Do you have any ideas for making a parasol work during the summer? This is my first year in Los Angeles and I'm already way more tan than I've been since I was a wee child. I'm trying to avoid turning into a California Raisin!
The ruffle, pagoda and paper ones are lovely, but seem really hard to pull off without looking costume-y. How would you style them for real life?
Well, Berae, the short answer is this: JUST FUGGIN’ DO IT. As long as you are carrying your parasol outside in the sun and not while strolling through an air-conditioned shopping mall, it is performing an actual function and is therefore exempt from all the normal rules of fashion and style.
Having said that, there are
a few guidelines to follow if you want to make sure you don't look like you're wearing a frilly-frocked Gothic Lolita
costume in the middle of summer unless it's totally intentional. The real secret to carrying a parasol without looking ridiculous is to treat it as an afterthought that just so happens to look adorable with what you casually threw on that day.
Paper is best.
I like a paper parasol
for a myriad of reasons, but mainly because it's the most casual parasol there is and doesn't call a lot of attention to itself. Plus, if you lose it, you're only out about eight bucks -- so there's no real heartbreak! A loose, printed dress, classic straw tote and a single, simple, eye-catching piece of jewelry is the best way to elevate a lowly paper parasol to star status.
But if you don't do paper, crochet is second best!
I'm obviously biased, because this black crochet parasol from classic Hollywood goth/taxidermy/Victorian mourning supply shop Necromance
is my regular summer go-to.
Remember: a pagoda-style parasol is a whole lot of look.
That's not to say you can't pull one off -- but just be aware that when your parasol is making a big, pointy statement, you want to make sure the rest of your outfit whispers. A plain T-shirt dress
, cheeky tote bag
, bow-bedecked flat sandals
and sparkly button earrings
will do the trick nicely, allowing the pagoda
to be the high point of your ensemble.
A little fringe never hurt anybody.
I heart a fringed parasol HARD, because it instantly calls to mind the bedazzled umbrellas that were so common at the second-line parades
of my childhood. What started out as a purely functional item to block the sun during a New Orleans jazz funeral procession
has become a literal art form -- the fringed, feathered, glittered, jeweled, tasseled, streamer-bedecked parasols that hit the streets at Mardi Gras every year are absolutely breathtaking. This lady
even put a giant light-up octopus on her parasol:
Oh, and ruffles are A-OK too!
What could be overly saccharine look instead goes edgy when done up in zesty stripes paired with hot pink. And when you're already carrying an out-there accessory like a parasol, it gives you a license to match your shoes
to it without looking too good-girly.
Really, the only rule you need to follow when you carry a parasol is to avoid clocking passersby with it and to always be aware of the extra space a parasol takes up. They aren't really a great idea in a packed crowd or at a street fair. You need plenty of room in order to properly twirl your parasol to your heart's content -- without putting someone's eye out in the process!