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The Gentleman’s Umbrella | Manolo for the Big Girl

The Gentleman’s Umbrella

The poshest thing I’ve ever heard in my whole life was uttered by this little old show queen named —well, I can’t remember what his name was, so I’ll call him Evelyn– I met in New York who was carrying the most divinely wrapped umbrella I’d ever seen.  At that time I’d amassed a fair collection of old silk bumbershoots and was always on the lookout to add to my archive so I told him I regarded his specimen and if he wouldn’t mind, could he please tell me where to procure one just like it.

He looked over at me with this amazing disdain, yawned and said

“Darling. I only ever buy umbrellas in London.”

 Could you die? I died.

Then when I actually WENT to London, my favorite thing about the entire city was Daniel Radcliffe’s weenus was seeing all those gorgeously dressed Proper English Gentlemen in their grey felt hats and perfectly rolled umbrellas walking around Knightsbridge looking important and repressed.


So that’s when I decided I needed a Proper British Walking umbrella. 25″ long with a whangee cane handle.

Brigg’s Whangee Cane Umbrella

I did not know then that a Proper British Walking Umbrella like the men in Knightsbridge carry can set you back anywhere from $400 to $800.  Yowch, that’s a LOT of cheddar.

So I decided to venture closer to home,  in the gentleman’s department of Neiman Marcus. See, I had visions of Miss Emma Peel.

Diana Rigg as Miss Emma Peel

(Be careful when you’re wearing both your chapeau AND your umbrella. It’s a fine line between Diana Rigg and Danny DeVito)

This Is Not What We’re Going For

9 Responses to “The Gentleman’s Umbrella”

  1. Sarah February 14, 2009 at 9:48 pm #

    Hello! A friend sent me the link to your post and I thought you might like to drool over this: http://www.james-smith.co.uk/ I visited London for the first time after Christmas and one the best things I did in my entire two weeks was my hour-long visit to James Smith and Sons. I could have peed myself with delight and pleasure. Though I wouldn’t generally pee myself for pleasure. If you ever have a chance, you must visit them!

  2. Jo February 14, 2009 at 10:18 pm #

    Thank God! You’ve provided me with the title for my next personal ad: “Walking the Fine Line Between Emma Peel and Danny DeVito.”

  3. Jenne February 14, 2009 at 10:25 pm #

    Pardon me, but that’s MRS. Emma Peel, you know.

  4. B.S.A.G. February 16, 2009 at 7:06 pm #

    I just got back from London (like, half an hour ago). When I saw this post, I knew I had to mention The Umbrella Store – but it looks like Sarah beat me to it. It didn’t occur to me that they’d have a website!

    The Mr. and I didn’t go inside – too many other things on the agenda – but we did get a picture of the building in all its 19th century glory and took a long look in the window. With my feet hurting from all the walking I did this weekend, I was seriously coveting some of their canes. I doubt I could pull one off as a fashion accessory, though.

  5. teteatete February 24, 2009 at 6:41 pm #

    James Smith & Sons is amazing! I have an umbrella from them that is divine, but didn’t set my back TOO much (I believe it was about 100 pounds sterling). It’s a dusty rose with grey stripes and a wooden handle. They had much more expensive versions, but the one I have is fantastic. The silk is thick and it holds its own in the rain.

    A particular piece of trivia I read somewhere (not sure if its true though) is that the beautiful shop was the only store on the block to survive the blitz unscathed. I wonder if they left the umbrellas open?

  6. teteatete February 24, 2009 at 6:42 pm #

    I meant in the wind. It holds its own in the wind… of course it does in just plain old rain. :)

  7. BaileyJapes June 9, 2010 at 4:09 pm #

    “all those Proper English Gentlemen in their grey felt hats and perfectly rolled umbrellas walking around Knightsbridge looking important and repressed.”

    Um, which century did you visit London in exactly?

  8. Plumcake June 9, 2010 at 4:14 pm #

    @Bailey: That time was April and May of 2007 I believe. I was completely bowled over. I didn’t know they still existed, much less FLOCKED in such numbers.

  9. BaileyJapes June 9, 2010 at 4:38 pm #

    Hmm. I think you fell asleep while watching Mary Poppins.