Dressing In The Pacific Northwest

“In these parts, at this time of the year, the weather forecast is poetry: Rain today, turning to showers. Morning drizzle followed by afternoon sprinkles, giving way to late-night squalls. Morning mist and general, widespread weeping.

Welcome to winter in the Pacific Northwest.”

Mediations on Liquidity – by John Don’ofrio

It’s November and in the Pacific Northwest this mean a lot of rain, wind storms and nightfall by 4:30pm. The clothing I’m going to share below are actually pieces that can easily  be worn during the rest of the year because whether it’s raining during Autumn or raining in Spring, one thing is constant in BC: the damp weather that soaks into your bones.  The secret to dressing out here is learning to layer and having the right waterproof pieces.

Here are some of my go-to shops where I’ve found all I need to build a true Pacific Northwest wardrobe.

(photo by Seth Richardson at Lighthouse Park – West Vancouver)


  1. TNA Clothing – TNA is the sister company to Aritzia.  They focus on casual, warm layers, thermals, leggings and sweaters.  TNA is one of those shops I visit regularly September thru March because I always find something I need.  Their flannel plaids are some of my favourites and I love to lounge around the house in their tights and thermal henley’s  (pictured below). On days when a coat isn’t entirely necessary (or for hiking), TNA carries great puffer vests that are nicely insulated with down and are quite warm despite not having sleeves. http://www.aritzia.com/en/brands/tna


2. Pendelton – This store is famous for their wool log cabin style blankets. I own a few of their wool plaid shirts, a warmer step up from flannel that can remain cold if you get wet.  This store also carries beautiful navajo style prints in jackets and capes. Pendelton is originally from Oregon so they really get how important it is to have clothing that keeps you protected from the elements.  http://www.pendleton-usa.com


3.  Uggs – I’ve heard so many people say how much they hate these boots but I’m telling you; when you live in a place that not only is cold but also wet, the fastest way to lose body heat is by not wearing the right shoes.  Enter Uggs.  I own the classic tall boot in Tan and the short boot in black.  These boots are completely lined in sheepskin and make your feet feel like their enveloped by a soft, cozy cloud!  On dry days, I wear these.  On really wet days or when I’m hiking in the woods and need waterproof, warm boots, I wear my Adirondak  boots.  Thanks to Bella Swan for introducing them to me. http://www.ugg.com/ca


4. Wish You Were Northwest –  This small Seattle company was created by the two sisters pictured below. They carry  hoodies, sweat shirts and tees all printed with sweet quotes and words describing life in our rainforest home. http://wishyouwerenorthwest.com



5. Hunter Boots –  These are a must!  There are many different companies that make wellies but I can say, as a proud owner of Hunter boots, that these are 100% water proof and are made with durable rubber that won’t crack (unlike my Henri Bendel wellies that lasted all of one season).  Hunter also sells fleece socks that fit inside their boots  for extra warmth.  I figure if these are the boots of choice of the Royal family, they’re good enough for me.  http://us.hunterboots.com




6. L.L.Bean – Life on the Pacific Northwest is pretty laid back. People are friendly and relaxed and our clothing reflect our easy going ways.  L.L. Bean, being a company from coastal Main, understand our lifestyle perfectly. They carry cozy sailor striped and fisherman style cable knit sweaters.  They also created the famous duck boot, essential for beach combing on a cloudy day or an afternoon on the boat, salmon fishing for dinner.  http://www.llbean.com


7. Asos Uk – From what I’m told, the weather in the UK is somewhat similar to the Pacific Northwest:  a lot of soggy days during fall and winter and little snow.  They understand the need for warmth when the ocean brings a storm or a fog bank lands on us for days on end.  A good hat makes a huge difference and keeping my ears protected from the wind is the difference between getting an earache or not. Asos carries great beanies and toques.  I especially love these, topped with fuzzy bobbles. http://www.asos.com


8. Patagonia – When I first moved out here, I was one of those people I now see (and know are not from here) struggling to hold their umbrella while juggling a purse in one hand and grocery bags in the other.  One of my best investments has been to buy a good gore tex raincoat with a big hood.  Immediately my hands are free and I’m not fumbling with an umbrella while trying to fish my keys out of my pockets.  Patagonia has the best quality rain coats and fleece under layers. Fleece is another one of those fabrics that are a blessing when you live out here.  They are not cheap but they’re pieces that will last you years. http://www.patagonia.ca


(photo by ME! Jennifer Pedraza – in Washington State)


9. Minnetonka – This company makes lovely leather and suede boots and shoes.  They’re so comfortable and adorable with tassels and beading. They’re certainly not waterproof or necessarily warm but I own both styles below and they’re great for kicking around on a sunny weekend in leggings and a flannel plaid shirt.  www.minnetonkamoccasins.com


This concludes my Pacific Northwest entry.  I hope that if you live in this part of the world, you might find a new place to shop OR if you don’t, that you’ve enjoyed what I’ve shared today.  If you would like to recommend a shop to me, drop me a line.




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