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Snood (headgear): Wikis


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19th Century painting of a woman wearing a snood (by Adolph Menzel)
Two women working at a Texas Naval Air Base in 1942, wearing snoods

A snood is a type of headgear, historically worn by women over their long hair. In the most common form it resembles a close-fitting hood worn over the back of the head. The band covers the forehead or crown of the head, goes behind the ears and under the nape of the neck. A sack of sorts dangles from this band, covering and containing the fall of long hair gathered at the back of the head. A snood is sometimes made of solid cloth, but sometimes of loosely knitted yarn, or other net-like material.

In modern times the word has also come to be applied to a tubular neck protector or warmer, often worn by skiers or motorcyclists. The garment can be worn either pulled down around the neck like a scarf, or pulled up over the hair and lower face, like a hood. A commercial company making women's clothing also uses the word as a trademark and sells a decorative variant of the sports snood as its signature product.


The word was first recorded in Old English from sometime around 725.[1] It was widely used in the Middle Ages for a variety of cloth or net head coverings, including what we would today call hairbands and cauls, as well as versions similar to a modern net snood. Snoods continued in use in later periods, especially for women working or at home.

In Scotland and parts of the North of England, a silken ribbon about an inch (2 cm) wide called a snood was worn specifically by unmarried women, as an indicator of their status, until the late 19th or early 20th century.[1] It was usually braided into the hair.

Snoods came back into fashion in the 1860s, although the term "snood" remained a European name, and Americans called the item simply a "hairnet" until some time after they went out of fashion in the 1870s. These hairnets were frequently made of very fine material to match the wearer's natural hair colour (see 1860s in fashion - hairstyles and headgear) and worn over styled hair. Consequently, they were very different from the snoods of the 1940s.

Snoods became popular again in Europe during World War II. At that time, the British government had placed strict rations on the amount of material that could be used in clothing. While headgear was not rationed, snoods were favoured, along with turbans and headscarves, in order to show one's commitment to the war effort.

Today, women's snoods are commonly worn by married Orthodox Jewish women, according to the religious custom of hair covering. Many European and South American soccer players have recently begun to wear snoods on colder nights.

Despite the insistence of a young "ultra-competitive" Welsh woman, The Guardian has recently reported that snoods are indeed not cool or the slightest bit fashionable.


  1. ^ a b "Snood." The Oxford English Dictionary. 2nd ed. 1989.

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