A Guest Post by Cynthia Pace

Umbrellas, once seen as an accessory for the elderly or the un-manliest of men, have become fashionable again. That’s great news for the fashion conscious in chronically rainy cities like Vancouver BC, Seattle WA & London UK. Umbrellas are still primarily used for shelter from the rain, or protection from the sun. But these fashionable necessities can also spruce up your wardrobe, and add spice to a dark winter outfit. 

So … You’ve compiled the perfect umbrella collection. But how is your umbrella etiquette? Here’s a little Umbrella 101 …

(1). SHOW YOUR UMBRELLA SOME RESPECT – Things can get pretty windy out there. If your umbrella breaks, falls apart, or pops, please put it in the trash. Don’t throw it to the ground in disgust or leave it to wander the streets alone. Those things, sharp metal / spike bare, can be, (and are) dangerous when roaming solo in the wind. If you’ve ever been followed by a toss away at night, (I swear those things get angry when abandoned), picture silver spike teeth gleaming in the dark, following you depending on the wind direction – Trust me … it’s creepy. Show your umbrella, and fellow pedestrians, respect. Place fatalities in the trash bin immediately.

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(2). HAVE UMBRELLA CONFIDENCE – During rush hour, in Vancouver, navigating the streets can seem like a post-apocalyptic obstacle course. Look straight ahead and hold your umbrella as high as you can. For some reason, staring straight ahead, and appearing confident, makes people walk “around you” not into you. Try it – It works.

(3). DON’T BE A SOCIAL MENACE – Umbrella users are prone to suddenly release the beast, on busy streets corners, with no concern for anyone else. It all happens very fast – It’s all fun and games until somebody loses an eye. You don’t have to succumb to self-absorbed umbrella habits. Here are the basics – (1). Know how large your umbrella is when fully expanded. Practicing at home helps. (See tip #7 below). (2). Stop & look all around you.  (3). When (And only when) you have enough space, push the button that springs your umbrella to life. Those few seconds of caution could save a life, or two…

(4). DON’T SPRINKLE DRY BYSTANDERS – When exiting the rain for a vehicle, for a bus, the sky train, a shopping centre, an office building, or for a restaurant, shake off your umbrella outside. Don’t’ walk around with your umbrellas open once inside. (If you can even get through the door). Don’t wait until you get inside your friends Bently to shake the umbrella you should have dried off before you entered the car. It takes seconds to take care of your umbrella before you go inside. Your friends, and innocent by-standers, will appreciate your efforts.

(5). DO REMEMBER THE CARRYING CASE – You’ll get a perfectly matched carrying case with every umbrella purchase. It’s not a pretty disposable wrapper. It’s a re-usable cover to place your umbrella in after use. Carry the case, for whatever umbrella you’re using, with you. When leaving the rain, after you’ve given your umbrella a shake, (Or several shakes), quickly retract your umbrella, and place it back in its original cover. Now you’re inside somewhere dry. You haven’t offended anyone, or ticked off a friend. You haven’t even drenched a lobby floor or sprinkled anyone near you. And best of all, you haven’t drenched your purse by throwing a wet umbrella in there. Certain shopping centers, (Pacific Center is one) provide clear plastic umbrella bags. Those plastic umbrella bags are to help keep the floor dry and prevent injury to others from wet floors.

(6). KNOW YOUR UMBRELLA – With umbrellas up, I’ve see pedestrians in Vancouver lose all spatial awareness. On one special day, I walked by a girl trying to get on the bus with her fully expanded patio size umbrella. In haste to get out of the rain, she misjudged the entrance width of the bus door and bounced backward toward the ground with a big *boing*. I’m sure the people behind her, who managed to catch her fall, as she bounced backward, have not forgotten this incident either. Note to self: “Wisdom sometimes comes from observing others mistakes, rather than making them yourself”. *Ahem*.

(7). LEARN TO HANDLE YOUR UMBRELLA –  Don’t struggle with it on the street in the rain, risking injury to yourself, as you get drenched. If you don’t know how to collapse your umbrella quickly, practice being graceful at home. Don’t worry about the wives tale claiming “It’s bad luck to open an umbrella indoors”. That wives tale won’t help you if you’re sued for injuring a passer-by. Practice makes perfect. Ensure breakables are out of the way during home practice runs.

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(8). DON’T BE A CHEAPSKATE – Let’s not forget the “Hotel – Logo – Umbrella”- Embossed with a logo that screams “This was a freebie loaner from the hotel I stayed at in 2007″. Or “I stuffed it in my bag along with some shampoo and a couple extra hotel face clothes. I’m not the kind of person who’s safe alone with your china or Frette Napkins on the table”. Ps: “I’ve been known to steal the Tabasco sauce bottle from restaurants”. You get my point. Leave the loaners with the hotel where they belong. No one is impressed with your obvious cheapness.

(9). BE A POLITE SKY-STRAINER – To avoid rush-hour traffic, an increasing number of people in Vancouver make the commute to work on the sky-train. If you’re taking the transit on rainy days, don’t forget there are other passengers on board. You should shake, & collapse your umbrella, then put in it the case before you enter the train. It’s rude to place your wet, umbrella on the seat beside you. Of course no one will sit beside you, but the dagger like glares are hardly worth it. If your umbrella is not purse-size collapsible, make sure that if it dangles from your arm, it’s not dripping on other passengers.


(10). MEN AND UMBRELLAS – Most men are not fragile creatures. They do not look attractive carrying a parasol to keep the sun off their face, nor choosing an umbrella to match their red bottoms. Sorry, if this offends anyone – But men touting sun blocking parasols is NOT a good look. On the other hand, men carrying rain umbrellas has become very acceptable, particularly in cities like Seattle, Vancouver BC, (And London UK) for example. In these rainy metropolises; everyone uses umbrellas eventually. And if you’ve ever seen men in custom made suits, shivering while drenched, you’d think “Hey bro, where’s your umbrella”- Soon they get the hint that there is no dapper in drippy.

WWW.METROLIVINGZINE.COM NEWS IMAGE CREDIT: http://bit.ly/1FzNjPd Umbrellas – The good. The Bad. And The Downright Ugly!

(11). UMBRELLAS AND DATES: If you have a driver, of course, the driver will open your door, and shelter you and your date with the umbrella. However, if walking solo with your date, it’s gentlemen take the lead.  Hold the umbrella for you and your date, to and from your vehicle. Gentlemen…The battle with the elements is yours to fight. Wage your war wisely and fashionably.

(12). STYLE: I always tell people that *style* is more than looking good. It is more than choosing expensive clothing. Style is an attitude. It’s how you carry yourself. It’s a reflection of the inner you. Let’s make sure that the old adage, “I can dress you up but can’t take you anywhere”, never describes you.

Author: Cynthia Pace.

WWW.METROLIVINGZINE.COM NEWS IMAGE CREDIT http://www.patrickparenteau.com/

About Cynthia Pace:

Cynthia Pace is a highly respected Fashion Stylist SPECIALIZING in Special Event Red Carpet Styling, Image Consulting & Makeovers. She teaches fine dining etiquette. Cynthia is also actively involved with The International Perfume Foundation. She can be found at the following links:

http://www.styleandimagewithcynthia.com                                                 http://instagram.com/styleandimagewithcynthia       https://www.facebook.com/Style.And.Image…                         http://www.perfumefoundation.org/                                                   http://about.me/cynthia.pace                                                                                                    http://2luxury2.com