Sunbrellas, Shanghai

Did you notice that the lady in the last post Sunday Best was not only rocking street pajamas and heels, but also a ‘sunbrella’? A sunbrella is basically a parasol, just not as delicate and dainty… But they serve the same purpose in blocking the intense summer sun:

I like how these girls both obviously coordinated their dress and sunbrella colors and are keeping cool at the same time.

Chinese people have a long history of using sunbrellas (Wikipedia says from around 21 A.D.), but I’ve only recently noticed it. But it’s been about 100 degrees at about 100% humidity the past few days in Shanghai, so they are super practical in beating the heat… Almost everyone has one, but this one was probably my favorite:

This is another great one even though it’s a little bit busted, seen on the same road (Madang Road near Xintiandi):

I love the contrast of color and patterns between her outfit and her sunbrella… A great sunbrella can add a lot to one’s look if paired properly.

They also can add elegance and femininity to an outfit, especially a long dress like this one:

They can also be a form of conspicuous consumption, declaring one’s ‘status’ (this is obviously fake though… the Crocs are a dead giveaway).

But above all sunbrellas are functional, not decorative, objects to Chinese people. Most just want to stay out of the sun so they don’t get too tan, which is why you see people with not only layers of clothes but also a sunbrella for complete coverage… even at the beach!

But they are so necessary with the current weather in Shanghai that people are steering their bicycles with one hand while grasping their sunbrella with the other!

It’s a bold but acceptable move on a slow-moving bicycle, but for scooters, it’s best to have someone else hold your sunbrella if you’re driving:

You can also wear a wet rag on your head and fasten it with a wooden pin, but that’s only for the most local of locals (he’s also going Bare Belly, a trademark of the Shanghainese)… Young, stylish Chinese definitely prefer sunbrellas.

If you want to see what Chinese people do to stay out of the rain, check out this post from my old blog at Blogspot or the Chinese Bag Lady.