Pretty and practical parasols

Monday, January 26, 2015

Model: Caitlin Mather
As a child in the Philippines, I was used to umbrellas on the streets deployed both in sun and rain. It was fairly strange, therefore, to move to New Zealand and only see umbrellas used during inclement weather.

A couple of weeks ago, I was preparing for a photoshoot and was looking at the available items at my local dollar store to help me create a party scene when I noticed a Chinese umbrella on display. Quite taken with it, I asked where the stock was kept and promptly bought one of each available colour; $9.00NZD per umbrella seems entirely reasonable.

I love the concept of the parasol: it's colourful, fun, feminine, and useful. Given how harsh the sun can be and the advice to stay in the shade to reduce the risk of skin cancer, it seems entirely sensible to me take shade with you. Hats may be practical but shade coverage can be limited depending on the type of hat. The other day I took one of my new umbrellas to a sunny afternoon barbeque and happily rotated it with the moving sun to retain a comfortable level of protection.

Given how rare it is to see umbrellas and parasols used in western countries these days, my new affectation seems a bit quirky and eccentric. However, I've decided that it really is functional and am challenging my readers to pick up their parasols this summer.

To give you some inspiration, I used parasols in a recent picnic photoshoot with friends. Caitlin looked just so cute with a pink parasol to go with the cream and floral playsuit she was wearing. So much colour and just a wee bit vintage and romantic. Go on, you know you want to!

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