Six of the best umbrellas

The rainy season is upon us again and the ultimate investment has to be a good umbrella. The cheap brolly you were forced to buy from the market has spokes poking through everywhere after its debut in a torrential downpour.We end up making do because it hardly ever rains, does it? Get smart, choose from our selection of luxury brollies - and come out of the rain for good

1Rose garden petal shape umbrella, pounds 22.99 Comes in loads of different prints including pansies and autumn leaves. For those who appreciate the greener things in life. The Victoria Gate Shop, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, Richmond, Surrey (enquiries, 0181-332 5000; mail order, 0181-332 5170).

2Gauguin print umbrella, pounds 25 This is a really nice umbrella to use; it has an automatic up button which you re-press to close. Art lovers will recognise instantly the distinctive use of bright colour from Gauguin's Tahitian-inspired work. From John Lewis, Oxford Street, London W1 (0171- 629 7711).

3Purple parasol with frill, pounds 135 This is a beautifully hand-crafted umbrella made with royal warranty. The shape is traditional Victorian. Think Mary Poppins and button-up boots. Available from Swaine Adney and Brigg, 10 Old Bond Street, London W1 (0171-409 7277).

4 Black umbrella with yellow and green architectural print, pounds 55 Brighten up grey days with this printed brolly. Classical in shape and design, a good excuse to look onwards and upwards. Available from The Conran Shop, Michelin House, 81 Fulham Road, London SW3 (0171-589 7401).

5Mulberry check umbrella with plaited leather handle, pounds 125 A traditional style umbrella from a classic British company. Costly - but these are investment pieces with a good life expectancy. Available from Mulberry, 41-41 New Bond Street, London W1 (0171-491 3900).

6Liberty grey burham print umbrella, pounds 55 A bohemian-ooking umbrella to go with the season's hot miss-matched look. Other numerous traditional prints and patterns available from one of England's oldest department stores. Liberty, Regent Street, London W1 (0171-734 1234).

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