It sounds oxymoronic, but the Holy Grail of everyday outerwear does exist.
Protected Species is a small Manchester-based company who design “clean, unfussy, and sophisticated” waterproof outerwear for women. Not showerproof or water resistant – like, actually 100% waterproof.
Currently, the brand offer a choice of four wet-weather designs. I opted for the Mac, since I’ve always wanted a classic trench, but have never been able to find one with a nice hood. Sidenote: all Protected Species jackets have detachable or packable hoods, so you can choose when (or if) to use them!
The Mac comes in five colours (sophistiacted shades of white, black, blue, red, and grey) and they are all gorgeous.
I would strongly recommend ordering a free sample of swatches to get a more accurate idea of the fabric shades. You’ll also get to feel the material, which is super soft, breathable, and not crinkly or squeaky like other raincoats. These are lush. Like, so soft it could be a bathrobe.
I debated between the blue, white, and grey, but in the end settled on cobblestone grey, which, in some lighting, looks almost purple – I love it.
After wearing the mac for three weeks, here’s my verdict:
- Beautiful colour(s) – sophisticated and versatile.
- Super, super soft fabric. Unlike any other raincoat I’ve owned. Looks and feels expensive.
- Exceptional craftsmanship and hardwear (zippers, seams, lining, buttons – are all quality).
- Detachable hood.
- Minimalist design – love the low contrast lining and hardwear, and clean lines.
- Waterproof. Actually. I have tested this.
- Light and packs away easily.
- Feels like activewear (like I can actually move my arms around). I feel like I could play a game of tennis in this jacket without being restricted.
- SO, so, so versatile. It genuinely looks just a good with heels and a dress as it does with jeans, or even joggers. So good.
- Great customer support. Small, local, business with women founders.
- The waist sits quite low. I’m 5’3″, and I found the torso of the jacket quite long on my frame. The angled pockets seem too low and emphasize this, and sort of detract from the silhouette. Maybe invisible vertical pockets would be more flattering on different frames? Same with the belt – it seems to sit very low (more so than other jackets) which means that it bunches a little on my back. Because the “waist” of the design is very low down, it can appear a bit saggy and unflattering – like my waist is on my hips. Again, I’m quite short, so I’m used to this, but this jacket definitely seems to have a longer body than others. I love the length, though, and wouldn’t want it to be shorter at the hem. I like that it hits just above my knee because I can wear it with dresses or trousers. If it were shorter, it wouldn’t look as nice dressed up. Not really a con, but something to be aware of if you’re petite like me. The length is perfect, but the “waist” sits a few inches too low to be flattering on my frame.
- Minor gripe, but the belt buckle is weighted quite heavily (and feels like quality!), but it pulls the belt out of the loops if it’s not tied. I love the buckle – but maybe in a future design the tie could be sewn at the centre back? I’m always so scared I’ll lose the belt (I almost lost it completely on the train last week).
- Yes, it’s pricey. It retails for £199 (and to be honest, it is worth it). But even so, this price tag puts it out of the reach of many. I will say this – it is the only warm-weather jacket you will need. I’ll be sad to pack it away in winter, because it makes getting dressed so easy. TIP: It’s currently on sale HALF PRICE (I’m not sure why . . . maybe they’re updating the design?) so GET IN THERE! I’ve already bought two as gifts, and stocks are low.
I read somewhere once that you know you’ve found the perfect trench if you can wear it with heels . . .and nothing else . . . to the supermarket. I’ve been wanting to test this theory for years – so thanks to Protected Species for giving me the opportunity!