin or Balmacaan raincoat. And a climate that has cooler summers then New York, say like Western or Northern Europe.
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