What’s the first thing you think of when you hear the word scarf? Winter. Something to keep out the cold. Thick. Wool. Mittens. Gloves. Coat. Or did you think: Fashion. Accessory. Patterns. Colors. Essential part of your outfit.
To be honest, the first group of words was my answer to the question. The purpose of a scarf is to keep you warm, right? Meaning, you would never need more than one scarf each winter – or maybe two, tops…right? Well world, it seems that I’ve been mistaken. Due to my recent move into an apartment with six other college girls, I have come to a realization about this garment that I had previously thought only to be outerwear. I’ve found that scarves are actually fashion, and that many people don’t own just two basic ones – they own six…ten….twelve scarves, each one a different color, shade, shape, pattern, and texture!
A specific conversation comes to mind when I think about this epiphany I had. My roommates and I were picking out our outfits for our upcoming trip to Paris. After an hour of contemplation and trying on pieces from everyone’s closets, I had two warm sweaters picked out, jeans, a pair of leggings, and boots. My roommates, however, were only halfway done.
“Ugh, does anyone have a scarf that matches my outfit?”
“What?” I say, confused. “Why does it matter? Won’t everyone only see it while you’re wearing your coat?”
“Are you kidding me?” my roommate replied. “The scarf is what makes the outfit!”
So there I had it, the scarf was not only a winter accessory meant to keep you warm; but it was a fashion accessory – just as important to an outfit as your sweater or shoes. It was a piece whose purchase shouldn’t be based solely on the warmth of its fabric, but also on the color, pattern, texture, and style of its fabric.
So the next time you’re about to run into the chilly outdoors, think before you throw on your trusted grey wool scarf. Maybe today’s the day for that bold, patterned scarf you’ve been eyeing in your friend’s closet…
by Anna Fazio
LDM – Spring 2012
FAS 185 – Anthropology of Fashion and Desirability: Beyond the Catwalk