On a rainy Saturday afternoon, I asked my partner whether I should wear my green Hunter wellies over my jeans to go to Central. It was pouring - the kind of rain that would ruin any pair of shoes. My partner gave me a quick look and replied, 'Not unless you want to get gawked at.'
While wellies are accepted in places such as New York and London, it's clear Hongkongers do not feel the same way. That day, I ended up wearing the oldest pair of shoes I have. They got soaked and left my feet cold and wet.
I learned a lesson that day, which is to follow my own sartorial voice. Hong Kong is as cosmopolitan and progressive as New York and London. If guys here can borrow and wear trends from women's fashion such as rivet-embellished jeans and shoulder-padded jackets, why can't I wear unisex rain boots? While I acknowledge that they became a universal phenomenon because of Kate Moss, I happen to know that Princes William and Harry wear the same pair as well.
If I have managed to convince you to wear rain boots the next time it pours, you might want to check out the rubber boots at DSquared2. They are manlier than Hunters and can be used on hunting and fishing trips. They come in dark green and black, and have laces on the shin up towards the knee. (2) On the runway, they were paired with poncho-like raincoats with hoods in punchy colours of yellow, blue and red. Wear the entire look and you are guaranteed to stay dry, but be warned - it is more about function than style.
If you want to look stylish and modern in the rain, go to Moncler and grab the pewter-coloured knee-length anorak designed by Thom Browne. What I like about this piece is that it has enough sporty elements (sting pulls, button flaps, hood) without looking like you're going to the gym. It would go nicely over a suit and make a run-of-the-mill style look on trend. It is also light and packs easily.
Prada also has hooded waist-length nylon jackets in powder blue and light grey that are good for braving the rain as well. (4) DKNY has a similar style with a zip on the front but in a vivid red colour. At Y-3 there is a version in acid orange, a colour so bright it'll lift your spirits in gloomy, depressing weather.
As cool as all these jackets are, they won't cover your bottom half. For that, head to Burberry, which has launched a capsule collection of raincoats in bright red, navy, purple, yellow and the classic khaki for its Burberry Brit line. The advertisement features a young couple in full Burberry rain gear - trench coats, boots and umbrella - dashing through rain and puddles. Ah, wouldn't it be so nice if we all looked that chic in the rain? Calvin Klein Collection, sold at Harvey Nichols, has raincoats that end mid-thigh. I like the one in pearly grey with the panel stitching on the arms. (3) It's a pricey take on the convenience store plastic raincoats that are hawked when it's pouring. Meanwhile, Dunhill goes classic English-gentleman-caught-in-a-downpour with a creamy waterproof gabardine belted coat.
Lastly, the most basic armour you should have against the rain is an umbrella, and I am not talking about the HK$20 dollar foldable kind. You should invest in one that's sturdy and handsome like Hermes' in classic black with a crocodile leather handle (1) or Valextra's, which has a chrome handle. But if you need an umbrella with an identifiable mark, then buy the one from Burberry in house plaid with a green or yellow border in the bottom. (5) It has to be better than using a copy of the newspaper as a shield once it starts to pour.
Burberry, 1/F, Alexandra House, Central, tel: 2868 3511
DKNY, 30 Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, tel: 2377 9900
DSquared2 , 4-6 On Lan Street, Central, tel: 2524 3988
Alfred Dunhill, Prince's Building, Central, tel: 2524 3663
Hermes, G/F, The Galleria, Queen's Road Central, tel: 2525 5900
Calvin Klein at Harvey Nichols, The Landmark, Central, tel: 3695 3388
Moncler, Shop 2061, IFC Mall, Central, tel: 2524 7779
Prada, 1/F, Alexandra House, Central, tel: 2522 2989
Valextra at Lane Crawford, IFC Mall, Central, tel: 2118 3388
Y-3, Shop 1038, IFC Mall, Central, tel: 2506 2071