I really must endorse owning a good umbrella. In the long run, you'll save money, because like a good fountain pen, you won't lose it, and it will be durable. There's an excellent link to Brigg above, who makes wonderful umbrellas, using old-world craftsmanship, and often times modern materials. I like umbrellas that have a single solid shaft and handle, that is to say that the handle and shaft are one and the same. Look for a crisp opening and closing mechanism (preferably without gimmicks, and look to see if the grommets and parts are sturdy, and even if they have been camouflaged inside wherever possible. From a cosmetic standpoint, a nicely figured piece of maple, cherry, etc. is great, but be advised that beautiful swirly grain can weaken the stick. My favorite umbrella that I own is a Brigg, and the one I was most disappointed with was made by Burberry. The difference in price was a few yards, but the difference in quality was miles.