Why Are Rain Jackets Yellow

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Rain jackets — a product that we all need, but don’t give quite enough importance to. And guess what? When it suddenly rains we are all confused and worried about how to continue with our daily routine if we don’t have the adequate rain protection. Why would you get in that kind of trouble, when preventing such a case is as simple as doing some research and finding the model that suits you?

There are hundreds of different rain jackets available on the market. Ranging from low-end to high-end prices, and varying in quality and styles, it is therefore all about how you go about finding the fashionable and most convenient rain jacket that will prevent you from getting wet in sudden surprising rain showers. You should know that a waterproof polyester coat with enough pockets and an adjustable hood is a great investment.

Talking about different models of rain jackets, it is quite often that you see those that come in the color yellow, but why is that? While we do understand that the color yellow may not fit every clothing combination, and is not ideal for any kind of a formal event, there is a very good reason that stands behind it. And yes, history does indeed have a lot to do with it. In order to set things clear, and enlighten you on the matter, we will go into details and give you the answers on why are rain jackets yellow.

The History of Yellow Raincoats

Yes, we know — the first association you make about a yellow raincoat is a fisherman on a dock patiently waiting for his prize catch. While those may be the roots, it is quite common to see yellow jackets worn all around, by men and women, youngsters and teenagers. But yellow raincoats don’t look formal right? No they do not, but they are quite the trend now, so you will probably get a pass with them on any other casual occasion.

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Yellow rain jackets can be traced back to the 19th century in North Ireland, as well as Scotland, where people first understood that a proper raincoat would protect them from the damp and wet weather. Oh, and of course, yes, the seawater that you may fall into as well! It was somewhere around 200 years ago that the first yellow raincoats were invented, using wool and cotton, or linen material, as well as the yellow dye that looked like the optimal solution.

But how did it all start? Well, linen mills were used for the manufacturing of sailcloth that were waterproof and adequate for long boat trips. Once the sailors realized that this kind of material could protect their bodies, they went on to make the linen-based capes and thus protected themselves from the harsh conditions. But, they didn’t know that the linen material was not resistant to the cold weather and harsh winds, which made it stiff and heavy in a matter of a few days.

Also, the linen material seemed to turn yellow in such an environment, and that is where the first slickers appeared.

To prevent the degrading effect, sailors invented a blend of naphtha and rubber as a new waterproofing method, and while this kind of fabric was much better, it was still not ideal. It took a few more decades before the synthetic fabric we now call polyester came on board. But the raincoats kept their yellow color as proof of tradition and origins.

Yellow Raincoats in the Modern Day

As we mentioned above, this is once again a huge fashion trend. Although not ideal for a business meeting, you can still wear these and get compliments on your regular walk around downtown. Apart from that, there is one more benefit related to these and that is the great visibility, which brings with it — safety.

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If you are alone at sea, or you are looking to find your way back home on a day of heavy rain, the fluorescent yellow color may help you in getting noticed and receiving help from others (much better than wearing a black or navy blue coat for sure). You are also much more visible to drivers when trying to cross the street in a downpour.


While we are aware that yellow may not be ideal for most of you, there is a good story behind fluorescent raincoats, as well as a fashionable reason why these still remain quite popular. But if you do not fancy yellow as your color, there is no need to wear a rain jacket unless you are going to sea or need to be easily seen.

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Gilda Henschke - December 1, 2019


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