‘…A scarf is, admittedly, not a tapestry, not a dress; it is a mere square of silk, or some other material intended to be worn around the head. But it can be treated as a work of art. It can be collected like a rare book or print…’ Sacheverell Sitwell, 1947
A scarf and particularly a printed one has a historical significance throughout the twentieth century to the present day, they defined an era. Very often a scarf would be designed to commemorate festivals, coronations, sporting events leading to famous artists such as Picasso or Matisse putting their artwork on a silk square. Vintage scarves have become increasingly collectable and even valuable. They tell a story about the period, especially when they are worn by royalty or celebrities. Distinctive printed scarves are an essential element of glamour for many cultures across the globe, worn as head coverings in the Islamic world and brightly coloured patterns in Africa and the Caribbean. In northern and eastern Europe in the first half of the twentieth century, kerchiefs were worn on the head by women for comfort and protection whilst working and became an important part of national dress.
During the 1950’s when the motorcar was growing in popularity, women started wearing scarves out of necessity to protect their hair and necks from the elements, so the hair scarf became a stylish accessory, both practical and fashionable with vibrant colours and patterns. At a similar time, stars of the silver screen continued the popularity of the silk square, so they became increasingly more exclusive. This was the beginning of an era when the designer silk hair scarf became the epitome of glamour, featuring highly innovative and unique prints from the contemporary to the more traditional. The 1980’s was a time of global economic boom, and the designer scarf was at its height, ‘power dressing’ was a well-coined phrase and top designers such as Dior, Christian Lacroix, Gucci, Hermès all featured printed scarves as a statement piece to own, even collect. Scarves reigned supreme, folded into a triangle and either draped around the neck or worn wrapped and knotted in the hair.
Since the millennium, in fashion there has been no one recognizable style to associate with the period. Vintage and second-hand clothing have continued to be very popular; re-interpretation of past ideas has been the overriding trend. Right now, there is a continuing interest in the 1970’s, 80’s and the 1990’s. Scarves are timeless pieces that can be adapted to the current trends because they are so versatile.
A luxury printed headscarf worn to accessorise the hair has a WOW factor. Fashion is in love again with silk head scarves, especially the vintage-inspired ‘granny chic’ look adopted by millennials who raid their mothers’ and grandmothers’ wardrobes for vintage pieces. A headscarf has a strong visual look, it makes a real statement and a patterned one can liven up your outfit in an instant. It can be worn classically or tied in ways to add attitude and a bit of fun, so they appeal to a wide spectrum of age ranges. Tied in the hair a silk scarf has the power to transform your look by adding some contrast, colour, pattern and texture. Not only does a scarf get tied in the hair, but it’s also used to adorn handbag handles or around a ponytail.
Laslett England has a collection of vintage-style head scarves that are designed to be worn in the hair as well as around the neck. The ‘Solitaire’ collection is retro in feel printed with large Polka Dots in eye-catching brights, orange and coffee, violet and lemon or teal and chestnut brown, all finished with contrasting coloured hand-rolled edges for the perfect finishing touch when it’s tied. The 70 x70 size square is ideal for wearing neckerchief style around the neck and just the right proportions to tie as a headscarf. Wear this silk square tied under the chin to up-style your autumn coat or fold into a triangle and wear bandana style with dungarees or fold up to style a ponytail. The ‘Marettimo’ collection is a smaller size at 57 x 57cms great as a smaller headscarf or to dress up a ponytail – the perfect getaway scarf.
A Laslett England Silk Diamond scarf works brilliantly to style as a hair scarf. Fold in from the centre to make a long narrow scarf, place the scarf under the hairline, bring the pointed ends up above your head, twist over to create the hairband and bring the long ends back down to tie underneath with the points of the diamond hanging down at the back. The long narrow scarf with a 1970’s feel is making a comeback because it can be styled in so many ways.
HOW TO WEAR DIFFERENT HEADSCARF STYLES?
Square headscarves are the easiest to work with for the greatest variety of hairdos but make sure you’ve selected a scarf that’s big enough for your chosen style. If you want it to cover all or most of your head, it should be at least 70 x 70 cm (28 by 28 inches). Rectangular head scarves, oblong or long scarves are not quite as multipurpose as their perfectly square cousins, but they do offer other benefits. You’ll probably want to use a rectangular style if you like the look of excess fabric hanging down, or if you’re interested in doing a full headwrap or turban. The 90cm silk scarf, also known as a carré (the French word for square), is a classic size. Foulard translates as a silk scarf, le foulard a silk headscarf. The size means it always make a statement whether worn around the neck or on the head.
Fabric. Depending on the style you’re going for, you also want a scarf made of fabric that’s going to stay on your head while still being stylish and washable. Fabrics such as cotton or lightweight wools are some of the best because they stay secure. Silk and satin fabrics are great for protecting your hair and keeping you comfortable. Try Laslett England’s Nordic Folk wool and silk square.
Here are some other suggestions for ways to wrap silk on the hair.
This is smart and trendy and a great way to cover the hair or head. Fold the square into a triangle, place the folded edge on the forehead, the point of the triangle will hang down your back. Then bring the two loose ends to the back of your head and tie securely with a knot. The final effect is smooth across the head with the ends hanging down your back. You can always add a couple of hair grips or pins to keep it secure.
Land Girl style
A romantic, great for summer style, perfect for protecting your hair or head from the sun. A stylish way to cover up if it’s a bad hair day. This works well with a 70 x 70 cm square or smaller.
Fold the scarf across the diagonal to form a triangle and place the long-folded edge centred on your forehead. The point of the triangle will hang down your back. Hold the two ends and tie securely under the hairline with a knot.
A wide headband worn pushed to the front of the forehead is very sixties. Use a larger square in silk or cotton. Lay the scarf with the reverse side up with the square rotated to look like a diamond. Fold neatly from both points of the diamond to end up with a band. This can then be centred on the forehead with the two ends tied and knotted under the hairline.
Rock a bit of Riviera chic with this tying. This is straight out of the 1950’s epitomised by Grace Kelly and still looks so elegant today. It shows off a printed square beautifully. Use a 90 x 90 or up to 140 x 140 silk square to achieve this look. Fold the scarf on the diagonal into a triangle, drape over the head and cross the ends around the back of the head and secure with a knot. To be styled with statement sunnies! Your perfect summer headscarf. Try Laslett England Midnight Rose 90 x 90 floral print.
Babushka – a classic styled head scarf
Babushka, meaning grandmother in the Russian language, is an effortlessly chic & super easy headscarf style. Fold a square into a triangle. Then, wrap it around your head by twisting the two loose ends & tying them into a knot under your chin. That’s it, voila!
A great way to keep the headscarf fashionable is to co-ordinate with other accessories. Having a bag or a pair of shoes that match the scarf in colour or pattern can look on-trend.
Coordinate It with Your Outfit
Once your beauty and accessories are all planned, it’s time to match the style to your clothes. When you’re playing around with bold, printed accessories, there are two options for clothing. You can either go big and bold and clash your colourful/printed clothes with the headscarf or, you can go wholly minimal and let the headscarf do all the talking.
Wearing black and white with a colourful silk scarf is an impactful look and can be translated into office/workwear too. Who says the headscarf is only for the weekends?
So, designer silk headscarves or hair scarves can certainly command status and value for the owner and collections can ensue. It is important that these silk beauties are looked after, and therefore those with a rarity are sometimes never worn to retain that value. Silk is very durable if it is looked after. It’s recommended to always air after wear and keep it gently folded in acid-free tissue and untied in its box.
For the person who has very discerning taste a silk scarf makes a wonderful and lasting gift. The ultimate accessory, a designer silk scarf is a chic addition to any look. A silk scarf is a perfect accessory to add a touch of elegance to co-ordinate with an outfit or hairstyle. A Laslett England scarf comes packaged in a handmade signature red gift box.