Brighten Up a Rainy Day With This Gwen Stefani-Approved Parasol

 Image courtesy of Persolé

Image courtesy of Persolé

Seven years ago, I moved to San Francisco on a rainy winter Friday. It was pre-draught, and my landlord apologized for the weather. At the tail end of that winter wet season, I would post photos of the view from my apartment whenever the sun was out. Without fail, a long-time SF-er would pipe in on Facebook to warn, "Don't get used to it. It's never like this in February."

But, for years, it was like that in February, until the rain finally returned.

Back in the day—and this was before Uber and Lyft—people ventured out when there was a downpour. These days, no one seems prepared for precipitation. Instead, folks sit inside and complain that it's rained so much they've forgotten what the sun looks like—as if they're stuck in a Ray Bradbury story.

Why not buy an umbrella and move on with life?

"Ugh," you think to yourself. "An umbrella is so pedestrian." So let's compromise. Skip the cheap umbrellas that inevitably succumb to wing droop, and treat yourself to Persolé. No flimsy metal frame supporting the canopy. No awkward plastic handle. When you look up in a Persolé, there's a pretty design—like flowers or peacock feathers—staring back down at you. The handles are fancy, as well, and several styles have "Alexander McQueen-inspired" skull or knuckle-duster grips. 

 Image via Persolé

Image via Persolé

Maybe it's a disservice to categorize these as umbrellas. Technically, this Marin-based brand describes itself as a parasol company, and, at $245–$425 a pop, I don't blame it for jazzing up that description. Each one has a 30-inch, 100 percent waterproof Italian sateen canopy— equally functional for shielding you from the sun and protecting you from the rain. The material is rated UPF 50+, (the highest protection available for fabric), so it blocks out 99.7 percent of harmful UVA/UVB rays. In other words, this is the parasol/umbrella (parabrella?) you buy when you want to feel extra fancy outside in the elements. And Gwen Stefani, who is essentially my spirit animal, has one that she carries around as a legit parasol to avoid UV rays. (Coordinating your sunnies with your parasol, à la Gwen, is optional.)

I'm not here to tell you what to do with your life or your money. But if you (1) hate being soaked on these rainy days, and (2) want to shield yourself from the elements, you'll be hard-pressed to find a more glamorous option than this (admittedly) pricey parasol.