Can the Snood Save Christmas?
What a surprise---I checked out The Wall Street Journal Yesterday to see the headline in the style section: Can the Snood Save Christmas?
Really????? The SNOOD?
Now as a medieval writer, the snood conjures something entirely different from what was shown in the style section. I was more than surprised to see the tube-like scarf I used to wear on the ski slopes take a new form into this massive, blanket-like head-scarf…a hot fashion item, according the Journal, that designers are determined to foist upon us during the economic down-turn, because it represents an apparel item that is new, that we don’t already have.
Naturally, the History Hoyden in me drove me to do to a little research about snoods:
From the all web-encompasing summary source, Wikepedia: 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---now this, as a historical writer, is what I call a snood.
More: “The word is first recorded in Old English from around 725 and 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 wide called a snood was worn specifically by unmarried women as an indicator of their status until the late 19th or early 20th century . It was usually braided into the hair.
Snoods came back into fashion in the 1860s, though 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 color (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 favored, 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.”
And with regards to The Wall Street Journal’s fashion commentary, I think below explains it all very nicely:
“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.”
Retailers today are apparently trying to give the snood a new name (have to admit, it’s a fun word to say)---they want to call it the “infinity scarf, or infinity loop”---not so fun, IMO.
At any rate, I still prefer the historical and traditional version of the snood---the lovely hairnet, oft adorned with pearls or beads, used to capture the cascading tresses belonging to the ladies centuries past.
Will the snood, in any variety, save the Holiday Season of 2009? One can only hope. I think there is something romantic in general about a lady covering her head or capturing her hair.
Have any of you ever worn the modern or the historical version of the snood?