One time we met a customer who’d received a Cleverhood as a gift. She was a city biker and she stopped by our booth at a Seattle show. That’s a distinctive city with a bit of a good rain reputation (although NYC, Boston and Chicago have higher annual rainfall). We chatted. She was bright and engaging, like all our customers. And as you can imagine, she adored her Electric Houndstooth with all it’s thoughtful features, which she pointed out to us. And don’t forget the thumb loops we chirped. Thumb loops, she said?

Boy did we have a good laugh as we showed her where they were and how they worked. We weren’t laughing at her ignorance or the funny way she said sea-add-le. No, the joke was on all of us and the way life’s little mysteries are revealed. Sure, it was only thumb loops. But, ah the tender joy of self-discovery. Isn’t it so very human of us, with our precious thumbs, to find new organic things to do with them?

In case anyone else receives a Cleverhood as a gift this season — circumventing the appropriate research and acceptance quiz — we offer a bit of enlightenment here. Taxonomically, an Electric Houndstooth is a subset of Classic capes. There are also Zipsters, some of which are part of the electric family, and Cleverlites. Consider this part of our ongoing efforts to shed some light and spread some love.

Five features of a Cleverhood to consider before you buy an ordinary raincoat or even an umbrella.

 

houndstooth rain cape

Electric Houndstooth (with black waterproof zippers)

1. Thumb Loops

Without further ado, let’s clear up this mystery. Walk or ride a bike? It doesn’t matter. This unique design makes the Cleverhood ideal rain cover for both. When cycling, the ‘hidden’ thumb loops keep the hood secure and provide an “umbrella effect” for your legs. Sturdy but flexible elastic is triple stitched in place. Simple, utilitarian  innovation. Now you know.

rain poncho

The thumb loops

2. Seams Sealed Tight

Seam Sealing or heat sealing is the process of sealing all stitched seams using a heat applied adhesive film. This process doubles the sewing time but prevents any seams from leaking. This is a critical feature and a rare skill in US garment production. Just say ‘seam-sealed, stitched seams, sewn so sweet at the seashore‘ three times and you won’t forget.

New England rain capes

Carefully cut, sewn and seam-sealed

3. Fitted Hood with Sturdy Brim

Hat makers don’t think about heads as much as we do. This hood has been optimized for fit, peripheral vision, and protection from rain. Eleven (11) pieces go into creating a double-faced, fully seam-sealed, adjustable hood (fits comfortably under a helmet). Heat-fused interfacing keeps the brim rigid but flexible – giving you great coverage. In the back is an elastic with a cord-lock for adjustments for the variety of heads people have.

A really good hood

4. The Electric Experience

Traditional meets technology in our fabrics. This houndstooth is breathable and highly waterproof (15K MM rating) with a durable water repellent that makes the fabric hydrophobic. It’s strong, durable with a good all-season weight. But what really makes this fabric stand out? On dark rainy nights? Our fabric is woven with 3M reflective thread presenting a dramatic eye-catching grid to headlights. A critical feature in foul weather with a dynamic impression.

reflective rain cape

Reflective grid

5. Magnetic Armholes

Armholes come in handy for walking the dog, grabbing a cup of coffee, or shaking hands. Pull your hand back in the cape and it automatically snaps shut to keep the rain out. Cleverly placed magnets offer discreet performance – like many of our features.

Magnetic closures that snap shut

We could go on. Perhaps you noticed the waterproof zippers with a good chunky feel to them, with optional colors. The Electric Houndstooth is easy to carry. That’s another good one. You won’t poke someone’s eye out with it like you will with a pointy umbrella. It covers your necessities in the rain. People will comment. You’ll discover new friends.