Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Rain Bonnet Success!

Long-time readers will recall that, many moons ago, I wrote a post lamenting the demise of cute and stylish rain bonnets. And it occurs to me now that I never followed up on that post, despite the fact that I did follow through on the rain bonnet hunt. I ended up buying a bonnet online, through Ebay I think, and I'm really quite pleased with the one I scored, for tuppence really.

Dress: Beyond Retro, Rokit, or some such!
Cardigan: Gift from a friend
Belt: Top Shop or similar
Rain bonnet: Ebay
Jubilee badge: Button Badge online shop

Here I am sporting it as the rain came down at a Diamond Jubilee garden party last year. Yes, it's taken me that long to write this post... But this was the perfect occasion for it, as an umbrella really wouldn't have been convenient or wanted when there was croquet and dancing to be had. (As you are admiring the bonnet, do also take a moment to appreciate my fabulous, patriotic badge with a dashing young Betty bordered by the Union Flag.)

The rain bonnet seemed to be largely accepted within the confines of an event such as this. However, as a general rule and as with any of these slightly more quirky things, you have to keep your chin up and ignore some funny looks if you're going to wear a rain bonnet. But I happen to think it looks rather smashing, and thinking that in turn helps me to keep my chin up as I embrace the bonnet.

.... Although, to be honest, it doesn't get the full workout it deserves, as I'm prone to switch bags and find I've left it in the wrong one when I'm caught off guard by the rain... And the downside of the bonnet is the rustling plastic noise so close to your ears. Nevertheless, I do recommend investing a few pennies in one, or maybe more than one, so you can leave a bonnet in each of your favourite bags.

For the moment though, I'm hoping the need for a rain bonnet holds off for at least a month more and that the English summer lingers on a tad longer.

34 comments:

  1. Great idea, nicely executed!

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    1. Thank you! It really is a wonderful little thing and so handy... more people really should wear them!

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  2. Ahh I am so glad you found one, and you look marvelous in it, funnily I thought of you when I was in the Isle of wight as they seemed to be being sold everywhere! Keep you chin up and keep rocking your bonnet it looks fab!! xx

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    1. Thanks so much, lovely lady! And how lovely that you thought of me on the Isle of Wight. I hope that you bought yourself one there... x

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  3. They certainly are good things to have handy when you're watching sport of listening to a concert outdoors, where they don't like you putting up an umbrella and blocking people's view.

    A few years ago my mother lent me one of those concertina folded rain bonnets to wear watching the football. I wasn't real keen, in fact my 20-year-old fashion high horse got a real ride, but she said, just stick it in your pocket it can't do any harm. About ten minutes after I get into the venue, the heavens open and everybody's fighting with those oversized dry cleaning bags they sell as 'plastic ponchos' at $5 each, they look ridiculous and they're useless, I watch this happening around me for about a minute then stick my hand in my coat pocket, pull out Mum's rain hat, unfold it, stick it on and it rains for the next hoir solid but at the end I'm bone dry and everybody else is soaked. I doubt if I'd wear one anywhere else but in crowds they're absolutely essential and now I have an old nylon raincoat for those occasions as well - no point ruining a 'good' coat.

    It's hard for any comment you might have about my fashion sense (or lack thereof) to have any cutting edge at all when you're dressed like a giant ham roll.

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    1. In the post above, last para, the 'you' is the general 'you', and refers to people who use those plastic emergency ponchos which are no thicker than sandwich wrap - hence the 'ham roll' analogy.

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    2. Ha ha! Yes, I'd definitely rather a rain bonnet over a plastic poncho any day. And you're absolutely right, they're much more fuss-free, as well as more fun and stylish than ponchos.

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  4. Good for you having the confidence to wear a rain mate and shrugging off those funny looks. It does suit you. For some reason I seem to like girls wearing retro clothing and fashion. I do remember my aunt wearing the pleated pattern ones and always seemed to have one handy when it rained. I was thinking of getting one and keeping it handy folded up in my pocket for emergencies, as when I go grocery shopping I always seem to get caught out in the rain and get soaked, typical Scottish weather. Mind you I would get some funny looks as well.. Regards Scotty

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    1. Thanks very much! And perhaps the retro clothing and fashion is more appealling because it's classic and has stood the test of time... I think I've just been accidentally drawn to it for that reason.
      I love Scotland but yes, getting caught off guard by the rain constantly is no fun... I was in Glasgow recently without my rain bonnet and I kept having to put my umbrella up and down all the time. A rain mate may well be worth trying out up there. See how you go!

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  5. You look lovely indeed. My eye did slip to the patriotic badge even before I read that comment, and admired it in this setting. Love the "Spitfire" drink too. I needed that for the recent 40s/WWII night. Oz Jenny's post jerked at my heart with the story about her mum's rain bonnet. Delightful! I do have a query. The bonnet doesn't cover one's shoulders (which are the other part of me that catches the rain & wets through my coat) but it is sounding like it is enough. Is it? Is this a silly question? I'm glad you have followed up on that rain bonnet post too, Miss Marie :)

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    1. Hi Susan, Jenny here - first time I wore the rainhat, it was cold as well as wet and I had a thick ski jacket on, so my shoulders stayed dry. When it's milder I have a long red nylon raincoat, also very retro, has a belt to stop it being completely shapeless, and the color is amazing when it's wet, AND it matches my brolly!

      Mum said she'd ride a bike to school three miles each way (actually about 2km according to the map!) with a plastic or nylon raincoat and plastic rainhat and always be completely dry.

      So to answer your question: yes you would need a decent raincoat as well. Which is why I'll never ditch the brolly as a Plan A.

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    2. Thank you! And Jenny has partly answered the question about what happens to your shoulders! Personally, I've worn rain bonnets when there's a bit of drizzle, rather than downpour, just to keep my hair from frizzing up. I would hope that I'd gone out prepared with an umbrella if there was a downpour... but I do also need to get myself a raincoat - perhaps a bright red one like Jenny's!

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  6. Hello Miss Marie, it's good to see somebody else under the age of 80 that's still happy to wear such a timeless article, I wear them often whether I've got an umbrella handy or not - although for me it has to be the pleated accordion type Jenny talks about. In my opinion they are neater, they look more comfortable, they are easier to 'stash' because they fold up smaller, and besides that, they were fun when I was little, I loved the rustle and the snappy noise they made when you pulled them shut. I also think the folds across your crown make the rain 'run off' the plastic better. I'm 55 and have worn them for over 50 years since I was at pre-school and my mother had to tie the bow for me.

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    1. That's lovely to think that you've been wearing them so long, since you were a young child. I've only just come across them recently and never had them as a child. As such, I've not come across the pleated type yet, as I just got the first one I could find. I should maybe get a few more, and look for the accordion type, so that I can leave one in my various different bags and never get caught out! I needed one the other evening and found myself without... though fortunately, I did have a scarf around my neck that I was able to put over my head instead!

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  7. Hi Helena, yes I've only ever worn the accordion type but they're nearly impossible to find new now. When I bought the red raincoat from a Salvation Army store, there was a rainhat still in its pouch in the pocket, I don't think either of them had been worn more than once. I bought another one at a garage sale I remember. I definitely prefer the look of them to the kind Miss Marie is wearing, although she models it well. My red raincoat would certainly also suit her!

    At least we have a choice whether to wear them or not - Mum told me that 'in my day' in the early 70s they were part of her school uniform in wet conditions - if it rained you wore a blue raincoat and a rainhat over your school hat, and umbrellas were banned outright until the senior year. I went to the same school (left 10 years ago) and they'd got rid of the school hat and the rule about brollies but you were still meant to wear a blue raincoat, although most of us wore the shorter hip-length jacket.

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    1. I love it when you find a bonus in the pocket of something from a charity shop! And you're very kind to say that I model the rain bonnet well.

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  8. christopher 11 September 2013 20.44

    yes it is a lovely picture of you in your rain bonnet,perhaps you could give me some advise. is it wrong for a man to wear a rain hat of this nature. as a young boy my dear late mother always dressed me in a rain bonnet and plastic belted raincoat when the weather was appropriate. it was a wonderful experience and to this day on occasion still wear a boots rain bonnet with a smart plastic or nylon raincoat if only to go for a walk or pop to the shops

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    1. I certainly don't think it's wrong for a man to wear a rain bonnet! (Though perhaps a plain one, rather than one with polka dots...) If you're happy and comfortable doing so, then do it. You may have to endure some funny looks - as anyone who does anything a bit different does - but I never bother about those people.

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  9. Christopher 16 September 2013 19;00
    thank you for kindly replying to my question to you about men wearing a rain bonnet when the weather permits. I will continue to wear mine with a bit more confidence thanks to your kindness and help.

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    1. You're very welcome! I'm glad to have given you a confidence boost.

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  10. I think it would look good to wear a belted clear plastic mac and and rainbonnet

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    1. miss marie
      thanks again for the confidence boost you gave me a few weeks ago with regards to men wearing a plastic rain bonnet. I have since visited a national trust property on a decidedly wet day with a good friend and she also encouraged me to wear it which I gladly did. where in the past I would probably taken it off at some point on this occasion I was brave enough to keep it on, and to my great relief hardly anyone bothered one bit


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    2. You're so very welcome! And I'm glad you have a friend to encourage you as well. When I've been a bit intimated to try something new in public, it's always so much easier when I've had a friend on hand to 'protect' me and remind me that there's nothing wrong with what I'm doing. It's a great first step to then having the confidence to step out on the town in whatever you like, keeping your head high, with friends or alone.

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    3. Christopher
      miss marie
      recently returned from a lovely holiday in cornwall but even after your confidence boost I could not wear my rain bonnet there were just too many people around for it to be a comfort , but never mind perhaps November will be a rainy month and provide plenty of rain bonnet days, I hope so. I hope you manage to find a suitable raincoat to go with your bonnet, wether it be a smart trench. shiny pvc or a vintage plastic mac. I am sure you will get lots of pleasure whatever you choose. good luck

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  11. Just been reminded of a lovely story I heard in Church a few years ago.

    The lady telling the tale was called Jackie, about 50 or 55, a typical vivacious high-energy hostess type 'minister's wife' who also happened to be the vice-principal of the local high school. Hopefully I can do justice to her enthusiasm and also remember the details properly..

    She had been raised in the country but at age 14 her family had moved to the city. It would have been about 1970 I'd guess. She started at a girls school in the area, about five miles away so she had to catch the bus to and from. Her first few weeks at the new school were a bit painful, she got called 'hayseed', and the first time one of the other girls saw her getting out of her Dad's car they asked where his tractor was, that sort of stuff. First time she had to catch the bus home in the rain, she noticed all the other girls had blue nylon raincoats like it seems 90% of schools had, and most had matching umbrellas. Because she had always rode her bike to school back in the bush, she still had a bright safety-yellow coat so she could be seen on the dark country roads, and a concertina rain hat for her hair. She still had festoons of blonde curls in her 50s so you can only imagine how she'd have looked as a teenager.

    When Jackie got to the bus stop the sheltered part was chock full, there were other girls sharing umbrellas, a couple with brollies to themselves but were too snooty to share. One girl called her Paddington Bear. She was wearing gloves and it was too cold to take them off to tie her rain bonnet properly, so she just held the ties in one hand. Then another girl from her class came towards the stop, with the blue mac and umbrella.

    Jackie knew her name was Carol, and she was the girl every class in every school that's ever been has had, the girl that nothing ever happened without, pretty, bright, friendly, good at just about everything, known to be very kind and absolutely honest, trustworthy with your secrets, a good friend to all. She lived a quick walk from the school, so she was in the middle of everything literally as well. She recognised the 'new girl' in the yellow raincoat and inadequate plastic hat, and offered to tie her rain hat on properly, which she did and tucked as much hair under it as she could while Jackie held the umbrella over both of them.

    There was still a bit of time before the bus was due, so the two of them started talking. Carol said she had another raincoat at home, almost unworn but now too small, and her mother might still have another spare umbrella, which she used to borrow before she was given her own for her birthday. The last thing Carol did before the bus came was, she pulled a plastic rain hat out of her own mac pocket, unfolded it and put it on with Jackie still holding the brolly.

    Jackie said at that time she remembered for the first time that other girls from her class were behind them watching this whole exchange. It was not offering to share the umbrella or helping tie her rain hat on, or even the offer of the raincoat and brolly (both of which were handed over the next day). What impressed Jackie most about Carol, she said, was her putting the rain hat on which was for no other possible reason except to show solidarity and that there was no need to care what the 'peanut gallery' around them thought.

    Of a lifetime of stories Jackie probably could have chosen to illustrate her point about how little things can mean so much, and so much more that we can ever know at the time, she chose that one.

    Hope it wasn't too much of a stretch to read.

    Regards, Jenny

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    1. Hi again Jenny. I think I'm about the same age as the lady in your story and I have similar memories - to this day I love the closeness of sharing an umbrella, and tying the ties of somebody's rain hat for them is quite an intimate thing when you think about it, you're very much in their space and looking into their face. For the first year or so of high school there were rules just like in your Mum's day - everybody had to wear rainhats in the rain, and we'd often do that for each other.

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    2. Thanks so much for sharing this wonderful story, Jenny! I'm glad the discussion of rain bonnets reminded you of it and inspired you to tell it. It was a joy to read.

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  12. Hi Miss Marie

    You look great wearing a rain bonnet, I collect plastic rainwear and have more than 400 raincoats capes, poncho's and as much rain bonnets.
    I especially like the rain garments from the 1940's, 50's, 60's and 70's you don't see much ladies wearing plastic coats or capes when it's raining which is a pity because it's not only waterproof but also feminin and sexy.
    Looking forward to see more photos of you wearing (accordion type) rain bonnets and if you need some advice about plastic rainwear please leave a message on my Flickr page.

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    1. That sounds like an amazing and fun collection to have! Now I have a rain bonnet, my next plan is to get a lovely, brightly coloured rain coat. I'll certainly let you know if I'm after any tips. Thanks for the offer and your comment.

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  13. Ray

    Hi Miss Marie , I have read with interest all these comments about rain bonnets , and that they are being worn more and more by men. Up until four years ago I would never have considered wearing one , but then something happened to change all that. I do a great deal of driving in the job that I do , and would end up getting soaked every time I called in at a service area (I live in the UK). I have tried all types of hats and caps and none of them really work that well. Then one November evening after doing a small job for my mother in law I was about to set off walking back to my house when she suddenly said its pouring down out there. She knew that I did not possess any headwear and said wait there a moment , and came back with a rain bonnet(she calls it a rain hood). It was clear with black trim , had a visor and extended over my coat collar. I felt a little uncomfortable wearing it but soon realised that it was keeping me completely dry. When I returned it to her I told her how impressed I was with it and was singing its praises. She then suggested that I start wearing one when I am on my travels , as she thought this would be the ideal solution to my getting soaked problem. She said that wearing one that was clear with black trim would be okay , because black is a mans colour , men wear black pac-a macs and use black umbrellas. My wife thinks the same and I have worn one ever since , and there is nothing to beat them for keeping you dry.

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  14. A while ago I found a couple of pics of the Queen, no less, wearing a rain bonnet with a clear brolly while she was watching Princess Anne at the Olympics in Canada, and put them on another blog when this subject came up - can't remember what it was called but I might try and find them on Google Images, and maybe post them here, if I can work out how, with Miss M's permission of course....

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  15. Hi, Miss Marie , While reading all the posts i am glad to see that more men wearing a plastic rainbonnet. I think in combination whit a plastic raincoat its the way to keep dry when it is raining. But whem i wearing only a plastic raincoat while shopping most people look at a strange and funny way to me. It gives me a very unconfortable feeling. In combination whit a plastic accordion rain bonnet i am affraid people look more at me. Is this a typical problem in Holland. Have the men that wearing a rain bonnet in the UK also this problem.
    I think a rain bonnet in combimation whit a plastic raincoat is the way to keep dry in the rain, but its not easy for me to wearing it.
    Peter.

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