I'm very serious! I've only seen one person ever on the street using one, it was in Toronto and I believe she was Japanese and therefore she could totally get away with it (not Lolita, just wearing regular clothes and walking underneath it on a blistering summer day). It was several years ago and I thought You are awesome. I want one but I would look like an idiot. That was when I cared what people think. Since then I have pushed a baby out of my nether region in front of an audience and it changes you. From that moment on you do what you please and you don't think twice about it.
The day of reckoning has come, and I reckon I will find myself a stunning parasol and I will use it proudly. I won't just carry it, or simply walk beneath its glorious shade of delicate fabric; I will twirl it 'round, skipping happily down the street. If I encounter a puddle, I may attempt a mighty leap over it, smiling gleefully while clicking my heels to one side.
So, there are choices - true vintage or antique, or vintage-inspired/reproduction. If you can afford it, there are some antique options (100 years or older) that are so excitingly drool-inducing that I made weird shreiky noises when I saw these particular parasols, all circa 1900 - 1910, UNUSED, from Karen Augusta Antique Lace and Fashion (ed note: I've unlinked the website after my anti-virus detected a Trojan virus warning):
Her website is well worth taking the time to browse, she has everything from corsetry to regional costume, many of the items dating back to the early 1800s.
Another fantastic website I found is Bella Umbrella. Jodell Egbert not only sells vintage and reproduction parasols and umbrellas in a variety of styles, she rents her private collection of 100 vintage styles (how generous is that?).
Here are some of my favourite parasols from her selection (more shrieks!):
1940s, light pink silk embroidered, bamboo handle
Reproduction, ivory lace, wood hook handle
Rental, vintage double layered umbrella, pink resin handle
Note: Yes, Dita von Teese did use a vintage parasol at Coachella to keep her milky white skin from being scorched. However, I kept her and those pictures out of this post so as not to mislead about the source of inspiration, which is really rooted in my long-held desire to indulge in the genteel lady persona in an over-the-top and delightfully fun kind of way. A lovely stroll with a pretty parasol would take care of it, non?
First photo courtesy of Noa Noa, from their Spring 2008 catalogue