Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Stellar Umbrella: Tosses & Tips

PENELOPE'S UMBRELLA DOES REMARKABLE things. However, most of us in BC are satisfied simply with good coverage and a strong windproof frame. Chances are that chilly breezes mixed with smatterings of rain and occasional hail will continue throughout April. Although it is too soon to put away your umbrella, it could be time to buy a new one.

Like a favorite raggedy doll, even a worn down slightly bent umbrella that turns inside out at the slightest wind can be hard to relinquish. For sentimental types, such as myself, a cozy canopy that has been a head cover for years and wears the tatters of time deserves appreciation. It’s a good thing we don’t have to toss out the old to buy a new umbrella. If you are thinking of making a purchase, here are a few things to consider:

Is the umbrella comfortable to hold? The grip of an umbrella is as important as the fit of your hat and shoes.

An umbrella should be lightweight but not so fragile that it will not withstand the West Coast winds.

The best umbrellas open and close automatically with reliable ease.

Collapsible umbrellas should open to at least 42 inches to give proper coverage.

Consider a Teflon-treated canopy that repels water and dries quickly.

Check the storage pouch to ensure the umbrella can be put back into place comfortably once it has been used.

Be aware of the store’s return policy and warrantees as different manufacturers offer zero to lifetime guarantees.

Unlike running down the street with a newspaper over your head, an umbrella is a fashion statement that requires some thought. Do you want to express yourself with bold colours that brighten a dull day or do you prefer neutral colours that won't clash with your clothing? Umbrellas come in an array of designs and it's nice to know that anything goes. A Van Gogh painting or a huge daisy can hover over your head as you walk through the April showers in style.