Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Parasols for Every Occasion with Gail Carriger! A Glimpse at Her Collection

I realized recently that I don't have a place on the interwebs where I chronicle my parasol collection.

How could I be so remiss?

My parasol collection has been the work of years, people have gifted me with vintage ones, and I have purchased quite a few for myself.

Here for you enlightenment is my parasol collection! 


These ones are modern, in other words I bought them for myself from a vendor.

Black & Grey Lace

Technically an umbrella, this one folds so it packs well and it's pretty enough to also be a parasol. It came from Amazon for $15. It's probably the most versatile piece in my collection.

Tenticular Paper Parasol 

Strictly a parasol as this is made of waxed paper, I bought mine from Donna (the Alexia books' cover model) when she owned Clockwork Couture. It's now available other places online. You can find it online for about $20. 
I find I use it a lot because it goes with everything. It's got both brown and black in it, and it works for both a retro look and a steampunk look.

It doesn't, however, pack well. Although, for paper, it has been surprisingly resilient.

Blue Pattern Parasol 

This is the parasol that appears in my standard headshot (see the top of this post). I love it for its uniqueness. This is not a parasol I've ever seen anyone else own, also it feels really vintage to me. I bought it from Lace Parasols online shop years ago, it's still offered for $37.

This one is cream lace and I modified it with royal blue ribbon threaded through. However, I am more likely to use the other blue one above, so I will be giving this beauty away in a forthcoming Chirrup.

This parasol style is pretty common these days. So I like suggesting if you get one, adding ribbon, or painting sections or some other DIY. If you are looking for a particular color of parasol this particular style has you covered for round about $20.

I, however, when I was looking for something cream really wanted something more embroidered and solid then lace, and really big and vintage looking.

Big Lace Parasol

I ended up with this one, again from lace Parasols online, which I have been really happy with over the years. It now is priced at $45, I can't remember what I paid for it.

While quite beautiful, it is REALLY massive so I never travel with it.

Gold Lace Parasol

So I invested in this...

It's a cream and gold sunshade umbrella that folds very small and has it's own cute little container. I get a lot of compliments on it. It's one flaw is the inside is LINED in solid black, so it doesn't photo well when carried over the shoulder. I found it on Amazon for $33

Baby Parasols

I also bought this set of three tiny parasols for $40. The smallest two I mostly use for decoration around the office, and for pretty photos with books.

The largest one, however, I would really love to find a way to add an extending folding handle. At various times, but particularly in the late 1880s, ladies carried very small parasols with very long handles. I'd love to make this into a cream version of that. (See the last parasol in my collection below.)


1920s Double Brolly

For a girl who loves vintage and parasols, I only own two vintage parasols. They are so delicate it's hard to find nice ones that have survived in tact and are still reasonably priced.

This is, technically, and umbrella not a parasol. It has double lining and a beautiful interior decoration with scalloped flutter edge. The outside is plain black. It has a beautiful metal handle with an ostentatious crystal. It's bent a little and somewhat sun bleached but otherwise in pretty good condition.

This was a gift to me from one of my mother's dear friends. I'm not sure on the age but my best guess is 1920s.

Folding Parasol 

My black tilt parasol. This is probubly late Edwardian and it isn't in great shape. It's black silk with ruffles an the silk is torn in multiple places. I basically just stopped it from tearing further with clear nail polish, the old nylon trick.

Not only does it tilt, it folds, which makes is the perfect travel companion. I love this parasol and you will see me with it at steampunk events all the time.I even made it a special holster out of a pair of cargo shorts. You can find a step-by-step guide on how to DIY your own here.

I see tilt parasols turn up on Etsy or at vintage fairs regularly, but because they are mostly silk from this time period, and silk is easily damaged by sun, they are almost always in disrepair. So be careful if you are looking to buy one.

Finally I also have this lovely mother of pearl pin, which was a gift from a reader. It means I can allude to the parasol, even if I am not actually carrying it!

Retro Rack is also on facebook where I post additional images and fashion thoughts.

You can shop my recommendations via the following lists:
Steampunk, Retro Jewelry, Makeup, Retro Clothes, Lifestyle

Product links on this blog are usually to Amazon using my associate code. At no additional cost to you this means I get a slight kick back if you make a purchase. Thank you! This allows me to continue to produce this blog without sponsors.


  1. Ones of wax paper protect you from the Sun. Important in Victorian times, I gather. How well do they protect you from the rain? From the wind?

    1. I think they used waxed canvas or oiled leather.


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