The LBR (Little Black Raincoat)

The stalwart wardrobe staple “LBD” (aka little black dress) can be found in almost every woman’s closet.

But did you know that there is a must have equivalent for every woman’s packing list? When planning a getaway every mom should have a LBR – Little Black Raincoat. You can rarely go wrong having it in your suitcase. Even if you are 100% positive that you will not need it at your destination it doubles as a blanket for the plane, car ride or train. An incredibly versatile article of clothing – you don’t even need to live in Seattle, like I do, to make use of it.

The LBR has many requirements though to properly fulfill its mission. It must be foldable without wrinkling. It must be water repellant not water-resistant. It must have a removable lining. A zip or button on hood is a plus and it must be classic yet flattering. If all these criteria are met you will get years of use out of your LBR.

This fall I set out to find a replacement for my LBR that was being sent to a favorite consignment shop, The Dollhouse in Ketchum, Idaho. Knowing the high utility my LBR would receive, it had to be a thoughtful search.  I began looking to get a feel for what was “out there” in price and style. My effort was initiated on-line and I ordered three coats to try on at home. I even, gasp, ordered a platinum grey coat to see if that would work. I discovered however that grey is for rainy skies – grey is not the new black when it comes to a LBR.  None of the coats worked for fit, weight, or style and I sent them all back.

For my next effort I enlisted the services of Michael and Calvin – Michael Kors and Calvin Klein. But, I had to hoof it to department stores and discount stores in round two.  I, once again came home with three “nominees.” One of the coats was a super cute, fashion forward, shiny patent leather slicker purchased from the Rack. It had no lining and would probably be out of style soon but I wanted it to work. I was violating the criteria list big time – proof that even a “professional” can get seduced by a beautiful piece of clothing. The patent leather coat was reluctantly returned – someone else would be enjoying the one season wonder.

I got word a few days ago that my old black raincoat had sold. It was a done deal and now I had to choose a new LBR. Finally, after modeling options for a friend, I settled on one from Nordstrom. It did not have a hood and I was disappointed by this but it fit all the other criteria exceedingly well. Mission accomplished – just in time for the rain.

Carol Lewis Gullstad, November 14, 2010


  1. I am n ow on a mission to find my LBR….. You are so right, it is handy for more than rain protection. Thanks for the mommy travel tip

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