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Scarf: Wikis


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A young man wearing a scarf indoors.

A scarf is a piece of fabric worn on or near the head or around the neck for warmth, cleanliness, fashion or for religious reasons. They can come in a variety of different colors.



Ancient Rome is one of the first origins of the scarf, not used to keep warm, but to keep clean. Called the “sudarium” which translates from Latin to English as sweat cloth was use to wipe the sweat from neck and faces in the heat of the desert. Originally worn by men around their neck or tied to their belt. Soon women started using the scarves, which were made of cloth and not made of wool, pashimina or silk and ever since the scarf has been fashionable among women.[1]

Uses and types

In cold climates, a thick knitted scarf, often of wool, is tied around the neck to keep warm. This is usually accompanied by a warm hat and heavy coat.

In drier, dustier climates, or in environments where there are many airborne contaminants, a thin headscarf, kerchief, or bandanna is often worn over the head to keep the hair clean. Over time, this custom has evolved into a fashionable item in many cultures, particularly among women. The cravat, an ancestor of the necktie and bow tie, evolved from scarves of this sort in Croatia.

Religions such as Judaism under Halakhah (Jewish Law) promotes modest dress code among women. Married Jewish women wear a tichel to cover their hair. The Tallit is commonly worn by Jewish men especially for prayers which they wrap around their head to recite the blessing of the Tallit.

Young Sikh boys, and sometimes girls often wear a bandanna to cover their hair, before moving onto the turban. Older Sikhs may wear them as an under-turban.

Islam promotes modest dress among women; many Muslim women wear a headscarf often known as a hijab, and in Quranic Arabic as the khimar. The Keffiyeh is commonly used by Muslim men.

Several Christian denominations include a scarf known as a Stole as part of their liturgical vestments.

Silk scarves were used by pilots of early aircraft in order to keep oily smoke from the exhaust out of their mouths while flying. Silk Scarves were worn by pilots of closed cockpit aircraft to prevent neck chafing, especially fighter pilots, who were constantly turning their heads from side to side watching for enemy aircraft.

Wollen scarves with Bandhani work are becoming very popular. Bandhani or Bandhej is the name of the tie and dye technique used commonly in Bhuj and Mandvi of Kutch District of Gujarat State in India.


Scarves as uniforms

Students in the United Kingdom traditionally wear academic scarves with distinctive combinations of striped colours identifying their individual university or college.

Four scout scarves. They are (clockwise from top) the 21st World Scout Jamboree scarf, a Gang Show scarf from Cumberland Gang Show, the troop and group scarf from 1st Cherrybrook Scout Group, and the national scarf for Australia.

Members of the Scouting Movement wear scarves as part of their uniform, with different colours and logos to represent their scout group. They are also used at camps to represent units, subcamps or the camp as a whole. Fun scarves are also used as memorabilia at Scout events and country scarves are often traded at international gatherings.

Scarves in sport

Portuguese football scarves held in a coordinated display, Euro 2004.

Since at least the early 1900s, when the phenomenon began in Britain, coloured scarves have been traditional supporter wear for fans of association football teams across the world, even those in warmer climates. These scarves come in a wide variety of sizes and are made in a club's particular colours and may contain the club crest, pictures of renowned players, and various slogans relating to the history of the club and its rivalry with others. In the United Kingdom, the most popular and traditional type is a simple design with alternating bars of colour in the individual team's traditional colours. In continental Europe many Ultras groups produce their own scarf designs.

As part of pre-match build-ups, or during matches, fans will create a 'scarf wall' in which all supporters in a section of the stadium will stretch out their scarves above their heads with both hands, creating an impressive 'wall' of color, usually accompanied by the singing of a club anthem such as "You'll Never Walk Alone" at Liverpool F.C.[2] or "Grazie Roma" at A.S. Roma. This was initially solely a British phenomenon, but has since spread to Europe and South America.

Scarf wearing is also a noted feature of support for Australian rules football clubs in the Australian Football League, and are always in the form of alternating bars of colour, usually with the team name or mascot written on each second bar.

Manufacturing of scarves

The craft of knitting garments such as scarves is an important trade in some countries. Hand-knitted scarves are still common as gifts as well.

Printed scarves are additionally offered internationally through design houses such as Burberry, Geoffrey Beene, Cole Haan, Van Heusen, Etro, Marisol Deluna, Hermès, Nicole Miller, Ferragamo, Emilio Pucci, Lulu Guinness and Casol, for example.


External links

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

SCARF, a narrow wrap for the neck or shoulders; the term is a wide one, ranging from a light band of silk, muslin or other material worn by women as a decorative part of their costume to a wg.rm knitted muffler of wool to protect the throat from cold. The O. Eng. scearfe meant a piece or fragment of any thing, and is to be referred ultimately to the root skar-, to cut, seen in Dutch scherf, shred, Ger. Scherbe, potsherd, "scrap," a piece or fragment; "scrip," a piece of leather, hence a pouch or wallet. The particular meanings in English are to be referred to Fr. escharpe, pilgrim's wallet, also scarf. The ecclesiastical "scarf" was originally a loose wrap or muffler (band) to be worn round the neck out of doors. In the English Church, in post-Reformation times, the minister wore over the surplice the "scarf," which was a broad band of black silk with fringed ends arranged like the stole round the neck, but falling nearly to the feet. Its use has been almost entirely replaced by that of the stole (q.v.), with which it has sometimes been wrongly confused.

Ultimately from the same root, but directly adapted from the Scandinavian, cf. Swed. skarf, joint, is the use of the word "scarf," in carpentry and joinery, for a joint by which two timbers are fastened together longitudinally so as to form a continuous piece (see Joinery).

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Simple English

A scarf is a piece of fabric worn on or near the head or around the neck for warmth, cleanliness, fashion or for religious reasons. Neck scarves are usually knitted or crocheted, while headscarves are usually woven.

Many Muslim women wear a headscarf known as a hijab. In the Persian Gulf Region it is called a sheila.


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