Every year the Red River Ex carnival comes through the city and this year just as every other we went. It was an extremely hot day and I found myself burning quickly within minutes. I did have a parasol in the car especially for this purpose, which had been given to me as a gift, but being in a place of cut-off shorts and visible thongs I felt a little too dressed up already in a big 50s swing dress, without the help of something so gothic lolita to add to the effect.
After three coats of sunscreen I knew I was going to have to suck it up and look out of place for the sake of saving my skin. I was convinced I would look like a complete ass.
But it wasn’t long before I realized that I wasn’t the only one saving themselves from the heat in this way. I spotted about three people using umbrellas on that cloudless day. Suddenly I didn’t feel nearly so odd. Not long after as I looked out my living room window to the park across the street, I saw a family having a picnic, a big pink umbrella among them. Again, driving away from the church after my cousin’s wedding, another woman with an umbrella. Again, the sky wasn’t even thinking about raining.
Never before have I ever seen this except when exercised by Michael Jackson and other spooky or overly romantic people on TV. Does this mean that parasols are back?
Prada seems to think it does. In a whimsical ad from this year you can see men floating with their parasols Mary Poppins style, with a lot more elegance and a lot less cheese. This coupled with the fact that we’re now aware of the damage the sun can cause -my dad excluded- and fake-baking is more than ever being thought of as orange, ugly, and frankly a bit ridiculous, I think this may very well be the beginning of the parasol’s long overdue return.
How do you indulge in this smart new trend if you want to do more than just take your usual umbrella with you in any weather? My first suggestion is an umbrella that simply isn’t so big and black, as this can look a little too severe for a bright sunny day. My first choice is this one from Unique Vintage, which I think would be very chic rain or shine. They also have some pretty flower designs, vintage prints, and even one based on Van Gogh’s Starry Night.
Now these of course will do the job just fine and serve you equally well in the rain, which has efficiency going for it, but do you maybe want a real parasol instead? If you’re a very girly lolita or gothic type you might enjoy the ones offered by Retroscope Fashions, which is where mine comes from. But maybe you don’t like all that lace and ribbon. The easiest thing in the world is to go to China Town for one of their pretty paper parasols. If your city doesn’t have a China Town they can be purchased cheaply from online shops such as Pearl River. Then of course you can’t go shopping for interesting things without visiting Etsy.
If you don’t see anything you like you can make one yourself. I found instructions years ago that you can read here at Antimony and Lace, a great little site with lots of beginner sewing projects.
So what do you think? Are parasols coming back? Are you going to start carrying one?