Summer is inching ever closer. If you’re a Goth or a Lolita, or just afraid of skin cancer (rightly so) you’re perhaps dreading this hot season. Sun and humidity are murder to frills and layers, and it’s so hard to dress up when the air itself sticks to your skin. I live in a big city and the sun reflects off of the pavement into your face when you walk (and I am a walk-everywhere girl). A parasol or sun umbrella is a great way to keep the sun off of your skin and keep you a couple degrees cooler on even the hottest day! Whether you’re walking to work or just want to read in the park without simmering.
Today I’m going to talk about a few different kinds of parasols and post links to where you can buy them. Some of which I have owned over my many years as a Goth (yes I wore black every summer) and as someone who just loves her frills and layers!
1. Crochet or Lace Parasol- These are lovely looking in photoshoots! Ornate crocheted lace details give them a charming Victorian or antique feel. Paired with your classic or Gothic lolita ensemble they are fairly practical and look right at home. They’re usually about $25-35 depending on the brand and fanciness. My issue with these is that they are not reflective and are full of holes, the sun can poke through the weave of the lace to touch your skin and though they may make you feel a bit cooler they aren’t really saving you from much in the way of the sun’s rays. Best for cloudy days or when you need to look super lovely in a photo or at an event. No good for the rain and not significant protection from UV exposure. (Available on Amazon)
2. Regular Umbrella- I used a $1 umbrella all last summer as my commuting parasol. It was white and therefore reflected a bit of sun and I didn’t care if I left it somewhere or it broke (and it did break eventually). These are a great option as you can also use them as a rain umbrella. In a color like white they work fairly well for reducing UV exposure to your skin and they do keep you a bit cooler. Paired with sunscreen I managed to get through the entirety of last summer’s hateful heat without a sunburn or heat rash (my skin is super allergic to the sun) with just a $1 umbrella, and I walk everywhere (usually about 1 hour outside per day). Available at your local dollar shop.
3. Pagoda Parasol- Decadent and functional! The beautiful pagoda umbrellas available online are a great option for hiding from the sun and keeping rain off. I have had this one in black and it has proved very useful in the summer. Look for waterproof nylon ones in lighter colors (remember white and light colors reflect the sun’s rays) for added protection. Also looks beautiful in photos and right at home with your elaborate ensembles. Cost is about $12-40 depending on how fancy you’d like it to be.
4. Fancy Lace Trimmed Parasol- I have fallen for the lace trimmed cross dangling fancy pants umbrellas in the past. They look awesome in photos and with outfits (you can spot mine in our shoots). Mine is not waterproof and all of the paint on the handle came off and stained my hand while at a picnic (it’s now wrapped in packing tape- so elegant!). They usually cost about $30-55. Mine is black and it honestly just made me feel hotter in the summer as all the sun soaked into the fabric above my head. Yuck! Keep these to shoots and events and they’re great, not so practical otherwise. (As Seen on Ebay)
5.Reflective SPF Parasol Umbrella- Cue the choir of angels wearing black! Send up the black doves! If you want all of the function of rain/sun protection paired with the outfit accenting cuteness then these parasols are for you- bonus that they can also be found cheaply on ebay! When searching for one of these you’ll probably only find them from sellers in China/Korea as there’s a huge market for UV protection there (larger still than here in the West). Look for one advertised as Anti-UV with a listed spf protection or % of sun protection offered. If those qualities are absent find one with two layers of fabric comprising the umbrella portion- one should be reflective and one black ideally. The reflective exterior will bounce the sun rays and the interior layer will help keep them from reaching your skin. I just ordered one with adorable stars printed on black inside (maybe I’ll post a review when it arrives)! There are loads of patterns for these available, some with ruffled trim and some with bows and everything in between. Cost varies by store from $10-40.
Enjoy your summer and go outside this season! Hopefully this article will help you figure out the best option for your summer look. 🙂