All that fun in the sun from the popularity of swimming and beach vacations made the suntan fashionable in the 1920s. CoCo Chanel claims she made it trendy for the wealthy to have a tan instead of it being a sign of poverty. Men and women in the 1920s played in the sun with little regard to sun damage. They wore colored glasses to shade their eyes and a sun hat if their hair was unsightly after a swim.
The parasol was a frequent item taken to the beach — or more likely, picked up from a vendor on the beach in the early 1920s. They were fun, fashionable, and trendy. Holding one and posing for the camera was something every young woman had to do. They had little to do with sun protection.
Fussy lace parasols of the Victorian and Edwardian age were replaced by the beautiful Oriental style oil or cotton paper parasols with short wood handles. Some had fringe or tassels hanging from the parasol’s tips. Most were round, but others were designed in geometric shapes. Large and small, there were plenty of choices for everyone’s budget.
The Asian or Art Deco parasol designs are works of art. Japanese cherry blossoms, birds, flora and fauna, butterflies, and dragonflies were popular hand-painted designs. As the Art Deco influences infiltrated fashion, the designs changed to abstract arts and geometric prints (harlequin, stripes, triangles). By the end of the decade, matching parasols were sold with summer dresses.
If it wasn’t for their popularity as a seaside souvenir, they would have gone out of fashion before 1920. Instead, they stayed around till the 1930s.
Carrying a parasol with in summer while wearing a lovely summer frock was a popular accessory in the 1920s — no swimwear needed.
- Women’s 1920s Swimsuits History
- 1920s Glasses and Sunglasses
- Women’s Hairstyles of the 1920s
- 1920s Handbags and Purses
- When to Wear What in the 1920s – A Brief Introduction
Shop 1920s Parasols
Lace parasols are easy to find, although not as authentic to the 1920s as paper parasols will be. Below are some parasols I’ve picked for a 1920s style outfit: