Rain Bonnet

Today's ordinary thing is the rain bonnet. It may be ordinary, but you don't see it much anymore. 

I remember my grandmother wearing her rain bonnet at the first sign of mist, and here in the Pacific Northwest, that was most every day.

She'd dash from the car to church or into the grocery store, preserving her fluffy wings of gray-white hair beneath that plastic sheath, secured by the tie under the chin. Always looked so prepared, I thought. Even if it was the perfect granny-look.

Well, my new winter jacket doesn't have a hood. I need a hood. I have that fine sort of hair that wilts in rain - this dribbling, splattering, constant of March hereabouts. I am hopeless with an umbrella, given I'm always carrying thirteen other things.

It occurred to me, what I really want is my grandmother's rain bonnet.

I asked clerks in three different stores, and received funny looks. The next time, I pretended I wasn't buying the rain bonnet for myself - I was so embarrassed. But finally I found one, at a beauty supply place. They know the needs of hair.

Now I just have to brave looking a bit silly.

Write about the rain bonnet. Do you recall this fashion item? What does it make you think of?


  1. A Rain Bonnet is not such a bad thing, I've seen High-Class Women in NYC wear them...Even my wife will wear one on occasion, IMHO, they really don't look that bad :)

    Who knows, they may become popular again, like the now-popular rain boots!

  2. Oh, I used to have a whole collection of those and plastic coin purses that pushed open in the middle, when I was a little girl. I think they often had little chains on them to hook around something and keep them handy, and they even came in decorated versions with polka dots. I had almost forgotten.

  3. Hi Christi,

    Where did you purchase that Rain Bonnet? I love that one, and I would like to buy one!!!!

    1. Diann,

      I'm revisiting this post and not sure I ever answered you--so sorry. Sally's Beauty Supply, a chain in the Pacific Northwest, has a nice package of 2 rain bonnets that worked quite nicely. It's raining here today; hope you stay dry.

  4. As I sit here in rollers preparing my hair for my big Friday night out, I am watching with dread the gray Seattle rain dripping down and threatening my hard won hairdo. I need a rain bonnet!
    (And yes, my grandma had one too. It was practical!) Walgreens carries a "Totes" brand version online so wondering if my local Wallingford location may have one.

  5. Thanks, An Onymous! I can just picture the rain around Wallingford, a lovely neighborhood.

  6. Hi Christi ,
    My wife who is in her late fifties has started wearing a rain bonnet , and she thinks they are great.It is clear with black trim and has a visor.It also fits over her coat collar preventing rain water from going down the back of her neck. I have never liked wearing hats , and whenever I took the dog for walks in the rain I always got soaked(I live in the UK where it rains a lot), so my wife suggested I wear her rain bonnet when I take the dog out in future and I was pleasantly surprised at how good they really are at keeping you completly dry.Needless to say I now have my own ,and walking the dog in the rain is now is no longer a pain.

    1. Mr. Anonymous Rain Bonnet Wearer: this is terrific news for rain bonnets everywhere! Thanks for your comment. Next thing will be to find the right rain bonnet for the dog...

  7. Hi Christi, I am in my mid 50s and live in Melbourne, Australia and I have worn rain bonnets (or 'rain mates' as my northern English mother used to call them) since I was old enough to tie the bow under my chin. I was never forced to but I always thought they were most convenient when you don't have an umbrella or can't be bothered carting it about.

    My daughter, who is 21 and a very attractive young woman, also wears one occasionally with a nylon raincoat, mainly at outdoor music concerts where brollies aren't allowed, and says she looks and feels better and drier than the hordes who wear those dreadful thin plastic ponchos they sell at places like that, at rip-off prices.

    Although, it has to be the older concertina fold-up kind. I've never liked the ones with the piping across the crown - they've always looked really uncomfortable.

    1. Helena,

      Thanks for your comment! It's great your daughter is going against the crowd by wearing her rain bonnet. I love your Aussie word "brollies--" we say the long word here in the Pacific Northwest, but I think I'm going to start saying "brolly."
      Sure I'll have plenty of chances when the rain starts this fall.

  8. Hi again Christi, In Australia {or 'Oz'} we shorten everything. Football is 'footy', with the t in the middle pronounced like a d, politicians are 'pollies', electricians are 'sparkies', etc etc.

    I've never liked 'rain bonnet', I know it is linguistically correct but it always sounded a bit anal, no wonder they're so out of fashion! To me they've always been 'rain hats', although my mum always called them 'rain mates' which I think was a brand name in England.

    She would always tell me to keep one in my coat pocket 'just in case'. My daughter kind of picked that up naturally off her own accord. We both absolutely hate plastic ponchos and cheap black (usually) umbrellas, and think anybody who uses them and criticises us for our 'fashion sense' (or lack thereof) hasn't much of a leg to stand on.


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