Dress Tips

Why does it seem like no one in Colorado owns an umbrella?

By on May 18th, 2015

The long week of rain that we had a couple weeks back was a bit of a dozy.

Indeed, it rains in the springtime here in Colorado and snow is not uncommon. But it was a little odd to have such a long stretch of rain and clouds and then more rain. And finally, the capstone was a snowstorm.

But now that the rainy weather has subsided (for the most part, anyway) and June is just around the corner, I’ve had time to reflect on the gloomy weather. Aside from providing me a distraction-free work environment (because those sunny days are soooo tempting) it made it easy to stay inside and get some work done.

But when I was roaming around outside I noticed what I tend to notice every spring: That it seems like almost nobody in Colorado owns an umbrella. And this year the recovering engineer in me decided to categorize the types of people I saw outside caught in the rain.

Generally speaking, I see three types of people:

1. The rain shell crowd

These folks are wearing their rain shell from either their technical winter jacket, or the dedicated shell from their back country backpack. I’ll admit, I wear mine too when it is absolutely pouring outside, but I also have an umbrella. But unless you are wearing a rain shell over your pants too, you’re still getting wet.

2. The hoodie crowd

Mostly, this demographic envelops the younger people and the students. They will be the ones wearing a fleece or polyster hoodie and just throwing the hood up to stay out of the rain. Similar to the rain shell crowd, their legs are getting pretty drenched, and I’m pretty sure that hoodie weighs a few more pounds due to water weight!

3. The “tough it out” crowd

Granted, most of these folks are probably just completely caught off guard, but many seem to have that tough-as-nails demeanor – that rain just doesn’t bother them. And that may be so when you’re walking across the parking lot of the grocery store with a purpose, but then when you get in your car, you’re soaking wet. And the combination of being seated and the high relative humidity, means that it will take forever to dry.


So, all three categories above are getting wet when it rains.

If you’re reading this blog, then you’re probably a sartorially inclined gentlemen, and showing up for a meeting with a damp sportcoat or dress shirt is not only going to dampen your confidence, but you are going to look unprepared.

For guidance, let’s look east

While I was in New York City a couple years back, I was caught in a rainstorm. And by “caught” I mean I was conveniently in a coffee shop and therefore had no need to showcase my lack of being prepared with an umbrella. But I did have a nice window seat and observed something interesting. You see, as soon as the drops began to hit the ground, all the pedestrians were suddenly sporting designer rain boots and umbrellas.

We can partially attribute this to the dense urban population of the city, that some people were just about to head out the door, saw the impending rain, and dressed accordingly. But also because New Yorkers are far more fashion conscious than we are in Colorado.

Fashion conscious or not, they knew what they were doing. They still had their hurried pace and had purpose, it just happened to be raining. And when they arrived where they were going, I’m sure that they were dry.

Practical rain wear for urban Colorado

So, let’s talk specifics. What is it that you can do here in the urban Colorado landscape to stay dry and do so in a stylish way?

Here’s what you can do:

Firstly, get an umbrella. Bonus points for buying one in the traditional style with a curved handle. It makes it easy to hang someplace.

Secondly, wear those winter dress boots you have for the rainy and wet and possibly snowy spring days. They will stand up to any puddle and still look great in the office.

Thirdly, treat yourself to an updated trench coat. In fact, this topic demands its own blog post…


Wrap up

I think it’s fairly obvious why so many Colorado men opt to wear their technical rain jackets when the clouds turn dark. It’s because we are mountain men and we spend our weekends (and weekdays, as it may be) in the high country, and rain doesn’t really bother us because we have all the appropriate mountain gear.

But as is often the case with winter jackets, most guys don’t quite know when to leave the technical jacket at home and instead dress a little sharper for the urban landscape.

Besides, if you start carrying an umbrella, there is the chance you’ll happen across a pretty girl who could use one. 🙂

By Ryan Wagner

What’s your opinion, why do you think there are so few umbrellas in use in Denver and the surrounding cities?