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Silk Shawls – The Essential Accessories Which Have Moved With The Times

Updated on August 24, 2015

Shawls have been an integral part of the history of fashion. Men and women from all times and climes have worn them for various reasons. Shawls served to keep people warm. They did and still do provide protection from the blistering heat of the sun. They also are well-known fashion accessories.

Shawls comprise an integral part of the traditional garb of individual groups from around the world. They may appear as part of a special occasion or particular celebration. They are often a component of rituals. This describes the role of prayer shawls from different faiths.

Yet, the shawl does not have a fashionable image. Too frequently, it is perceived as the garb of an old woman. How many times have you seen a portrait of a grandma, sitting in a rocking chair by a log fire, swathed in an old black shawl? Yet, nothing could be farther from the truth. While shawls can provide warmth and fulfill traditional roles, these adaptable accessories have altered over the years. Today, you are more likely to see a grandma sporting an elegant hand-woven silk shawl to a gala event.

Today’s silk shawls are for all women and body types. No longer do they work to make bulky all what lies underneath. Gone are the thick woolen shawls. In its stead are designs and lengths that drape flatteringly across all women. Moreover, these same shawls come in a wide variety of colors and designs suitable for any outfit – no matter how modern, and occasion. They have are truly examples of wearable art.

The modern shawl does have something in common with its ancient predecessors. The higher quality shawls are handmade. While the original shawls were handmade, over the centuries the process of mass production replaced this system of manufacturing. The result is the market contains two types of silk shawls: mass produced and hand-dyed. If you have the chance, select hand-dyed shawls. They are the product of the loving hands and creative minds of artists.

Yet, choosing a silk shawl need not be about fashion alone. These modern equivalents still fulfill the original functions of warmth and protection. These lightweight and finely textured shawls are not as delicate as they appear. They are amazingly resilient and can provide all the warmth of the heavier counterparts. They do so, it must be noted, with aplomb and elegance. Toss a hand-dyed shawl over the shoulders instead of a jacket or coat. It will keep away the chill while making a fashion statement.

An added benefit is the low maintenance required to keep the shawl in excellent condition. You do not need to dry clean. Simply wash the shawl by hand and hang it up to dry. A quality had-dyed shawl will not run. The colors will never fade.

The resurgence of the evening shawl indicates a realization of its checkered pass. While it is associated with prayers and ancient grandmothers, there was also a time when shawls graced many a woman’s shoulders. This was during the 1800s. Men’s hearts were said to be set aflame by the merest glimpse of the delicate flesh the shawl covered. Today, while this is not likely to happen, you can still capture the eyes of male admirers. Wear it with aplomb to the beach or as part of a sophisticated evening ensemble. Try it once to discover for yourself that nothing has the feeling, the texture, the sumptuousness of silk.

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by Julie-Ann Amos, professional writer, and owner of international writing agency

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    • mysisters profile image

      mysisters 6 years ago

      Great Hub. These are very beautiful. This is the perfect accessory to have to add to a plain t-shirt to dress it up a bit. You can find these shawls in so many different colors and styles too!

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

      Such awesome designs. Thank you for showing.