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Return of the mac: Why packable raincoats are the style anorak's choice

Whatever the weather, rainproof jackets are a must for taking cover this summer, says Hannah Rochell


Practical solution: above, the packable smock, £145 from Hunter

Practical solution: above, the packable smock, £145 from Hunter

Red raincoat, £34.99 from New Look

Red raincoat, £34.99 from New Look

Practical solution: above, the packable smock, £145 from Hunter

Unpredictable weather in high summer is annoying at the best of times, but in a busy high street where there's barely enough pavement space to manoeuvre your body between the crowds, let alone with the addition of an umbrella, it's particularly likely to get on your wick.

If (like me) you're short, there's the risk of poking someone's eye/nostril/rib and causing commuter rage as you pass by in close proximity. Not to mention that, whatever your stature, no one wants to get lumbered with a wet brolly and end up smelling like a soggy spaniel by the time you're enjoying an after-work drink in the pub. Which is why this summer, savvy city dwellers are carrying an alternative quick-dry rain resister in their bags - the packable mac.

Since Balenciaga showed lightweight coloured raincoats in its 2017 pre-fall collection, anoraks have made their way from practical geek chic to a fashion must-have. This season's cool cagoule is bright, breathable and super-lightweight, and while you will definitely want to show it off, ideally it should fold up neatly into its own pocket and take up less space in your bag than a brolly.

It will come as no surprise, since it is also the obvious ideal coat for festival season as well as your summer in the capital, that welly specialist Hunter has a version of the packable mac. Its jackets and smocks fold into a pouch with a handy wrist strap and come in millennial pastel shades including, unsurprisingly, pink.

Actress Margot Robbie and model Suki Waterhouse are both fans, and it's also worth mentioning that it's crease-resistant, should you be packing for a staycation with limited space in the car.

If you're after the ultimate in compact, the brand that makes the anorak David Beckham was spotted sporting at Glastonbury earlier this year - K-Way - is something of an expert in the nylon pac-a-mac field, having invented it in 1965. I highly recommend this brand for the aforementioned staycation, as I wore nothing else during my visit there last 'summer' and it reliably kept me dry.

Its website offers dozens of colour options of its classic Le Vrai Claude raincoat, which features a retro rainbow zip.

Some styles even have a matching multi-coloured elasticated belt attached to the inside pocket, so you can wear the coat hands-free as a bum bag when it's folded up (NB, before you panic, bum bags are also back in favour, as reported on these very pages a few weeks ago).

In addition, K-Way has a fine selection of non-packable parkas in longer lengths and subtle shades if you just can't bring yourself to wear a jacket in a packet but you're still keen on keeping dry sans brolly.

Other more sophisticated but less compact options on the high street include COS's oversized showerproof parka in a minimal shade of stone, ASOS's maxi raincoat parka in olive green, and anything by the Danish designer Ilse Jacobsen.

Finally, there's the hardest-working multi-tasker mac: the performance jacket. It comes with the added bonus of having top technical attributes in terms of both breathability and water resistance, and if you choose wisely it will pep up your office attire and take you through to an after-work workout to boot.

Stella McCartney's whimsical cloud-print jacket from her Adidas Stellasport range is great to aid blue-sky thinking at the bus stop, while No Ka'Oi's Walu jacket would look as amazing teamed with a Roksanda dress for post-work cocktails as with your technical leggings and trainers. That's how to mix business with athleisure.

Finally, for some high street chic, New Look, Topshop and River Island all have macs which are on trend, portable and, importantly, keep those sudden showers off you. Most are priced from £20-£40.

Belfast Telegraph