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Is It Okay To Wear a Rain Jacket With Shorts or Is That Weird?

A man in shorts with a gray jacket and a hat hitchhikes car in road.

I hate wet pants. There is nothing worse to me than pulling wet shoes off and feeling wet pants against my leg. I’ve found a few ways to avoid this infuriating situation over the years, including wearing a rain jacket with shorts.

It may seem strange at first, but it’s a pretty popular fashion trend these days. It’s also practical for a multitude of reasons. Best of all, you won’t have to deal with that bane of existence, wet pant legs.

You’re about to learn why you should be wearing shorts with a rain jacket. We’ll also take a look at how to pull off the look, and when and where it’s appropriate. There are a few surprising reasons to wear a rain jacket and shorts, in addition to avoiding horrendous wet pants.

It can actually keep you warmer than pants. If the weather heats up, they keep you cool and comfortable.

Wet Pants Really Are That Bad

There are so many things to hate about wet pants. In addition to feeling wet pant legs on your bare legs, they can look rather tacky. Pants are designed to look good dry. When it rains, it’s nearly impossible to avoid getting the bottom of the wet.

This can make them look stained and unkempt, which takes away from your overall look.

They Keep You Warm

I know what you are thinking. How could shorts possibly keep you warmer than pants? When it’s raining, wet material robs your body heat. You’ve probably experienced this several times in your life.

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You are perfectly comfortable, then your clothes get wet. You are suddenly freezing. Bare skin allows the rain to slide off, and dries quickly. Sure, your legs may get a little chilled, but they will be warmer than they would in wet pants.

There’s another reason why this works so well. You lose much more heat from your upper body than you do from your lower body. Wearing a rain jacket traps in the heat you would lose from your neck, back, and armpits.

Since you don’t lose as much heat from your legs, shorts won’t cool you down too much. Your legs are also less sensitive to cold, so pairing a rainjacket with shorts can help you feel warm, even if your legs are chilled.

They Keep You Cool

In addition to keeping you warm, they can also keep you cool. Depending on your location, the temperatures may swing dramatically during the day. You may find yourself chilly in the morning, but uncomfortably warm by noon.

Pairing shorts with a raincoat allows you to stay warm when it’s chilly, and cool off when it warms up. It’s also possible for it to be raining and still be quite warm. Shorts will keep you comfortably cool, while the rainjacket keeps you from getting wet or chilled.

It Just Feels Good

Some people say they love pairing shorts with a raincoat because they love the feeling of different temperatures. It can be exhilarating when your top half is toasty warm, while the bottom half is cooler.

It Looks Good

In addition to the practical reasons for pairing a rain jacket and shorts, it makes sense from a fashion perspective. When worn properly, it looks great. It provides a slight edge and sense of uniqueness to an otherwise mundane outfit.

A model woman in grey rain jacket and shorts.

A rainjacket and shorts can make for a killer outfit, in the right circumstances. You don’t want to wear it to the office unless it’s casual Friday. It won’t work for a cocktail party, but it’s perfect for a beach cookout.

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Reserve the ensemble for casual situations and venues. Wear it to a backyard BBQ or when golfing in the rain. Going out for beers with the guys?

It’s the perfect outfit. Date night with your girlfriend, not so much.

Can You Wear a Rainjacket When It’s Not Raining?

This is often the subject of intense debate. Yes, you can wear a rain jacket when it’s not raining, with a few caveats. If the weather is chilly, but not cold, a rainjacket can give you a bit more warmth without overheating.

It works well when you want to avoid a long sleeve shirt, but need something to cover your arms. If you know it’s going to be chilly in the morning but warm in the afternoon, a rain jacket is a great choice. Wearing a rain jacket when it’s sunny is another matter.

It’s generally considered strange to wear a rain jacket when there’s not a cloud in the sky.

Types of Rain jackets

To pull off a rain jacket and shorts, you’ll need the right type of rain jacket. Generally, you should opt for a casual rain jacket. Shorts are casual pieces of clothing, so a Burberry trench coat can seem out of place.

1. Rain Jacket vs Rain Coat

The two terms are often used interchangeably, but there is a difference. A rain jacket is a hip-length, while a raincoat can extend to or below the knees.

2. Rain Jacket Layers

Rain jackets come in one of three types of layers. The two-layer rain jacket is lightweight, and ideal for a light drizzle. It doesn’t offer much rain protection, but it doesn’t hold in a lot of heat either.

It has an outer layer designed to be rain-resistant, and an inside mesh layer. The 2.5-layer rain jacket offers more protection. The outer shell is paired with a thin interior fabric.

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This prevents the outer layer from becoming clogged with sweat and dirt. These are the most lightweight rain jackets. They are perfect for light rains, or short rain exposure times.

Lastly, there are 3 layer rain jackets. These are the “serious” rain jackets that are actually waterproof. They feature sealed seams and will keep you dry in the hardest of downpours.

They are less breathable than the other options, as well as heavier. As the name suggests, they have an outer waterproof layer, a membrane layer, and a heavier liner layer.

Which Type to Pair With Shorts?

In most situations, you should opt for a 2.5-layer jacket. It provides solid rain protection, without being heavy or bulky.  It offers a wide variety of style options, and looks great with shorts.

If you are planning to be outdoors for a long period of time, consider the 3 layers instead.

Young black runner with bag and yellow rain jacket who waves as he arrives to train.

Before you rock your rain jacket and shorts, you should arm yourself with a few more tips. First, choose the right style of shorts and rain jacket. If you are going biking or hiking, a light athletic rain jacket and athletic shorts are the way to go.

If you just want to look cool for the day, casual khaki shorts paired with a bright jacket will up the style factor. Length is also important. Short shorts with a rain jacket aren’t for the faint of heart.

It can make you look like you aren’t wearing a bottom garment. There have been a few celebs, including Pharrel, who can pull off this look. If you are bold enough to make it work, go for it.

For the less fashion-forward, stick to knee-length shorts.