Scarves, especially long, narrow scarves either draped loosely or wrapped around the neck, have been a trendy fashion accessory for several seasons now. This season, a variation of the scarf has become an important fashion trend. This version of the scarf is connected end-to-end, creating a loop. Some retailers call this style an “infinity scarf,” “funnel scarf,” “circle scarf” or “infinity loop.” When worn over the head, it is essentially a hybrid of a scarf and a hood, hence the name “snood.”
Illustration: A collage of snoods from the November 2009 issue of Harper’s Bazaar.
In her article “Can the Snood Save Christmas: Designers and retailers tout the half-scarf, half-hood” published in the Wall Street Journal on November 7, 2009, writer Rachel Dodes explores the history and the reasons for the popularity of this accessory, which is seen in the fall 2009 designer collections of Missoni, Burberry, Donna Karan and Yves St. Laurent as well as at high- and low-end retailers. Dodes summarizes the fashion world’s embrace of the style:
A few weeks ago Bloomingdale’s urged customers to “make sure that you’re seen in this lavish new accessory.” Henri Bendel ranked the snood second amongst its top ten “things we fancy for fall” while Saks Fifth Avenue included it in its “Want It” fall campaign.
The snood is available in different lengths, thicknesses and materials, and can be worn around the neck or over the head. I remember well enough winter days in Chicago, braving the winds on North Michigan Avenue, where anything cozily warm that covers the neck and ears and makes a fashion statement at the same time is always a most welcome wardrobe addition. The snood in lighter versions is meant to be a stylish accessory worn indoors as well as in friendlier climates too.
Illustration: A segment of a Burberry ad featuring a snood.
The snood will catch the eye first; therefore, any jewelry worn with it must play a supporting role. For the jewelry lover, adding a snood to the wardrobe particularly requires adjustments to the selection of necklaces, because a snood draped over a bodice essentially stands in for a necklace. Combining a snood, which has texture and dimension, with one or more necklaces longer than the snood dangling beneath it may create the look of a lot of uncoordinated clutter.
Illustration: An upscale version of the snood by designer Derek Lam pictured in the November 2009 issue of Harper’s Bazaar.
Dodes reports that the British version of GQ magazine’s Web site recently posted a “Guide to Snoods,” suggesting wearers try it “over a chunky knit or tailored jacket.” Both those items of apparel call for substantial jewelry, nothing too fine or delicate. A short, chunky statement necklace peeking over the neckline of a garment and inside the loop of a snood may present an attractive finish to the portrait area created by the loop, with the snood providing the frame of the portrait.
A snood will hide many jewelry choices, such as a necklace of similar length or a brooch pinned to a lapel, so there is no point in wearing such jewelry unless the snood will be removed. Brooches do provide a creative option: they can be pinned directly on a snood, although secure clasps are a must. This is a good time to utilize a pin guard. The Ash & Dans infinity scarf from Henri Bendel pictured in the Wall Street Journal article comes with its own brooch.
A snood worn around the head will cover or obscure any earrings, although a peek of gold or silver ear clips in the portrait area created by the loop would be quite pretty. Be sure to choose a style of earrings that won’t get tangled up in the scarf.
With snoods, bracelets and rings can complete a look. Multiple bracelets, a continuing trend extremely popular now and shown in many of the spring 2010 collections, can provide visual balance to the draping around the head and bodice.
Why are snoods so popular? Comments Dodes: “Amid the downturn, the rush to the snood reflects the fashion industry’s scramble to invent new types of clothing that consumers don’t already possess.” Scarves and mufflers are “a relatively cheap way to freshen an outfit.”
Dodes also notes a psychological component to the interest in snoods:
Burberry, whose chief financial officer recently cited the snood as one of the top drivers of the company’s fall accessories sales, attributes the snood’s rise to consumers’ desire for safety in tumultuous times. “I love this idea of protection that it gives,” says the brand’s creative director Christopher Bailey, who was so into the look that he showed snoods for men and women on almost every model at his fall 2009 runway show. Simon Kneen, creative director for Gap Inc.’s Banana Republic brand, also likened the accessory to “a Linus blanket,” a reference to the blue security blanket always carried by the Peanuts cartoon character.
Whatever the reason for the popularity of the snood, its wearer can be secure in the knowledge that she is on-trend in her accessories this season.