I've been absent for a while but I'm back now after a short holiday and a slightly longer flu. I'm also sitting on a backlog of pictures, so I'll probably do a couple of WIW's in the near future.
But first, here are some pictures of the Raindress, mentioned in a previous thread, for rachylou and anybody else who rides a bicycle and doesn't want to compromise on style in wet weather. By way of full disclosure, I know the designer and was informally involved in the design process in that I assisted with a little R&D and gave suggestions and feedback on prototypes. I've no specific interest in the product beyond that, but I am maybe a little biased.
As Mr Edge pointed out when I first described it to him, the Raindress is essentially "a trendy rain poncho", but there's more to it than that. This thing is so ridiculously elegant that it goes way beyond gear. When I put it on for the first time I actually wanted it to start raining so that I could go out and bike around showing it off. To paraphrase the designer, it's all about dressing up and feeling good about heading out on your bicycle in the rain, and if that's not an argument for the transformative power of fashion then I don't know what is.
The dress pulls over the head, ties with a sash at the back and fastens under the arms, so it's loose enough to fit over a light jacket or coat. The skirt is long enough to give good coverage and the elastic loops around the legs keep it in place when you're cycling. The loose design gives sufficient freedom of movement and adequate ventilation without too much air resistance. A nice touch are the weighted hems on the skirt and cape, which keep everything from flapping about in high wind.
The hood fastens snugly under the chin and the tucked design means that it stays put and doesn't impede visibility when you turn your head. It fits easily over a helmet (I checked!) which is an obvious requirement in environments with no bike-friendly infrastructure, which would be anywhere other than the Netherlands.
In general it performs very well in the rain. The material is impregnated poly satin with a breathable backing, all seams are taped and the edges are laser cut for a very clean finish. The whole thing folds into a built-in pocket so you can carry it around when it isn't raining.
It keeps me very dry and my only complaint I have so far is that the short hem on the cape at the back means a wet backside if I hop on the bike without first wiping water off the saddle. This is a minor quibble, as my guess is that more coverage in this area would probably compromise freedom of movement in the skirt.
So yes. I can definitely recommend the Raindress. If you're an urban cycle commuter and you're fed up with anoraks and nylon over-trousers in bad weather then this is the product for you.