Are Umbrellas Effete?

Umbrellas are a very useful object to have on hand when it starts to rain, whatever your gender may be, but many men avoid using them as they think doing so is in some way considered effete. These men would rather be soaked down to the bone than risk the humiliation of being seen in public with an umbrella, but they are missing a trick. Let’s look how umbrellas have been used by men throughout history.

Man Holding Inverlla Umbrella


Umbrellas as we know them were originally invented as a way to protect against the sun rather than the rain. The umbrella was first called a parasol and is documented as being used as early as the 4th Century B.C. in places such as ancient Rome, ancient Greece, ancient Egypt, India and the Middle East. Their design was very close to that of the umbrella as we know it now.

It appears that is was women who mostly used these early umbrellas/parasols (from para “stop” and sol “sun”), though evidence exists that proves it was used by kings, clergymen, and other members of royalty as well.


Umbrellas became popular in England in the early 1750s when an Englishman called Jonas Hanway returned from a trip to France with an umbrella, which he used to guard himself against London’s incessant rain. Passersby were shocked at seeing a man committing such a social faux-pas, but Hanway was not bothered by their reaction and carried on using his rain defense.

At this time in England, the use of the umbrella by a men was considered effete and seen as a character weakness; it was far more desirable to be soaked than to carry such a thing. However, Hanway’s umbrella caught on and became increasingly more popular towards by the late 1700s as a way to protect both men and women from the rain. By 1881, it was rather common for men to use umbrellas.


After the U.S. Navy allowed its men to wear umbrellas while in uniform in 1987, after on-and-off debates since 1969, it sent the message loud and clear that it is no longer considered feminine or effete for a man to carry an umbrella.  It seems that while parasols may have had a feminine edge, though one that Royalty embraced, the modern rain umbrella is considered more of a necessity.

What are Inverted Umbrellas?

So, picture this. You’re walking to work or to meet a new date and it starts to rain. We’re not talking drizzle, we’re talking full-on bucketing rain that will soak you to the skin in two seconds flat unless you find a way to stay dry quickly. Luckily, you remember you have an umbrella stashed in your bag, so you quickly grab it, put it up and continue on your way, safe in the knowledge that you’ll arrive at your destination nice and dry.

Except when you finally get there and you are indeed nice and dry, you put your umbrella down…and the water goes all over you AND all over the floor.
Not an impressive entrance, for sure, but it’s happened to us all. Umbrellas are an excellent invention, but they are far from foolproof.

At least, not until now! Enter the inverted umbrella, a relatively new invention that takes the concept of a standard umbrella and, well, turns it inside out!

Why would you invert an umbrella?

We’re glad you asked! First, let’s look at a traditional umbrella. You may be surprised to find out that umbrellas have been around since the 4th century B.C. and were first used in ancient Greece, ancient Rome, India, ancient Egypt, and the Middle East.

Umbrellas haven’t changed much at all since the old days (though perhaps the designs have become more wacky!) They still do a decent job of keeping us dry, but inevitably fail us at the last minute.

On top of this, they’re a nightmare on public transport, as the wet side will almost always brush up against your jeans (or that of a stranger!), they turn into weapons of mass destruction on the high street, as much as you go out of your way to save a passerby from getting poked in the eyes, and they tend to get blown inside out by strong winds, making them completely ineffective!

So, a brilliant Englishman came up with the innovative idea to invert the umbrella and keep us all a lot more safe and dry!

Here’s how:

1) To close an inverted umbrella, you pull it up rather than down so all the drips are caught inside
2) It opens from the top, so there are no eye-level prongs, keeping passersby safe!
3) As the wet side of the umbrella faces inward when closed, only the dry side is exposed
4) They can’t be buffeted inside out by the wind, because they’re already inside out!

And there you have it! Inverted umbrellas may look just look a standard umbrella, but we love that they are able to effectively carry out the one job—the ONLY job—that an umbrella has. They keep you, and those you come into contact with,100% dry!