Parasol Trend-How to Shun the Sun in Vintage Style


Ubiquitous at vintage themed outdoor events,  parasols are the perfect accessory for protecting yourself from the scorching rays of the sun, while complementing any period outfit from the Victorian era through the 1950s.

But this throwback accessory is now gaining popularity beyond the alternative fashion market. While out and about this summer I’ve definitely noticed more women carrying them on the street.  And, why not? They help prevent skin cancer and they they add an air of romance to an outfit.  What’s not to like?


Lovely ladies with their parasols at Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekender

Lovely ladies with their parasols at Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekender



From a Boston Globe article about parasols-

David E. Fisher, chief of the Massachusetts General Hospital Department of Dermatology, said umbrellas can be effective sun protectors.

“If the shielding is strong enough to remove the ultraviolet rays, it is a fabulous way to protect one from the sun,” he said.

“One could argue that it may even be better than sunscreen — although our advice would be to use both.”

Fisher explained that sunscreen is insufficient to protect against melanoma, which is why dermatologists tell people to wear wide-brimmed hats and sun-protective clothing and to sit in shady areas when outside. Parasols can block harmful UV rays, he said, but people should be cautious if the sun shines on unshielded legs or feet. About one in five Americans will get some kind of skin cancer in his or her lifetime; one in 50 will develop melanoma.

Me and a couple of deco dames at 1920s lawn party

Parasols have been around for millennia, originating 4000 years ago in Egypt, Assyria and China. They were considered a luxury, so only used by nobility and the clergy. Later on the fashion spread to ancient Greece and Rome. After the fall of the Roman Empire the trend died off, only to be resurrected with opening of trade routes into Europe from Asia. And, once again, parasols were a status symbol of the aristocracy. Apparently, back then, shielding yourself from getting a tan proved you were fortunate enough to not have to toil in the fields to survive!  It wasn’t until the 1920s when the wealthy decided tanning on the beach represented a life of leisure that parasols eventually became more of a fashion accessory than an overt symbol of the separation of the upper and lower classes. Amazing that a fashion accessory could make such a huge social statement over so many centuries.

Many celebrities have been rocking the parasol, including Lady GaGa, Kate Middleton, Dita Von Teese, Katie Perry and Gwen Stefani.
Sure you can wear a big sun hat. But it won’t shade the rest of your body very well and you’ll get the dreaded hat head. Parasols are great for music festivals, flea markets, outdoor weddings Pretty much anywhere you  have to be outside in the sun for hours.

It’s not easy to find original vintage ones in good condition, though, Luckily there are lots of really cute vintage inspired ones available now. Here are some of my favorites that are sure to make a statement. So much more fun than a layer of zinc oxide!


atomic print parasol

Mid Century Atomic print parasol 

70s inspired crocheted parasol

Bohemian parasol

Thai fabric print parasol

Hand painted henna design parasol

Polka dot and pompom parasol

Victorian style lace parasol

Have you ever used a parasol? If not, would you try it?

Till next time….






Linking up with

Patti/Not Dead Yet Style for Visible Monday

Shelbee/On the Edge for Spread the Kindness

Nicole/High Latitude Style for Top of the World Style 

By | 2019-07-25T20:57:57-04:00 July 22nd, 2019|Fashion|18 Comments

About the Author:

Hi, I'm Theresa, owner and chief classy dame at the Blue Velvet Vintage online boutique. Lover of mid century fashion and home decor, classic films, Old Hollywood, pretty dresses, red lipstick, swing dancing and retro culture in general. Between my ecommere site and vintage style blog my mission is to revive the eras of classy dressing and inspire women to add more glamour to their lives! So don't be shy! I love to hear from others who share my appreciation of the styles of the past.


  1. Theresa Campbell
    Theresa Campbell August 29, 2019 at 8:15 am

    Will do!

  2. Avatar
    Shelbee on the Edge August 29, 2019 at 6:57 am

    Hi Theresa, my post today features my new parasol…inspired by you! I hope you can come check it out! Have a lovely day.


  3. Theresa Campbell
    Theresa Campbell August 1, 2019 at 5:46 pm

    Oh my, Donna. So sorry about your Dad. So it’s very wise of you to protect yourself from sun. Good thing there are so many ways to do it nowadays. And parasols with retro clothing are the perfect combo!

  4. Theresa Campbell
    Theresa Campbell August 1, 2019 at 5:44 pm

    Thank you so much for visiting!

  5. Theresa Campbell
    Theresa Campbell August 1, 2019 at 5:44 pm

    Awesome Shebee! Hope to see a post with your new parasol! They are so fun and practical.

  6. Avatar
    Shelbee on the Edge August 1, 2019 at 7:27 am

    Theresa, this post is life! I am all about bringing pale skin back…healthy skin is way prettier than tanned skin, in my opinion. And I have been wanting a parasol for all these music festivals I have been attending this summer! So many cute ones. I just never knew where to look to find one. So I am heading over to check out all of your links! Thanks for sharing! Love, love, love your style as always!


  7. Avatar
    Nancy August 1, 2019 at 5:43 am

    I am so glad I found your blog! Love your style.

  8. Avatar
    Donna July 26, 2019 at 5:37 pm

    I’m all for this – not only because I love to wear retro and vintage clothing but also because I live in Australia where we have shocking uv and melanoma, in fact my father died of it. Not only are they practical, parasols are truly an accessory of beauty!! Thank you so much for sharing! Donna 🧚🏻‍♀️❤️🙏

  9. Theresa Campbell
    Theresa Campbell July 24, 2019 at 7:26 am

    Thank you! As far as I’m concerned the more fashion options the better!

  10. Theresa Campbell
    Theresa Campbell July 24, 2019 at 7:23 am

    That is so cool you inherited an Edwardian one. I would cherish it forever. And why am I not surprised your talented self has upcycled old umbrellas? Would love to see a blog post on that with a tutorial!

  11. Avatar
    Kathrine Eldridge July 23, 2019 at 2:08 pm

    I have not but love the way it looks! Your first look is stunning and the parasol is the perfect accessory!

  12. Avatar
    Vix July 23, 2019 at 1:51 pm

    Love that photo of you and your 1920s dames!
    I’ve always used parasols but there again, I’m a poseur. I inherited my great aunt’s Edwardian one as a child and never looked back. I’ve got quite a few mid century ones but my favourite is a Rajasthani one I picked up for peanuts in Goa a couple of decades ago (almost identical to your “bohemian” one)
    I’ve been known to convert knackered old umbrellas into parasols using old saris, pom pom braiding and a staple gun. xxx

  13. Theresa Campbell
    Theresa Campbell July 22, 2019 at 8:02 pm

    Same here, Suzanne. I have never really been able to tan. And totally agree on the age spots. Yet another reason to try a parasol.

  14. Theresa Campbell
    Theresa Campbell July 22, 2019 at 7:59 pm

    A street full of colorful parasols would be lovely. We can dream can’t we? You are so lucky to have found a authentic vintage one.

  15. Theresa Campbell
    Theresa Campbell July 22, 2019 at 7:57 pm

    Exactly! A lady needs to always have options!

  16. Avatar
    Suzanne July 22, 2019 at 6:30 pm

    I haven’t used a parasol before but the older I get the more likely I will be to pick one up. The sun and I don’t get along. Anything that is going to protect my skin from more age spots sounds like a good idea to me.


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    Ann July 22, 2019 at 2:23 pm

    Wouldn’t it be wonderful if parasols did make a comeback in a major way. Not only do they protect us ladies from the sun, the thought of a street full of colourful, bobbing parasols is delightful! Not sure if they will catch on in a major way, though, more’s the pity. I treasure an old-fashioned parasol we bought in a UK charity shops many, many years ago. I never pondered its age, but it does look a bit like the Victorian example in your post! Thank you for this delightful, summery post! xxx

  18. Avatar
    mireille July 22, 2019 at 9:50 am

    The parasols are so pretty and fun! I have been wearing a hat outdoors and a parasol would be nice too!

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