HOW TO CARE INFINITELY FOR YOUR INFINITY SCARF COLLECTION
If you love to accessorize, the infinity scarf is a style that is versatile for virtually any occasion from formal to casual. The fashion scarf has a long and illustrious history that includes practical, military wear to elegant statements of refined style and importance.
But no matter what the situation or style application, one thing holds true; a scarf makes a bold statement! We share some of the most interesting details about the trendy scarf, and how to care for different fabrics and protect your investment with routine maintenance, storage and cleaning.
THE HISTORY OF ACCESSORY SCARVES
Leave it to the Egyptians to design something beautiful and lasting. The first historical record of a scarf being worn was in 1350 B.C. by Queen Nefertiti of Egypt. Her fine silk scarves were worn between her body and her jewelry and gold head dress to elegantly prevent chaffing.
In the year 230 B.C., the Chinese warriors of Emperor Cheng are the first recorded soldiers to wear a scarf. Only military leaders and captains were permitted to wear a scarf in battle or in public, and the scarf became a symbol of distinction and rank.
Around 10 A.D. in ancient Rome, the first mention of a scarf in historical text was the 'sudarium', which roughly translates to "sweat cloth". Roman soldiers wore the cloth around their neck not to protect themselves from the cold, but to prevent perspiration from making their armor slip. It was worn around the neck to absorb excess moisture and around the waist area.
By the 17th century scarves continued to be worn by military officials in Croatia, with silk scarves provided to high ranking officers while infantry soldiers were provided with plain, cotton styles. It is believed that the tradition of wearing a tie while dressed in a suit is a tradition that evolved from the military use of scarves to denote men of importance, and responsibility within the community. The French word for tie is "cravat" which is thought to have originated as a reference to the Croatian army attire. The Croatians called the scarf a "kravata"
In 1796 Napoleon Bonaparte gifted his wife Josephine de Beauharnais with elegant cashmere scarves from his trip to India. While embracing in West Indian and middle-eastern culture as part of traditional attire for women, mainstream fashion and contemporary culture did not fully embrace the scarf until the beginning of the nineteenth century. Scarves remain now a predominantly female accessory, with some scarves being worn with fine suits and tuxedo attire for men.
No single designer has taken credit for being the first manufacturer of the infinity scarf, but in 2008 when introduced on Oprah, the style became an overnight global sensation. Today clothing manufacturers and brands produce thick knit infinity scarves through lightweight silk styles, and it remains a popular trend in women's fashion for every season.
CARING FOR A CASHMERE SCARF
Did you know that cashmere is actually not a wool, but a hair fiber? Attire and accessories made from cashmere are produced from the Capra Hircus Laniger, a goat found in the Kashmir region of Northern India. The double-coat structure of the hair contains an exceptionally soft undercoat with a coarse outer lining of longer hair. The two variances in hair length and texture make cashmere products look luxurious, but the softness of the undercoat is unprecedented in other types of natural fibres, making cashmere one of the most valuable and expensive fabrics in the world.
Caring for your cashmere scarf requires extra caution, as the scarf cannot be machine washed.
- In a basin of lukewarm water, submerge your cashmere scarf for five minutes.
- After allowing the warm water to saturate the fabric, gently cleanse the scarf with baby shampoo or other light detergent (regular laundry soap should not be used).
- Rinse the scarf gently in clean, lukewarm water but do not agitate the fabric, rub it together or wring the fabric. To do so will damage the fibers.
- Lay your damp scarf on a fresh towel, and allow to air dry on a flat surface. Keep all cashmere products away from heat or direct sunlight while drying.
When storing a clean cashmere scarf, simply hang it in a closet on a plastic hanger. To preserve the beauty of the scarf, it should not be in a crowded closet where it will be subjected to friction between other hanging garments, which will damage the delicate fibers.
CARING FOR A SILK SCARF
Silk scarves are an elegant accessory, and designers like Hermes provide collectible styles that women around the world covet. True silk scarves are delicate fabrics that are luxurious, soft and fashionable but fragile.
If you have acquired an expensive silk scarf, handwashing is the only safe method. Machine washing is too rough and can easily tear silk fabrics, while regular laundry detergents will remove the softness and color from your scarf, but handwashing following the appropriate steps will preserve the integrity of your silk scarf.
- Never use water that is warmer than 100°F, as it will cause the silk to shrink rapidly and distort the shape of the scarf.
- Use a gentle soap that is alkaline and alcohol free (we recommend baby shampoo).
- Lay flat to dry (do not heat dry or place the scarf in direct sunlight).
- Iron on the lowest temperature setting with a towel between the scarf and the iron to avoid burning the material.
- Never dry clean a fine silk scarf, as the harsh chemicals used during dry cleaning erode the fibers and can lead to breakage and color fading.
The silk scarf has made a fashion come back and the design for French (Hermes) and Italian (Gucci and Valentino) scarves has dramatically increased. In Il Bel Paese, Italy (northern Veneto) the Italian tradition of breeding silk worms has returned, with the planned creation of more than 1,000 independent silk worm factories announced in 2015.
Fine, collectible scarves are a lot of work. Thankfully, the Versatile cotton scarf is the "go to" fashion item that many women rely on for daily wear. In most cases a 100% cotton scarf can be machine washed on the delicate cycle and placed on a flat surface to air dry. Never place a cotton scarf in the dryer, as cotton contracts (shrinks) when heated and always hang you scarf after it is completely dry, to prevent stretching or warping of the original shape.