$85, (available in seven colors) at Rain or Shine
A few months ago, we talked with Howard Yount's designer Jamison Stoltz about the benefits of a grown-up umbrella and the dangers of a disposable one. After all, drugstore umbrellas rarely do the job—they snap in a storm or fold up so small that they're easily lost or left behind. But then again, a large umbrella isn't always practical either, especially on sidewalks or other crowded areas. Enter the "Assymetrical," by French brand Sofrap. Held one way, the 8-paneled waterproof canopy is as wide as your standard umbrella. But rotate it 90 degrees and it's now narrow enough to navigate through crowds of people, who are most likely getting wet while trying to avoid umbrella collisions. Plus, the football-shaped wooden handle makes for a handsome and comfortable grip. Made in France, it's only available in the States at Rain or Shine, a small family-run umbrella shop in midtown Manhattan, that thankfully sells online.