The winter chill is upon us in the Southern Hemisphere, although the rest of the world dismisses our mostly-snow free season as simply an "Autumn with a stiff breeze". However, the air is cold enough to suggest that unless we cover exposed skin, there is a real chance of death. This is probably an exaggeration, but a good excuse to indulge in the accessories of fashion that come with a winter wardrobe. Most of you by now would have heard of the scarf, such is its popularity. Chances are some of you may be wearing one. Or is it wearing you? Sometimes it can be hard to decide... cheeky little thing! Closely related to the tie and neckerchief, the scarf is a fabric device worn around the neck. Originally it was developed by ancient Shepards as a way keeping warm whilst tending to their flocks, but they soon abondend them in favour of pants and shirts. The look however was not lost, and was taken back by an Arabian performer where it was quickly adopted as the hot-
look for desert wear. These fashion conscious Arabs also noticed the power of the scarf to stop sand entering their mouth. To this point, sand had been the predominant staple of the Arab diet, with meat and vegetables only seen as a dietery supplements to sand. Historians now directly link this discovery to the eradication of sand from the ancient Arab diet.
The item then entered Western culture via a Dutch explorer on a Contiki tour of Morocco. Johan Van Der Scarf liked the idea of concealing his neck area, as he had an over protruding and slightly erotic Adam's Apple. This look became famous after Van Der Scarf became the first human to successfully cross Estonia's Lake Peipus on a log. This bought great pride to the Dutch people so Van Der Scarf, and his style, became quite famous in his homeland.
Soon Scarfs where everywhere in Europe. In 1683-87 Scarfs were Holland's 4th biggest export behind Flowers, Clogs, Sardines and People. Now you can find Scarfs on humans in evey corner of the globe and not just in winter either!
What is it that makes a scarf so great? Not only do they look good but they are also functional. People wear scarves for many reasons including warmth, to hiding a love bite/case of dermitis/vampire incision, to draw attention to clevage, they are allergic to ties,want a portable noose or simply to identify the tribe/cause/militia they belong too. So next time you put on or pull off a scarf, take a moment to reflect on the strand of fashion history that wraps around your neck.