Home & Garden

Nine Throwback Umbrellas for the Pool and Patio

These old-school shade-suppliers are equal parts practical and pretty

There are three things I remember most about my maternal grandmother’s swimming pool in Virginia: The endless summer afternoons I spent there earning my freckles, the artificial turf, and the umbrellas. Yes, the umbrellas. They were turquoise and piped in white. The whole setup looked like something out of a Slim Aarons photo from Palm Beach in the Sixties.

Betty Jo Philpott Martin’s pool in Martinsville, Virginia, complete with turquoise umbrellas and artificial turf.

The umbrellas were the perfect design counterpoint to the artificial turf, which my grandmother installed so her thirty-odd grandchildren wouldn’t slip and skin their knees racing each other to the slide. Granny Martin’s pool was my babysitter (and played babysitter to countless neighborhood children), and to a little girl growing up in a very small town it was my definition of glamour. I knew Granny Martin’s personal style and sparkplug personality were unique (she did, after all, keep a small-bore shotgun handy for the times when the varmints overtook her prized tomatoes), and I knew that pool was magic. And now, as I see retro umbrellas make a stylish comeback, all I can think about are those days of sitting under one, eating a pimento cheese sandwich, and plotting my next big splash.

Below are a few present-day designs with decidedly throwback looks.

—Haskell Harris is G&G’s style director. Follow her on Instagram @haskellharris

One Kings Lane

Poppy two-tier patio umbrella, $495


Catalina patio umbrella, $200


Milos air umbrella, $1695


Safaviah patio umbrella, $118


Zimmerman umbrella, $169

One Kings Lane

Dani pom-pom umbrella, $595


Thatch patio umbrella, $82


World Market

Natural umbrella with fringe, $80

One Kings Lane

Poppy patio umbrella, $425

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