Scarves: twist them, tie them, knot them, do what you like with them; they serve one essential function, and that is to keep your neck warm. But alas, in the aesthetic world of fashion, style always comes before function, and I’m sure several of you will be donning a scarf this winter just to look good, despite the beads of sweat dripping down your neck pleading for you to take it off. Yes, for many in the fashion world appearance often comes before comfort, and the scarf has become one of aesthetics rather than function. But with all the different types of scarves available, and all the different ways to wear them, how do we know which style suits us best? In the earlier parts of this series I have taken you through the various looks and body types that suit both the skinny scarf and the chunky scarf, but today I am focusing on the youngest member of the neck-warming family: the snood.
As with the previous two posts, I would just like to make it clear that the tips I give in these articles merely act as a base structure for you to build upon and use to work with your own individual style. Although I will try and give as many tips as possible based on my tastes and what I think looks good, only you can know what truly looks good on yourself, so it is all about experimenting! Don’t be afraid to delve into your wardrobe and pluck out those old scarves, or go into the shop dressing room and try on the whole store’s scarf collection; it is just important that you try out anything and everything, keeping my tips in mind, and work out what works best for you! Bearing this in mind… it is time to get snoody.
Top Tip #1: The snood is perfect for integrating softer fabrics into your winter wardrobe, whose water-resistant contents and outerwear are perhaps a little harder and tougher than the knitted winter-warmers lying underneath. Play upon this mix of fabrics further by investing in a good quality snood that concentrates on the detail of the stitching and the knit (i.e. a cable knit).
Almost all body types (with variation!)
The older gentleman
Well for those of you that haven’t been living under a rock the past year or two, you should be no stranger to the concept of the snood: the inbred birth-child of the scarf and the hood. However, unlike the stereotypical inbreds of the world that typically do tend to live under a rock, this mutant breed is not one of embarrassment and society’s shame, but rather one of celebratory worth that has become the sartorial gentleman’s best friend. The snood has received a lot of mixed reviews for it’s short time on the planet: from fussy footballers to just general winter-warmers, the snood has changed in shape and form since it’s arrival to fit its target’s needs, and I’m sure there will be plenty more snoody appearances on the catwalks in February for A/W11.
Although originally deriving from the concept of being both a scarf and a snood (as in this article from back in 2009), the snood of late seems to have dismissed its hooded father and reverted back to its scarf-like origins – the only difference being that the ends are connected to create one giant, knitted loop (or rather, a ‘snoop’ if you will… no? No takers!?). This newer version of the snood not only stops your scarf from flying away Bridget-Jones-style whilst you are riding in open top cars from the 50’s, but is also an essential piece this winter that certainly won’t be going out of style in the coming years. But, as always, the big question is: how do we dress it to fit our body types? Well if you will excuse me, I believe that is my cue.
One of the best things about the snood is that, unlike other style of scarf, it can work with pretty much any body type (providing you acquire the right shape/knit as I will discuss in a moment). However, in my opinion there is just one type of individual that evokes a cringe or two whilst strutting the snood down the high-street, and I believe the politically correct term for them is ‘the late thirty-something male who appears to be going through an early mid-life crisis and refuses to dispose of his 10 year-old converse and bomber jacket combo’. I believe if you look this term up in the Oxford Dictionary there is an additional footnote that states: ‘Often stereotyped on middle-aged gay men of Britain who are trying too hard to be cool with their designer bags and matching visible underwear.’ But I really wouldn’t be offended if this seems to describe you… I also saw the snood under the term ‘One Direction X-Factor cast-offs’. However, offensive stereotyping and rubbish jokes aside, if you believe you may fall into this category, then please opt for something a little more sophisticated such as the traditional scarf or the skinny scarf if you would like to maintain a little bit of individual flair!
Thick fabrics will just add bulk in all the wrong places so make sure you opt for a much thinner material/knit when choosing your snood. A thinner snood will highlight the chest muscles for a muscular guy and avoid swallowing the neck of a larger guy. Keep the loop away from your neck at all costs – some larger guys may want to keep the snood as one large loop dropping down towards the waist, rather than the traditional twice-wrap-around the neck. This will elongate the neck area, but make sure it doesn’t fall awkwardly on any unwanted bumps and frumps.
Again go for a thinner material as you don’t want to overpower the proportions of your shorter frame. You need to find the perfect balance between elongating the neck whilst keeping it short enough to maintain the attention upwards (and therefore training the onlooking eye to stretch out your figure). Avoid the long, single loop at all costs and try and loop the snood so it sits away from your neck and chin, making sure it falls just below your collar-bone area.
The taller gentleman can afford to go chunky and thick with his snood, and should certainly avoid anything too floppy and thin to avoid a rather effeminate, lanky look. Thick, cable-knits will chunk and bulk to the shoulder and collar bone area and therefore help to maintain focus upwards and onwards, away from those lanky, fireman-pole legs. Again avoid being too neck-bound with the snood and try loosening it a little to sit nicely on your shoulders and collar-bone. A tall man with a very thick neck-warmer runs the risk of looking like what I can only describe as a needle with a Hula Hoop crisp balanced on the top.
Top Tip #2: For lightweight outerwear such as a leather jacket, wear the snood over the top of any collars/flaps etc. However, for a heavy-weight outerwear item such as a trench coat, wear it open with a lightweight snood hanging off your neck underneath the collar of the coat. Play around with different variations to see which works best with your winter coats!
Top Tip #3: If, like me, you can only afford one snood in your wardrobe, then opt for a classic grey or cream to tie in with multiple outfits!
Well that’s it: an in-depth look at the snood and the conclusion to my series of scarves and your body type. I hope that over the three articles I have managed to help you find at least one perfect scarf for your individual look. The main thing to remember is to keep experimenting! You won’t know what looks good on you unless you try it on.
What are your thoughts on the snood? Got any additional tips? Let us know!
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