Guess what, news flash… it rains in Florida… a lot!, And with that in mind, I started examining my (and my neighbors) choices in umbrellas. The selection ranged from good to ok to “a newspaper would do a better job.” So, with that observation in mind, I decided to offer a little help. Trust me, you really do need a great umbrella.
You can easily find a cheap umbrella in a pinch when pop-up showers start. But that telescoping $5 drugstore find is sure to fold up and fall apart like a cheap accordion as soon as any heavy duty rain and wind shows up. So what to do? The answer is simple. Be armed with a great, sturdy umbrella before you leave the house. You, and your hair, and your clothes, and your briefcase, and your date… will thank me later.
HERE ARE A FEW TIPS FOR PICKING THE RIGHT UMBRELLA.
STURDY HANDLE… Even if your hair and clothes stay dry, it’s likely that a few drops of rain will find their way down to your umbrella handle. You need something easy to grip and easy to hang on to in case the weather turns windy.
LONG SIDES… That horrible horizontal rain that comes at you sideways is not going to be stopped by a flat circle of fabric laying above your head like an over-sized dinner plate. By picking an umbrella that is shaped to do its job, you’ll be better equipped for hard driving rain and wind.
GO BIG… No, you can’t put a big umbrella into your pocket or brief case but you’re worried about wet weather not the easy of storage, right? This is also a better choice when you want to keep your partner (or children) dry as well. Plus, you can use it as a walking stick once the rain dries up.
STRONG FABRIC / STRONG ARMS… Don’t just go for the designer umbrella because it looks sleek and everyone has one. Pick one that has a strong, sturdy fabric that doesn’t look like it would rip easily. As far as sturdiness goes, the rest of the umbrella (the “arms” that hold up the fabric) should not bend easily. Here is a good test. Shake it around and play with it like a sword when it is open. Does it feel like it could break down at any moment? If so, pick a different umbrella.
BLACK… (or a very subtle pattern) Sure it is easy and appealing to grab a multi-colored umbrella that looks like a circus tent but is that really the statement that you want to make? Go for the classic cover and if you are worried about it getting lost in the sea of black umbrellas left in the coat room or work closet, then try wrapping the handle with a grip tape similar to what tennis players put on their rackets. Not only will it help distinguish your umbrella but it will also help keep your hands dry when you are carrying it (see item one.)
My go-to umbrella is almost always a sleek black, very large golf umbrella. They are made to handle the wind and pelting rain. Plus, you trust them to cover $2000 in golf equipment so you should trust them as well to cover your $2000 suit. (Note – do not carry one that is covered in logos… unless of course you are getting a very large check to do so!)
And one final tip. Even though it is considered normal and “cool” in many parts of the country to go without an umbrella, it is definitely not. Showing up at your destination looking like a cat that just escaped from a bath tub is never a good look (and don’t get me started on the smell!) Take a tip from the oh-so-stylish Brits. Do you see fashionable gents walking around rainy London town sans a suitable umbrella? Exactly!