April showers may bring May flowers, but they also cause the littering of gutters when the broken skeletons of failed umbrellas are unceremoniously tossed aside. We all know that when caught in a squall it’s tempting to cheap out and buy shoddy equipment at a sidewalk kiosk, but the well-prepared—and stylish—gentleman invests in quality rain gear that will keep him dry and stay with him for years.
And there’s much to choose from these days. New wrinkles in bumbershoots include clever designs like those from Blunt. As the name suggests, the spokes on the canopy do not protrude, so you will not inadvertently poke out the eye of someone sharing the sidewalk. And who hasn’t encountered the hazard of having their umbrella turn inside-out in the wind? To forestall this hazard, Weatherman tops their brollies with vented canopies, which the company claims will withstand blows up to 55 miles an hour.
If you economize on umbrellas because you habitually leave them on trains and planes, consider Bluetooth-enabled models such as those from Kisha that flash a warning to your cell phone once you’re 30 to 60 feet out of range. Another clever concept is the inverted umbrella from Sharpty. When you close it, the canopy turns inside out to two advantages. The dry side faces out, so that you can lay it down without getting everything wet. Furthermore, when you go to close it you can hold it outside your car or house with the door almost shut, letting you stay dry.
But if you really want to take the rain in style, check out the Brigg. This classic with a royal warrant from stormy England (pictured) is offered with a variety of exotic wood handles like malacca, whangee, cherry and chestnut. One model even has a hidden flask. You won’t leave that on the subway.