Pages: [1]   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Parasol Etiquette  (Read 1061 times)
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
MsMaggieReese
Dedicated Scribbler
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 341



« on: April 19, 2007, 01:37:49 PM »

After reading Linda's thread about her new parasol I went and dug mine out of the sewing room and was playing around with it. The thought occurred to me that I don't have a clue about the proper way to hold it. These mid century parasols (mine is 1850ish with baleen ribs and folds, the top diameter when opened is about 19 or 20") are so small that if one props it one the shoulder, there is no way to get any shade from it. Is it supposed to be held straight up? That seems rather stiff looking to me but, it is also the only way it will shade the head. Also, what about times when one should close it? I know from common sense of course that you should close it when you enter a building but, what about other times such as memorial services or funerals outside, do you leave it open or close it? Anybody know of any etiquette manuals that address the use of parasols?
Logged

Maggie Reese

http://www.etsy.com/shop/alliestrunk

Don't ask God to guide your steps if you are not willing to move your feet.
BarbaraSmith
Scribblor Infinitus
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 6326


I'm clueless, but competitive! ~ Trish Roseburg


« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2007, 03:27:06 PM »

Good question Maggie!

I usually just put it up for a little bit, aim it between me and the sun, and hold it delicately between my fingers. I try not to grab at it and fist it about, though you know I'm not known for my gracious behavior, so I'm sure I HAVE done that.  Wink

I rarely keep it up very long - it's tiresome to hold one's arm up in that way, and then something occurs where it's in the way and must be closed.  Wink Last time I remember using my parasol was to attract attention as the "tour guide" at Brigade Encampment, and once I'd gotten everyone herded together, I put it down.

I don't think I've read any parasol etiquette - not that I've read much etiquette at all... Did I mention I was raised by Wolves? The Mobile Wolves, not the Boston Wolves....  Wink

LOL,
B.
Logged

Auntie B says: "I may look like Aunt Pitty-Pat, but I have the soul of Belle Watling," and "Since I can't be a good example, then I'm just gonna have to be a horrible warning."
Stormi Souter
Scribblor Infinitus
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 1173



WWW
« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2007, 06:41:32 PM »

I've always held mine staight up, and tilt the top (its a tri-folder) if the sun isn't directly overhead. I want to say I've seen this in period images but I can't recall. The leaning on the shoulder thing seemed cliche to me. *shrug* Hopefully someone will have some sources!
  Funny bit, awhile back my friend and I were reading in an ettiquette book (can't remember which one, but I think its pub. date was 1866) how rude it is to chew of the tip of your parasol in public! I've been looking for a parasol with gnaw marks ever since. ;-)
   -Stormi
Logged

Stormi Souter
www.whynotthen.com
MsMaggieReese
Dedicated Scribbler
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 341



« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2007, 06:47:55 PM »

I'd like to see someone try to chew on mine, it is ivory, they'd break their teeth LOL.

I agree with you on the propped on the shoulder thing, it does seem way to Scarlett but, it wouldn't take long for one's arm to get tired holding it up as Barbara mentioned.

It is really hard to find information on parasols though, even about the material aspects much less the protocols.
Logged

Maggie Reese

http://www.etsy.com/shop/alliestrunk

Don't ask God to guide your steps if you are not willing to move your feet.
Pam Robles
Guest
« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2007, 07:34:00 PM »

Propping on the shoulder appears in photos later in the century and after the turn with the much larger parasols. 
Logged
allaussie
Guest
« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2007, 08:25:48 PM »

going through my fashion plates from the 50s & 60s it seems that roughly (I didn't actually count properly) 3/4 of the fashion plates showing opened parasols have them resting on the shoulder, it would seem that women of the 50s and 60s got tired arms from holding their parasols up as well.
Logged
Pam Robles
Guest
« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2007, 08:41:53 PM »

Now I'm wondering if they did that when they moved into the shade.  I can't imagine letting the sun touch the face when a parasol is at hand.
Logged
Carolann Schmitt
Senior Research
Scribblor Infinitus
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 4331


WWW
« Reply #7 on: April 20, 2007, 06:24:56 AM »

I think the fashion plate images with the parasol on the shoulder are examples of artistic/fashion illustration. A better source for seeing how parasols were carried during the period is to look at photographs of women carrying them in outdoor settings. I did a very quick survey of 20+ photographs last evening and in every photograph the parasols are being carried in an upright position to shade the sun.

Our 21st century mindset tends to first categorize parasols as a fashion accessory, then as a functional object. Often we're not as mindful of the damage the sun can do.  During the period parasols were usually considered a necessity that may also be fashionable. Protecting the skin and shading the eyes was important, and there are hundreds of extant very plain, utilitarian parasols that are not fashionable or decorative but are very functional.

I've find the modern equivalent of the period use of a parasol in the Caribbean. Many women carry a plain umbrella to use as a sunshade while walking; more fashionable women (as evidenced by their dress) carry a fashionable umbrella; and a VERY few VERY fashionable women carry parasols to social events. I've carried a parasol as a sun shade at living history events for a couple of decades; I don't find it any more tiring than carrying my modern totebag/purse.  Smiley

Regards,
Carolann



Logged

Carolann Schmitt - Only a historian understands how much you need to know in order to recognize how much you don't know. - Elizabeth Ann Coleman
cschmitt@genteelarts.com
www.genteelarts.com
Glenna Jo Christen
Veteran Scribbler
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 670



WWW
« Reply #8 on: April 22, 2007, 10:43:42 AM »

  Funny bit, awhile back my friend and I were reading in an etiquette book (can't remember which one, but I think its pub. date was 1866) how rude it is to chew of the tip of your parasol in public! I've been looking for a parasol with gnaw marks ever since. ;-)
   -Stormi

I found that quote about not "sucking on the handle" of a parasol like a lollypop or words to that effect in one of my early etiquette books, IIRC, from about 1848. It cracked me up to no end. While etiquette books frequently lifted material wholesale from earlier books (most coming originally from Lord Chesterfield's Letters to His Son) this particular book one of the more idiosyncratic etiquette books I've read.  That quote is one of the few mentions of parasol etiquette I've encountered in any of my etiquette books (another of my collecting obsessions. ;->) or others I've read.
Others have already covered the points I would have otherwise made so this will be a short post from me... for a change. ;-)
Back to posting more of Saundra Altman's items on eBay.

Glenna Jo
Logged

"Accuracy is a process, not a final result, because the goal of accuracy keeps moving as we keep learning and share what we've learned." - Glenna Jo Christen
Pages: [1]   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by SMF 1.1.15 | SMF © 2011, Simple Machines