“Mad dogs and Englishmen might go out in the midday sun,” (Noel Coward), but savvy fashionistas know better and avoid the sun’s most penetrating rays at noon. Southern women have always been known for their peaches and cream complexion and this is due to a simple little accessory they carry on torrid days, called a parasol. It’s chic, it’s protection and it’s revival has a lot to do with the incredible heat wave that has blanketed the country. Image: Claude Monet's "Lady With Parasol."
FUN and FUNCTIONAL A parasol is defined as a lightweight umbrella used as a sunshade especially by women, but I have seen men opening their black practical umbrellas as protection from the sun rays as they dash about the city streets. A stylish umbrella can serve the same purpose as a parasol, and you know you have many to select from in your closet. Choose a pretty feminine floral or charming print to dress up even the most casual outfit while pure white casts a refreshing pristine look to your ensemble. Opt for a solid color parasol to pop a print ensemble.
PRETTY PAPER PARASOLS I’ve seen them in China Town, on Broadway in Soho and in boutiques that sell those adorable paper parasols with bamboo spokes. Paper parasols look just like those miniature umbrellas that decorate certain exotic cocktails. Real life incarnations are the modern answer to a woman’s fashionable beat-the-sun prevention without slathering on sunscreen. You can also order them through Parasols.com or LunaBazaar.com. Paper parasols are amazingly reasonable from about $8 to $20. Avoid those tony retailers where parasols are quite pricey.
AN ANCIENT FASHION The parasol has a long and storied history dating back to ancient times. Egyptian Queens knew a thing or two about protecting themselves and escaping the desert sun. In historical images depict a loyal servant shading the great lady with a huge parasol-like umbrella. Adding to their charming ways Japanese geishas in the 18th century carried parasols to keep their skin unblemished, and today savvy women are claiming parasols as their own special accessory.
THE VICTORIAN CANOPY It was also a Victorian sunblock accessory and its popularity grew due to societal obsession with having a porcelain or fair complexion. Why? Because pale skin was a sure sign that you were a Lady and did not have to work under the sun. Yes, I know in the 1920's getting a suntan became fashionable, but now we have all kinds of warnings about getting skin cancer, and believe me a canopy against the sun is one of the chic solutions. Okay, Getting some healthy sun rays is acceptable, but really, as Noel Coward warns, "Don't go out in the midday sun!!!"
YOU DON’T NEED TO BE A PAPER DOLL TO CARRY A PRETTY PAPER PARASOL. IT’S ADORABLE, IT’S CHIC SUNBLOCK AND IT’S A STYLE THAT EVOKES THE IMAGE OF A SAVVY LADY.