5 things to consider when choosing an umbrella

If you are after an umbrella that won't turn into a broken pile of metal at the first sign of a gust of wind here are a few of my tips.

1. Choose your style

Ask yourself, 'Do you prefer a long umbrella or a folding style, manual or automatic?'

A long stick umbrella is the traditional umbrella that is seen in many British films being carried around London by men in bowler hats. Nowadays they come in all kinds of shapes, sizes, designs and colours and usually stronger and less likely to break. They are sometimes known as walkers as they are tapped along the pavements like a cane (though beware, as leaning your body weight on a long stick can damage the umbrella).

A folding umbrella can be more convenient, especially for women who like to carry an umbrella in their bag, but the downside is that with more joints comes more potential weak points, just like your legs which have very strong bones, but your weak point is the knee which can easily twist.

The convenience of an automatic is a great thing, especially if you are carrying bags, as with only one push of the button the umbrella opens. So why wouldn't you want an automatic? Well, they are usually a bit heavier due to the mechanism needed.

2. Look for quality

A long stick is always going to be stronger than a folding, but if you pick a folding umbrella, choose one with fewer joints in the rib, the more joints, the more places for the umbrella to bend or break, and check what material the ribs are made of.

Aluminum ribs are lightweight, but bend and break easily. Stronger metal ribs may be heavier but will perform better than aluminium. Fibreglass ribs have a lot of flexibility and can adjust to the wind, then snap back into place making them a good choice.

3. Pick a brolly to suit your personality & your colouring

There are so many patterns, styles colours and shapes out there that you don't have to buy 'the-same-as-everyone-else's' standard black.

If you are a bright and lively person, why not have a bright and lively umbrella to show off your style?

If you are a bit quirky, why not buy a quirky shape, such as a heart, square or pagoda shape?

And don't forget about colours; your umbrella filters the daylight through the colour of your brolly onto your skin. The creamy colours and golds can even out your complexion, blues can suit a mediterranean or darker skin tone, but can make a light skin colour look a bit washed out, some of the most flattering shades are pinks, purple and red, which bestow a warm healthy glow to most skin tones.

4. Curves are good 

The canopy of a less expensive umbrella is usually a flatter shape, and more likely to turn inside out with a sharp gust of wind. A more curved dome shape is likely to keep it's shape, especially in windy conditions, and gives more protection from that sideways driving rain.

5. The Price has to be Right

There is a saying 'You get what you pay for' and with umbrellas this is definitely true. Umbrellas can range from pound shop specials to over £500 for luxury Italian designer styles. To be able to sell those 'pound shop style' umbrellas so cheap, they usually have to skimp on the quality, which is why they usually collapse at the first sign of wind, and end up strewn along pavements.

The £500 designer brolly isn't an option for most, and a lot of the time their actual mechanisms are the same quality as in the mid level umbrellas, so you are mainly paying for the styling or the designer name (or both), but if you do have the option to choose, buying a mid-priced umbrella is probably the best. Anything between £15- £50 is what I would expect to pay for a good quality brolly.

I hope this helps,

Karen Lee