Monday, October 29, 2012

Accessories for the rain (1): Umbrellas

Why umbrellas?
Umbrellas are a major fashion accessory. Surprisingly, style and fashion books don't comment on umbrellas, but depending on your country, they form part of your daily life for around half of the year. Tell me, if you have spent some time choosing your outfit and then invested considerable money in your outerwear, are you then going to have your umbrella clash with all that work?
Then, umbrellas perform a serious task, keeping you dry and protected from the wind: your clothes, your hairdo and your makeup. It is also cheaper to buy an initially (and relatively) expensive umbrella that you won't have to replace for years than inexpensive bad quality ones that you will have to. Again, there is no reason why you shouldn't look good doing it: cheap umbrellas look cheap, the material is not . and will look cheap on top of that.

Under the rain
Under the Rain: Quirky Designer by Caroline Grant. Marimekko is one of the classics of Scandinavian design. Founded by designers Armi Ratia and Malja Isola in the 1960s in Finland, these two women have created some of the most iconic Scandinavian designs. The Unikko, the flower pattern in this umbrella, can always be found at Marimekko's, in handbags, scarves, and household items, and has seen countless imitations over the years. They aim at good quality, classic design that lasts in time.

Marimekko Unikko Umbrella / Hobbs Angel Trench / Hobbs Suzannah Dress / Hobbs Jeri Button Courts / Christa Radley Handbag / Blu Bijoux Coral and Gold Beaded Necklace / Oscar de la Renta Seagrass Ring / Yves Saint Laurent Lipstick in Indian Red.

Under the Rain
Under the Rain: Modern Designer by Caroline Grant. A folding, light weight umbrella is a great idea when travelling, in case of showers. Most designers have their own version of this indispensable accessory at, of course, designer prices.

Marc by Marc Jacobs What a Spectacle Umbrella / Mango Three-quarter Sleeve Dress / L.K. Bennett Belle Cardigan / Miss Sixty Hot Mari Denim Jacket / Zara Suede Shopper Handbag / Chie Mihara Guinyo Sandals / Zara Cord Chain Colored Stone Necklace / Kenneth Jay Lane Lapis Dream Ring / Gucci Retrosun Vintage Sunglasses / Nars Lipstick in Heat Wave / Nars Nail Lacquer in Dovima.

The little extras that will make your life easier:
  • An automatic open and/or close mechanism makes the umbrella heavier and more expensive, but consider how convenient it will be if you have your hands full when travelling or shopping or kids. Always test the mechanism several times before buying. Also, is the action smooth and easy or you have to use an immoderate amount of force to make it work?
  • Tips that can be pulled on and off the ribs last longer than the ones sewn on. Rounded tips, by the way, are less of a hazard to others.
  • A warranty. Is there one? If there is, for how long and what does it cover?
  • A comfortable wrist or shoulder strap or a comfortable handle to hold or to place over your wrist when not in use.
  • Pouch or case for storage when wet. It has to be waterproof so you can safely store your umbrella back in your purse. 
Under the Rain

Under the Rain: Classic Designer by Caroline Grant. Fulton is one of those brands "By apppointment to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II Umbrella Manufacturers" that exist in those countries that still have a monarchy. Trivia apart, this traditional British Brand colaborates on a permanent basis with well-known designers: Cath Kidston, Lulu Guinnes, Orla Kiely, and Ella Donan. They are one of the few brands that still make umbrellas with William Morris' patterns, that are a classic in themselves.

Fulton Riva Photographic Rose Umbrella / Orla Kiely Heavy Wool Dress / Hobbs Toatley Trench / Zara Two-Tone Shopper Handbag / Mary Portas for Clarks La Wesley Shoes / Asos Stud Flower Detail Belt / Daniela Swaebe Dragon Agate Earrings / Aspinal of London Lined Button Gloves / Dickins & Jones Flower Trim Cloche Hat / Tom Ford Lipstick in Black Orchid / Tom Ford Nail Lacquer in Black Orchid.

Under the Rain
Under the Rain: Japanese Design by Caroline Grant. Sou Sou is a Kyoto brand that offers traditional Japanese clothing and accessories. This umbrella is 100% silk, has a detachable handle so it can be carried around easily and comes with its own pouche. It can be used to be protected against the sun or the rain.

Hiyoshiya for Sou Sou Square Umbrella / Moschino Cheap & Chic Black Wool Crêpe Jacket / Coast Ellison DressMoschino Cheap & Chic Satin Flapover Handbag / Jimmy Choo Berry Flats / Andara Peacock Druzy Tassel Necklace / Andara Peacock Square Druzy Tassel Chain Earrings / Helena Rubinstein Lipstick in Possess / Nars Nail Lacquer in Jungle Red.

Under the Rain

Under the rain: German Design by Caroline Grant. Ultra light and handbag-friendly, this is a portable umbrella from a really good brand, the epitome of German technology for umbrellas, according to their website. I bought my first Knirps umbrella while visiting a friend in Dusseldorf, although not this version. Mine lives up to its promise: wind and water resistant, never gets turned inside out and dries in a second. This model comes with a zipper case that is really convenient to carry around.
 Knirps Baroque Rose Umbrella / Hobbs Victoria Skirt / Plein Sud Jeanius Turtleneck Top / Windsmoor Classic Black Cape / Aspinal of London Hepburn Handbag / J.Crew Valentina Pumps / Aspinal of London Long Leather Gloves / Trina Turk Mosaic Pendant Necklace / Charmed Circle Black Onyx Square Cocktail Ring / Estée Lauder Pure Color Lipstick in Scarlet Siren / Estée Lauder Nail Lacquer in Pure Red.

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