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 including why are rain jackets yellow. 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 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 a fashionable and most convenient rain jacket that will prevent you from getting wet. 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 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 rain jackets are traditionally yellow. And yes, history does indeed have a lot to do with it.

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, 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.

Why Are Rain Jackets Yellow 2

Yellow rain jackets can be traced back to the 19th century in North Ireland, as well as Scotland. This is where people first understood the necessity of a raincoat to 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. They used wool and cotton, or linen material, as well as the yellow dye.

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 as well, they went on to make linen-based capes. Thus they were protected from the harsh conditions. But, they didn’t know that the linen material was not resistant to the cold weather and harsh winds. The cold and wind 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. while 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 the color and that is the great visibility, which brings with it — safety.

Women in a bright yellow rain jacket

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. You are much more visible and stand out on a gray and gloomy day, so it’s easier to get attention  and receive help from others if needed. Much better than wearing a black or navy blue coat for sure. You are also 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. Visibility is also an important reason why yellow is still so popular. However, there are so many color choices now that even if  going to sea or you need to be easily seen you don’t have to choose yellow.

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