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Colorful outerwear bright side of rainy days

| Thursday, April 18, 2013, 8:55 p.m.
Studio1912 L. L. BEAN
Bean's easy-care 'Mackintosh' coat ($99), available at www.llbean.com.
SAMUEL DONG
Samuel Dong pink coat with black whip stitching ($138), available at One Brilliant in Aspinwall
NORDSTROM
The North Face K Rain Parka 'Linaria Pink' ($190) available at Nordstrom Ross Park Mall and www.nordstrom.com.
CHOOKA
Chooka ''Flora Glass' rain boot ($65), available at www.zappos.com.
CHOOKA
Chooka 'Classic Dot' orange rain boot ($64.95), available at www.amazon.com.
CHOOKA
Chooka 'Duck Skimmer' big dot shoe ($64.95), available at www.shop.nordstrom.com.
ZAPPOS.COM
San Diego Hat Company water proof bucket hat ($48), available at www.zappos.com.
ZAPPOS.COM
Outdoor Research 'Envy' jacket ($199), available at www.zappos.com.
ZAPPOS.COM
The North Face women's 'Resolve' jacket ($90), available at www.zappos.com.
ZAPPOS.COM
Hunter Original High Gloss boots ($135), available at www.zappos.com.
Studio1912 L.L. BEAN
L. L. Bean 'Commuter' trench coat ($129), available at www.llbean.com.
DAVEK
Davek 'Traveler' in sunflower yellow ($89), available at www.davekny.com.
DAVEK
Davek 'Traveler' in sunflower yellow ($89), available at www.davekny.com.
DAVEK
Davek 'Traveler' in fuchsia pink ($89), available at www.davekny.com.
DAVEK
Davek 'Traveler' in fuchsia pink ($89), available at www.davekny.com.
NATIVE SHOES
The 'Jimmy' duck boot ($90), available at www.nativeshoes.com.
ILSE JACOBSEN HORNBAEK
Ilse Jacobsen Hornbaek natural rubber color block boots ($199), available at www.amazon.com.
ILSE JACOBSEN HORNBAEK
Ilse Jacobsen Hornbaek water repellent rain coat ($349), available at www.amazon.com.
KOHL'S
Bootsi Tootsi rain boots ($42), available at www.kohls.com.
KOHL'S
Weathercast hooded raincoat ($120), available at Kohl's stores and www.kohls.com.
OVERSTOCK.COM
Nuage Women's 'Monaco' Water Resistant Short Trench Coat ($35.99), available at www.overstock.com.
OVERSTOCK.COM
Women's RainBOPS Cowgirl Style Rain Boot Atzi ($49.95), available at www.overstock.com

Add candy-apple red, pops of yellow or electric blue to those dark, dreary days.

“I think bright rainwear gives us hope that tomorrow will be happier and a sunny day,” says Natasha Pace, trend manager for Zappos.com. “Colored rain gear can ... help you stand out in a sea of black umbrellas.”

Color just feels cheery on days when it seems like the rain won't go away, says Suzanne Callan, outerwear developer for L.L. Bean. “Pops of color — either all over or in details like piping or interior — create interest.”

Callan says L.L. Bean's trend this season includes sun-washed reds and buttery yellows.

“You also want to lift the palette in spring with some pretty pastels, but you need to pick something that matches many skin tones,” Callan says. “This spring, periwinkle does just that. L.L. Bean is known for its heritage plaids, and we have decided to incorporate some classic plaids with a twist of color to the inside of some of our rain coats this year — adding that extra fun factor to combat those rainy days.”

Rainwear is a staple of the spring wardrobe, especially in Pittsburgh, says Suzanne Mauro, a stylist accredited by the Association of Image Consultants International and producer of “Style Everyday with Suz” on PCTV.

“You go to work in it, shop in it and probably rely on it to make a stylish entrance, so your rainwear must always be fabulous,” Mauro says. “The 1950s-style duster coat prevailed on the catwalks for spring. It's a splendid style for a full-skirted dress or tight pencil skirts. It also works with lean trousers and architectural sheaths.”

You can't go wrong with a classic trench coat in a bright hue. For those who are more adventurous, look for quirky style updates, such as bold checks or plastic and metallic fabrics, Mauro says.

Davek CEO and mechanical engineer Dave Kahng says aside from the company's quality umbrella frame, designers haven't forgotten about the importance of color.

“You'd be surprised at how important a vibrant color accent is on a dreary, rainy day,” Kahng says.

Bright color blocking and neon colors look really fresh this season, says Danish designer Ilse Jacobsen.

“I use bright zippers and linings to accent colorful raincoats and add nearly neon soles to rain boots,” Jacobsen says. “The result is a cheerful collection that brightens the rainiest of days. Truly, nothing feels better than wearing color on a dreary day. I started my business designing colorful raincoats and rain boots for this very reason.”

Knowing that you are buying a wardrobe item that you will use when it rains is the perfect opportunity to step out of your comfort zone with something fun, Pace says.

“If you are timid, start with a bright umbrella,” Pace says. Then add the boots and jacket. “Back in the day, a yellow slicker was the only choice for something cheery. Then there was the genius Sky Umbrella. But now the sky is the limit. If you look at Cole Haan, Vera Bradley and Hunter, there are rain boots in every color and pattern imaginable. My personal favorite is pink.”

Rob Moehring, CEO and president of Washington Shoe Company, parent company of Chooka, says gone are the days of the plain traditional-height rain boot.

“The silhouettes have changed to a more fashionable mid-height design, to ankle boots, and even waterproof shoes to illustrate that a full-height rain boot isn't always needed,” he says.

Chooka's rainwear items become the statement pieces of a wardrobe by blending fashion and function, Moehring says.

“Fun rainwear can change how you think about weather,” he says.

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at jharrop@tribweb.com or 412-320-7889.

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