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Types of Scarves

Updated on September 30, 2015
Four simple ways to wear a scarf
Four simple ways to wear a scarf

When we think of “scarves” we usually tend to visualize flowy, translucent and very feminine piece of cloth wrapped around the neck of a beautiful woman. However, the ambit of scarves is not limited to the above description per se. It includes mufflers which are worn to keep the neck and head protected from wind and cold, head covers, neck cloths, waist ties or bag accessory (a piece of cloth tied to the handle of the bag – allowing its tail to flow or hang from it). Whether it be for the purpose of fashion, adhering to religious commands and scriptures, keeping the dust and pollution off from the head and neck, keeping warm in the winter or used as a means of attaining respite from the sun’s burning ray(s), it is among one of the most popular piece of clothing/accessory worn all over the world. The many ways in which this enchanting and all evolving piece of material can be used cannot truly be consolidated into a single list and therefore the above usages are only proffered as examples rather than an exhaustive list.

Gam-cha scarf

Antonio Banderas sporting a Bangladeshi Gamcha standing next to famous Bangladeshi Fashion Model and Designer Bibi Russel
Antonio Banderas sporting a Bangladeshi Gamcha standing next to famous Bangladeshi Fashion Model and Designer Bibi Russel
A Bangladeshi farmer with a Gamcha around his head
A Bangladeshi farmer with a Gamcha around his head | Source

Although most items found in the market now has a tag “Made in China” when one really delves into the origins of certain item(s),like many things in use today, scarves too are said to share their origin to none other than Ancient Rome and how it was used quite differs from how it is mostly used today. Note nevertheless that similar usage can still be observed in certain parts of the world as will be discussed further below. So how did the inhabitants of the Ancient Rome make use of what has evolved into a fashion statement (mostly at the least) today? Well, rest assured that the Romans made use of scarves in a most pragmatic way as it is known to be used as a cloth that was used to soak up the sweat on and around the neck and face when the sun’s wrath fell upon the mankind making them perspire. The ingenuity of Romans must truly be applauded in this regard. This practice of wearing scarves as sweat cloth is not totally lost in this day and age, even with the invention of towels, a variation of scarf is used in the Southeast Asian countries, especially Bangladesh which is primarily used by farmers, fishermen, rickshaw pullers and most hard working labours. This variation of scarf is locally known in Bangladesh as “Gam-cha” which is usually a red, green and white checkered rectangle piece of thin cotton material. This type of scarf is not, however, used only for the sole purpose of wiping off the result of hard labour but is also used as a makeshift bag whereby items are placed in the centre and then the scarf is tired with a knot.

Gamcha scarves also entered the fashion world in the recent years making it a hip-scarf which is seen around the neck of many youths of Bangladesh. Gamcha even reached the market in the west and has been seen around the neck of Antonio Banderas.

So what was once worn by only men in the Ancient Roman era to keep clean has now expanded its usage to so much more than could have been imagined before. It was mainly the use of scarves by women in the early 1800’s as an aid to fashion that truly revolutionized it. However, it is in the mid-1900’s that scarves began to take a special place in most women’s closet and indeed began to be recognized as an essential investment for a lifetime in terms of fashion. The scarf was not just a must have fashion accessory for women but also for men, which was mainly made fashionable for the gentlemen by the French in the form of “cravat”.

How to wear different types of scarves

Different Types of Scarves

Empirical evidence shows that scarves, whether silk, georgette, pashmina or cashmere, are not just a piece of cloth used for different purpose. An observance of the various types of scarves illustrate the change in fashion, taste, promotes personal style and mostly portrays art which can be perceived through taking note of the use of different colours.

Scarves come in mainly three different geometric shapes, namely, square, rectangle and triangle. As there are inexhaustible usage of scarves there are similarly so many varieties of material used for making them that it would be, hypothetically a herculean task to consolidate all the varieties available. Nevertheless, one can’t escape this topic without a mention of a few notable ones as will be discussed in seriatim below.

Silk Scarves

A silk scarf is a must have because it's texture, colour and flow is unparalleled. A silk scarf around the neck can make an outfit rise above the ordinary and adds a certain amount of sophistication to the look. The beauty of silk scarves is that they are light and yet at the same time has substance. Their versatile quality makes them provide warmth when needed and help keep the skin cool in the heat. Silk scarves look equally good on young people as with old ladies. Silk scarves act as a great fashionable tool to cover up the wrinkles that tend to form with age around the neck. Therefore, scarves can be used tactfully to give out a younger vibe.

How to wear a Square Silk Scarf

Pashmina Scarves

Pashmina scarves are made of the finest wool of the pashmina goats which are mainly found in India, Pakistan and Nepal. Pashmina scarves come is many different size but are usually more of the shawl breed, much bigger than the usual scarf diameter and rectangular in shape. These hand spun Pashminas come in various colours and designs. The warmth that Pashminas exuberates cannot be compared because along with warmth it gives comfort. Pashminas are world famous because of their softness and the beautiful sheen that gives it a quality unlike other wool scarves.

Chiffon scarves

Chiffon scarves are a must have for every girl who loves to be feminine and girly. While silk scarves give sophistication and class, chiffon scarves are for those who crave for flowly colours around their neck, wrist, waist or the strap of the bag. Chiffon’s transparency and weightlessness makes it a promoter of femininity. Scarves made of chiffon are soft to the touch and an eye candy to the viewer. Chiffon scarves are mainly used for fashion purpose rather than actually benefiting the wearer from some kind of natural calamity.

Pashmina Scarves

Pashmina scarves or stoles in different colours
Pashmina scarves or stoles in different colours | Source

Hermes Scarves

A discussion on scarves does not fully come to an end without a mention of Hermès scarves which has made a special place of its own in the world of scarves. The dedication and time with which each scarf is designed by Hermès’ designers using vegetable colours, hand stitching the hems of each scarf and the volatile nature of each scarf has indeed placed Hermès in the bosom of the art of scarf making.

Every woman who has a soft corner for scarves wants to possess a scarf designed and produced by Hermès in their wardrobe. As mentioned above, scarves are indeed a lifetime investment and investing in a Hermès is indeed a wise decision. To further encourage you to get one; you should take into account that even the Queen Elizabeth II has worn one by Hermès in a portrait which has been used in a British stamp.

How to wear a Hermes Scarf in a waterfall style

Exquisite Christian Dior and Louis Vuitton Scarf

A very feminine scarf by Christian Dior
A very feminine scarf by Christian Dior | Source
Louis Vuitton Scarf
Louis Vuitton Scarf

Famous Branded Scarves:

Hermès is not the only brand who made a name in the genre of scarf making, other famous brands include Dior, Burberry, Prada, Chanel, Fendi and Louis Vuitton. If showing off the brand is what you are looking for then no need to look further than the House of Christian Dior for one of their scarves with “Dior” written all over the scarf or get your hands on one of their exquisite designer scarf with a blend of colours to awe the world. Louis Vuitton of course is more of an eye candy if you want to sport a scarf with their brand logo or initials as the main print or design on the scarf.

If you are indeed looking for investing in an exquisite silk scarf it is always advisable to opt for a good brand which will last you a lifetime. And don’t refrain from letting your fair share of chiffon scarves, silks, pashmina and cashmere scarves. Always remember that a woman with a scarf is always a woman with class.


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