Scarves: A style statement, nay necessity

July 29th, 2008 - 12:50 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, July 29 (IANS) They originated in Roman times and were the favourite neckwear of emperors and commoners. Today, scarves come in a variety of colours and shapes and can be worn in an equally eclectic manner of ways. However, scarves are not as popular here as in the West - but are slowly getting there, both as a necessity and as a style statement.

The reasons for this are not hard to find: scarves can be teamed up with almost any kind of attire, be it Indian or Western.

Scarves have a name and face in the West with designer brands like Hermes having an exclusive range of silk scarves that are a great hit with Hollywood actors as well as common folk.

In India, the scarf is still considered an accessory and not many designers experiment with it in terms of style and design.

Despite this, the markets in most Indian cities are flooded with cotton and chiffon scarves in various shapes like square, rectangular or triangular and in different prints like floral, polka dots and zigzag lines.

Some shops - only in five-star hotels - also stock silk, Pashmina and faux fur scarves too.

Prices vary from a mere Rs.10 to a few thousand rupees for the upper end ones.

Evidence of the growing popularity of scarves can be gauged from the varied manner in which they are used - around the neck, on handbags, as a belt, tied at the wrist, and even as a bandanna.

It is all about how original and experimental you want to be.

To this end, designer Raghavendra Rathore had created somewhat of a flutter when he prominently featured scarves as part of his Polo collection at the autumn-winter edition of the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week (WIFW) in March.

At the same time, he feels it will be a while before scarves attain the popularity of say, accessories like bangles, belts and bags.

“Personally, I believe that scarves are worn only as a style statement but practically, it is not a necessity,” Rathore added.

Designer Rina Dhaka vehemently disagreed, saying scarves were slowly replacing the sometimes-hard-to-manage dupattas that are worn with salwaar suits.

“The dupatta is an essential requirement, whereas the scarf is its modernized avatar,” Dhaka explained.

“So, why not go for something that makes you look chic and trendy?” she chuckled.

According to Dhaka, “scarves came into prominence reorganization after men started wearing it as cravat.

“Now, more and more women are using scarves because it gives them the freedom to experiment with it,” she added.

Then, scarves also serve another purpose for women who like to wear low necklines but need to cover up if the occasion so demands.

“Sometimes I need to venture into conservatives areas. With low necklines in fashion, I team this with a scarf and it works for me,” Dhaka commented.

“One needs to have the flair to come up with completely innovative ways of using a scarf as an accessory,” said Swati Mehta, who works for a foreign bank.

“I love to wear a scarf around my waist as a belt. It is comfortable and trendy,” added management student Milisha Nigam.

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