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Scarves and Shawls: History, Significance, and Fashion

When we think about cute scarves and classy shawls, we don't really take the time to think about their origins and the significance they carry as more than a fashion statement. Next time you add a piece to your collection, you may appreciate it more if you learn more about how scarves and shawls came to be the garments we know today. 

With this, here’s a quick history of these beautiful accessories and some significant ways they influenced culture.

The Creation of Scarves and Shawls

More than a simple protective measure, scarves and shawls have this air of chicness about them that we can trace all the way back to their origins. Though there are different variations of garments we can call a scarf, Queen Nefertiti of Ancient Greece famously wore scarves along with her headdress.

Across the pond, Chinese generals wore scarves to show their military rank. Long have they served dual purposes to not only keep the officers warm but also showcase their role and status. Though cloth scarves served practical purposes, silk ones were long established as classic elements of style and personality.

Shawls, on the other hand, can be traced back to Persia. Its popularity grew in the 14th century in Kashmir, where Sayeed Ali Hamadani influenced the king to truly dive into the weaving industry. Despite being known as a scholar and poet that spread Islamic culture, he can also be credited for sparking the industry that produced the intricately woven garments we know today.

The Power of Scarves and Shawls in Culture

Today, we see its power in different circles. For the modern woman, women's rights icons have used scarves to represent the movement and even serve as a political statement. We still see the way its original intent lives on as a means of empowerment, especially is we see pilots and military personnel don scarves with insignias.

Scarves have long been used as simple statements that not only elevate a look but serve as a form of protest or declaration of ideals.

Shawls also still stand as key parts of the Indian wardrobe. In many religions such as Judaism and Islam, shawls also carry great significance for both men and women. Shawls are not simply about keeping yourself protected from the elements but also about symbolizing various tenets in culture.

Ways You Can Wear Scarves and Shawls Today

Regardless of age, gender, and culture, scarves and shawls can be utilized in various ways. Whether you want to layer an accessory on top of your coat or wrap yourself up in a long cape with tassels, you can create an outfit that is both functional and stylish.

For scarves, you can layer them with your jacket or add them as a neck wrap for more formal attire. You can even use a scarf as a headband if you're not interested in wearing a neck scarf for the day.

In the case of shawls, you are not limited to the traditional placement of having it over you. You can tie a knot and wear it like a dupatta or cinch it at the waist to change up the shape of the whole look.

Both scarves and shawls can even be used as an evening wrap with the right fabric and length.

Final Thoughts

If you haven't tried incorporating scarves and shawls into your closet yet, it is time to kick off your collection and start elevating your daily wardrobe. You can always get creative with your looks!

Scarflings brings you a diverse range of the most beautiful and highest quality fashion scarves in the world. Check out our collection and find your style!