Isla Vista’s Rainy Day Fashion Guide

Illustrated by Diane Kim

Juliana Bebarta 

Staff Writer

If you’re like me, you’re all too familiar with getting caught in a surprise rainstorm in Isla Vista (I.V.) since you didn’t bother to check the weather, thinking it would be the usual mid 60s and sunny. Too many times I have been caught drenched coming back from class, with my hair frizzy, my jacket wet, and my pants soaked. But, if you’re any smarter than me and bother to check the forecast in the morning, you know that dressing for the rain isn’t hard. The hard part is looking good while doing it. 

Personally, I don’t own a raincoat, but why would I if most of the year we are blessed with sunny days? My ideal rainy-day outfit, therefore, consists of a sweatshirt, sweatpants, and sneakers. However, I always find myself coming back after class with soaking wet socks and damp shoes — not ideal. Aside from me, I.V. is known to have some of the most unique fashion trends when it comes to these rainy days.

Taking notes from other students on campus and around I.V., it’s easy to pick up on some of the best rainy fashion trends that really saw the light the first week of this winter quarter. The first trend that needs to be mentioned is a common but classic one, a rain or puffer jacket. This piece didn’t gain popularity for just coming out during a downpour; rather, the puffer and rain jacket seem to make their rounds whenever it hits below 65 degrees outside.   

Jeans are also a staple, a very cute and casual choice that is easy to style with any jacket but especially works well when a rain jacket is being whipped out. This is minus what may be the only downside: who likes the feeling of wet jeans? Or better yet, who enjoys sitting in class with wet jeans on? Regardless, the jean hype will never die. 

Living in Santa Barbara, who has ever owned (or needed) rain boots? It is more common for people to improvise with Doc Martens or the classic going-out sneakers. But, no worries about your nice shoes being ruined as the latter is seen even more around campus and I.V. is already stained and muddied up. Plus, while we are talking about accessories, it’s also not a bad idea to invest in a cozy beanie to help keep your head warm as those seem to be popular as well.

Now just because it’s raining doesn’t mean everyone is dressing down. Speaking for the fashionistas, I’ve seen that finding new ways to layer is an easy and fashionable way to avoid the cold in the rain and look good while doing so. UC Santa Barbara is full of students who like to wear vibrant colors, and just because there’s rain doesn’t mean there are dull fits. Many students find that layering colorful hoodies with different shirts and vests is the way to go. Not to mention that one of the most classic Santa Barbara outfit layerings tends to be layering Dickies overalls with a long sleeve under, topped off with some stylish jacket. 

Despite the rain and the cold, we can’t act like we don’t all know that one person in our class who shows up with flip-flops and shorts on a rainy day. Typically these are the surfers and skaters of I.V. Although this outfit may not be ideal for most people, it gives the typical laid-back Santa Barabara look. One thing to be assured of is that flip-flops will never go out of style here. 

On any rainy day, it is assured that you will see half the amount of students and double the number of umbrellas. In fact, umbrellas are one of the easiest ways to stay dry on a rainy day, especially if you’re walking. One thing I wish I knew freshman year is that umbrellas aren’t embarrassing, and it is in fact much more embarrassing to show up to a class soaking wet from head to toe. 

Preparing for the rain shouldn’t be a daunting task. Staying dry in class isn’t impossible, it just takes some extra planning and maybe a little extra motivation to actually go to class. When in doubt, don’t forget to use the bus as a backup so you don’t end up soaking wet in class from biking there. One extra tip for the road if you do decide to bike, is to make sure you bring a towel to wipe your seat off and cover and protect your computer at all costs. But, other than that, the fit is always a priority, rain or shine.