Winter is a time to accessorise. Outfits are accentuated and completed by jackets, gloves and hoodies, not to mention ponchos, beanies, crocheted head wraps, and all kinds of head gear with or without pompoms or tassels. Personally, my favourite winter accessory is the scarf.
Be it fine silk or thick worsted, the scarf is said to originate from ancient Roman times, when a garment much like it but with a different purpose was worn by men either around the neck or around the waist. This was called the sudarium, and it was mainly used as a sweat cloth to wipe the accumulated sweat or grime of the day in hot weather. Women too started to adopt the sudarium. Later on, coloured sashes started to be used in the military to denote rank, as well as by different religious groups. Peasants also wore shawls or a thick piece of cloth to keep the cold at bay.
The scarf became an important and stylish staple of the fashionista’s repertoire in the early 19th century, when the popular dandy Beau Brummel introduced the necktie as an integral part of the gentleman’s get-up. It could well be that the history of fashion was forever changed with this addition. The necktie evolved into both the scarf as we know it today, as well as its more male and formal version, the tie.
A scarf is the perfect complement to any winter outfit. It can jazz up or colour a dark and dreary dress, keep one warm, and even serve as protection from the rain when you’ve forgotten your umbrella at home!
Apart from the different colours, textiles, shapes and sizes, the most fun thing about the scarf which can actually define its wearer must surely be the way to knot it. Some prefer to wind it casually around one’s throat, arms, hair or waist, while others delight in discovering new and more becoming ways of accentuating their originality by tying it in a myriad of other styles.
The most popular ways to tie a scarf include:
The Classic/General Loop – Fold the scarf in half. Put it behind your neck and bring both ends to the front. Pull the loose ends through the loop.
The French Twist – Fold your scarf, place it at the centre and front of your neck and wrap it around the back. Loop the ends to the side of your neck and tie a loose knot on one side. Tighten the knot to your preference. Very chic!
The Necklace – Fold a long scarf in half lengthwise. Grab the diagonal ends and knot them together. Put it over your neck, then twist it and loop again.
The Cosy Neck Wrap – Open the scarf and put it around your neck. Wrap it around and round until you create a turtle neck-like covering. Tie the ends in a half knot and tuck them up under the scarf loops where they don’t show.
The Knotted Shawl – Put the scarf around your shoulders like a shawl and make a half knot in the back with the ends. Pull the ends tight and up high on your back. Pull the scarf fabric down to cover the ends.
How do you wear your scarves?