Vintage Parasol Umbrellas

Black and white lace parasols

Parasols are a type of umbrella, but instead of sheltering you from nasty wet weather or blustery days, they are intended as protection from the sun. Before the invention of sunscreen, vintage parasols were more than a fashion accessory - they were as essential on bright sunny days as was an umbrella on wet ones. The meaning of parasol is literally "for sun". Parasols are known to date as far back as 5000 years ago in the East Indies, but were not used in Europe until the 16th century. Their popularity peaked in Victorian society, when fair skin was fashionable. Their use faded in the Roaring Twenties when suntans became popular, but they have recently regained favor for their beauty, fun, and practicality.

Because they weren't intended for wet weather, often the vintage parasols you find are not made of waterproof material. They are made of just about any kind of fabric, sturdy paper, or man made materials, and have all kinds of decorative patterns or trim. Lace, tassels, or even feathers are popular, as are hand painted, exquisite designs. However, today's reproductions are sometimes waterproof, so they are handy for those days when the weather can't quite figure out what it wants to do. Parasol handles, also, can be very ornate and come in a wide variety of materials and designs.

These sun-shades are often used as accessories for bridal parties or other special occasions, but vintage parasols are one of those delightful items that are so pretty and come in such wonderful varieties that they are desirable as collector's items, even if you never actually use one as sun protection. However, because their intended purpose is not only charming but also practical, it isn't necessary to feel guilty about adding to a collection of well-used and loved parasols!

Popular Vintage Parasols

Romantic Battenburg Lace Parasol
This gorgeous lace parasol with embroidered flowers is available in eight different colors, from classic white and blazing red to delicate beige and even extraordinary purple. It has a 25" bamboo handle and a 31" arc when open. Not only this Victorian style model is perfect for a bride, but it can actually give you a charming outlook on any occasion, especially when accompanied with a pair of fingerless lace gloves it comes with.

Battenburg Lace Trim Cotton Parasol
This elegant parasol is great for weddings, parties and other events. Its 30" canopy is decorated with delicate Battenburg lace that is trimmed into the solid cotton fabric. It has the stylish white wood handle that is 26" long. The model comes in different colors.

Parisian Pagoda Parasol Umbrella
This model is actually more than just a pretty sun parasol – it can be easily used in rain as well. While its 34" diameter may be not enough to provide the ultimate protection from the elements during heavy rain the way some huge umbrellas do, it is still a fully functional model that can work well in certain weather conditions. It is made from soft pongee fabric and is very easy to open and close. Besides the basic black and white pattern, the manufacturer offers the choice of some alternative, soft colors.

Ruffle Parasol Umbrella Full Size in Assorted Colors
This cute umbrella with the ruffled edge will surely appeal to the taste of a lady enjoying the vintage style in her accessories. It has the automatic opening mechanism and the generous 42 inches arc providing excellent coverage.

Leighton Parasol Tiffany Umbrella
Thanks to UV 50+ protection capabilities, this unusual parasol umbrella provides maximum sun shade allowing to reduce your exposure to the dangerous sun rays. And its 36" arc has water resistant coating allowing this umbrella to be used in light rain as well. The model has the manual opening mechanism and is pretty lightweight.