Parasols: Vital or Frivolous?
There is no one definitive answer as to whether a parasol is an important accessory or simply there for aesthetic value. It depends highly on the individual and their perceived need or use of one.
If you're of the pale-skinned variety (like me) and you live in a sunny climate where you tend to burn easily and overheat often (again, like me) then a parasol can be a life saving device. Not only does it shield you from direct sunlight, thus keeping your complexion ghostly white, but it also serves as a small spot of cooling shade wherever you are.
In some fashions, like Lolita or Victorian, a parasol seems to be a handy accessory. Sometimes it completes the outfit and sometimes it can also serve for the functions above. Walking through a sunny summer garden under a parasol can transport you back in time, to an era where elegance and grace reigned supreme. And even if they didn't, you can still pretend.
Parasols are still widely used in Japan. You can see many traditional paper parasols being used by Geisha in Kyoto and at festivals where women are clad in kimono. The modern Japanese use parasols as well, Japan is a very hot country and carrying your own shade around is almost mandatory!
Most of these parasols are made of vinyl or plastic so they can double as an umbrella - Japan also rains a lot.
Parasols come in varying colors, sizes, and materials. Some are lacy vintage concoctions beloved by period actors and historical fashion enthusiasts alike. Some are paper thin and delicately adorned with scrawling calligraphy, an excellent Asian souvenir. And some are purely practical, like this Gothic Lolita parasol that looks adorable but it also quite functional:
Do you own a parasol? Do you find it necessary in your daily life or more of a hindrance? Let me know in the comment section below!