For this year's April showers, stay dry with rugged, outdoorsy rain gear in colors that won't get lost in the fog. The fashion crowd is braving downpours in roomy ponchos à la Ralph Lauren or Louis Vuitton, or throwing anoraks over jeans or pretty spring dresses. Here, some options to keep you (and your budget) on the sunny side.
Plastic ponchos are cheap and plentiful at army-navy shops. For a chic transparent one, head for Weiss & Mahoney ($4). For hip street style that's somewhat less cumbersome, try Old Navy's snappy, orange rip-stop pullover ($29), or dress like a kid again in classic rubber rain gear from Tommy Hilfiger -- the red, mesh-lined windbreaker is guaranteed to make a splash ($49 at Macy's).
To keep your toes warm and dry, order a pair of bouncy rubber ankle-Wellies from the Eddie Bauer catalogue ($38). And don't forget to maintain costly blow-outs with a wide, wind-repellent umbrella. Try Echo's super-sturdy full-size version from Tribeca Luggage ($24) or cheery stow-away minis (in green, yellow, pink, and blue; $16 at Bigelow).
Weiss & Mahoney, 142 Fifth Ave., near 19th Street (675-1367); Old Navy, 503 Broadway, near Broome St. (226-0838); Macy's Herald Square (695-4400); Eddie Bauer (800-426-8020); Tribeca Luggage, 295 Greenwich St. (732-6444); C.O. Bigelow Chemist, 414 Sixth Ave., near 9th St. (533-2700).
Picks of the Week
Sulka, the pricey Park Avenue menswear boutique that's known for such covetable luxuries as cashmere socks, is usually affordable only to a select few. But at the warehouse sale, you can pick from a huge selection of hand-tailored clothing that's up to 75 percent off: Suits are now $528-$713, trousers are $49-$124, sweaters are $56-$624, and shoes are $88-$106. 111 Eighth Ave., near 15th St., fifth floor; A.E., M.C., V.; Mon.-Thurs. 9-6; 3/15-3/18.
Unframed VII is the seventh annual contemporary-art sale to benefit cria, a Manhattan-based aids-research organization. Artists including Jeff Koons, Bruce Weber, Ernesto Pujol, Suzanne McClelland, and others have each donated a series of 50 or more works on paper that will be sold for $300 apiece. Lines can be long, so get there very early (Sotheby's is passing out Krispy Kremes and coffee to those waiting). Admission is $10. Charles Cowles Gallery, 420 West Broadway (924-3934); M.C., V., checks; Sat. 10-4; 3/20.
Addison on Madison's Egyptian-cotton dress shirts are usually $65-$79. Now about a third of the stock is marked down 30 percent. Styles include spread, tab, point, and button-down collars, and French cuffs. Neck sizes 14 1/2 to 17 3/4, sleeves 32-36. Ties are 30-65 percent off, from $25 to $55. 698 Madison Ave., near 62nd St. (308-2660) and in Trump Tower, 725 Fifth Ave., near 56th St. (752-2300); A.E., M.C., V.; Mon.-Sat. 10:30-6:30; 3/15-3/27.
Fossilglass's handcrafted, textured glassware is usually available only at stores like Barneys and ABC. But at the showroom's moving sale, items are at least 75 percent off the original retail prices. Stock up for summer weddings: a serving bowl is $35; a serving platter is $15; a few pastel-tinted drinking glasses are from $5 to $15 apiece. 430 Greenwich Street (966-2798); cash only; Thurs.-Fri. noon-8, Sat. 11-6; 3/18-3/20.
The Pillowry has long been a favorite of decorators, movie stars, and Upper East Siders for pillows made from antique and vintage fabrics. At the sale, all are 25 to 40 percent off: Kilim and knotted styles are $40-$200; tapestry and needlepoint are $300-$1,600; silk are $125-$665; and kilim rugs are half off, from $175 to $2,250. 132 E. 61st St. (308-1630); M.C., V.; Mon.-Fri. 1-6:30 or by appointment; 3/15-3/26.
ALWAYS A DEAL
Surf 'n' Turf
Dread the stench of rotting, rained-on espadrilles? To keep your sandals dry this spring, invest in a pair of drizzle-friendly, weirdly cool Surf Mocs ($6 at Kmart). The tread-sole rubber-and-mesh slip-ons look like they're made for clambering over coral, but they're even chic-er for hopping puddles. Of course, they dry in a flash. We like them in royal-and-black. Kmart, 770 Broadway, at 8th St. (673-1540), and 1 Penn Plaza (760-1188).