What is the one item of clothing every self-respecting Irish man and woman must and should have in their wardrobe? You can’t possibly guess? Why it’s a raincoat, of course, and this raincoat must be suitable for all occasions. I have owned some pretty horrendous versions in my time, most only suitable for walking along the coast or watching hockey or rugby matches. Both my daughters would insist that they were not even suitable for those pursuits! Below you can see one that I frighten the seagulls with on a wet and windy day. Waterproof and windproof it may be, but stylish it certainly isn’t. No, you wouldn’t miss me!


So anyway, recently I was shopping for a pair of casual trousers in Paula’s in Malahide, Dublin, where I live. I was heading to a wedding in London and was discussing what I was wearing and bemoaning the fact that I didn’t have a decent raincoat. The temperatures were mild but there was a good chance of rain and we had been having strong winds. Paula steered me towards a coat by Ilse Jacobsen, a Danish lifestyle designer who hails from a small seaside town Hornboek.

Ilse Jacobsen

Living beside the sea, she saw a niche in the market for stylish yet comfortable and functional rainwear. From opening her first shop in her hometown over twenty years ago, she has seen her brand grow and her products are stocked in around 2,000 shops around the world from Stockholm to Tokyo and from Moscow to New York.

We are not talking a cheap plastic raincoat here and ladies I admit I may have had a rush of blood to the head, but I had already decided I wanted it, before I saw the price €145. But I have so many items of clothing in my wardrobe, bought because they were bargains but never worn. I knew I would wear this… I live in Ireland for goodness sake.


Where I wore it.

And right I was. I wore it to a funeral down the country and felt it was elegant and smart yet appropriate. I brought it to London rolled up very small in my case and I wore it for walking beside the canal and through Victoria Park. There was a sharp enough wind, even though it was fine and I discovered it was windproof! It is light and breathable….no nasty perspiring even though we were walking fast.


I wore it out to lunch last Sunday because we were walking along the coast afterwards. Perfect. The coat has both a good strong zipper and studs and there are studs on the sleeves also…to prevent rain running up your arms! The hood also stays in place with the help of toggles, even if you are out in a storm.



I was hoping to get a photo of me dancing in the rain but, godammit, the only rain we have had recently is at night and there is no way I am getting out of bed for that.

Cost per wear

I don’t consider it expensive any more, as I now have a totally waterproof, windproof and stylish raincoat, which I have already worn six times and I only have it two weeks, so cost per wear is already less than twenty five euro. Now that’s value for money compared with the dress I bought for a few hundred in a sale and only wore once! Oh and it also comes in a lovely cream if you don’t fancy black.



Seemingly Claudia Schiffer is a fan. Anything good enough for Claudia is good enough for me!