Living in Seattle, I use umbrellas often. The showers are relatively light, the drops small, and the wind slight, so as long as you are wearing fairly weatherproof footwear, an umbrella will keep you dry. Heavy tropical downpours make you wet no matter what, but we seldom have those here. 

A small, portable, lightweight umbrella is perfect for Seattle rain. For about 9 months of the year I carry one in my handbag, and there are always at least two small umbrellas in my car. I never use large umbrellas that won’t fit into my handbag. They are cumbersome, I lose them during the day, or I forget to bring them along in the first place. 

When you use an umbrella as often as I do, it becomes part of your look. So as strange as this may sound, I think about how my umbrella matches my outfit. I’ve found that a simple black and white polka dot umbrella works best for my style. It matches outfits made up of solids or false plains, and also works as a complimentary secondary pattern when I’m wearing prints. 

I have a few polka dot umbrellas, one of which is off-white with multi-coloured polka dots. I use that umbrella in the Spring with cream outwear, or when I am wearing very bright solid colours. Sometimes I throw in a solid bright coloured umbrella, like apple green, bright red, or yellow. I use those umbrellas when I’m wearing a black and white outfit, a patterned dress or a blouse. I also keep meaning to purchase a beautifully brightly patterned Marimekko umbrella because it will work well with my black and white outfits.  

I do not use plain black umbrellas unless I’ve been caught without one and I’m forced to purchase whatever’s available at the nearest drugstore or hawker stand. I find them dark and depressing, when bright and cheerful is what I need most on a grey Seattle day. 

I buy all my umbrellas at the Nordstrom Rack because it’s convenient and inexpensive ($10 – $14 each). Do you think about your umbrella style? Do you like to make them work with your outfit, or does that sound ridiculous?