“Survival of the Chicest”

In the Thursday Style section of The New York Times, Cathy Horyn revealed her list of “The 5 Things You Need for Fall”. Off the top of my head, they would be: money, money, money, money, and money. But regardless, I  unapologetically obsessed over fashion stuff, particuarly at this time of the year. As fate would have it, on that very same day, instead of daydreaming about what goodies I would indulge in for fall, I was thrown into ‘survival’ mode, with news of a very unwelcome visitor, Hurricane Irene, coming our way, and getting up close and personal.

While I don’t really mean to imply that I was afraid my life or property was really in jeopardy, I have lived in Manhattan all my life and this was the first time I was told that I had to leave my home because of a weather related event. This was precisely what happened on Friday. I discovered that thanks to my close proximity to the Hudson River, with its enviable views of the Statue of Liberty, I was classified as living in Zone A (the most at risk for flooding), and there was a mandatory order to evaculate my apartment by Saturday at 5 pm. (FYI, I followed orders like many, if not most of my neighbors, and as you know, luckily for us in Manhattan, other than gusty winds and torrential rainfall, we escaped without any major damages).

But that’s not the point. In addition to death and taxes, the one thing that is guaranteed is that we will all have to weather snow storms, torrential downpours, and just plain garden variety rain – so why not do it in style? Nowadays, there is truly no excuse to not look good regardless of what Mother Nature has coming your way. Thanks to fabric innovations and the application of new technology, designers and manufacturers have been continually making great looking outerwear that is waterproof and windproof. One relatively new company, http://www.terranewyork.com, was founded on the specific notion of making smart, innovative, fashion forward, and unapologetically urban rainwear; and their well edited selection of outerwear and accessories, are completely waterproof thanks to heat sealed seams.

Let’s face it, it’s always about about the footwear – right? When your feet and legs are protected, you basically don’t need anything else. I love nothing more than to easily puddle jump while unprepared bystanders are standing there, trying to figure out how to get through the deep water. Luckily, the choices in this category have never been so abundant in terms of style, color, heel height. There is literally something for everyone, from flat wellies (short and tall), classic equestrian styles, and funky lace up high heeled boots, to waterproof loafers and feminine ballet flats. There are waterproof bags, portfolios, hoods, hats, and umbrellas so whimsical and expressive, you might actually wish for rain.

Forgetting the vagaries of fashion’s ins and outs, and seasonal trends. In the final analysis, there is nothing better than the always welcome combination of form and function. So, with this in mind, whether you are hunkering down during a hurricane, or simply sloshing through town on a rainy (or snowy) day and still want to look great, regardless of what time of the year.

These are some of my favorite pieces:

Chanel rubber rain boots with signature camelia: There is no boot so outrageously iconic and whimsical, than this one (in black with white camelias, white with black camelias, all red, all navy). About $400, they are available at Chanel, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman, Barneys New York and a must have for all Chanel-oephiles (Disclaimer: I own these in black and white and love them so much, I actually love it when it rains or snows and I get to wear them)

Hunter Lapin boots: If you are one of those who cannot bear to go without a heel, even in in a hurricane, these lace ups are for you, $225, http://www.zappos.com/

Hunter Turks cap toe ballerinas: Oh how chic! (for those who cannot bear to do without these iconic flats, made of rubber, you can now weather any storm) $95, http://www.zappos.com/.

Givenchy rubber riding boots: The chicest takes on a classic riding boot I’ve seen in a long time, there are two styles available, in black and brown, $250 – $295, available at http://www.barneys.com/

J. Crew Weatherby wellies: Their classic wellies boast a zipper that completely unzips in the back and is available in a choice of colors, my favorite being the chrome yellow (nothing ‘pops’ against black quite like this color), $79.50, http://www.jcrew.com/

J.Crew Rainy day bow ballet flats: $58 (Available in a range of colors, I’m partial to the lacquer red, for the same reason I love the yellow wellies), http://www.jcrew.com/

Jeffrey’s Sausalito black patent high heeled loafer with white top stitching: $89.99, http://www.sperrytopsider.com/  (menswear inspired loafers could not be more ‘of the moment’ and these look especially good, plus they are now on sale)

Terra New York’s Tribeca cape and Nolita trench: all available in 100% urethane (in nude or smoke) $240 – $295, http://www.terranewyork.com/

Fornasetti’s ‘Red Lips’ umbrella: $260, (this would not only brighten up any drab day, but it would bring a smile to everyone else’s faces), and their Hot Air Balloons umbrella, $310, the perfect gift for that special someone who is, well, full of ‘hot air’ (and don’t we all know many of those?) Both are available at http://www.barneys.com/

– Marilyn Kirschner

Marilyn Kirschner

I am a long time fashion editor with 40+ years of experience. As senior market of Harper's Bazaar for 21 years I met and worked with every major fashion designer in the world and covered all of the collections in Paris, London, Milan and New York. I was responsible for overall content, finding and pulling in the best clothes out there, and for formulating ideas and stories.


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