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?
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.
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!
Mid Century Atomic print parasol
70s inspired crocheted parasol
Hand painted henna design 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