Investing in an elegant silk scarf this year will be a great idea to replenish your wardrobe and to create new elegant looks. As a symbol of femininity, the silk scarf is a fashion accessory that exudes “savoir vivre” and charm. Nowadays it’s used not only in Italian and French fashion collections. The silk scarf can be seen in every European/non capital, and today this element of the classics is becoming one of the most popular fashion trends. Such a compact and sophisticated accessory can be easily transformed into a headband or scarf, which is why it is also quite multifunctional. Most often it can be seen on the neck, but it looks also quite stylish on the wrist or on the handle of the bag.
But first things first. Let’s dive in the history. Did you know that silk scarves have been worn since ancient times? In fact, their history dates back to 1300 BC where Ancient Noble and Royal Egyptians were wearing them. Queen Nefertiti known for her beauty and elegance was frequently wearing scarves around her iconic headdress. However, we can’t get around one more fact that China was also one of the ancient adopters of the scarves. It was indicated by ancient military statues, a fashion tradition that soldiers serving Emperor Cheng were wearing them as part of their uniforms. As well as in later times, around the 9th century, scarves were seen in ancient Rome. So, the silk scarf isn’t quite new for fashion in general. Actually, it’s an ancient piece of the wardrobe (not woman’s only) that is still alive with us today.
However, the true wave of the popularity of silk scarves came around 17th century, when the use of them was a proof of class and status. For example, Croatian soldiers of higher rank were wearing silk scarves while others only cotton ones. Perhaps we might consider that Ludwig van Beethoven was the first to make the scarf as a fashion statement in 1810. He was wearing silk scarves in the hopes to woo Austrian musician Therese Malfatti. Several decades later in 1837, during Queen Victoria’s reign, silk scarves became an accessory for the dignity, a symbol of luxury.
And here we come to the most famous producer of elegant and luxury silk scarves – Hermès, the French luxury house. Hermès had previously only dealt with bridles and harnesses before entering the leather goods business. So, the house was the first, who introduced a true luxury silk scarf to the fashion market. Hermès silk scarf was made with imported Chinese silk (which was twice as strong as any other fabric), which design was based on a woodblock drawing by Robert Dumas, who was a member of the Hermès family. Do you know that one Hermès scarf is made from the silk of 250 mulberry moth cocoons and takes 18 months to complete? It’s truly incredible. What’s more: ornate and intricately detailed Hermès scarves were being drawn by artists using the hand-silkscreening process, which can take up to six months.
All the well-known fashion icons whom we admire today, like Isadora Duncan, Elizabeth Taylor, Brigitte Bardot, Audrey Hepburn, Faye Dunaway, Lauren Bacall or Bianca Jagger, turned to silk scarves to infuse their looks with effortless glamour in the past. Close to 2000s silk scarves became bolder in their design, with different patterns and striking colors, which were worn as dramatic headwraps or around the neck to complement flowy looks.
Apart from being stylish they can keep the neck warm in winter and cool in summer. It is the only luxury accessory that can be worn as silk jewelry (bracelet, necklace), headscarf, hair bandana, belt, top, shawl etc. Moreover, it always fits and it can be worn by different generations as well passed from one generation to another as it is widely known that good quality scarves will last for ages.
Nowadays fashion designers around the world produce printed scarves in collaboration with innovative artists. Graphics can be taken from fresh artwork and applied to premium fabrics to create unique designs. So, it’s a real statement: silk scarves are more than just a fashion piece, they are a real art.
But how to distinguish a real silk scarf and understand that you are not buying a fake one?
Here are the 7 useful steps, that can help you in decision making of purchasing the real silk scarf.
1️⃣ There is a distinctive crunching sound as though you’re stepping on fresh snow, hear it.
2️⃣ Take layers of silk and rub it against your palm with your fingers. Real silk will get warm, while fake one stays cool.
3️⃣ Silk is known for its glistening sheen, and it always feels much smoother than artificial fabric. If you’ve got real silk, the color of the fabric should also change slightly depending on the angle at which you’re holding it.
4️⃣ The real silk scarf has delicate rolled edges. The edges of each scarf are rolled by hand and stitched in place by artisans who exclusively sew scarves. It is a very time-consuming process to get the edges perfectly aligned and matched. What’s interesting: one artisan may only roll the edges of seven scarves in a single day. If a scarf has a machine-stitched edge, an overlock stitch or anything besides a hand-rolled edge, it’s an indicator that the silk scarf is fake.
5️⃣ Check the fabric tag. It should be added by which fashion house the silk scarf was made and has such words as “100% silk”.
6️⃣ Make sure to look out for the scarf’s title and the artist signature. Especially, if we are talking about Hermès scarves, whose artists are written down in the house’s history. You can always check them on the Internet.
7️⃣ And last but not least, sometimes there is a copyright symbol. It can be hidden in the graphic of the silk scarf, so you need to check the whole ornament to find out the small letter c in the circle: ©. However, as I said before, not every silk scarf has it, so check the left points above.
I hoped you enjoyed the article about silk scarves. Now you know a beautiful history of them and how to recognize a true silk scarf. So, in the end I gathered some inspiration how you can wear the silk scarf. You will find below different variations of fashion looks. I think they might be useful for creating your own ootds. Just dive in and remember: the silk scarf can save your outlook, even if you lost any hope.
[I don’t own images in this article, all are from Pinterest/Google Images except the main collage made by me and 6 photos of my own scarf]