For most of my life I have never carried an umbrella until recently. Personally I hated carrying them all around, waiting for them to dry, or I just didn’t like the look of it. Then one day it hit me. I realized that even when I walk in the rain for a short period of time, I may not be getting drenched, but my cloths are getting wet. Aside from our clothing getting ruined by the rain, a dapper gentleman should always have an umbrella with him, not only for himself, but for his girlfriend, family or friends.
Jonas Hanway actually courageously led the way with men using umbrellas. Up until this point they were only associated with women and royalty. At first Jonas received much criticism, but his wise decision soon caught on with other gentlemen. Eventually the umbrella became a signature piece of the man’s accessories. Let’s look at the types of umbrellas. There are two basic styles of umbrellas. Keep in mind that each has its pros and cons. Now if you’re going for a fashion piece I would suggest getting either umbrella in classic black, grey, or navy blue.
Traditional Full-sized Umbrella. I am a personal fan of the traditional full-sized umbrella. It will keep you and your lady dry from the elements, can be used as a weapon to defend yourself, and a make shift walking stick. Make sure it has good construction, working mechanisms, and a solid wooden handle. Color and pattern are obviously a personal choice.
Collapsible Umbrellas. Any collapsible umbrella isn’t that dapper. The truth is though they are compact, convenient, and lightweight. Always make sure it opens and closes easy, has good working mechanisms, and a good dome.
Now that we know the basics of the gentleman’s umbrella, let’s see what we should know when purchasing one.
The Frame. Always look for a good frame when purchasing an umbrella. A good frame will withstand wind and won’t end up collapsing on you. Look for frames made from brass, tempered steel, or fiberglass. I recommend staying away from aluminum.
The Canopy. The second thing I personally look at is the canopy of the umbrella. This is the main piece of the product. Here are a couple of important things to look for. Is the canopy loose or tight around the ribs? You want it to be nice and tight. It should be waterproof. Another test you can do, is open the umbrella up and move it towards the light. This will help you find any defects with the material. Finally, check to make sure each section of the umbrella is tight by flicking the material with your finger.
The Shaft. The shaft is really only an issue if you are looking to purchase a full-sized umbrella. If you’re buying a compact umbrella it’s not a concern. When you decide on an umbrella with a shaft, consider your height. You don’t want an umbrella that overcrowds and suffocates you. Also, the shaft comes in various builds: Solid stick (1 piece): A solid stick umbrella is made with one continuous piece of wood. The solid stick shaft is heavier and thicker plus it allows you to use your umbrella as a walking stick. Fit-up (2 piece): Fit-ups are made of two pieces of wood and are lighter than the solid stick. Tube: The shaft of a tube umbrella is usually made of steel and is hollow. It’s lighter and allows the umbrella to be wrapped up tighter than the wooden shafts.
Rivets.Rivets are used where the ribs connect and bend. If you can see through the rivets in your umbrella, I suggest you don’t purchase it. That means they’re hollow. You want to look for an umbrella with solid rivets. This will keep your umbrella opening and closing for the many years to come.
There you have it men. You are now on your way to finding the perfect umbrella. I’d love to hear from you and how your shopping experience for your umbrella went. What kind did you end up with, a traditional full-sized or collapsible umbrella? Please leave your comments below and I will respond back to you. If you enjoyed today’s post and want to receive all that The Dapper Gentleman has to offer please subscribe by email.