April showers might bring eventual May flowers, but in the meantime, the constant rain of spring can certainly be a cramp on anyone's style. Be it drizzle or a downpour, the rain requires specific attention when composing a warm-weather wardrobe — ignoring the weather outside won't make it go away, so it's best to accept the damp reality and move on. And whatever the circumstance, one must be especially careful to avoid making the greatest mistake of all: refusing to wear rain boots.
Now, this isn't an endorsement for Hunter or L.L. Bean or any other rain boot maker for that matter, but rather a serious warning that really cannot be stressed enough. As someone who has spent the past five years living in a concrete jungle where torrential rainstorms leave behind murky puddles of uncertain depth that simply refuse to seep into the ground, I've come to appreciate the benefits of owning and embracing a good pair of rain boots. Initially reluctant to wear a pair, I thought rain boots would destroy any attempt at style I hoped to make come spring. By the time I stepped into my first dirty rain pool wearing my favorite pair of sandals, however, I realized that I needed to make a change. I needed to start learning how to wear rain boots.
Act Like You're Going To Glastonbury
Who better than the Brits to take inspiration from when dressing for the rain? One of England's biggest music festivals, Glastonbury is as legendary for its music as for its inevitable mounds of mud. The smartest festival goers come prepared, always finding ways to somehow transform a pair of rain boots into something undeniably chic. In an attempt at mimicking cool girls like Alexa Chung, Kate Moss, and Florence Welch, this look is best achieved with some skinny black jeans that can easily be tucked into the rain boots (and hide any possible mud stains) topped off with a basic t-shirt (extra points for any vintage band tees).
Replace the t-shirt with a button-up topped of with a blazer or cardigan and you've instantly got a more polished look. Conversely, switch out the jeans for a pair of cut-offs and you've just created the perfect summer rain ensemble. Either way, dressing up your wellies with Glasto in mind will definitely make the damp weather seem a bit more bearable and maybe even a little fun.
Remember That Opposites Attract
Like mixing prints or fits, pairing rain boots with more delicate pieces, like a cute sundress or maxi skirt, shouldn't really work, but does anyway. So, rather than reach straight for jeans when the grey clouds come rolling in, opt for a dress you thought only matched those brand new sneakers or flip-flops. The lightness and movement of a dress or skirt perfectly offset the tragic clunkiness and overall stiffness of rain boots. Plus, even if it's pouring rain outside, slipping on that flower printed mini will inevitably bring out a little bit of metaphorical sunshine.
And if there's still a little spring chill? Not a problem — summer dresses can work perfectly for that weird, sometimes cold, sometimes warm weather. Throw on a pair of printed tights for some extra color and add a slick raincoat (denim jackets and rain don't make for a great combination — the fabric just gets stiff and takes forever to dry), and you've got the perfect mixed-and-matched rainy day look.
Go Full Paddington
Again, I think the best way to approach dressing for the rain is to not only accept it, but also to embrace the fact that it's raining outside. Wearing impractical clothes will be miserable in more ways than one — no matter how cute an outfit is, if it's raining and you're dressed in flip-flops, without a jacket or even just an umbrella, your feet will get soaked, your hair will frizz, and it will be all too obvious that you were too lazy to check the forecast. Which is why another great way to style rain boots is to well, just go for it.
Perhaps the best — or at least the most fun — way to "go for it" is to take inspiration from, yes, Paddington Bear. Like any London native, Paddington knows what it means to dress for the rain. Obviously, one need not adapt his entire look — personally, I don't know if I'll ever be able to rock a bucket hat — but it's fun to draw some light-hearted inspiration from his classic rainy day style. Once you put on those rain boots, go all out and cover up in an old-school, toggle raincoat or tailored trench and top it all off with a sturdy, old-school umbrella. Just take a hint from street style star Taylor Swift, whose yellow plaid and red knit cap puts a sensible spin on the Paddington look. Sure, she isn't sporting rain boots (my guess is that it was just cold as opposed to rainy on the day she decided to wear the outfit), but her innovative take on look should inspire nonetheless.
Dressing with rain boots can be tough, especially since with the rain normally comes a decent amount of heat and/or humidity. Unlike in the winter time, when snow boots can be thrown over a pair of pants with some knit socks, in the spring and summer, the warming temperatures mean that rain boots must be worn with lighter denim, shorts, skirts, and dresses. Rain boots are inevitably on full display, unable to be hidden by the darker colors and various layers integral to cold weather. But with a bit of inspiration, rain boots can transform into a perfect, practical, and even downright fashionable spring and summer accessory.
Images: Author (1); Flickr/Antony Robinson (1); Giphy (2); Getty