A case for travel: The rain slicker files | Off the Cuff

By Jenny Murphy | May 01, 2019

It was April 17. I had just celebrated my 50th birthday. Now I was on a plane to London. Suddenly it occurred to me that I left my rain slicker at the airport.

My mind raced.

“Drat, did I leave it on the chair? Did I drop it? Was it hanging on the bathroom door?”

The zip-front knit navy cardigan I had on would have to fit the bill until I could at least obtain a pocket umbrella. Thankfully, I was wearing my favorite black pants, my trusted friend that had traveled with me to all corners of the globe ... numerous times.

As an international private investigator, I could wear whatever I wanted when I worked, but this London case was sure to involve more outdoor activity than most. My rain slicker would indeed be sorely missed. My newer, dark rinse jeans and walking shoes would be definite go-to’s.

Hardly had I been off the plane at Heathrow when I saw her. A tall blonde wearing what I was sure was my slicker. I approached with caution and overheard her phone conversation. She was staying at the swanky Savoy for the week.

I began to plot to get my coat back.

Day 2 was overcast and gloomy. I again donned my jeans and walking shoes. My navy cardigan, a fresh black tee and navy/black print scarf were no brainers. The Savoy was three blocks away. I headed out.

To be continued ...

Obviously I am not a detective storywriter. Instead, women come to me for their clothing needs, to dress them for events or in general, often to help them assemble travel wardrobes like the one I “packed” for my fictitious PI.

Establishing the “where, when, how long and what for” is always the starting point when planning any travel wardrobe for women, or men for that matter. Choosing a color story is tremendous help in staying organized.

For example, my PI traveled in April to London for a workweek and had 12 pieces all coordinated around navy, black and white.

Her black trousers, dark rinse jeans, black knee-length pencil skirt, black tee, white tee, print tee (black, white and navy), navy cardigan, print scarf, walking shoes, black ankle boots, black pinstripe boyfriend blazer and, of course, a trusty rain slicker all fit nicely into her small carry-on bag.

I packed her so she could both dress “up” and “down” for the week and could temperature regulate by layering and unlayering. While both working her case and trying to get her slicker back, she had appropriate ensembles for field and office work, museum visits, dinners out (even at the swanky Savoy), work meetings, morning walks, dark alleys and more.

No heavy or checked baggage for this PI. I am also glad to say this detective thought not in terms of outfits but instead had a “mix ’n match” mentality, a very useful quality for any detective.

Meanwhile, back to the story ...

Day 7 was overcast and gloomy. With one case packed and the other one solved, I hailed a cab to Heathrow. My rain slicker was still missing. Hardly had I stepped into the airport when I saw her. The tall blonde again wearing my slicker. I approached with caution.

“I love your jacket,” I said.

“Oh, I do too,” she replied. “My luck, I found it at an airport.”

My mind raced. I was tempted to reclaim the slicker. Then, without further hesitation, I responded. “Oh, it looks great on you!”

Off the Cuff is a monthly casual review of fashion styles, attitudes and trends by Jenny Murphy, owner of Sound Styles in Edmonds.



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