If your umbrella collection consists of a bunch of those buy-and-toss numbers you get from a street peddler whenever you happen to be caught in a downpour -- the kind of umbrellas you don't miss when they're forgotten on the subway -- why not invest a little thought into picking one that goes beyond basic New York black and won't collapse like a cheap lawn chair at the first gust of wind? You may not want to pony up $295 for the much-coveted Burberry plaid, but for a fraction of that price you can find an umbrella that keeps you dry while making a splash.
Liberty's khaki-black-and-red-plaid model (pictured, $40 at Venture) is a classy, functional umbrella in the perfect print that will stay chic for seasons to come. Other fun bumbershoots from the same line come with goldfish prints on vinyl (pictured) and in faux python ($36.95 each at Laytner's Linens & Home).
For more takes on the classic-with-a-twist, check out Echo's black model with tiny, festive polka dots (pictured, $48 at Tribeca Luggage & Leather) and the line's other subtle, clean designs, which often feature understated florals and dark iridescent solids.
We also love the Museum of Modern Art Design Store's Clouds umbrella (pictured, $45), with its simple black exterior and a turquoise interior covered with white, fluffy clouds -- so the weather will be perfect wherever you walk. Very Magritte. And if it's kitsch you're after, Bed Bath & Beyond's Inspirations line should do the trick, with prints derived from famous works of art, like a pink-and-blue print of Warhol's Marilyn and Monet's Waterlilies (pictured) done in muted tones ($20 each).
Venture, 1156 Madison Ave., near 85th St. (212-288-7235); Laytner's Linens & Home, 2270 Broadway, at 82nd St. (212-724-0180); Tribeca Luggage & Leather, 295 Greenwich St. (212-732-6444); moma Design Store, 44 W. 53rd St. (212-767-1050); Bed Bath & Beyond, 620 Sixth Ave., at 18th St. (212-255-3550).
Picks of the Week
Bob Mackie is having a sample sale this week with offerings from his Mackie line, a lower-priced collection of swank cocktail suits, all available at wholesale prices or below. 498 Seventh Ave., near 36th St. (212-736-0305); A.E., M.C., V.; Mon.-Fri. 10-5; 3/5-3/9.
Eileen Fisher's semi-annual consolidation sale offers reduced prices on women's separates from her fall collection, with all items under $70. 395 W. Broadway (212-431-4567); A.E., M.C., V.; Thurs. 11-7, Fri.-Sat. 11-8, Sun. noon-6; 3/8-3/11.
Tourneau's liquidation sale means 20 to 70 percent off original prices for its famous watches and jewelry from brand names like Raymond Weil and Movado. 635 Madison Ave., at 59th St. (212-758-6688); A.E., M.C., V.; Mon. and Thurs. 10-6:30, Tues., Wed., Fri., and Sat. 10-6.
The Quilted Corner is marking down its large selection of country-style quilts for its winter clearance sale, with all quilts reduced by up to 60 percent. 120 Fourth Ave. (212-505-6568); Mon.-Fri. 11-7, Sat. 10-6; through 3/31.