It’s been particularly wet in Britain recently, but I sincerely hope you don’t need to use an umbrella this weekend. If so, please shake it dry before you bring it into the house…
According to Victorian etiquette, a man ‘may leave his umbrella and cane in the hall, but not his hat and gloves.’ It would be terribly embarrassing to be considered ‘an unpleasant caller just in out of the rain, whose overcoat and umbrella drips on the carpet.’
In the past there were strict rules relating to the use of umbrellas – one learned how to furl an umbrella properly, to hold the handle in the right hand, to grip the ferrule in the left, with folds lying neatly one over the other – and so on…
It used to be traditional for every City gent to carry an umbrella. But all that changed only a couple of decades ago.
Of course, some would argue that no real man would ever use, or even be seen carrying an umbrella. The Duke of Wellington was astonished when in 1913 Bayonne, officers of the Guards put up their umbrellas because it was raining. But the guards loved their umbrellas and eventually a tightly furled umbrella became part of the guards’ town and civilian uniform.
Men who are reticent to carry umbrellas, often believe them to be for wimps. They’d rather get wet. Anyway, for those who are happy to be be seen with them, here are a few of the current options available (unfortunately not from ShopCurious) if you happen to be shopping for an umbrella..
First, there's the fold up version, as modelled here by Steve from Style Salvage. By the way, Fulton is one of the best known UK manufacturers of this variety (Mr Fulton is a charming old gentleman too). But would a gentleman dare to be seen with such an accessory?
For the classic, retro-style black City umbrella best go to Fox (inventors of the steel framed umbrella),
or Briggs for this type of design (though these can also be very pricey ) The bamboo handled whangee looks by far the most stylish design to me..
There’s also the over shoulder version – perfect for country pursuits, not so sure about Henley Royal Regatta…
Another is the popular corporate or golfing umbrella, often featuring a straight rather than bowed handle - along with the ubiquitous logo.
For night, there’s an electric, an LED umbrella – or even the suitably high-tech wi-fi Internet version?
Or perhaps you'd prefer something a little more arty or colourful?
So, do real men use umbrellas? I can't seem to find a picture of David Beckham carrying one... Does that mean they’re not cool? Let me know what you think on the subject of men's umbrellas. And what type of umbrella you prefer to carry, if any?
PS Read more about the culture and philosophy of the umbrella over at The Dabbler today.