It's My Birthday* And I'll Rationalize If I Want To... - une femme d'un certain âge

It’s My Birthday* And I’ll Rationalize If I Want To…

Burberry Brit “Bowpark” Raincoat

Or, Just Buy The Damn Coat Already.

One thing we really can get by without in Southern California is a Good Raincoat. During our half dozen annual rainstorms, my ancient leather coat and maybe an umbrella are all that’s needed to dash from the car across the parking lot to the nearest door or overhang.

But each time we prepare to travel to colder and wetter climates than our own, a minor panic sets in and sends me scurrying to the mall to try and find a decent looking, warm raincoat. Each time as part of the process I’ve wound up trying on that season’s iteration of the Burberry coat above, then each time walked away due to the price tag. After that nothing else I try measures up, so I leave empty handed.

I’ve been going through this drill again during the last couple of weeks, scouting both in person and online, trying multiple brands and styles and ultimately rejecting all for rubbery fabric or poor fit or lack of lining or lumpy, unbecoming style. I was adamant about avoiding a standard double-breasted trench (they look terrible on me unless worn open, defeating the purpose here), which considerably narrowed my options. In the interest of packing light I only bring one overcoat, so it has to be warm and water resistant and look polished enough for city wear. Finally I relented and tried on this style. Again.

Happy Birthday to me.

Seriously though, this is a classic style that I do think will serve me well and be in my wardrobe forever. With the lining removed it’s just enough coat for winters here, and will be my go-to travel outerwear except for the most extreme winter conditions (which we rarely travel into anyway). I’m always talking about buying “fewer but better” pieces and upgrading my wardrobe with higher quality items, and this certainly upgrades the outerwear portion. I wish I’d bought it five years ago when I first tried it on, and when the price was about half of what it is now.

Is a good raincoat a wardrobe essential for you?  Do you have a favorite? Or do you have any recent retail rationalizations to confess? 😉

More single-breasted raincoats:

*56, in case you were wondering.

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  1. March 4, 2013 / 11:02 am

    Happy Birthday!
    I go back and forward over Burberry trenches too, yes it’s almost a necessity here, but I feel a bit “going to work” in one, so not sure that it’s worth it for me.

  2. March 4, 2013 / 11:02 am

    Happy Birthday!
    I go back and forward over Burberry trenches too, yes it’s almost a necessity here, but I feel a bit “going to work” in one, so not sure that it’s worth it for me.

  3. March 4, 2013 / 11:32 am

    I commuted by bus and Metro for 4+years here in the NE of England. I found nothing beat a London Fog trench coat (a US brand, oddly): machine washable, removable lining, detachable (as if I would) hood. I wear my trench about 9 months of the year, with or without the lining.

  4. March 4, 2013 / 12:29 pm

    I just spent a cold weekend out at our farm (fortunately with central heat and a roaring fire in the fireplace) with one of my girlfriends as a guest. She brought along her Burberry coat of this style (hers is red). It made a real impression on me and I may be looking at it too (probably in black). I agree with you–it’s perfect.

    Like you, double breasted coats do not flatter me. I do have a Burberry double breasted loooonnnnnng trench coat from the 1980s which I take with me to cold winter climates–and try to wear it open if possible.

  5. March 4, 2013 / 1:21 pm

    Happiest of birthdays! A coat is one of the items I’ll break the bank for, as it returns its value in wear and pleasure. Have a wonderful celebration!

  6. March 4, 2013 / 1:31 pm

    Happy Birthday! Wishing you many years of health and happiness in your new coat! PS – I never understood (or desired!) the practicality of a detachable hood on a coat until I moved to Vermont!

  7. Anonymous
    March 4, 2013 / 1:33 pm

    Happy Birthday, may it not rain often in your heart. But do enjoy your coat.
    Now I must break down and get the one I saw from Transparente. Thanks
    for the push.

  8. Sam
    March 4, 2013 / 1:35 pm

    Happy birthday from a fellow March baby 🙂 And enjoy the Burberry! The perfect coat for UK travel. (And Parisian travel; it rains there more than it does in the UK.)

  9. March 4, 2013 / 1:45 pm

    I have one question about this coat style. (I’ve read reviews.) Several who purchased it through Nordstrom say in their reviews that it is tight across the shoulders and bust area. Did you have to go up a size (as several of them said they did) to allow for this?

    • March 4, 2013 / 1:55 pm

      Susan, I’ll let you know, as they didn’t have my size in the store so I’ve ordered for home delivery (tried on a 4 which was just a bit too snug in the shoulders, ordered the 6…which is the size I mostly seem to take these days). I think the armholes are cut higher and tighter than most US brands which makes for a more flattering look, but also causes the jacket to feel more snug in the shoulders and upper arms than maybe some are used to.

  10. March 4, 2013 / 2:06 pm

    I have three coats for the rainy Mohawk Valley weather- a three quarter length that looks great with dressier items, a sunny yellow to brighten up the darker days and my everday black, belted shorter version. I love the polished look a nice rain jacket can give to an everyday outfit. In fact, I think I will look for another. Something in another sunny color.

  11. March 4, 2013 / 2:49 pm

    From someone in the throes of an endless New England winter: buy a coat you love.

  12. March 4, 2013 / 3:12 pm

    Happy Birthday!
    I have a quilted Burberry jacket which is as new and fresh as the day I brought it home about 6 years ago. I still love it. I hope that you will find yours to be a keeper too. I rationalize pricey things by the CPW factor.
    Hope you have some fun celebrating you today 🙂

  13. March 4, 2013 / 3:16 pm

    Happy birthday you baby you! The coat will be perfect on you. That tad of plaid and your leopard accents. I can see it now.

  14. Anonymous
    March 4, 2013 / 3:26 pm

    Happy Birthday! Living in southern California as well, I identified immediately with your description of “outerwear panic” when packing. I’ve been depending on a Marmot Destination rain coat from several years back. It’s black, streamlined, truly waterproof but not stiff, has a hood, and can pass for city wear. But it’s not lined. So on my trip to the U.K. last August, I layered up. Wore it daily in the Lake District and Edinburgh.I have to do the same when I visit my son in Seattle. Enjoy your new coat 🙂


  15. March 4, 2013 / 3:28 pm

    Happy Birthday! You will be looking chic in that coat for years to come, through travels to all sorts of wonderful places — no need to rationalize to us!

  16. ammie
    March 4, 2013 / 4:25 pm

    Like the previous poster “anonymous”, I like to travel with an unlined rain coat and layer underneath if needed. A couple of years ago I purchased a great wrinkle proof, packable and lightweight raincoat from Babette. I know you have tried her slacks/pants, but you should check out her raincoats too. She changes the style, weight, and colors each season along with her collection… check out her website She has a store near you in Santa Monica.

  17. March 4, 2013 / 4:41 pm

    Happiest of Birthdays to you! Mine is later this month (70)… I recently bought from LL Bean (yes) their 3/4 length raincoat in a pale almond shade with black trim and a neat little half-belt in back. I also don’t wear double-breasted and belted trenches, although I still have a Burberry like that from maybe thirty years ago, still wearable. So you’ll love yours for a long, long time. It really suits your style.

  18. rb
    March 4, 2013 / 5:03 pm

    Happy Birthday to you!

    A “classic trench” is on every must-have list, along with the white shirt so many of us have difficulty with.

    I’m glad you found the version of a trench that works for you. That double-breasted classic style can be hard to wear.

  19. Anonymous
    March 4, 2013 / 5:04 pm

    Happy Birthday! I finally replaced my 20+ yearold London Fog with Burberry black trench with lining. Got it from Nordstrom on preseason sale before my trip to UK and Paris last Oct. It was definitely a splurge but I wore it nearly every day as evidenced by the factthat I am wearing it in nearly every photo! You will be glad you have a coat you love!

  20. March 4, 2013 / 6:16 pm

    Wishing you a lovely birthday. It’s an adorable (and practical) coat – and let’s face it, it’s hard to find a coat that we love and that fits well and that’s classic.

    I remember struggling with a decision to buy a simple, perfectly fitted leather jacket some years back. Finding an in-between weight that can be worn any season with any style isn’t easy – especially when you’re hard to fit.

    Well, I went for it. (It was about $100 best I recall.) I’ve probably gotten more wear out of it than any other coat I’ve ever had… still looks great, and never regretted it.

  21. March 4, 2013 / 6:23 pm

    Many happy returns of the day (not of the coat)!

    I don’t even see why you’d *need* to rationalize buying a coat that’s going to serve you forever and look good doing it. It’s a trench, not a trashbag made of baby ocelot eyelashes.

    I finally found a trench that works on me from London Fog. As a plus-size almost cartoonishly hourglass/pear shape, most trenches make me look like I’m dressing up as Betty Boop disguised as a baked potato. Not alluring.

    The trench that won for me was a light sand-colored single-breasted number with princess seams, a skirted hem and a trapunto collar. I only wish I’d bought six of them and given them out to all my plus-size girlfriends.

  22. March 4, 2013 / 6:29 pm

    Happy Happy Birthday Susan! Yes, please just buy yourself that lovely coat.

  23. March 4, 2013 / 6:52 pm

    Happy birthday! I hope you bought yourself more than a coat 😉

    I have a very lightweight, unlined black rainslicker that I paid a whopping $8 for. I also have a lined, classic double breasted purple (quelle surprise) trenchcoat. Because I’m petite I had to have it altered but it was well worth it.

    Spashionista (Alicia)

  24. March 4, 2013 / 8:00 pm

    Happy Birthday! That’s a great coat, sure to give you many years of beautiful wear.

  25. RoseAG
    March 4, 2013 / 12:10 pm

    With a public transit commute and Mid-Atlantic weather I west a raincoats almost 3 seasons.I have Spring and Fall versions. I try to stick to light shades so drivers will see me in twilight!

  26. Juliet
    March 4, 2013 / 12:34 pm

    Happy birthday to another 56 year old though I am two months older! I chose a very expensive Mulberry handbag as my present from my husband though I had vowed not to buy another when their prices increased just to inflate their profits. It was a hard decision (even though it was a gift) but no other make had the right shade of dark brown in a suitable style and size. I justified it after I had tried for three months (not able to wait five years as I had boots that I wanted to match!) to find an alternative the “ticked all the boxes”.

    I agree that a double-breasted coat or jacket does not flatter the more busty figure. It is often difficult to find a single-breasted style even amongst the Burberry and Aquascutum designs. Barbour (another UK make) has more single-breasted styles but used to be styled for “country wear” so is usually quite casual.

    Maybe your purchase will ensure good weather for your UK holiday but you have still got a very practical long-term acquisition in that coat: I wish you well to wear it!
    Juliet, Thames Valley UK

  27. Cornelia
    March 4, 2013 / 12:48 pm

    Happy Birthday, and I am glad you treated yourself well. I purchased the classic tan trench a few years back (also swallowing had), but now I am so glad I did. Happy with my purchase every time I wear it.

  28. Pam @ over50feeling40
    March 4, 2013 / 12:52 pm

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!! May it be a special one…of course, you deserve such a cute coat. I wish it rained here!! Seriously, have a wonderful day pampering yourself!!

  29. coffeeaddict
    March 4, 2013 / 1:26 pm

    If I were given a choice between a suit or a raincoat, the raincoat wins hands down! The one you got is cool, stylish and sporty chic and can be worn with casual, business, even evening wear which more than justifies the price.
    Happy birthday!

  30. March 4, 2013 / 9:41 pm

    Just wondering about the EF coat you purchased last year….Did it not work for you? Curious because I bought the same one last year…,:)

    • March 4, 2013 / 9:46 pm

      NDMom, yes it does work for me…in LA. In fact I wore it just this morning. But as you know, it’s a lightweight piece, and I really needed something much warmer.

    • March 4, 2013 / 10:03 pm

      Ahhhhh…..makes sense……Maybe now I will “rationalize” a Burberry too! I turn 50 next year…. Hmmmmmm….. 😉

  31. Chicatanyage
    March 4, 2013 / 2:17 pm

    Coat looks great. Good buy I am sure it will last for years. Happy Birthday. A very fitting present.

  32. March 4, 2013 / 11:19 pm

    Happy Birthday! I think you will definitely be wearing it for years to come! Do bring it to England – you will be sure to get use out of it.

  33. Sandy at You May Be Wandering
    March 4, 2013 / 3:36 pm

    Happy Birthday!!! I love the raincoat…definitely a MUST for your upcoming trip!!

  34. Sheila
    March 4, 2013 / 3:55 pm

    Happy Birthday! What a lovely gift for yourself – no rationalizing necessary!

  35. March 5, 2013 / 12:14 am

    Happy Birthday to you, Dear Une Femme! You will be looking wonderful and feeling just as great when you wear your new coat.

  36. mette
    March 4, 2013 / 4:57 pm

    Happy Birthday Susan!
    Burberry coats are classics, unfortunately no longer all are made in Britain.
    I have a very old Henri Lloyd ” waxed type ” coat worn over a quilted one by the same producer, both worn here at home.
    If I don´t manage with an umbrella, I won´t go out when it rains in the town.

  37. sisty
    March 4, 2013 / 4:58 pm

    Happy Birthday, and welcome to Club 56! Excellent choice in raincoats — the trapeze shape is just perfect for those of us on the bustier side for whom double-breasted and belted just doesn’t work. I still have a trapeze shaped London Fog raincoat with a zip out wool lining that I bought in 1980 and still wear, believe it or not.

  38. L.P.
    March 4, 2013 / 5:54 pm

    Happy Birthday!! That coat is *you*. I’m glad you finally bought it for yourself. It’s classic, so it’s something you can wear for years and will be worth the price you paid. (Hey, I’m 56, too! It’s a good age.)

  39. Sulky Kitten
    March 4, 2013 / 5:57 pm

    Happy Birthday! I love your choice – I also have to avoid some double breasted coats. I have a really long duster-style coat that takes care of the rain for me. I think your choice will be perfect for your travels.

  40. California Girl
    March 4, 2013 / 7:12 pm

    hahahaha!!! Happy56th! I wasn’t even wondering and had to go back to figure out what the “56 in case you were wondering” referred to.

    I never had a raincoat in SoCal either. My first move east changed that. Subsequent moves, back & forth between the East and West Coasts had me changing raincoats periodically. I have an old one now and would love a new one. That Burberry looks very slick.

  41. collaborativewriter
    March 4, 2013 / 7:17 pm

    I have an Anne Klein bought a few years ago, and I’d say the right outerwear is absolutely crucial to the potential ruination of a trip. I mean that sincerely; if you are caught in a real downpour, as I was just last week in Iceland, and you’re wearing the wrong coat, as I discovered I was, it means slogging through heavy weather until you can get back to your room (perhaps hours later, as in my case), hanging everything up and hoping it all dries before you have to get on the plane the next day. Whereas, if I’d had the correct coat and boots, none of that would have happened, so, yes, the right outerwear means a lot (and that’s just on a practical level). On an aesthetic level, the right outerwear is possibly even more important, depending on where you’re going. I’m going to New York at the end of this week, and I’m taking my Anne Klein with me (I didn’t take it to Reykjavik, where it was too cold for that weight).

  42. Tiffany
    March 4, 2013 / 8:33 pm

    Happy Birthday! Enjoy the chic coat – looking forward to seeing a photo of it on.

  43. collaborativewriter
    March 4, 2013 / 9:34 pm

    Happy birthday, and you will never regret getting this coat. If it’s stylish enough for where you live, you’ll find excuses to wear it. I have lived in LA, and I was in Edinburgh not that long ago (and other parts of Scotland) in Spring, and you’ll be glad you have it. But I really got a laugh out of “buy the damned coat already” since it can take me years to make up my mind. I have given up shopping in stores, since my tendency to linger over racks for hours makes shop people suspect I am in the process of shoplifting, which isn’t true, but if you can’t make up your mind, it appears that way. I found your blog while researching *my* next trip, and I love what you’re doing! What a great idea for a blog. 🙂

  44. Madame Là-bas
    March 4, 2013 / 9:47 pm

    Happy Birthday to you. Your raincoat will be with you for years. As a petite, curvy the double-breasted trench is not the best look. The removable lining is a great feature. Coats are always an investment. Slogging through cold rain is never a pleasant experience as we on the wet coast know.

  45. Carolyn from Oregon
    March 5, 2013 / 5:52 am

    Bonne anniversaire! You deserve a memorable coat and stylish warm raincoats are hard to find.

  46. sophisticatedlady66
    March 5, 2013 / 1:11 am

    Happy birthday, fellow Pisces (my birthday was last Thursday)! No wonder I love your style! I hope you enjoy the coat, I bought myself a gorgeous red wool Calvin Klein coat for my birthday and I’ve been wearing it non stop since I bought it in early February, which I got at an unbelievably deep discount on I hope you have as much fun on your birthday as I did on mine!

  47. gracefully50
    March 5, 2013 / 1:39 am

    Happy Birthday to you!! GREAT choice! I can’t wait to see it on you!
    You know you’ll wear this for many many years to come!

  48. la Casalinga
    March 5, 2013 / 2:08 am

    Happy Birthday! I DID buy this exact coat 5 years ago. I wear it all the time here in the Pacific Northwest. The removable liner is perfect for colder days. You will be so happy with the quality of the coat. Mine still looks great! I can’t wait to see what else you choose to pack on your upcoming trip.

  49. Val Sparkle
    March 5, 2013 / 5:38 am

    Happy Birthday to you! You’ve caught up to my age. And do I have raincoats? With our rain – I have three raincoats. Two are fairly lightweight, which is kind of dumb because it’s often chilly when it rains. The best one is long, and has a removable liner and hood. But I see it on women everywhere I go, which kind of irritates me. I think I need to rationalize a new one next fall!

  50. MJ
    March 5, 2013 / 7:44 pm

    Belated birthday wishes. I finally sprang for the classic Burberry trench a few years ago; I’m tall and not curvy, and I needed something long enough to keep skirts dry. It’s really well made. Every time I put it on I notice how it has one more button than most coats, which helps keep it closed lower down, and I see that your coat similarly has a snap at the very bottom so that it will truly stay closed. I think you will enjoy your raincoat (jacket?) for many years.

  51. Nicolene Richards
    March 5, 2013 / 2:57 pm

    Happy belated birthday and concrats on your new purchase, it will serve you well for many years to come, and is the more mature women’s best friend, I cannot imagine a wardrobe without it. A trench is the most versatile item one can imagine, and the first thing I pack when travelling to Europe in mid season. So usefull! Enjoy!!

  52. Anonymous
    March 6, 2013 / 1:01 am

    This raincoat costs less than my original ipad, which is now pretty much obsolete after two years. IMO this coat is a bargain!!!

    Happy birthday! I’m pisces too!

    Christine G.

  53. Anonymous
    March 6, 2013 / 9:30 am

    That is just beautiful. I love most of Burberry Brit – which is why I never ever try it on (am a starving artist person :/ ) The prices are just painful, so I avoid.

    I’m in Los Angeles as well, and I lucked out a few years back by buying a black Anne Klein raincoat with turnlock closures ( a design weakness of mine) that is sorta perfect for our weather. So although I do shop around for trenches and raincoats half heartedly, that is one category I am all set in. And you will find that you DO need that raincoat – I guarantee you will wear the hell out of it.

    Happy Birthday!

    Sue K

  54. March 7, 2013 / 1:33 am

    That is a beautiful coat, and will serve you well in Britain and France, as well as Northern European countries if you should ever go there. Also much closer to home, in Portland, Seattle and Vancouver if you should head up there, on the raincoast with the totem poles and cool people in the fog.

  55. March 7, 2013 / 8:03 pm

    Nice choice. 🙂 No raincoat needed where I live either. It hardly rains in Texas and I haven’t been traveling to rainy climates lately.
    I’m glad you got those Gentle Souls boots! You’ll get a lot of wear out of them. They’re honestly one of the best boot purchases I’ve ever made.
    Belated birthday wishes!

  56. M-C
    March 10, 2013 / 9:23 pm

    One thought about California vs the rest of the world.. In California, you need a warm raincoat, because rain only happens in the winter. If it’s wet, it’s cold, it’s a given. BUT in the rest of the world, especially Europe, rain happens in all weathers. You may want to be protected from the wet even if it’s warm, or even hot. So you need a raincoat that’s not warm, but instead big enough to layer something warm underneath.

  57. Paula Brink
    March 19, 2014 / 6:36 pm

    I have that exact coat! I bought it in Santa Barbara on sale four years ago and love it. I live in Vancouver so it gets a lot of mileage. Last July I took it to Ireland and England (without the wooly liner) and it came in handy in Ireland and Cornwall. It looks as good as new still.
    Three years ago I bought a classic black Burberry trench as well. I find that one has smaller armholes than I am used to but the one with the liner is ample.
    Enjoy your coat and Happy Birthday!

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