A touch of pashmina

Heba Elkayal
4 Min Read

The simple woolen knit that was handmade with love by your grandmother; those ever-elusive silk scarves and delicate pashmina throws are more than just fashion or weather dictates.

Silk scarves are synonymous with elegant French women shopping on Avenue Montaigne, tied short and tightly in a perfect sailor’s knot around a very slim neck. There is something so regal about their appearance, a cardigan set accessorized with barely a wisp of silk and yet, it sets apart those with old world classic elegance from the rest of the fray.

It is perhaps due to our acquaintance with images of such elegance portrayed by older women that younger women are put off by the classic scarf. What are your options after all for attempting a classic look without thinking of your mother?

The pashmina scarf has been in vogue for a few years. Available in solid colors, they are also large enough to double as a layer of clothing as opposed to simply functioning as an accessory. It can either be worn as a shawl, or tied in a thick knot around the neck. For both men and women this look can go with casual and formal attire.

The most recognizable scarves are those by Hermes, those brightly colored silk-screened scarves with designs and images of Hermes’ horse and Duc carriage logo. Every fashion house has its own line of silk-screened scarves yet thanks to a clever marketing scheme in 1979, the Hermes scarf has targeted a young and vibrant buyer, craftily giving a promise of the glamour and playing on the nostalgia for days gone by.

Hermes recently released a booklet available at most stores, illustrating the various ways of wearing a scarf. Belt ties, gypsy hair ties and tube tops have all been negotiated out of the thin delicate scarf.

Men too are not immune to the lure of the scarf, evoking those old-worldly images of a perfectly groomed gentleman. Unlike the countless options women enjoy, men’s scarves dictate three necessary things: that a man selects a scarf made of rich fabric, that it is always freshly pressed, and that it reflects a sense of old elegance.

Dolce and Gabbana are displaying designs in the upcoming Spring collection of men’s pajamas as women’s eveningwear. Loose silk pants and a silk top are the style trend de jour. The scarf is not overtly masculine, so unless worn properly it can be taken the wrong way.

Kick off your personal scarf collection with Burberry’s traditional plaid scarves available in a range of colors and fabrics. For those with more modest budgets, opt for search for good quality wool or silk as synthetic fabrics can easily detract from the overall elegance.

Unlike a bright neon pink scarf, which I plan to buy myself, few will be treasured and passed down to posterity. It then becomes vintage wear: wholly impractical at times, and more valuable than it ever was.

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