In New York City, the heat hit record highs throughout the month of July and if you're sensitive to extreme heat, going out for any length of time has meant requiring some planning ahead. For some this just means staking out the shady spots and places where the AC is guaranteed to be on full blast. But there's still the matter of getting to and from places, which certainly has had some role to play in the popularity of the straw hat. In Manhattan in particular, straw fedoras as well as the flat-brim vaudeville inspired style can be seen on every street corner, sold alongside of counterfeit bags and those houndstooth scarves in every color.
Which, naturally, can make them seem boring after a while.
So how then to fend off the sun? Recently I've noticed a lot of people holding umbrellas, which naturally made me wonder why no one's been parading around parasols? Since they require the use of an otherwise iPad or Blackberry-holding hand, they don't win any points for convenience. But hey if you're going to cary around an umbrella, when it's not even raining, you may as well tote something that was actually designed for the purpose of sun protection. Plus, whether they're lacy and reminiscent of something a Southern belle would wear or made of paper and look like they belong on a giant margarita, aren't parasols just way more fun?
If you're interested in purchasing one, I've found a few affordable online retailers.
Mermaid or pinup girls will adorn the paper parasols at the Lola Star boutique at Coney Island. Pics aren't available on the site, because they're only being sold for a limited amount of time at $30 each.
Lunabazaar seems to have no shortage of styles whether it's floral or with gilded lettering or hanging charms. Prices start at $5 (for plain ones).
And let's not forget eBay for goth and Victorian lacy styles at all kinds of price ranges.

If you need more inspiration, there's some really nice photography out there involving parasols online. Here are a few pics I found. The first was on Deviantart.com posted by Trixypixie. The second, I'm not sure of the source. The third was from Lara Jade's Flickr stream. The fourth was taken by someone named Metin Demiralay.