Behind the Magic ~ All About Parasols

Received a missive once, yes, Gentle Reader, in the Mail, all about parasols.



What does it say about my character that I found this rather dry reading absolutely fascinating?

My concerned correspondent was a member of the Victorian Society and had just attended, of all marvelous things, a parasol covering workshop. I learned some interesting things:

    • early parasol ribs were made of bone, like corsets
    • parasols were particularly popular after the 1860’s as hats began to decrease in size but the pale complexion was still de rigueur
    • handles started out short (under 28″) and grew longer as decades passed, longest during the Edwardian era when the parasol could rest on the floor and handle came up to the lady’s waistline (some parasols had handles that collapsed down for easy storage)
    • early Victorian fashion plates show parasols the size of handkerchiefs, with a 1-to-1 handled-shade ratio, diameters increased over time as well
    • the truly fashionable lady carried a different parasol for each outfit
    • a parasol was one of the most popular gifts for a lover to give his sweetheart, and was often part of the groom’s gift to has new bride
    • they were made from lace, cotton, or silk
    • could be trimmed in anything from silk tassels, to cotton lace, to crystal beads
    • Parasol Language: Carrying it elevated in the left had – desiring acquaintance. Carrying it elevated in the right had – you are too forward.

1905 Fringed Parasol, ca. 1805 via LACMA

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Quote of the Day:
“Conversation about the weather is the last refuge of the unimaginative.”
~ Oscar Wilde

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Posted by Gail Carriger


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