Posted on April 07 2017
Has mother nature been listening to Rihanna’s “Umbrella” on repeat because rain has been heavy in the forecast as of late. I’m not sure about your daily commute, but I could stand to go a day without walking along the sidewalk instead of my usual short cuts through the grass to class. The sidewalk doesn’t exactly fix all my problems either as I find myself still jumping over puddles…apparently creating leveled walking grounds and proper drainage must be a thing of the distant past. Now although I refuse to wear rain boots, there is one thing I won’t leave the house without on these drizzly days…my umbrella. It’s one thing to have wet feet, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to ruin a perfectly pressed shirt or a good hair day.
Throughout this past week of rainy days, I started wondering to myself, as I often do, about the stories behind certain elements in life and how they came to be. Top of mind was my trusty umbrella. How exactly did someone think of such a fashion saving necessity and where did it come from? Needless to say, WRITTEN Founder Emily, encouraged me to look into; thus, I am prepared to share with you all things umbrella related for your weekend reading.
While today’s umbrella is used widely to shield people from the rain, this was not always the case. Dating back to almost 4000 years ago, umbrellas were once exclusively used by the wealthy and royalty throughout the Middle and Far East. In fact, the first umbrellas, known as parasols, were not even used for rain purposes. Deriving from the Latin word “umbra”, meaning shadow, the earliest umbrellas were first used by nobles, royalty, and religious leaders for protection from the sun. Keeping their skin fair and pale, parasols were used as a way for men and women of high ranking to distinguish themselves from the masses.
From Fashion To Function
It wasn’t until the 18th century that waterproof materials were used in creating the umbrella which contributed to them being used for protection from the rain. In 1709, Frenchman Jean Marius, a master purse maker, designed a folding version which was both lightweight and chic. Initially, these umbrellas were highly favored by women only. Though pricey, no proper lady would be caught in public without this accessory as it complemented their attire and kept their heads dry.
Although umbrellas were known primarily as an accessory for women, you wouldn’t catch Englishman, Jonas Hanway, without his either. Despite criticism, Hanway’s persistence eventually paid off as other Englishmen began to sport the accessory transforming it into a common must-have for men and women alike.
Over the years, there have been many changes to the umbrella; from purpose (sun to rain) to functionality (accessory to protection from the weather), the umbrella has continued to be a valued product to people all over the world. However, one of the major reasons it has continued to stand tall throughout time is due to its changing materials and resulting weight distribution. Modern-day materials such as steel, aluminum, and fiberglass have paved the way for the production of smaller umbrellas, while new technology such as automatic umbrellas lend to easy opening and closing with the simple press of a button.
As we head into the month of April, a month notorious for providing us with rain showers, here are some of our favorite fashionable and functional umbrella options to accompany your most stylish Spring outfits when the weather isn’t cooperating.
We just couldn’t resist these adorable duck handle umbrellas! There’s definitely no ugly ducklings here.
For the WRITTEN Woman who’s always on-the-go, this packable umbrella is perfect for storing in a handbag or carryon. On top of that, it’s designed to withstand wind gusts up to 35 MPH!
For Dog Lovers:
No one likes the smell of a wet dog, but this umbrella spreads the love of your favorite pup no matter the weather. Who let the dog’s out!?
You may not be able to see through the rain, but this umbrella by Kate Spade has you covered!
Best Floral Print:
What’s Spring without flowers? Add a pop of color into your rainy days with this floral print umbrella.
With a gold skull made of solid brass, this umbrella from Alexander McQueen is guaranteed to make a bold statement!
Best Umbrella Selection
If you haven’t found what you’re looking for yet, you should check out a site we recently discovered.
Designed in Portland, Oregon, Shedrain.com provides enough statement umbrella designs to carry you through the entire Spring season. We especially love what they say about jazzing up an old classic…sound familiar?
April showers might bring May flowers, but don’t let rain get in the way of making your fashion statement with these fashionable umbrellas! Stay dry WRITTEN Women.